I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease over three years ago. I have my own toaster, I have my own butter, I never share utensils with my family, and I NEVER consume gluten (at least not on purpose!). After three years of reading labels, formulating tricks for avoiding gluten and taking every precaution possible, you would think that I was an expert at spotting gluten. Unfortunatley, all situations can not be controlled.
Last time DH and I embarked on a date night, we headed to our favourite steakhouse. I drooled as DH consumed the soft, warm, fresh bread that was brought out, I spoke with the server about my allergy, and I ordered a meal that was clear of gluten (steak and salad). I should have been in the clear, but I wasn’t. I was GLUTENED.
You can prepare for it, you can take precautions against it, but if you don’t watch it being created or create it yourself, you are opening yourself up to it…being Glutened.
Glutened is when a person with celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten is accidentally exposed to or ingests gluten. Symptoms vary from person to person and the amount of gluten that needs to be consumed varies as well. Unlike other food allergies, the symptoms can immediately send you to bed (or the bathroom), whereas other can have a slow onset and appear over a few days.
I can usually tell within 5 minutes of consuming (or inhaling! It happens!) gluten. First, I begin to feel queasy. My stomach starts rumbling and then it gets hard. My belly then begins to swell and I resemble a lady 6-8 months pregnant. Next, I’m either running to the washroom or I am releasing some very unladylike gaseous substances. After 6 hours, my intestinal symptoms resolve and the brain fog and fatigue sets in. This can last hours to days depending on the severity and quantity ingested. These symptoms are not the result of intentional ingesting a slice of pizza or fresh bun, but rather a simple case of cross contamination or a few crumbs of gluten. I shutter to think what would happen if I were to consume Gluten intentionally.
You’ve been Glutened! Now what?
1. Peppermints and Ginger tea – Usually being glutened happens when I’m out in public. Although there is no magic pill to reverse the damage, I immediately begin searching for ways to calm down my intestinal system. Peppermint candies calm my stomach and the ginger tea helps to reduce bloating.
2. Sleep to allow your body to repair – As soon as I can, I rest. Your body is under an extreme physiological attack. Your intestines are being destroyed and your body is on high alert to prevent further damage. Sleep allows your body to rejuvenate and repair any damage that is done. It allows your body to heal quicker and feel better faster.
3. Water to flush toxins out – Water is so good for your body and many of us fail to drink the right amount on a daily basis. While it won’t fix your glutened problem or heal your intestines, it will help to flush out the toxins and reduce the bloating you are experiencing. This is especially important if you are experiencing diarrhea as a symptom, as it can lead to dehydration.
4. Epson salt bath – Whether you are experiencing muscle or joint pain, intestinal flare ups or mental anxiety during a gluten attack, nothing soothes the soul better then a nice relaxing bath. It can change your state of mind, relax your muscles and help you get the much need rest your body deserves. By throwing Epson salts into your bath, you are not only getting the above benefits but the Epson salts also help remove the toxins from your body. Reading mental health blogs while relaxing in a warm bath also helps.
5. Digestive enzymes (Probiotics) – I haven’t actually tried this theory yet, but I have had heard from fellow celiac prone people that it does work. While digestive enzymes won’t prevent the damage caused by gluten, it is thought that may ease the symptoms symptoms associated with being glutened.