Recovering from an Accidental Glutening

Preserved Lemons

99.999% of the times when I get glutened, it’s because of my own stupidity. I jump to conclusions. I make assumptions. I don’t ask questions. And I pay the price.

Today, as I write this, I am waiting for the full impact of yesterday’s accidental glutening to hit me. As my waistline expanded about four sizes — my first big symptom is bloating — I knew I had a fun couple of days ahead of me. Usually, my body takes three to five days to recover from ingesting a small amount of gluten.

It is times like this that I’m tempted to cheat on my gluten-free diet. I mean, damage already done and all that, right? But I don’t. I won’t. The thought may cross my mind, but I don’t follow through.

To do so is the definition of making a bad idea even worse.

I just have to let this pass through my system. Like I said, that means three to five days of misery. I drink a lot of water, try to avoid high-fiber foods, and up my walking routine (while not letting myself get too far from home, if you know what I mean!). Time is my friend, and I know I will recover.

(I also retreat to my comfort foods; see the menu below.)

That being said, if you do some basic online research, you’ll discover people have a multitude of “cures” when they accidentally ingest gluten. These cures range from inducing vomiting to eating apples. Many swear by detoxing juices, foods that help digestion, and rest.

Then there those who advocate taking digestive enzymes, such as Glutenease, to help break down the gluten protein faster. For some people, digestive enzymes may help alleviate symptoms, but I’ve found no scientific evidence that they stop intestinal damage, nor, heck, stop the course of events that come from getting glutened.

Whether you choose to follow this route or not — knowing these pills will not cure your celiac or gluten intolerance — is up to you. You might get some general relief, but, for me, they seem like a waste of money. Some people may benefit from digestive enzymes; this is something to discuss with your doctor, not a bunch of amateur medical professionals on the internet!

Today, I am wrapped up in a warm blanket, with a good book and big glass of water. I’ll take a couple of short walks and eat a favorite rice dish, like risotto. And I’ll remind myself while accidental glutenings happen, they happen most often because I’m not being careful.

How do you deal with getting glutened?

Tip of the Week

Keep your digestive tract healthy, especially after an accidental glutening, by increasing your intake of foods with probiotics. Kefir or yogurt are two easily obtainable sources of probiotics. If you’re feeling a bit more exotic, fermented foods like kimchi and miso also contain probiotics. Even preserved lemons have probiotics!

Menu of the Week

For me, risotto is a meal all by itself. And it’s surprisingly easy to make on weeknights — just pour yourself a glass of wine to sip while stirring the rice! Risotto is also one of those great dishes that can celebrate the best of all seasons. Make this a vegetarian meal by omitting the bacon.

To use preserved lemons in this recipe, mix 1/2 preserved lemon, finely chopped, into the risotto before serving. Don’t worry about the preserved lemon competing with the other lemon flavors in the dish — they are entirely different things.

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