2 Years Gluten-Free

by Lauren | Celiac Teen on January 30, 2010

Okay, so that isn’t technically true.  I have accidentally (and very unfortunately) ingested gluten in the past 24 months.  However, 2 years ago (at 5 o’clock to be precise!) I was diagnosed with celiac disease.  The moment I found out, I was thrilled.  Overcome with relief.  We knew what was wrong.  It could be fixed.  There were no more drugs (those came for other things).

So maybe you’re wondering what happens when someone gets “glutened”.  Sure, as celiacs we cannot eat gluten, but what actually happens when we do?  By some unfortunate twist of fate, I was recently served wheat pasta instead of rice.  I only had a couple of bites before I was certain.  Then I ran over to my mom and got her to check it.  I was frantic.  I just ate wheat pasta. My heart was in my throat.  Pulsing and making breathing laboured.  Colour exploded across my face in a mixture of anger, sadness and nerves.  A tear spurted.  Taking a step back, I caught my breath.  This will be okay.  Let’s just take it slow.

By the time it hit my stomach, I could feel the confusion.  “What’s that doing here?!” the acid screamed.  Over the next day or so, I felt it as it moved through each part of my digestive tract.  Beating up my small intestine, draining all of my energy as it attacked not only this invader, but me.  Being autoimmune, celiacs attack their own small intestine when gluten is present.  Goodbye long villi.  Hope to see you soon.

It wasn’t a searing pain, but it hurt.  More than uncomfortable.

The days that followed weren’t great.  Occasionally the pain would peak as the gluten turned a corner or hit a extremely sensitive section of my intestines.  Other than that, it dully moved along.  Dull but powerful.  Like one of those new-fangled vacuum cleaners that suck without any noise, the gluten robbed me of any energy.  It also stole my appetite.  Coming in waves I would feel pain worming through my abdomen.  Slow, yet not, I could only wish it was gone.

I ate food, but not much.  Oranges and clementines and cheese and tapioca pudding were my main food groups.  I’m sure there are foods you’re “supposed” to eat but I didn’t feel good, and energy was hard to come by.  The couch and computer (where I didn’t actually do much of anything) was where I stayed. I did go for a long walk at one point, but that only helped while I was walking.  The second I got home, I was wiped.  Luckily, I didn’t have school during this gluten incident and I sure hope that I don’t have to experience it in the future.  At least not soon.

I’m glad this gluten incident is over and even more thrilled that I’ve been celiac for 2 years.  I  know that I will never knowingly eat gluten again, and that is one of the most wonderful things I know.  Gluten-free food can be absolutely delicious.  Even the bread (which I have an upcoming recipe for!).

So tell me, how long have you been gluten-free?  What are your experiences with getting glutened (if any)?


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[edit: this post is linked to Get The Gluten Out]

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