My wife was recently diagnosed with Celaic and we are a newly gluten free household. We've done well so far, but there's a learning curve about what to do when out and about, and all the crooks and crannies that gluten can be hiding.
I'm wondering what to do when she starts to have a reaction from something or other.
Her primary symptoms are:
Migraines & headaches
Weariness / exhaustion
Bloating & gas
General digestive distress
Neck / back pain
I want to have a roadmap of things to do when this happens to reduce the duration of her reaction and feel less helpless.
Are there things that make you feel better when you (or someone you love) has been glutened? If you suspect or find out after the fact that there was gluten in something you ate, do you have tricks or tips to dealing with it?
The brain fog hits me first so I walk around dazed and confused for a while before realizing what happened.
I stick with soft foods like steamed fish and if I eat veggies, I over cook them.
Salt baths relax me if I'm up for it
Drink lots of water
Most of all, rest and patience (that last one has been a doozy for me to learn - that IS a trick!)
Another member here was told not eat in restaurants the first year & after I stopped trying to eat out, I was saved a lot of frustration.
It helps me to come here.
Good on you for being supportive!
Last glutening: 12/28/13 (long time FOR ME!)
April 2014: no more reintroducing foods, not rocking the boat, no studying (except during insomnia)
March 2014: Reintroducing intolerant foods. Yolks & banana are a "no". Dairy NO
Year 2: Mental clarity improving. Hello to normalcy.
October 2013: Functional Medicine doc ref to cardiologist for possible sick sinus syndrome (deadline May)
September 2013: 55+ food intolerances, mercury poisoning, sIgA 50, leaky gut, adrenal fatigue, hormone disruption, ferritin 7, low Vit D, low Vit B6
January2013: Dairy-Free, Soy-free
November 2012: Gluten-Free
Year 1: Migraines resolved, OCD diminished, Change in skin texture, EyeBrows lifting & eyes bigger, Better memory, Better cognitive function, Better problem-solving capabilities, Lower anxiety level, Better outlook, Arrhythmia reduced, hope
Read the newbie section as it contains valuable tips. I agree -- no eating out until she feels better and you get this all down.
Non-functioning Gall bladder Removal Surgery 2005
Diagnosed via Blood Test and Endoscopy: March 2013
Hashimoto's Thyroiditis -- Stable 2014
Anemia -- Resolved
Fractures (vertebrae): June 2013
Osteopenia/osteoporosis -- June 2013
Allergies and Food Intolerances
Diabetes -- January 2014
I go to a very strict and limited diet with things I know don't bother me.
Those things, for me, include rice crackers, cottage cheese, some jello, salmon salad made with olive oil mayonnaise.
I do this for 2-3 days.
I sleep as much as I can.
I try and figure out what caused it, and work on not repeating the exposure.
I usually take Alka-seltzer for the gut problems, which lessens the brain fog. If I'm also experiencing aches or pains I'll use Alka-seltzer with Aspirin, but generally I use pain med free versions so it's really just aiming to settle my stomach. I'll eat Rice Porridge which is just broth and rice that cooks until it's almost soggy, usually plain the first day and slowly adding things like veggies, meat, and cheese as I get hungrier/ regain my appetite.
My dad uses Tums and is usually right as rain within 24 hours. We both agree on the restorative powers of ginger ale.
Second Generation Celiac, inconclusive diagnosis. Gluten Free for 2 years, lived with a celiac for 10 years.
I'm a newbie here, just reading through threads. I have to commend you for posting and supporting your spouse! You rock! Not everyone is understanding and a lot of people like to poke fun at celiacs/gluten sensitives. It's very nice that you are trying to learn what to do to help her.
First, my best friend becomes a 2 liter of ginger ale. I specifically must have a 2 liter because during the time I am glutened, I cannot be counted upon to pour anything properly or see straight - but I can find that giant green bottle! I also drink ginger tea on day 2+ after being glutened, but day 1 it's only ginger ale. I am usually dying of thirst from the V&D. I think it's important to find the drink that works best for her to prevent dehydration (water and tea won't stay down for me - but certainly "better" options).
Being glutened IS and truly feels like being poisoned, so don't be surprised if she is really upset, distraught, or withdraws. I don't have true emotional reactions to the gluten but I feel moderately confused for the first 12-18h (brain fog REALLY setting in) and during/after this I gradually withdraw/doze and eventually sleep.
My worst symptom is the fever/chills that follow the V&D. I mention this because at this point I desperately need HELP. I cannot function on my own - one time I "got stuck" in the bathtub and had to call my husband home to help me out. I know it is not a "remedy", but having a supportive spouse is very, very important...not just emotionally but sometimes the effects of gluten are so bad I really need assistance from another person in doing basic things. For the record I am 33y female, with one child 9y, physically fit - the "me" when I am glutened is so not me!!! You sound like a loving, supportive spouse, and this is the BEST thing you have to offer when the G-monster hits.
Like others have mentioned, I also return to "safe" foods first after being glutened. I think these foods are different for everyone, but the most basic foods she eats regularly without any kind of seasoning. For me it is bananas, melons, yogurt, brown rice...I have trouble with soups and hot foods at this stage. Toward the end of day 2 is the first time I can keep food down and I stick with these foods until I get REALLY hungry, which I usually do around 80-96h (3.5-4d) after being glutened...this is the sign I have turned the corner. At this point I usually want and am willing to cook a decent meal. After this meal I tend to feel like I am on Cloud 9 - an odd sense of euphoria that I can only attribute to my body thanking me for good food. The meal is still usually mild - typically chicken or baked potatoes, a roasted veggie. So get her basic foods to help her bridge back into eating again.
I also take the supplement Spirulina - it is an algae that contains all the essential amino acids. It also helps clear the digestive system of nasty stuff! I take it every day, not just when I am glutened. But I DO take it when glutened, if I forget my other supplements - OK - but I keep with the Spirulina for the nutrients and cleansing help. Anecdotally, I think it helps with bloating. It's available pretty much anywhere supplements are sold, but with any supplement, research before buying - tons have gluten in the capsule
Ok sorry for the book report! I tend to ramble! Just take away to "treat her like a pregnant woman, anything she wants or will take, make it so."
A few random tips I can't omit..
- When I have a headache coming on (anytime), I eat yogurt. It seems to work.
- I have taken Benadryl shortly after being glutened...it helped me sleep and avoid the some of the headache/fever/chills phase.
- Supplements can be your friend. I don't advocate taking tons of supplements, but I take some basics to support the healing process.
- Heat for the neck/back pain...hot baths, epsom salts...hot as she can tolerate and stay in for at least 45 mins...old tradition for detoxing and very relaxing. You can offer heating pads, or a heated neck wrap, even a hot towel (soaked in super hot water, this also works for leg cramps).
- Avoid grains (all grains) if bloating is bothersome.
As some have said before, getting plenty of fluids is your wife's best bet. I try drinking at least 2 liters of water every day, but when I'm feeling particularly ill from gluten, I try to set a goal of 8 oz per waking hour (I don't vomit from getting glutened, so I don't have to worry about it coming back up) to try to keep hydrated from my incessant runs (TMI ). When I get sick of water, I'll switch to peppermint herbal tea. Herbal teas are caffeine free, so I will count a couple of those as water intake. I would also assume that it helps flush out your system, therefore getting the gluten out faster.
Also, I'm not sure if it's the detoxing that helps, or if it just helps me relax, but I run a very warm bath with epsom salts and baking soda (I don't measure, just dump in a pretty decent amount of each). It seems to help...if nothing else, I fall asleep pretty soon after.
And last, but most certainly NOT least, try to get a lot of rest. My last glutening graciously happened the day before I had a 3 day weekend, so I had plenty of time to rest (which was actually Thursday...still trying to recover, but not feeling 100%). I've been known to sleep 12+ hours after being glutened. I chalk it up to my body having to physically repair itself from the villi being destroyed. I actually don't think I could be that far off!!
Love her, support her, and hopefully she appreciates your help!!! It seems to be anymore that a good support system is few and far between. It's really sad, and I'm sure she appreciates all your effort to learn. I know I do, for her!!!