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Getting back on track after accidental gluten exposure

If you have coeliac disease (are gluten intolerant or have other food intolerances) eating out can be especially challenging. Despite our best efforts, it’s easy for us to be accidentally exposed to gluten or other allergens when we eat out at restaurants or attend parties. It’s hard to control completely what you are eating unless you bring your own food along.

Here are some practical tips to help you recover quickly if you are `glutened’:

One the first things to do is to drink plenty of water, which will help flush out any toxins and move the gluten through your digestive system quicker.

With the meal or as soon as you can afterwards, take a digestive enzyme with the enzyme dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP-IV) which helps the body break down gluten and reduce the levels of the reactive gluten protein gliadin. If you are coeliac or have severe gluten intolerance, I would always carry a bottle around with you and take one every time you eat out in a restaurant just to be sure you are not exposed by cross contamination. The product I recommend which works really well is Digest Spectrum or Digest Gluten by Enzymedica which is a multiple food intolerance formula that breaks down gluten, phenols, lactose and casein. For children, you can break open the capsule and add to food or mixed in a little honey after the meal.

If you have a severely inflamed gut after gluten exposure, it is important for you to eat easy-to-digest foods like soups with cooked vegetables using meat stock, and to avoid raw salad items that can be harder to digest. To stop compounding the problem, it is worth avoiding for a few days any hard to digest inflammatory foods such as dairy, sugar, grains, and processed foods, which can aggravate the inflamed gut lining further. 

After exposure to gluten, it is helpful to consume about 3 cups of meat stock a day to help reduce the inflammation in the gut and to help heal the enterocyte cells of the small intestine. Meat stock is a stock that is made from some meat with a joint and connective tissue. It is the joint and connective tissue that produces an abundance of gelatin in the stock, which is the healing substance we need to help heal the digestive tract. Meat stock is one of the core foods used on the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome or Gut and Physiology Syndrome) Gut Healing Protocol, which was created by Dr Natasha Campbell McBride, a world-renowned neurologist and nutritionist.

People often confuse meat stock with bone broth, which is also beneficial for healing the gut lining. However, if your gut is sensitive and inflamed, introduce bone broth slowly and with caution because it can be high in histamine, which can aggravate if you are sensitive to histamines.  

The fundamental difference between meat stock and bone broth is that meat stock is cooked for a shorter duration than bone broth (only 1- 3 hours) and uses meat and meaty bones rather than just bones. So, with chicken stock, you would cook a whole chicken in a pot in water, for example, rather than just using the frames like you would with bone broth. We use the chicken meat afterwards in meals so does not go to waste. As bone broth is cooked for anywhere between 8- and 48-hours, compounds such as histamine and glutamine can be released from the bones over time, which may be problematic for people with very sensitive guts and allergies. 

Probiotic rich foods such as sauerkraut or kefir can be helpful to soothe the gut, support optimal digestion, regulate an overactive immune system, and dampen down the inflammation caused by the gluten exposure. Probiotic foods should be a regular part of the diet for anyone with autoimmune issues and Coeliac disease. If you haven’t had probiotic foods before, introduce them real slowly to allow your gut the chance to adjust.   

Fresh ginger tea can be helpful to ease stomach cramping because of its anti-inflammatory properties. You can even add some extra anti-inflammatory action with a teaspoon of turmeric root.

If you have severe gas or bloating, as soon as you can take a binding agent like activated charcoal or bentonite clay. Both activated charcoal and bentonite clay absorb and bind toxins from the digestive tract and carry them out of the body. This can help to reduce painful gas and bloating quickly. It is important to drink plenty of water, to help flush out your systems to remove the toxins quicker.

Slippery elm and aloe vera can also help to soothe an irritated gut lining when taken on an empty stomach away from food

Consuming fresh pineapple after gluten exposure can also work wonders as it contains the natural digestive enzyme bromelain, which helps to break down proteins, therefore reducing some of the damage from the gluten protein.

There are a lot of tips here and you won’t need to try everything. Some of these suggestions will work for you and others won’t, as we are all individual. The trick is to find what works for you. If you need further support, I am available for consultations both online and in person. To book an online consultation click here, or email me to book an in-clinic appointment.




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