Even the most diligent person can make mistakes and have accidental gluten ingestion. I believe this was the case for me this past weekend. I’m not sure if it was a wine that was aged in an oak barrel that was sealed with a wheat paste or from cross contamination from food supplied at a State Speech Tournament. Where ever it may have come from, I am experiencing the effects. I am writing this post to help those out there who may go through the same experience. This is what those who have Celiac Disease or other autoimmune diseases try to avoid; triggering a flare up.
Symptoms of gluten exposure can vary widely and may include:
- Muscle and Body Aches
- Joint Pain
- Bloating or Gas
- Nausea or Stomach Cramps
- Constipation or Diarrhea
- Rashes, Acne, or Other Skin Disturbances
- Headaches or Migraines
- Depression or Anxiety
- Brain fog
- Exacerbation of Existing Disease Processes
For me, this time the symptom was joint pain. I had arthritic type pain in my knees, ankles, and knuckles of fingers, and yes even my toes. Once accidental ingestion happens, there is no going backward. So, now what can I do?
Drink Plenty of Water:
Water is an essential nutrient and is necessary for the body to detox. When experiencing symptoms from gluten, flushing the gluten proteins out is going to help bring relief faster. Add a little lemon to your glass of water to add extra benefit. I am not a doctor so I am not going to try to say what is the “right” amount of water to drink. Listen to your body, if it is thirsty, drink, if not don’t drink.
Activated charcoal is an over-the-counter supplement that may be useful if taken immediately following gluten exposure. Activated charcoal may help by binding with the offending food and preventing it from being absorbed by the body. Note that this does not prevent internal damage by gluten. T his supplement can bind with medications, so consult with your licensed health care professional prior to taking if you are under treatment for any disease or condition. Make sure you hydrate well to prevent constipation after taking activated charcoal.
Extra Rest and Sleep:
Your body is going through an immune response and it is working harder than normal. Give your body the rest and sleep it needs to do the work of recovering. On top of all that work, gluten quite often will create fatigue and brain fog. Listen to your body and give it rest, your body will thank you and recover faster.
Bone Broth is typically made with bones and can contain a small amount of meat adhering to the bones. Bone broth is usually simmered for many hours (typically over 24 hours). These long simmering times allow as much of the minerals and nutrients to leach from the bones into the broth. This makes the broths extraordinarily rich in nutrients, particularly minerals and amino acids, particularly arginine, glycine and proline. Glycine supports the bodies detoxification process and also supports digestion and the secretion of gastric acids. Bone broths are also rich in gelatin which helps support digestive health and is soothing to inflammation that gluten may cause.
Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom salts contain magnesium, a mineral essential to all of the body functions including detoxification. Epsom salt bath can help you relax as well as stimulate the lymphatic system and support the immune system. If you don’t already take these baths regularly, start with taking an Epsom salt bath three times per week following a gluten exposure.
Take Digestive Enzymes:
The most important part of this step is to take quality digestive enzymes. I would recommend this digestive enzyme. Like the charcoal, the digestive enzymes are for alleviating symptoms, but will not prevent internal damage. If taken immediately following the consumption of gluten, some people believe that digestive enzymes can help to modulate their symptoms.
Drink one cup of hot water with two teaspoons honey and one small teaspoon cinnamon powder. You can drink this several times during the day. I find that whenever I have joint pain or stiffness, a cup of this brings great relief.
Eat Fermented Foods:
A major factor in gut health is the balance of our bacterial flora. One way to help keep this in balance is to eat fermented foods which contain enzymes that enhance digestion and probiotics that help to balance your gut flora. Fermented foods are also high in nutrients that nourish the entire body. Note: If you aren’t already eating fermented foods on a daily basis, start out with a small amount and slowly increase.
Acupuncture and massage can relieve inflammation and other symptoms associated with gluten ingestion. It will also help with relaxation and allowing your body to do the healing it needs.
A gluten free lifestyle is one of constant diligence, I hope I have given you the tools to help you through when even diligence isn’t enough.