Glutened!!! How can I lessen the reaction?

Is it true that gluten can stay in your body for up to six months? I've been for lunch with some friends and as the restaurant couldn't find their gluten free menu (??) I thought to be on the safe side I'd just have some chips. Had just eaten a couple when a friend whose sister is Coeliac remarked that chips can sometimes be coated with wheat. They were suspiciously crunchy so I'm convinced they were. I'm not coeliac but have an autoimmune condition so I'm horrified. Is there any way of lessening the effects?

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  • Infomaniac the first rule of going gluten free is know your facts. Never ever eat out and just 'opt' for what you think is safest on the menu as you are eating blind. Why play with your health? If you make the commitment to go gluten free you need to be even more rigourous when you eat out than you would be when you eat at home.

    1. always ask the mgr of the venue when you eat out what is safe for you to eat that is gluten free?

    2. check that the item hasn't been cooked in the same oil or pans as other gluten items ?

    3. ensure that they kitchen use separate water, oil and utensils to prepare gluten free food

    4. ensure that the mgr knows that gluten free is more than just avoiding bread and doesn't fixate on dairy free or potatoes (it has been known!)

    5. double check with the waiter that the food they've brought you is the gluten free version - be pushy (mistakes do happen)

    6. do not let them carry your food and your friends on the same arm i.e. that garlic bread can easily fall onto your plate

    In your specific case you're lucky that you're friend was clued up. Yes chips can be coated in wheat. What is normally more of a risk though is that they're using the same oil for your chips as for onion rings and battered fish which means your chips will be contaminated.

    Did you ask the restaurant for gluten free chips?

    If not you can still ring them and ask if they're coated in wheat or cooked in the same oil as gluten to allay your fears. Some good restaurants actually have separate friers and oil but they are few and far between.

    In terms of lessening the symptoms that is hard as everyone reacts differently to getting glutened.

    I find ginger tea helps with nausea, tonic water lessens any bloating and stomach cramps. Drinking lots of water will help you flush out gluten via your blood stream and kidneys.

    Generally the effects of gluten last for 6 weeks not 6 months i.e. if you were to have a ttg blood test it would only show anti-bodies to any gluten eaten within the last 6 weeks. However, some people may feel foggy headed, moody, tired and experience eczema flare ups for longer than 6 weeks. Try and eat well after a glutening - eat plain gluten free foods, avoid chilli or dairy which can be hard for the stomach to process. Instead have lots of vitamins and minerals from veg, nuts and fruit. Avoid alcohol. Try not to focus on it as that will just stress you more. Notch it up as a lesson and an area that won't trip you up again as you'll be prepared.

    And lastly - always make sure you pick where you eat so you know there is something safely glute n free!

  • No it can't stay in your system for that long. Although consuming gluten as a coeliac sufferer can cause damage to the gut which takes time to recover.

    Sometimes chips will be coated with semolina to make them more crunchy, which contains gluten - you can usually tell as it looks like it has been dusted/coated in something rather than looking like a normal chip!

    Also restaurants will sometimes cook chips in the same oil as other gluten-containing food (e.e. battered fish). So best advice is to check before you order.

    In terms of lessening the effects, no, once it is in your system you have to let your body get rid of it...in the usual ways :-)

  • Thanks to you both for the not so good news! As I'm not Coeliac I always feel a bit of a fraud asking loads of questions-I'm normally just ever so grateful to find something gluten-free. The person who took my order knew I was gluten free and still let me have those bloody chips-not good enough is it? I am just on the website now and am going to complain. My digestion has been so much better since going GF but now I'm bloated and have windy pains...a lesson learned I think :-(

  • I always carry glutenzyme pills with me as well as being scrupulous and not eating if not sure. I once started eating potatoes when the waiter rushed out and took them away as they had been cooked in the usual deep fryer rather than a seperate pan as promised. I took some of these pills then and didn't have a masive reaction as I would normally. I mainly use them so that I can visit people in their houses. I normally get ill even if I don't eat, but with these pills I can manage a few hours with others eating cake near me.

  • That's good to know Lois. Being gluten free really makes me so sympathetic to anyone who is Coeliac-your lives must be so hard. I feel sorry for myself at times but at least if I accidently ingest some gluten I won't be dreadfully sick, though it will still affect me. At the moment I feel like I've got poison running through me!

  • Lois where do you get these pills from and what do they contain? How do they help glutening symptoms?

  • It's always a bumpy journey Infomaniac. Do ring up the restaurant and complain. I was recently glutened at a local restaurant where I have eaten safely many times before at. They were upset and got an outside agency to investigate it to ensure it doesn't happen again. Some companies do care but with low wages for staff and high staff changes mistakes happen. I also always explain what gluten is (you can usually tell they don't understand you when they say a) what you want free food? or b) oh so you can't eat potato or ice or c) stare blankly at you. Often the mgrs are also clueless but at least they realise it's their responsibility to keep you safe.

    Ask away any time. What worries me is the number of people who are gluten free like yourself for valid reasons yet aren't Coeliacs. I'm sure you have less support & info than we do (and believe us we moan and groan all the time about how ill informed our Drs are).

    You do know about avoiding things:

    - made on a line with wheat?

    - with soy sauce?

    - Worcestershire sauce?

    - any processed foods (even frozen veg often have wheat added - who knows why) - reading every label is vital?

    - also checking all drinks - often barley can be added?

  • It's certainly been a learning curve Fiona! I examine most things I buy and was horrified to find chocolate could have gluten in it...luckily I have found some that's gluten free ;-)

    Eating out is the biggest problem because you put your faith in them but you don't know what's going on in the kitchen. I did know about contamination from other foods but as I say it's usually difficult to tell if you've been glutened when you're not Coeliac.

  • If yr not coeliac, but suffer gluten intolerance related to immune reaction, I find regular doses of Vitamin C and quercetin help calm my system. In some ways I feel its lucky I know when it happens, because I come out in a rash within an hour or so.

    I've been caught out by cross-contamination a few times now. Definitely a learning curve. :)

  • I buy these glutenzyme pills off the internet but I think you can get them from Boots and other chemists though they will order them for you rather than have them in stock. The ones I have at the moment are from BioCare and they have lots of good bacteria to help your gut as well as the main ingredient which is the enzyme which breaks gluten down into its smaller parts so that it doesn't cause the usual reaction- they describe it as 'cereal digesting compound'.

    If people are a bit gluten intolerant they can eat the pills with gluten foods they same way I eat Lactase pills with dairy if the only thing to eat that has no gluten in has some dairy (I get gut symptoms from dairy but am totally wiped out by gluten). I do not eat anything with gluten in, I don't even take drinks in people's houses and run a totally gf house, so was finding socialising very difficult and had to give up work - these pills help me to be in a normal environment without getting so ill. I may not have coeliac disease (thought there is lots of family history), I may just have a very severe gluten intolerance, I won't do the gluten challenge as I would be so ill. These pills help me and they are easy to carry around to help me feel safer.

  • I'll definitely be getting some of them then Lois-thanks for that. You must really have a hard time-I really feel for you x

  • Thanks Infomaniac - it's much bettter than being so ill!

  • I've just bought some on ebay! So glad I posted on here or I'd never have known about them. xx

  • I used to get terrible mouth ulcers very soon after eating gluten. Whilst on holiday in Thailand I took an anti-histamine pill as I had some very itchy mosquito bites and amazingly the mouth ulcers disappeared too! This has worked many times since...something else my GP wasn't aware of

  • That's very interesting-and handy to know too :-)

  • If anyone can help with this question I would be very grateful. I have not been confirmed as coeliac as I couldn't face the pain of eating gluten, but by not eating it I am now much better. I glutened myself last night, not sure which new product I tried caused it as I bought some cakes and biscuits from Asda's gf range. Stupid really as it is a long time since I have eaten bought cakes or biscuits. Within two hours I was in agony with gripping cramps in the bottom of my stomach/bowel which did not subside until I had completely emptied my bowel over a period of 1.5 hours. I kept drinking water through the night, but felt wasted today. So can you suggest what I can do to reduce this gripping pain when it happens. I am cold but sweating at the same time.

  • If it is from a gluten free range it will probably be gluten free. If it's a new product for you it might be all the stuff that's added to it to make it seem 'real'. Have a look at the ingredient list - some of them might be better suited to laxative products, hence your cramps.

  • I've looked at the glutenzyme tablets by Biocare and they contain something called Gluten Protease1!!! That sounds like gluten to me but I'm happy to be proved wrong.

  • I have had 2 blood tests as well as the biopsies...all neg for celiac...for the 5 months prior to having my biopsies and going GF, I had severe sores on my face...these started to heal when I had my biopsies and changed diet...however, I had added Progresso GF new england clam chowder, about a month before the biopsies and immediately started having muscle and bone pain, that got worse and worse, when I stopped eating this the pain started to subside but I still have it...back in Dec, I was driving out of town to a training for work, I drank an Ensure High Protein Targeted Nutrition drink and 30 mins later, Ilost conciousness from this product, and was in an accident.....as for gluten, when I eat something with gluten (usually by mistake) I get a severe headache with 10-15 mins, as well as get lightheaded and ataxia ...so the person that said that a non-celiac might not not get a reaction right away, I will challenge that...I have been sent to an allergist and am waiting for those results....but whatever, things I have been eating, are things I have eaten all my life...except for the GF items...my son fed me lunch today, and I got glutened...I took a GlutenEase capsule that I got from Amazon.com a few months ago...it did help the headache but not all the way...of course at the moment I have a virus, so part of my issues cn be related to that...anyway, I wanted to put in my 2 cents...

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