I have been "glutened" twice in the past couple of weeks, and I have been feeling completely miserable. My typical symptoms include a few hours of intense stomach pain followed by several days of digestive issues including constipation, bloating, and gas. Then the fun includes flu-like body aches and pains, and a return of my joint pain. All the while, I struggle with anxiety and just plain moodiness. Unfortunately, my daughter was included in one of the occasions, so not only did I feel bad but I also had to try to manage an unhappy little girl with many of the same symptoms. Yuck!
Cross contamination can be a major problem if you happen to be one of the unlucky ones who are highly sensitive. We are completely gluten free at home, but I'm discovering that eating food from restaurants or homes without gluten free kitchens can be even trickier than I thought. My first "glutening" happened at a party. The host graciously provided hamburgers with gluten free buns for us, along with fresh fruit and vegetables, and even made "gluten free" cupcakes. Somehow something must have been cross-contaminated though because my daughter and I both started having stomach pains within a couple of hours. Just about the time that I was starting to feel better from the party incident, it happened again. This time from a salad bar. Thankfully, it was just me though. Check out this great link if you need more information about how to prevent cross-contamination:
Safety Tips for Avoiding Cross Contamination. To all of my friends and family, I apologize ahead of time, but I will be asking lots of questions about any food that my family eats or just bringing our own food to social events. We have to stay healthy to function.
So what do you do if you get accidentally get "glutened"? I am by no means offering medical advice, but we have found a few things that seem to help get through it. For my family members, the inflammation from the gluten exposure causes constipation, so we immediately start taking MiraLax. I have also found that focusing on eating as clean as possible and including anti-inflammatory foods helps as well as drinking lots of green tea. We also take anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium to reduce inflammation and reduce the body ache symptoms. This past time, I even tried using activated charcoal since I had read on many blogs that others found it helpful in detoxifying their bodies after a gluten exposure. I'm not sure yet whether it was helpful, but I plan to use it right away the next I start experiencing gluten symptoms. I have also been reading about GlutenEase a product designed to help in the digestion of gluten. While it is NOT a cure for celiac disease, it does appear that some find it helpful in recovering from an accidental exposure. I read on several blogs that others have found it helpful to take it before eating in situations where cross-contamination is a threat. I have some on hand to try.
What works for you? I'd love to hear if you've tried any of these methods or have other tips to share on dealing with accidental "glutening".