Friday, April 30, 2010

Getting Over Gluten

I'm recycling a couple of old pics that I found. Like I said here, I got glutened the other day and I just want to mention the little bit that I have so far found out about "getting glutened". I have no first hand knowledge of how celiacs react to gluten in general, since the only celiac I know is *me* - and I have no medical knowledge, I'm just the regular avid googler.

Sometimes I forget how it feels to ingest gluten. It's been a long while since it happened last, and there's always a point when I start feeling like all my food-restrictions are a fantasy. I look at the food that other people eat and I'm thinking, how can that slice of bread or that pasta dish possibly equal poison for me - the knowledge that I cannot eat gluten starts to feel like one of those things you are not sure if you have dreamt or actually experienced. After being diagnosed and after I started getting a handle on what to eat and not to eat, I would always get careless after a while of not getting glutened. Carelessness gets me glutened, and gluten makes me ill, and after swinging back and forth in health every so often for a year or so, I've learned that I have to stick with the gluten free diet even when I feel healthy.

The effect of gluten always lasts a couple of days - after the initial discomfort and loss of appetite I always get ravenous, but my stomach cannot handle too much food. I get cravings for things I never otherwise eat, and it's easy when you're tired to slip and feel like you haven't got the energy to prepare anything but rice cakes. I've found that what works best is that if I eat, it's a small quantity and as nutritious as possible. Nothing that irritates the stomach - if wine, very little, if I eat fresh or dried fruits I mix them with other food stuffs. No coffee, but I very rarely have that anyway - still I think it's a good thing to "drink" calories to get a handle on the cravings without putting (more) strain on digestion. This is what works for me - well, "works" is really an overstatement because it lasts a couple of days no matter what, so gets me by in the best possible way is more accurate.

Somewhere I read it recommended that you drink water with a spoonful of apple cider vinegar and a spoonful of honey - I'm not sure about this. I've tried and it doesn't seem like it's bad for you (me). I think drinking water is a good idea and after gluten I always get nauseated and loose my taste for water, so if a honey/apple cider vinegar solution gets a couple glasses water in me it's probably fine. This site is one of many mentioning apple cider vinegar and it seems fairly scientific and rational - but it would seem it's all just a bunch of theories, anyway. It says under apple cider vinegar as a remedy for acid reflux that it is not recommended because it may damage the protective coating of the stomach and intestines - which would make it a really bad idea after glutening, one should think.

Another thing I would love to try but have no experince with is Glutenease - I'm guessing having these would alleviate some of the worrying over accidental glutening when travelling or eating out. It says the pills have no fillers so I'm guessing they're safe for intolerance to corn as well, I wrote the company and asked about that as well as Danish retailers but there was no answer. I'm dragging my feet about buying it - the product in itself is fairly expensive and there's a whopper of a shipping fee to boot.

All in all, this experience tells me that glutening does get "easier". It's not as debilitating as when it happened during the first year, and it doesn't wipe out my digestion for weeks. It's more like having a bad headache or a stubborn cold - it's a mixture of symptoms that I just have to "sit out".

I remember reading about other celiacs right after getting diagnosed - I don't know if this post is helpful to anyone or not, but I guess it's about giving back in some small way, contributing to the karma of the great blogosphere out there...


  1. I know you don't want to hear it, but just stay away from the gluten. My body doesn't do well with wheat and dairy, so I avoid them (Being vegan, I don't consume dairy anymore anyway). Ingesting these things is just not worth it to me. This keeps me on track.

    BTW, thanks so much for showing me that cupcake liner inspired thing. I need to figure out where I can get one. So cute.

  2. I find it interesting how the word identifications you need to type in to post a comment sometimes seem to relate to the topic. For instance, I just had to type in "lowsy," which made me think of the lousy feeling you must have after eating gluten. Hope you feel better soon. Think of this the next time some bread comes your way.

  3. Yeah, I thought you might like the cupcake thingy - glad I was right :-).

    I was very ill when I was finally diagnosed, so I never ever intentionally have anything that I know contains gluten. I know some celiacs can eat a small amount of gluten without incident, so I guess getting a strong reaction right away is both good and bad: it keeps me on the straight & narrow, but it is also a nuisance. For me, getting glutened is more an issue of considering whether I should order a smoothie even if there's a slight chance the fruit was cut on a contaminated board, if I should I have salad without dressing because there's a chance the waiter is faking his gluten-knowledge, or should I buy another brand of buckwheat when my regular is sold out, even when it doesn't specifically say gluten free on the package - which is what happened this time. I cannot eat anything derived from anything containing gluten - right down to maltodextrins and natural flavours and what have you; sometimes it's just hard to believe I really need to be that vigilant and that's when I slip. But you're right, it's never worth it.

    I've noticed that about word identification too! If one could get people to take screen shots there's material for a whole new blog there, I'm sure ;-)