gluten-ated: how to survive contamination

a lot of people have asked me what it feels like when i get gluten-ated (contaminated with gluten). here it is in a nut shell: 2-3 days of extremely painful stomach aches, followed by a minimum of 1-2 days with extremely sharp stabbing intestinal pain. so, when people ask me if i ever “cheat” and eat gluten, i always look at them like they are 1. slightly crazy or 2. misinformed. given how trendy it is to be “gluten-free,” i’ve been confronted multiple times in the last few months with skeptical comments about why i am gluten-free from people who haven’t known me more than a year or two. C’s response when this happens is to look at them and say “you have no idea what it was like before the diagnosis. no idea.” (thank you C for sticking with me all these years.)

today is tuesday and i’m trying to determine what i ate in the last 5 days that trigged 4 days of brutal stomach aches and 1 very long day of intense intestinal pain. after 5 years of this, i know it’s gluten because everything else that i struggle with (diary, soy, beans, etc) usually just ends with a stomach ache and throwing up (to put it bluntly), not days and days laying in bed with a heating pad pressed into my torso, waiting for it to end.

the second question i get a lot is: how do i deal with it when it happens?
in order:
1. spend 2 days going over everything that’s gone into my body, trying to isolate the source
2. lay in bed with a heat pad on high
3. drink lots of detox tea
4. eat very little (eating some times makes it worse for me.)
5. up my probiotic intake and chinese herbals
6. get acupuncture
7. repeat 2-3 over and over and over and over

herbs

i’ve been meaning to write some posts on acupuncture and chinese herbals for a while now because i was never a believer until i started using both in my life every week. i’m astonished how much i depend on them now. my intestinal pain was so intense yesterday, i was having a hard time functioning. i had acupuncture at 8 last night and this morning: no more pain. the skeptics would just argue that it finally ran it’s course, but i’m not so sure…

batter

one of the things that’s an absolute when i’m gluten-ated is eating right. i pretty much have to go into lock-down mode to keep things from getting worse, which is hard because i often feel both hungry and sick at the same time. sticking to warm, soft, easy to digest food is a must. avoiding coffee and alcohol for a few days after it’s over is also a must. nothing that causes inflammation.

pumpkinmuffin

this time around i stuck with a kale, fennel, quinoa dish and pumpkin muffins like these ones, made with honey, almond milk and almond flour (minus the walnuts). they are soft and taste like pumpkin pie but aren’t too sweet. (kale, fennel and honey are great aids for digestive tracks, as well as anti-inflammatory. pumpkin is easy to digest.) the trick is to eat warm, digestible foods without eating things that cause bloating (beans and too many veggies all at once) but also get enough protein to keep yourself going (hence, the quinoa).

detox

i’m happy to say that i’m on day 6 and on the mend.
i’ll admit that every time this happens, i cease wanting to ever eat out again or even eat at people’s houses out of fear. that part is hard. but i know it could be much worse. many people with gluten allergies have to be hospitalized when they are gluten-ated. i’m one of the lucky ones who can push through it with a few bad days and a lot of detox tea.
also, it helps to talk to someone with the same issues. my younger sister has the same digestive drama i do, so when i’m suffering and annoyed and grumpy about it, i call her and she reminds me that it won’t last forever.

i’m curious what everyone else does when they are gluten-ated. feel free to share your own ideas!


One Comment on “gluten-ated: how to survive contamination”

  1. Jenny O says:

    I’m fortunate- when I’m gluten-ated, it only results in a few hours of agony rather than a few days. I can almost set my watch by it, too: eat meal with sneak-gluten, three hours later my body evacuates by any means necessary (and at great force). I get through it by locking myself in the bathroom and weeping/wishing to die (not literally, although the weeping generally is), then afterwards I just try to sleep to get past the trembly weakness. Heating pads and gentle foods also come into play.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *