What do you do if you've accidently had Gluten????? Stay Calm and read on....
What to do if you are Glutened
I am a Coeliac. For me having gluten sets off an autoimmune reaction which unfortunately triggers my other autoimmune diseases, pain, discomfort, wind, etc. etc. etc.
A lot of my patients are in the same boat, you may not actually be a coeliac, and you might just be gluten sensitive or avoiding gluten to treat many inflammatory or autoimmune conditions. Whatever your reason for avoiding gluten, it’s just not cool to be Glutened!
First up, try to avoid it in the first place, many of us drive our friends nuts, does that have gluten? I’m like a stuck record….
I find both with myself and my patients, the symptoms can be a lot more intense when you’ve avoided the dreaded gluten for some time, or you could be like one of my coeliac friends who just gets really, really Hangry a few days after exposure because he’s not absorbing any of his nutrients.
Symptoms to look out for (and this is by no means exhaustive….):
· Bloat, pain, cramping
· Bowel changes, for me constipation, but diarrhea is also a huge sign, look out for any uncomfortable changes
· Wind, both burps and farts!
· Migraine and or headache
· Brain fog
· Lethargy/fatigue (especially if it’s for no good reason and you fear you may have been Glutened)
· Mood/behavior changes, I have observed both in me and my clients an increase in anxiety and depression whilst Glutened.
· Thirst, unexplained hunger, even when full
· Increased inflammation and or pain, increased autoimmune symptoms
If you are traveling, google how to ask if something has gluten in it, in the language of the place you are traveling too. Print out some cards and take them with you, trying to avoid confusion over gluten and the language barrier works wonders.
These are in my Never leave home without them category. I would not travel without them. I have a broad spectrum enzyme for general digestion, and a specific gluten enzyme. What’s so special about enzymes you ask? They are substances that break down our food into smaller building blocks so we can digest and absorb them. There are enzymes such as Lactase which target Lactose (dairy) but you can actually get an enzyme that is specific for gluten breakdown. Look for an enzyme that contains Dipeptidyl Peptidase, though any of the protein busting enzymes (gluten is a protein) such as protease and amylase, will help.
Another of my “don’t leave home without it” tablets. Charcoal is amazing stuff, it binds toxins and poison. Make no mistake that Gluten is merrily inflaming and acting like a poison in your system, the faster you can bind and excrete it the better. It will also soak up some of the smelliness of gluten farts #thankmelater Just keep in mind charcoal will also absorb our good stuff, like vitamins and minerals, and medications. Take 2hours away from these and use it short term.
You guessed it, don’t leave home without it! This is not quite a probiotic, but more a beneficial yeast strain, it’s been widely researched. What I love about it is, its heat stable. I can travel without having to fridge it. Extremely beneficial for gluten recovery, it increased secretory IgA which the intestine produces to serve as the first line of defence in protecting the intestinal epithelium from enteric toxins and pathogenic microorganisms. In other words, it protects and reduces inflammation in the GIT.
SB also reduces diarrhea, bloating, flatulence.
Eat a plain diet, keep it simple:
This one makes a lot of sense. Your insides have just had a major insult from the gluten. For a few days, go back to really simple foods, give your digestion a holiday! Avoid raw foods, as they are harder to digest, go for simple broths, stews, bone broth, soups without many ingredients. Long slow cooked is best. Some people benefit from fermented foods, personally I need to wait till I’m further down the recovery path before I can add them back in. Also increase water.
I’m talking the natural stuff. Increase ginger, turmeric, garlic. Most places have you travel have access to these, and if you are at home you can slip it into everything.
Increase herbal tea, it will re-hydrate but also a lot of lovely teas have a carminative, anti-inflammatory effect on the gut. Try chamomile, lemon balm, marshmallow root, licorice root and peppermint. Just caution with mint if one of your side effects is reflux, mint can increase those symptoms.
Slippery Elm, and Aloe-Vera. Both have a wonderful mucilage effect on the GIT, which will bring down inflammation pain, cramping and irritation. Slippery Elm in particular is terrific for reflux symptoms.
Being Glutened can start an inflammatory war inside you. Rest. Seriously just do it. Being Glutened is exhausting. Recognize any weird emotions that bubble up, as probably being part of the whole experience and let them go.
Curl up with a good book, a hot water bottle on your tummy, preferably in the fresh air and just give yourself permission to rest until you recover. :)