I'm sure you know the feeling, that first sign that you've accidentally ingested gluten. Maybe youstart getting bloating or experience stomach pain, everyone is different. Then suddenly the dread sets in because you know exactly what's coming. For many of us with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity even microscopic amounts of gluten can mean a lot of suffering. Avoiding gluten in our world isn't an easy task, especially if you're sensitive to small amounts. Getting "glutened" as I like to call it, is pretty inevitable from time to time.
I know with myself I usually get glutened after a long period of feeling ok. I tend to get more relaxed and then I start to try new products and it comes back to bite me. I'm glutened right now and that's what inspired this post. I went a while feeling great and then introduced a bunch of new products all at once and now i'm not sure which one has made me sick!
So what steps can you take to feel better while your gluten exposure runs its course?
Feeling tired even if you've had enough rest is a common glutening symptom. For me extreme fatigue is the first symptom I get when I get glutened. I usually end up sleeping for hours, even if it's in the middle of the day. It's also common to feel super fatigued but have insomnia at the same time. Getting proper rest and not pushing yourself can make your glutening easier to bare.
Fluids will help flush your system and keep you hydrated if you're vomiting or have diarrhea. In addition to regular water, you can try coconut water, which contains electrolytes that may have been lost through vomiting or diarrhea.
Eat easy to digest foods and avoid hard to digest foods
Focusing on foods that are easy to digest can help ease digestive symptoms like diarrhea, gas, bloating and heart burn. With an inflamed digestive system you want to avoid anything that could cause irritation.
Foods to eat (if not sensitive to them)
Probiotic Foods like sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha
Foods to avoid- These foods are difficult to digest
Avoiding dairy when you've just been glutened can help because you can become temporarily lactose intolerant. We digest lactose, a protein in milk, with the ends of the villi in our small intestine. So when you've been glutened your villi may be temperately damaged rendering you unable to digest dairy products.
Corn contains cellulose and it makes it difficult for our bodies to digest. There is even some evidence saying those with celiac disease react poorly to corn(1).
These are especially a no no if you get heartburn when you're glutened. They can over-relax the esophageal sphincter, which keeps stomach acid confined to the stomach, they also can act as diuretics, which can lead to diarrhea and cramping. The last thing you need more of when you've been glutened!
Foods full of sugar and unhealthy fats are just going to add to the discomfort. You want to stick with anti inflammatory foods.
Don't do anything that is to complicated
Gluten brain fog is a very real thing. Those feelings of fuzziness, mild confusion and fatigue can make completing difficult tasks impossible.
Don't wear tight clothes
Nothing like looking 6 months pregnant from a gluten baby. Gluten bloating can make your stomach look like a beach ball. This maybe isn't the time for skin tight clothes. When you wear something really tight it can just add to the discomfort.
Don't Eat Out
The last thing you need is a double glutening and restaurants are a common place for cross contamination.
Try Gut Soothing Foods
Eating foods and drinks that are easy to digest can help you feel better. Here are some natural remedies for upset digestion.
Bone Broth is very high in the anti-inflammatory amino acids glycine and proline. The gelatin in bone broth protects and heals the mucosal lining of the digestive tract that may get disrupted by being glutened.
Peppermint tea is an anti spasmodic, meaning it reduces cramping and relieves digestive distress.
Fennel reduces gas and bloating
Slippery elm contains mucilage, which stimulates nerve endings in the gastrointestinal tract to increase its secretion of mucus. Mucus forms a barrier in the gut to protect it and promote healing.
Can help to sooth stomach and gas pain
Being glutened is never any fun, but if you take some time for self care and relax it can make the experience a little bit more bearable. What do you do when you accidentally eat gluten?