What A Swell Party This Is!
- By Carol Frilegh
- Published 01/6/2008
I am 79 an undiagnosed Celiac, since March 2000. I had chronic sinus infections and fluctuating weight, lost 86 pounds, got pneumonia, and needed antibiotic and Prednisone. I also got MCS and Latex Allergy. Unable to eat without pain, I started The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). Things began to improve at once. I am not cured but SCD has been effective in managing the Celiac and helped improve my damaged immune system. It is a bit stricter than the gluten-free casein-free diet, but
The diet I follow does not mandate avoiding substances that are not ingested. So while toothpaste would qualify for restriction, glue and play-dough would not.
Which is why historically, I paid little attention to the typical environmental gluten restrictions. I have been very preoccupied with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity triggers, plastics, inks, pesticides, perfume and cleaning agents. Throw latex allergy into the mix and life is an on-going game of dodge ball :-(
No doctor or allergist ever advised me about the danger of non-food gluten exposures. Today, following an envelope episode, I got the wake up call and began to research this. I learned what most of you probably know already--that Gluten exposures may be generated by the smell or touch of gluten.
My waistline will expand up to two inches from an exposure. I notice the smell of freshly baked bread and touching certain pills mean I am going to need to yell, "Lace me tighter, Mammy," like Scarlett O'Hara did sixty-nine years ago in the film "Gone With the Wind."
As I read more about non-food items containing gluten what I experienced was confirmed. Glue on "lick-able" envelopes and stamps can be culprits. Self-stick labels and stickers may contain gluten. Latex or rubber gloves are often dusted with wheat or oat flour. Since I am allergic to the gloves themselves, its not a problem I've encountered. My, dentist uses non powdered vinyl gloves when he treats me.
Gluten hides in art supplies, and materials like the aforementioned play dough. It lurks in many personal items such as lipstick, lip balm, sunscreen, shampoos, soaps, cosmetics, skin lotions, toothpaste, and mouthwash. Fortunately, over time I have isolated friendly cosmetic products and soap but by trial and error.
Since household products such as cleaning solutions, detergents, even bar soap may contain gluten, I'm beginning to think what I believed was provoking Multiple Chemical Sensitivity reactions is primarily due to being Celiac. I might never known had I not subscribed to this list.
Medications frequently contain gluten. Pills get dusted with flour during manufacturing so they won't "clump" and capsules may have gluten hiding in the oil inside. I am one lucky lady as our city's most skillful compounding pharmacist is located less than a mile away, and even provides free delivery service.
Meanwhile there is quite an obstacle course spiked with gluten land mines for me and other Celiac to navigate if we don't want to be guests of honor at that "swell party"
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