This morning I have a gluten-over… a little like a hangover in that my head feels heavy and my body aches, only no drinking involved, just one almighty crash head-first into a load of wheat and gluten! Welcome to my Gluten-Over!
I’ll say right now, I’m no health expert and this advice is totally from my own experience and is what I do, if you are having a severe reaction, then of course feel free to ignorez-vous my advice and do the best thing for you in your situation (doctors, medicine, general medical advice etc.)
‘How?’ I hear you ask… ‘Do you not know how to look after yourself?’ Well yes I do, but when you go out for your work’s Christmas Party and the place your going to is a massive Christmassy event with Markets that are selling food that isn’t clearly labelled and the food you’re being served is being served to about 50 other people, the risk of cross-contamination and accidental glutening is going to happen… I knew it could have happened, and, even after being extra cautious, it still happened. Sometimes you can’t escape the dreaded gluten, and there was no way I was going to go overboard and leave before dinner or take in my own food (who do I think I am?!) So I tried what I thought would be okay (since we pre-booked my meal), however understandably there were a few mix-ups and a bit of miscommuncation along the way, and in amongst all of this, I got glutened.
The main culprits were:
1. Curious little crunchy bits on the sugar coated cashew nuts… were they biscuit? Tasted like popcorn but I couldn’t be sure! They looked so yummy as well and the nuts weren’t sat next to anything looking like it was gluten-filled… so I guess it was the coating and wherever they were made… language barriers made it pretty difficult to determine what was in the nuts, but I tried, and the nuts failed… Ah well, it couldn’t be helped, the stall looked beautiful and inviting and they weren’t to know, so now I know to stick to roasted chestnuts… at least they’re in the shell (and I love them!)
2. Vinegar on the prawn cocktail (yepp… please don’t look at me like that, and yes it was as vile as you are now imagining) … so they took the marie rose sauce off, but neglected to check what the prawns were marinated in, and I ended up with a mouthful of what I thought was the lemon juice, but then after a second taste-test, it was distinctly vinegary… so this leads me to believe not fresh and most definitley soaked in vinegar (I know this happens as I accidentally bought mussels in vinegar rather than fresh so its a common thing)
3. Bread served with the prawn cocktail… do not even try and tell me that was gluten free, I know a lot of gluten free bread is awesome, but this was simply ordinary bread… it didn’t have the springy nature of gluten free bread and the taste was way too similar to regular… I was shocked when I bit into it as the taste was like a memory if you get my taste-to-brain-sense drift and I instantly knew not to continue this little taste test! So with that, I waved goodbye to the whole starter!
4. Red cabbage – why oh why must people marinate the poor thing in malt vinegar? I love it raw, but it’s also nice just cooked, please don’t mess with it and make it all unavailable to me!! But this of course happened… it’s no-ones fault, it’s just that I definitley cannot tolerate Malt Vinegar because of the Barley Malt in it… I just go all bloaty and grumpy and tired… so unless you love and desire those qualities in a person, please do not feed me malt vinegar (I wouldn’t let you anyway, but just in case we’re in some strange situation where you have to choose my meals and one of the options is malt-vinegar based?!)
Overall a pretty unsuccessful gluten-ised Ruby occured! So after thinking I could sit and stick out the rest of the night, I realised that at 9.30 with an hours train journey ahead of me, I would call it a night. All in all I had a great night last night, and, because I know what to do in case of such a gluten incident occuring, I was okay by this morning, and thanks to all my lovely followers on Twitter I was able to talk to people who totally get where I was coming from! I really do appreciate the community of people on there as there’s always someone to talk to and we all offer lots of advice and general banter to each other, so it’s amazing to feel like you aren’t the only one!
‘But what do I do if I get glutened too?’
I can tell you’re wondering what I did and what you should do if a similar thing happens! I always make sure I’m prepared when I go away for a few days/am out for the day, but I now know to be prepared for mass-meals out with work. So here is my survival guide.
To take with you:
I always take these things on holiday, but i’m now going to make sure I have them on me for dinner parties etc.
Charcoal Tablets (ohmylife these are amazing – like natural anti-acids!)
A couple of peppermint tea bags (just in case, and also, if you’re am IBS sufferer like me, it will help soothe once you’ve eaten and means you can avoid the dreaded filter coffee that always sends my tummy into spasms after a heavy meal… just ask the waiter/waitress to bring you a pot/cup of boiling water) Do not feel you have to string them from the light fitting as in the picture – I just found this picture and thought it was sweet!
Zirtek (or whatever allergy medicine you use) – I always take one of these if I have a gluten incident as sometimes I can get an asthma/ecezema flare up as a direct result… always joyous when I’m sat there totally hit by everything! So, I take this just to be on the safe side!
Any other of your vital medications that you will need!
If you’re drinking alcohol, stop, this will make your tummy all acidic which will not help. (Also… you know what drinking too much will do to you, if you don’t, feel free to view the picture on the left, and if you haven’t seen the film it’s from… make your own story up with the information you have in the picture… have fun!)
Try and get some water inside you as I find this instantly cools my tummy down.
Don’t panic – I find panicking and stressing cause the flare-up to be worse, so just keep calm.
I tend to get the lethargic feeling within around 10-20 minutes of the gluten incident so if anyone asks what’s wrong, just be polite to them – I’ve learned that people don’t take kindly to you snapping at them, no matter how crappy you feel, being angry won’t solve it, so just explain as briefly as you can, and if they’re the Florence Nightingale type (ie. they want to help as much as they can and love nothing more than looking after people, then maybe ask them for the water I mentioned.)
Get some fresh air – mega help as it distracts you from the cramping and sometimes a simple walk around outside can be enough to walk off the pain a little.
What to do when you get home:
Rest! I have to get all relaxed with a peppermint tea, maybe a bath if I have time/am not overly tired and try and chill out as stressing and running around the place is never a good plan.
Don’t act like a royal princess and get all demanding and moody- you’ve been glutened, you know what to do, just remember that you don’t need to bark at everyone around you as, chances are they haven’t a clue what’s going on in your body and they are only trying to help out and do what they can (god I should listen to my own advice sometimes!!) If you can’t not be moody, then grab a book or a magazine and wait it out – I tend to become a bit of a grouch when I get hit, so either sit on Twitter and speak to people who have had similar experiences or, I grab my book and chill out for a while… or sleep, sleep is gooood!!
Sometimes I find a hot water bottle is brilliant to not only help any pains, but to also soothe and relax you (the same way a hot bath does!). Sometimes I’ll put a few drops of lavendar oil on the cover of the hot water bottle for a super-relaxing effect!
If you haven’t sought medical advice yet and you need to, do that, don’t worry about what i’ve said, you do what you need to do, this is just purely on advice terms from my own personal experiences!
Great information from websites:
What Alcohol Can I Drink? Can I use Malt Vinegar? Can I Drink Beer? And all manner of other questions you might find yourself asking on a night out can be found right here on the Gluten Free Diet FAQs page of Coeliac UK.
And, after my incident with malt vinegar here is a really useful guide from Gluten Free Kids Travel. I am really sensitive to Barley Malt, so I tend to steer clear, however I think it’s really great that a lot of products are saying what they contain AND if they are safe as this shows they have used only a small amount of Barley Malt.
I also have my own guide to eating out Gluten Free here where I am beginning to add in my favourite places that cater and are accomodating of allergies and intollerances. I will list places that I have had no problem with, and if you have any suggestions for other places, please let me know and i’ll add them in so that we have a really big selection of places up and down the country. Just click the link and then go to the drop down menu ‘Eating Out’ in the black bar at the top. Add a comment if you have suggestions.
Heres a link to some Gluten Free Travel Cards which you can print out and take away with you if you need some help while you’re out.
And, here’s a link to eating gluten free on the go – http://www.gluten-free-onthego.com/ This is the blog for that site http://www.gluten-free-onthego.blogspot.com/ I hope this helps you out if you’re heading out and about this holiday season!
I hope this helps you!
Let me know if you have any other tips, hints or routines…