Is It Obvious When You Eat Gluten?

Is everything you're eating as clear as this?

I often hear from people about how terrible they feel after they accidentally eat gluten and it’s got me wondering why personally I rarely feel this way…

For the first couple of months after my diagnosis, when I was a newbie celiac, my symptoms would come and go. Looking back now I see that this was because I was risking things that I certainly would never risk now that through research and experience I’m more gluten free educated let’s say. Risking certain foods and in turn consuming small amounts of gluten prevented me from completely recovering at that time. Removing most of the gluten from my diet during the first couple of months certainly made a huge improvement to my health but I wasn’t able to fully recover until I understood where gluten can hide and the real threat of cross contamination. I also had to feel comfortable asking questions of the people preparing my food and to say no to anything I’m not completely certain is gluten free!

..This is certainly not to say that since these first few learning months I haven’t made any mistakes but I can remember less than a handful of times during the last 18 months when I felt as though I’d been glutenated. On these few occasions some of my pre gluten free diet lethargy and tiredness returned and my toilet visits weren’t the healthiest. 🙁  These were the signs which led me to think I’d been glutenated somehow. I certainly didn’t feel good but I wasn’t hugely suffering either and a couple of days after taking it easy I felt back to normal again. For some coeliacs, being glutenated seems to be much more of an event.

After some consideration into this, I’ve come to two possible conclusions. One, my symptoms after eating gluten just aren’t as intense as some coeliacs and therefore I may accidentally be eating gluten without realising or two,the reason I never feel glutenated and awful is because I never eat gluten! I of course hope that this second conclusions is correct but how can I be certain? I am so careful when it comes to eating that I most certainly can’t be getting glutenated too often but I am really never being glutenated? Is it possible that I’m being glutenated without realising??

How to you feel when you accidentally eat gluten? Does it debilitate you or do you just feel crappy? Can you normally pin point the culprit or are you often confused about how you could possibly have eaten gluten when you are so careful?

UPDATE (2012): My symptoms after accidentally eating gluten appear to have gotten worse the longer I have been on my 100% gluten free diet. Perhaps back when I first wrote this post my body wasn’t quite as healthy and free of gluten as I thought and as it is now which is why I’m now affected more by accidental contamination. From speaking with other celiacs on this topic this seems like a likely answer. The longer we are 100% gluten free, the more our bodies will freak out at the tinnest crumb! You can read more about this at So You Accidentally Ate Gluten.

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  • Jordan

    May 6th, 2011

    roflmao “glutenated”

    and no, I can’t actually tell at all. It’s the thought of the lethargy and tiredness that keeps me on my diet and I find the best way for me to deal with it is complete abstinence. if there’s something dubious I think I can sometimes ‘pinpoint it’ but it is quite hard.

  • Michelle

    Sep 11th, 2012

    I miss-read a clearly labeled package of tortillas and was amazed at their flexibility and flavor, I thought I had found the perfect travel food, which is important to me since I am a flight attendant. So the flour and corn tortillas made me lazy and foggy. I realized after staring into space for 10 minutes that I had had gluten. I muscle tested myself to see if I was right then checked the package and was happy and sad all at once, happy to know why I was feeling so crappy and that my muscle test was accurate, sad because I have been reading labels for a while now but missed the mark completely with this one.
    Here is a video for muscle testing which can come in very handy when trying to decide which products to buy at the store or what to order at a restaurant.

  • I feel awful when I accidentally have it. It’s how I’m able to tell the difference between another food intolerance and accidentally consuming gluten: when I have gluten, my entire body feels awful. I’m debilitated by exhaustion, I have a headache, I’m itchy, nauseous, other GI symptoms…. with other foods that cause stomach issues, it’s pretty much JUST stomach problems, nothing else.