My plan to catch up on some past reviews this week was derailed by glutening myself for the first time since March. As I always do after a long spell of not glutening myself, I was starting to wonder if time had reduced the severity of gluten on me. Apparently not!
I was eating lunch in the work cafeteria on Wednesday with some friends. I always just eat a giant salad from the salad bar, since it’s a good chance to get some veggies and seems like my most gluten friendly option (although I noticed that they have started specifically listing which items contain gluten, so I may branch out). Of course, that is a little risky because there are several gluten containing items on the salad bar. My plan has been to get there early while it’s relatively undisturbed and try to avoid anything right near things with gluten or that look like they may have been cross contaminated. I’ve had pretty good luck with that. As my confidence has grown, I’ve gotten more aggressive and stopped avoiding riskily placed items quite so much.
Halfway through lunch, I was taking a bite of my salad and felt an unfamiliar crunch. It was light and airy, unlike anything I have eaten recently. It was also totally out of place in my salad, since I hadn’t put anything at all like that in it. Before I could react, I had swallowed it. From the texture, I realized it was most likely a bit of crouton or possibly a piece of the little crunchy noodle like things they have on the salad bar. There wasn’t anything that I could do at that point, so I said a little prayer that it was a piece of dried vegetable with a funny texture and theorized that it was such a small amount that I probably would be okay anyway.
I felt fine all afternoon. I even ran 10 miles (This probably isn’t a wonderful idea if you have glutened yourself since it seems likely to increase the inflammation). I totally forgot about the lunch incident actually. It’s not uncommon that there is some concern over cross contamination eating out and I’ve gotten a lot better about not worrying about it.
I was going to go out that night, but I felt pretty exhausted so I decided to just stay in and watch TV. My throat started to hurt, but I thought maybe it was just dry from dehydration due to my run, so I had some water. As the night went on, more fatigue and body aches set in. I took a massive dose of l-glutamine and some other supplements in case I was coming down with a cold and went to bed early. Trying to fall asleep, listening to my stomach gurgling, I realized my tiny crouton was probably the culprit. Thrashing around all night, having issues with hand numbness and temperature regulation pretty much confirmed things.
Thursday was pretty difficult. I went to work, but just got worse all day. My throat was much worse and my body was killing me. My insides ached. The night really sucked. I alternated between blazing hot and freezing cold. Sometimes I was both, even though that makes no sense. Late in the morning, I finally got a little sleep, but given how bad I was, I called out sick when I got up.
Luckily, I’ve improved a tremendous amount today. That’s pretty encouraging. I can handled two or three days of feeling bad. I just hate the impact that it has on my life when it lasts longer, particularly the brain fog and effect on mood. Hopefully, that shorter duration is due to some of the measures I’ve taken and will be the norm in the future.
On the bright side, I feel pretty terrible when I get glutened, but I don’t have the severe stomach problems some people have. It’s more like something worse then a cold but probably not quite as severe as the flu for me with a few other symptoms throw in. Knowing that, and having some idea how long it will take to pass, has made it somewhat easier for me to deal with as time has gone on. The really tough part is that in addition to the physical problems, it messes up your head and causes a lot of anxiety which makes the experience much worse. That seems better this time too, possible due to taking more l-glutamine.
When I couldn’t sleep last night, I read this thread on how to recover after being glutened. In addition to having many suggestions that I have never heard of (ginger, Epson salts, anti-inflammatory foods), it was somehow reassuring to read how similar many people’s experience is to mine. It also makes me realize that I’m really lucky to not have reactions as severe as some of them along with other food intolerances. The next time you gluten yourself, check it out! It might make you feel better too!
My personal approach after getting glutened is GlutenEase as soon as possible, a probiotic for a day or two, and frequent, some fish oil, large doses of l-glutamine, and a lot of water. I’m not sure how much the GlutenEase or probiotic help, but I feel certain the l-glutamine makes a big difference. I also take some vitamins like C, D, and zinc just because it’s never entirely clear to me at that point if I’m glutened or just getting sick. I’m going to add Advil in the future since many people mentioned it in that thread and I think their reasoning of it controlling inflammation makes sense.
All that from one tiny crouton!