This week, we’re thrilled to feature a guest blog by Sally, a client of Sunrise Wellness. Sally, thank you so much for your excellent article – and good luck at the next holiday dinner!
I Got Glutened!
This year (2012) was my first Christmas since I went gluten free. I’ve
been gluten, dairy, and egg free since late January 2012, so I have a
pretty good handle on how to cook for my needs at home, but visiting
family and holiday traditions meant more chances for trouble. I’m
really lucky, because both my family and my in-laws are very
considerate of my food sensitivities. They’ve seen how much better I am
since cutting things out and they’ve been really supportive, so I had
input on most meals. As a result, the “glutening” of Christmas 2012 was
the product of my own oversight (and not anyone else’s fault). I have
been able to tolerate very small amounts of gluten without significant
reactions, so I wasn’t too concerned about cross-contamination. I
figured that I would be ok to eat turkey, provided it was cut from an
area of the bird that was not in direct contact with the gluten-filled
stuffing. Boy was I wrong!!
Eating turkey at Christmas dinner resulted in immediate feelings of
bloat, tiredness (way more than could be accounted for by the
tryptophan in the turkey) and some brain fog. At first I thought it
was just normal holiday tiredness. I didn’t really realize what was
going on until it happened again after lunch the next day (when I ate
some more of my non-stuffing-touching turkey). All of the bloat,
tiredness, and brain fog came back in a sudden wave, followed shortly
thereafter by nausea, intestinal cramps, and severe diarrhea (which
lasted for 12 hours or so). My body had reached its limit and was
“blowing the hatches” as it were to get rid of all traces of the
gluten insult. And I know it was the turkey, because nothing else I
ate was even remotely suspect. After some research I found celiac
websites warning against eating turkey that has been stuffed.
Apparently, as the juices flow through the turkey as it cooks, the
gluten molecule travels along with it and contaminat
es the whole turkey. If only I had done that research BEFORE Christmas!
I don’t test as celiac, though (as is now clear from this experience)
I am pretty strongly intolerant of gluten. It took me almost two weeks
to get my digestive system back on track after that incident. However,
I think the experience was worth it, because it showed me just how
worthwhile all the effort I put into avoiding gluten really is. I am
happy to give up my stuffing and cook my turkey separately if it means
a healthy digestive system and a clear mind!!
Health Psychology M.A. Student and patient of Dr Guy