What Should I Do if I've Been Glutened?

July 17, 2014

Question:

I am diagnosed with celiac disease and have been strictly following my gluten-free diet for four months, but I was accidentally “glutened.”  Does the healing process start all over when something like this happens?  Is there something I should be eating/not eating to stop the symptoms sooner?

Answer:

I’m sorry to hear you were “glutened.”  It’s common to get glutened when first going on a gluten-free diet, as it takes time, education and practice to really understand how much and where gluten is lurking in our food supply.

For people with celiac disease, every time gluten is ingested the immune system triggers an attack on the intestines.  So, yes, being glutened does start the inflammatory process all over again and that is why it’s so important to avoid gluten at all costs.  The good news is that you aren’t starting from ground zero, so to speak. By being gluten-free for the past four months you have made tremendous strides to heal your intestines, and you are certainly much better off than before going gluten-free.

When you have been glutened, there are no foods that will stop the symptoms sooner.  I recommend eating mild, gluten-free foods that are easy to tolerate and will not further upset your gastrointestinal (GI) system. If you are sensitive to other foods/ingredients, you will want to avoid them.  It’s best to focus the diet on wholesome, nutrient-dense foods that will provide your GI system with the nutrients it needs to heal. Drinking lots of water is also recommended.

I hope you feel better soon.  Keep up the good work with your gluten-free diet.  We all get glutened from time to time.  Eating gluten-free and preventing gluten contact does get easier with time and practice.

Be well,

Rachel Begun, MS, RDN


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