No matter how careful we are with reading labels and asking questions at restaurants, there is a possibility we will come into contact with gluten through cross contamination. For me, getting exposed to gluten is painful both physically and emotionally and my symptoms have changed over time, but they always start with an extreme headache and hot flash. When these two things happen it is imperative that we get home immediately.
The physical symptoms seem to pass quickly now, but the emotional ones seem to linger. For me, that means feeling depressed and anxious for more than a week after exposure. The fatigue and achiness also seems to linger, but lessens for me with mild exercise and by going back to my normal routine.
There is no magic remedy to immediately stop the symptoms, but listed below are the methods I use to alleviate my reaction to gluten and speed up the healing process.
- Push Fluids:
- WATER – helps to flush out the system
- Ginger – settles the stomach and can help stop the cramping
- Replenish your electrolytes to keep dehydration away that can result from multiple trips to the bathroom. We don’t drink Gatorade at our house due to the artificial colors/flavors, so we use Coconut Water. Coconut water is a very natural way to replace your electrolytes and it can be bought plain or with added fruit juice. It tastes good too!
- Get a LOT of Sleep
- Sleep as much as you can in the first hours and over the next couple of days. It gives your body time to rest and heal.
- Eat in moderation
- We like to keep comfort foods in the house at all times, just in case there is an issue. For me, these foods are: crackers, chicken broth, ginger ale and instant mashed potatoes. We make the mashed potatoes using powdered chicken broth to add extra protein. When these foods are properly digesting, then we move on to gluten free toast or a plain piece of bread
- Stay away from dairy during your recovery as your villi are in no position to digest it until you begin to recover. We use either Almond milk or Coconut milk to make the mashed potatoes.
- Taking an increased amount of Probiotics after the majority of your symptoms have passed will help promote the growth of the good bacteria in your gut that has been washed away from the gluten
- I take Digestive Enzymes. Digestive Enzymes are a natural way to speed up digestion, so they help to push the gluten through your system quicker.
- GlutenEase – is a product that was designed to be taken when you are exposed to gluten. I haven’t taken it before, but some people do report success in alleviating their symptoms and speeding up the healing process. It is designed to assist in normalizing inflammatory response to the gluten peptide, thus better digesting and utilizing gluten containing foods. This product can be found locally at most health food stores including Return to Eden.
- Tylenol or Advil can help take away my headaches and reduce the swelling in my joints
- Charcoal pills are taken by some to bind up and usher out the ‘gluten’ to keep your body from reacting to it. Charcoal pills are traditionally used to reduce excess gas/wind in the gut. They are also sometimes used to calm indigestion or reduce diarrhea, because the charcoal neutralizes and absorbs methane or sulfide intestinal gases.
- L-glutamine helps to promote a healthy digestive track and it is helpful for gastro-intestinal disorders and depression which can result from gluten contamination.
- After the first three days, I like to add light exercise to the recovery process. This can help to alleviate the swelling in your joints and produces endorphins that can lessen anxiety.
If ever you are in doubt on the gluten-free status of a product, drug, over-the-counter medicine, lipstick, or food at a restaurant the safest bet is not to eat it to ensure you will not suffer cross contamination. It is your body, so make your decision wisely. Hopefully the advice listed above will help you manage and recover from cross contamination swiftly.
Article Courtesy: Jennifer Harris