Life as a Celiac: Bringing your own lunch to work/school, bringing your own snacks if you go out to the bars with some friends (or even just to the movies), and on occasion bringing your own gluten free side to your family dinner because they’re not quite sure what this so called “gluten”thing is. When you go to a restaurant you’re sure to tell them you have an “allergy” just so they take you serious (since people seem to not understand Celiac Disease is indeed a real life thing some people have to live with and not just a trendy diet to lose weight). You do all of these things so naturally after awhile, you’re a so called “Celiac Expert”. And then BOOOM, you eat a bite of gluten on accident either due to cross-contamination, people not taking you seriously, or hey, maybe we’re not perfect and we were 100% positive that sushi roll was gluten free when in reality it wasn’t. So, what do you do now?
∴Just a little disclaimer that I am not an expert or a healthcare professional. This is all based off of my experiences and what happens and works for me. ∴
The tips that I mention here help make my recovery better, with that being said it doesn’t magically fix anything but it does help me a bit & also makes me more comfortable while my body is going through a rough time. I want to talk a bit about my symptoms and what I personally experience after eating gluten, that way it will be easier for you to understand which tips may be helpful or not so helpful depending on what you experience!
Symptom of being ‘glutened’: Everyone experiences different symptoms, which makes sense considering everyone’s bodies are different. For me, I usually experience severe stomach bloating and cramping about 2 hours after eating gluten (give or take). The next day(s) I feel extremely drowsy, (tmi but…) diarrhea, stomach cramping, occasional headaches, along with anxiety/depression. My symptoms also relate to how much gluten I have just consumed. Once I ate a whole bowl of cocktail sauce (not realizing it contained wheat) and puked later that night. Now, in normal cases, I usually eat about 2-3 bites and then realize what I have done. Even with 2-3 bites, my symptoms usually drag out to be about a week long before my stomach starts to go back to normal and I begin to regain energy. With that being said, lets move onto the juice tips.
Tips: I realize some of these tips won’t apply to everyone, so I am going to highlight the symptom corresponding with the tip so you can navigate through all this info a bit better.
- Rest, Rest, Rest: (Everyone).
〉 Rest is crucial to anyone who is Celiac and just ate Gluten. Your body is going through a major ‘crisis’ I guess we can call it. You need to chill out and give your body the rest it needs right now. Don’t try to brush it off and “push through” it right now because your body NEEDS the rest – you’ll thank yourself later.
- Hydrate: (Everyone, especially my vomiting and diarrhea peeps).
〉I know these first two tips seem pretty simple and almost common sense, but I needed to mention them because they’re both very important. Water will help flush your system out and move the evil along and out of your body. Not to mention, if you suffer from vomiting or diarrhea your body will definitely need the extra fluids going through you. Coconut water is also really good since it contains electrolytes that your body might be depleted of after (well, after you know what).
- Digestive Enzymes: (Everyone)
〉Digestive enzymes help break down the actual gluten that you just ate, helping it get out of your system even faster. I personally use papaya enzymes. I keep them in my purse and will have a few after eating a meal – even if I didn’t just eat gluten. They help your body break down everything thats going on inside, not to mention the ones I take have a mint flavor so it gives you fresh breath after eating!
- Stop Inflammation(!): (Everyone)
〉We, as Celiacs, are blessed (sarcasm) with naturally more inflammation in our bodies than the average human being. However, after eating gluten, this inflammation can spike causing pain (& damage). Some easy things you can do are add some of these foods into your diet. Omega-3’s (chia seeds, fish oil, flax seeds), however you want to add them! Ginger is also really good for anti-inflammatory and can also help with nausea and stomach cramping. Lastly, the lovely turmeric is also important. You can add turmeric into capsules if you don’t want to incorporate it into your food. I do recommend trying to slowly add some of these things to your diet before you get ‘glutened’ since incorporating new foods to your body after eating gluten can make the problem worse.
- Bone Broth: (Recovery, Cramping, Gut health)
〉Bone broth is super good for gut health and overall just nourishing our body. I understand not many people like the taste of bone broth. I personally buy powdered bone broth so I can easily add it to my smoothies everyday to support gut recovery. If I eat gluten, I can mix it with hot water and chug it down to help my insides. The brand I have also has many different flavors so there should be a type everyone will like. I can link the brand I use below incase you’re on the market for a powdered bone broth that is gluten free. If bone broth just seems too unappealing for you, try a ginger tea to help soothe your gut.
- Food: (Upset Stomach, Diarrhea, Nausea)
〉 When I’ve been glutened, food is the last thing I want & probably the last thing my body wants. Food is crucial to keep our energy levels up and to nourishing our body. So, in order for me to be able to eat my normal healthy foods again, I’ll usually start off by just drinking some plain liquids like water, ginger ale, or some tea. Once my stomach seems like it can tolerate these things I move onto something very plain like my almond crackers or a piece of toast. Make sure to avoid dairy at this time since your stomach will be in no shape to digest that right now.
- Prebiotic and Probiotics: (Recovery)
〉Prebiotics are essentially food for probiotics so it’s important to always eat or take some sort of prebiotic when wanting to use probiotics effectively. I almost didn’t want to include this tip because when starting a high strain (good & effective) probiotic you can naturally become more bloated until your body gets used to them. So, with that being said, pre and probiotics are very important to celiacs and can be really useful after eating gluten. However, I would definitely start taking these normally before just adding them into your system for the first time after being glutened. Maybe opt for some kombucha that will be a little more gentle on your gut (plus you can get a ginger kombucha and double up on the healing effects).
- Epsom Salt Bath/Heating Pad/Pain Medication: (Discomfort, Headaches, Stomach Cramps)
〉If your symptoms are anything like mine, it can feel like you’re being stabbed in the stomach after eating gluten. Baths are a great way to help with cramps and really soothe + relax your body! Unfortunately, I am extremely prone to UTI’s and kidney infections, so baths usually aren’t my go to. If you’re also like me in that sense, try a heading pad on your stomach to help the cramps. Advil or Tylenol are usually a must for me also when my headaches are bad.
- Communicate/Exercise/Journaling: (Anxiety+Depression)
〉I often forget that being glutened will come with waves of anxiety and depression. It isn’t until I start an argument over nothing or randomly start crying that I remember this. It is important to communicate with loved ones in your life and let them know what is going on. They can help you insanely and it will prevent from unwanted conflict that you never wanted to start in the first place. After a few days of rest, light exercise is also a good option to help rid some of that unwanted anxiety. If you still feel too sick to exercise but are suffering from anxiety & depression, try journaling how you feel – this always helps me when I’m feeling a bit down.
This last little bit isn’t really a tip but I never addressed what I do for feeling fatigued so I’m going to say what helps me right here. I know this is bad and you should avoid caffeine since it is an irritant and will only make the problem worse. However, I haven’t mastered what to do for my energy levels when I feel extremely fatigued even after resting. So, I do drink about 1/4 of a cup of coffee, just enough to give me a little jump start but not entirely ruin my stomach. I am someone who is extremely sensitive to caffeine as it is. Again, I DON’T RECOMMEND CAFFEINE, however, I am being honest and thats just what I do.
I hope some of these little things i’ve learned help you! I’m going to put some links to some of the things I use and help me below.
xoxo ♥ Jess