I accidentally consumed gluten almost three weeks ago and I'm still suffering with the serious consequences. It usually takes me a solid month, depending upon the amount consumed, to fully recover from being "gluten-poisoned"...so it's been a long and challenging few weeks, to say the least.

I am a super-diligent gluten-free eater and am constantly researching new products, stores, and restaurants that are safe, etc. - so to have been caught so off guard this time around, is really disappointing. Here's what happened and I hope my warning can help some of you avoid repeating my harmful mistake.

I was at the opening of the new Whole Foods in Reno, NV and was so caught up in the excitement of the Gluten-Free frozen baked goods department and all the rows of new gluten-free products, that I believe I let my guard down a bit. In my excitement, I headed to the "prepared foods" section instead of my usual salad bar trip, hoping to find something warm and tasty at the Taco Bar. I managed to order some plain, cubed chicken, sautéed veggies and a small scoop of their delicious mashed potatoes. I was just about to be in the clear when I went back and asked for a scoop of the guacamole. Though I first asked if their was gluten (and the answer was no), I just had this sneaking suspicion that something wasn't right...or should I say, was so wrong. That snippet of doubt should have been all I needed to convince me to "just say no" but I dismissed my intuition and ate it anyway.

Within two hours, the usual time it takes my body to recognize gluten, I knew that I was in trouble and at that moment, was pretty darn sure that the guacamole was to blame.

I was right.

So, needless to say I've been reeling since July 3rd...suffering from serious brain fog that lingers, exhaustion, being unable to consume much food at all, and one really messed up stomach...not to mention the depression that starts to creep in when I've been feeling this way for so many days. I'm sure that this is not news to any of you out there...I'm just commiserating with "my people!"

Seriously though, what I've learned after several conversations with the Whole Foods store manager and marketing people is that all of their designated "prepared foods" sections are now strictly off limits to Celiacs - which can also include the salad bar...so I was told to eat there at my own risk.  As cautious as I am, and normally so aware, this was a mistake that I've definitely learned from and will hopefully prevent others from repeating, but mostly has served as a wake up call to myself and a strong reminder that trusting your "gut"...ha ha...or intuition, when it comes to knowing what is safe or not, is so important and usually our best ally.

So, as much as I love Whole Foods and realize that many of you out there most-likely shop there for your gluten-free products, as well, just be doubly safe the next time you approach the salad bar or any other prepared foods area.

Be safe.

Be well.

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