Coping with being glutened

Although we all endeavour to avoid gluten as best as we can, it’s inevitable (particularly if we risk eating out) that it will happen at some point.

Of course, everyone’s reaction varies. Some mightn’t react after unknowingly eating a bite of gluten-filled cake while others are ill for days after the same knife is used to cut their sandwich that was used for a normal one.

But no matter your external reaction you are still causing equal damage on the inside.

For those who do suffer serious symptoms though various remedies may help to alleviate or reduce symptoms.

Personally, I get the kettle boiling and pour myself a cup of peppermint tea as soon as I feel any sort of stomach discomfort. I find the peppermint really helps to settle my tummy.

Next, I load up on soda water. The bubbles soothe the stomach and also trigger burping which helps to release any nasty gas that causes that painful bloat.

Another way to trigger this gas release is lying flat on your tummy. Initially, it’s painful and may seem counter-intuitive but trust me, if you can bear it, it’s the quickest way to force the gas out. Although it can come from both ends so best to do this in private or with very understanding people around!

Finally, I lay down with a hot water bottle on my belly for half an hour.

For me, this process will nullify most of the pain from a reaction.

However, if the reaction involves diarrhoea or vomiting, it’s extremely important we rehydrate – using oral rehydration solutions or other fluids.

Of course, other remedies exist. Consider some of the following tips for coping with a glutening and choose one or a selection that best suits your needs:

  • drink lots – flush that nasty gluten out of your system. As well as water, try ginger or chamomile tea. These soothe the stomach, plus ginger has anti-inflammatory properties.

  • get your comfy clothes on. There’s nothing more painful that a tight waistband cutting into your ever-expanding belly

  • set up camp in the bathroom. keep water nearby and watch your favourite movie or TV show on your phone or laptop. There's comfort in safety.

  • activated charcoal. Yep, like the stuff in your fireplace. While this seems a little odd (and admittedly I’m yet to try it) it’s the most popular healing trick by far in my Coeliac FB group

  • try slippery elm and marshmallow root, components which supports gut lining health. These can come in the form of supplements or tea (just always check the tea is gluten free too!)

  • probiotics – think yoghurt, kefir, kombucha – these will help restore our gut flora

  • take L-Glutamine, an amino acid thought to help repair the intestines

  • fennel and licorice also join the herbal teas as tummy-friendly foods

  • recruit a friend, partner or family member as a carer. They can rub your back, make you tea and be an ear for your anti-gluten tirades. Putting your feet up will get you the rest you need to heal plus support and the ability to vent is important for positive mental health.

  • choose light foods for a few days after a reaction to avoid overloading the digestive system.

What are your go-to treatments for a glutening? Let us know!