Okay, perhaps the title isn’t fair. Sometimes we do it to ourselves. Other times, we’ve been glutened.
I’ve spent so much time and energy focusing on how NOT to eat gluten that I’ve ignored a simple fact: It happens. No matter how many wait staff you speak to, how many labels you read, or how many friends and relatives you educate about the weird thing your body does, there will be a time where you are glutened. I remember vividly my last glutening, and it makes me feel so dumb: Thanksgiving. I worked so hard to prepare an entirely gluten-free dinner for us and a friend. I had slaved away, and I was so proud of the results. After letting the main meal digest for a while, CB said to me, “I’ll go get dessert together. You sit.” It was a sweet move because he had been running around to shops that morning, washing dishes whenever I bellowed, and working from home on top of it all.
So, you’re asking, if I worked so hard to be so careful, what was the problem? Ice cream. It was a rookie mistake, too. Magnum ice cream bars are gluten-free and have quality ice cream and chocolate. They had just come out with a tub version, with the chocolate in the core, and we thought it would be a nice addition to the cupcakes and cheesecake I made. Only we made the assumption that it was gluten-free, and it was not. Cue falling to my knees, demanding of the sky “WHY?!” Or, mostly, just curling up in a ball in pain.
When I saw a post on Celiac and Allergy Adventures about what she does when she’s been glutened, I realised I’d never shared that part of the story. I talk about how to get off gluten, how to look at labels, and how to make favourite foods without it, but I’ve never talked about what to do if (read: when) you find yourself glutened. I don’t hold all the secrets, but I do know what works for me.
- One of the big things I’ve noticed that’s common among sufferers is: heat helps. Heat inside and out. Soup, hot (decaf! caffeine irritates the gut) tea, water bottles, and heating pads all seem to end up on the standard lists.
- Lots of rest. Your body will be using tons of energy to try to repair the damage.
- Watch your intake of leafy vegetables. They might provide good nutrients, but they can go straight through you when you have issues.
- Watch your intake of seedy fruits (like strawberries). These can irritate your gut, too, with the little seeds getting stuck in corners and pockets all over.
- Sugar and caffeine all impede the process, so sodas are completely out.
- Up your fibre intake. Fibre is always a good thing, but it can especially help to push through the bad stuff you’ve eaten. Flax meal is my go-to for extra fibre.
- If you don’t think you can tolerate solid foods, juice. Buy juice, use a juicer, whatever you can. Get plenty of the nutrients your body will be shunning during an attack. If you use a fine-ground flax meal, you can mix it straight into your juice for an extra kick.
What do you do to help your body out? Any tips or tricks? Do you have the magic answer?