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How Do I Know If I've Been Glutened?

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8 months gluten-free and to my knowledge I have not consumed ANY gluten. I have, however, suspected that I've been glutened here and there in this time. But I can't say for sure, because I cannot know exactly what being glutened would feel like. I was quite the asymptomatic celiac (bloating which I thought was normal for everyone and some itchy patches on my wrists and face which I (and a dermatologist) attributed to nothing but now I believe might have been celiac related and since going gluten-free I am looking back and seeing perhaps even more symptoms that may have been celiac caused.

And now I am on my first Christmas at my family's house and although they are "trying their best" to keep my food and food preparation area gluten-free I highly suspect that there have been some incidents of cross-contamination. Bottom line, I feel like dirt and feel like I am sliding to the right and unstable when sitting or walking and just basically not up to par. I had the instability/falling/sliding issue a few times in the past decade (lasted about 2 weeks each episode) and no exam (MRI included) showed anything odd.

Anyhow, since I don't know what to do I have two queries:

1) should I eat something (small) with gluten to see what happens in order to identify what being glutened does to my body? I know many will probably say "no way", but wouldn't that help if I can then surely identify that I was glutened therefore, I will know to stay clear of such and such restaurant or Auntie Jill's house etc.

2) by being gluten-free will one become increasingly intollerant to gluten to such an extreme that even a smidgen will cause worse and worsening effects?

Still trying to cope with this all .....

thanks for any help


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Given the situation you're describing, I'd probably actually try option 1, but realize that it may or may not tell you anything, if you tend to be asymptomatic. If you go that route, make sure you are *scrupulously* gluten free for at least two weeks first and write down how you are feeling and basic notes about your biological functioning, then have a significant portion of gluten - like go out to pasta or pizza or bagels or something - and write down how you feel and function over the next few days.

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The big frustration for me in identifying a gluten reaction is this: My reactions are all over the map, and have included feeling lousy, feeling spacey, nausea, vomiting (rare), headaches, bloating, joint aches, and a lot of others I'm not remembering right now.

The absence of a clear, reliable reaction is what makes it so hard. Most of my life I figured it was bad food, bad combinations of food, things like that, when in reality I now realize it was most likely gluten.

I went to a lecture by Dr. Fine of Enterolab, and asked him that question about reactivity when you have been free of gluten. He said definitely, the more you abstain from gluten, the more noticeable your reactions become over time. This is because when eating gluten frequently, your body attempts to build up a tolerance to this poison. This accounts for why reactions can be so different, or even sometimes not even identifiable. But if you aren't eating gluten, that tolerance is gone and you react more to the gluten. This makes sense to me, and I've certainly noticed it with myself.

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