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Cross Contamination ?

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I am new to the gluten-free life and do not have an official DX (my pcp sent me to a GI to be tested for Celiac, he did not do a blood test and only took 1 biopsy of the small intestine which he stated was negative).  I decided to go gluten-free against his advice.  Been gluten-free for 3 weeks (cleaned out the kitchen of all gluten food, plastic/wood (utensils, cutting boards, dishes, cups, etc), toaster, waffle maker, blender, etc.  Started feeling a little better by day 2 or 3.  I'm sleeping without medicine, I only wake up 1-2 times a night instead of 6-7.  I am going to the bathroom less (and they are more solid), no blood in the toilet, no mucus.  My psorasis is healing up.  The dark circles under my eyes are disappearing some (have had them since I was a kid). My legs don't hurt as much (quit taking arthritis medicine).  And of course, stomach pains, intestinal pains, pelvic pains are a lot milder or non existent on most days.

 

So, yesterday we went to a wedding.  I did have some plain coffee with a little sugar in it.  And did eat a 4 strawberries off the buffet (each strawberry had their own long stick in them, so I figured it was safe).  A little later, just a very small stomache, no trips to the bathroom or anything, so I figured maybe it was some else. Last night, I got the waffle maker out of the box in the closeand and scrubbed it.  I scrubbed it today with a toothbrush and vinegar to loosen up anything stuck on it.  I washed it repeatedly.  I spent hours cleaning it. I was making bacon, eggs (for husband and son, because after keeping a food journal, I realized the other day I cannot tolerate eggs), gluten-free Vegan Waffle (I received a mix in a gluten-free subscription box).  I was making the waffles for them because I don't much like them.  Stupid on my part not thinking about what I would eat (because not eating eggs is new to me now).  So, I was making the waffles.   So out of habit, I automatically picked up a waffle to try it.  It was probably no bigger than 4 or 5" in diameter.  Stupid!  So, after about 20 minutes, my stomach was in turmoil.  I had to run to the bathroom and spent hours off on in there.  I had backache, stomachache, bloating so much I feel like I'm going to rip open, intestinal discomfort, pelvic cramps, headache, sweating. This went on for about 2-2 1/2 hours.  Now it's been about 4 hours later.  I have  big knot in my stomach, intestinal and stomach contractions, my skin looks pale and pasty, my dark circles are back with a vengence, my psorasis itches like crazy.

 

So after all that info.  My question is:  Can cross contamination cause this much distress?  or could it be something else?  I honestly figured since I don't have an official DX, then I didn't have to be as vigilant.  Stupid! I am beating myself up about this.  I am frustrated and overwhelmed as to what I cannot eat (no gluten, no eggs, no bananas, no mushrooms, no peanut butter, little to no dairy) and what I can eat.  I am almost afraid to eat anything.

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1) If you were scrubbing your old waffle maker, there could indeed still be traces of gluten on it.  (Might be time for a new waffle maker.)

 

2) Depending on the mix you used, it may or may not be truly "gluten free."  Many companies now label things as gluten free if there's ostensibly no gluten-containing ingredients in there (i.e. no wheat, barley, rye or their derivatives). But lots of ingredients--particularly grains--can have traces of gluten in them due to cross contamination, acquired anywhere from field to factory.  The product may have more than 20 ppm of gluten (the level that will become the legal standard for labeling next August, but isn't right now), in which case you might be expected to react, OR you might be sensitive enough to react to less than that (in which case, you wouldn't be the only one).

 

3) You may be reacting to something else, like some cross contamination with the eggs you were cooking for your family. Only you know if your reaction was similar to your reaction to eggs--or to gluten--or neither.

 

Good luck!!!

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2) Depending on the mix you used, it may or may not be truly "gluten free."  Many companies now label things as gluten free if there's ostensibly no gluten-containing ingredients in there (i.e. no wheat, barley, rye or their derivatives). But lots of ingredients--particularly grains--can have traces of gluten in them due to cross contamination, acquired anywhere from field to factory.  The product may have more than 20 ppm of gluten (the level that will become the legal standard for labeling next August, but isn't right now), in which case you might be expected to react, OR you might be sensitive enough to react to less than that (in which case, you wouldn't be the only one).

 

In my findings of "companies that don't take truly gluten free seriously" any time I see something prominently labeled vegan, I always double check the company and how gluten free it actually is.  Just seems they tend to fall into the crazy health nut bucket a lot of the time.  Of course, not all are like that, but look for the certified gluten-free symbol or something indicating they test.

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In the early days, even random things can set off symptoms, so it could have been CC from the waffle iron, could have been something in the mix (even if it was perfectly gluten-free) that your body just decided it didn't want to deal with. It takes a while for our guts to heal, and until then it can be pretty fussy.

 

But short answer: yes, CC can cause that much trouble, so new waffle iron for gluten-free only is a good idea.

And when it comes to Gluten Free products with no official labeling, then its best to be skeptical, especially at the beginning.

 

And as for taking things seriously, i was never officially diagnosed either, and yet felt better after 1 week gluten-free (celiac runs on both sides of my family). I have always concidered myself as having Celiac Disease and take it very seriously. You don't need an official diagnosis for that.

 

Sounds like you definitely made the right call, and are learning quickly. You'll get better!

 

Happy Healing

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Thank you guys.  I just didn't think one little thing could cause such a bad reaction.  My stomach/intestines is still in turmoil and now my bones and joints hurt so badly.  I could barely get out of bed.  Who would have thought?  Has this been my problem since I was a kid? 

 

The waffle maker is now back in the box in the closet (in another room).  I boxed everything up to give away to a friend who is going through a divorce and needs everything.  Need to set up a time to give it to her so I can get it out of my house.  

 

I'm dreading Thanksgiving not knowing what I can and cannot eat.  The only positive thing is is that I always host and do all the cooking (except for a few desserts that my Mom usually brings).  Is it wrong that I am hoping that no one comes for Thanksgiving? (My ex-husband might get our son even though it is not his Thanksgiving year), my mom might have to work (she works in retail and the company she works for is open on Thanksgiving this year), etc.  I am just waiting to hear from everyone.  Just trying to shop for "gluten free" stuff seems overwhelming.  Most of the turkeys at our local store has broth or other things in it that I am not sure is gluten-free.  The only one I can find that is "natural" is twice the cost.  Sorry, if I am off topic. 

 

Thanks again everyone!!

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You are not wrong in your thinking.  It is very sobering when you find that a waffle iron, a crumb, or what have you will cause such turmoil to your body.  For Thanksgiving I would keep it very simple.  If you can't find a turkey that you feel is safe just get some turkey breasts.  Make potatoes, vegies and fruit dishes.  Search the site for great casserole dishes, green bean and corn casseroles are easy.  Don't hurt your pocket book by buying a bunch of gluten free substitutes.  If your Mom brings desserts, make sure they stay on a buffet or the dining table so they wont contaminate the foods in your Kitchen.   The first holidays gluten free are nerve wracking.  You can pull it off. 

 

Colleen

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Hey!  Hosting Thanksgiving won't be bad!  There are turkeys out there that are gluten free.  You just have to check the labels.  

 

If folks want to bring something, ask them to bring beverages.  Keep the menu simple:

 

  • Turkey -- not stuffed obviously
  • Gravy -- made with cornstarch
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Fresh Green Beans
  • Creamed Corn (fresh or frozen and make a white sauce using corn starch)
  • Sweet potatoes/casserole
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Pumpkin Pie with gluten-free crust (there's even a "mix") or bake without in a water bath (like a custard) and serve with whipped cream
  • Ice Cream -- maybe one with pumpkin?
  • Pumpkin or Cransberry Swirl Cheesecake (there's a graham cracker crust mix)
  • Jello Mold

The hardest part is polishing all your silver and cleaning plates/glassware that's been stored!  Or go for simple:  good paper plates!

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