“Glutened! What do I do now???”
Apr 27, 2016
You feel it right when it starts. You think “Oh no! Not again! I was so careful! !” But perhaps there was cross contamination at that restaurant and that entrée wasn’t really gluten free. Perhaps someone snuck some flour into the sauce at that potluck (Potlucks are often a nightmare for those of us with Celiac or multiple food allergies). Perhaps Aunt Betty put just a spoonful of wheat flour in the casserole, because, after all, it isn’t like it’s bread! Your belly starts to fill up with air like a balloon , but the air just sits there and grows until your back hurts too from the pressure on your internal organs. Next the deep fatigue and brain fog set in and you want to go lie down somewhere quiet and dark because you can’t even sit or stand up straight the pain in your gut is so bad. So until you can get yourself to bed, your are walking around hunched over. But you know! You’ve been “glutened” ! Bummer!
Recovering from this “glutening” episode may take a few hours or several weeks, depending upon where you are in your health journey. Here are a few tips that may help.
- Go lie down and be quiet. You need to retreat and rest for a bit, at least while the acute part is happening. Your brain likely is not firing on all 4 cylinders anyway so any work you try to do won’t be your best. Grab the heating pad and retreat.
- Stay hydrated. The last thing you want to do right now is to put more things in your stomach, but water is the thing that will help move the gas through. Allowing yourself to become dehydrated will just lock up your gut. Some people do better with hot liquids and teas such as peppermint or a “Tummy Tea” from a medicinal herb tea company will help move things along.
- Activated charcoal absorbs excess gas, as well as helps control diarrhea, if that is a part of your pattern.
- Other “carminitives “ (an old herbal remedy that means gas releasing) such as fennel seeds (used in India after meals) as well as ginger and digestive enzymes (make sure they are gluten free!)
- Once you are through the acute episode, you need to double down on your diet to recover. Bone broth is an amazing food to help you heal your gut. You may want to do a bone broth fast for a day or so until things calm down enough to eat.
- If you have residual gut inflammation, it may be time to make a visit to me or your doctor to get on some anti-inflammatory supplements for your gut. Your villi may have been damaged from the glutening episode if your health is fragile. Some research says that it takes 6 months (!) to recover if you are Celiac and you have been exposed to gluten!
- Forgive yourself and the circumstance that glutened or allergened you. Learn from the episode – perhaps avoid restaurants that aren’t dedicated gluten free and cook at home. if you are Celiac. If you must travel, stay somewhere that has a kitchen and have a setup where you can shop and prepare your own food. This is ideal but if you travel for business, not always an option. Learn how to pack food for travel so that you do not need to eat out much if at all. Having a gut condition such as Celiac, Leaky gut and multiple food allergies can be a major challenge, but with enough planning can be navigated.