Gluten Reactions – Delayed and Otherwise

    On Friday, December 17, 2010 I inadvertently consumed a significant amount of gluten – it was totally my fault for not asking. A week later I assumed that I was home free and blogged about the measures that I took to lessen the impact and how pleased I was at my apparent success.

    Three weeks later, I woke up with ‘gluten face’; all swollen, red-rimmed bloodshot eyes, bright red nose, splitting headache. Since the allergen levels in Central Texas were at a record high, I had attributed my previous day’s misery to simple allergies. I took a good dose of antihistamine and went to bed early on New Year’s Eve.

    When I woke up early I remembered that we did not have enough rice to make our traditional good-luck dish of stuffed cabbage. I threw on some clothes in near darkness and quietly drove to our local H-E-B. Returning home I happened to glance in the mirror. Good Grief! And worse, did I look hung-over or what on the morning after New Years?

    It had been three weeks – was this even possible? Yes, it seems that it is entirely possible.  An excerpt:
      Reactions to ingestion of gluten can be immediate, or delayed for weeks or even months.

         The amazing thing about celiac disease is that no two individuals who have it seem to have the same set of symptoms or reactions. A person might have several of the symptoms listed above, a few of them, one, or none. There are even cases in which obesity turned out to be a symptom of celiac disease.

         People do become more sensitive to gluten once it’s been removed. Smaller amounts will set off reactions, than before (e.g., before going completely Gluten Free with your diet). Many have noticed this effect.

    Rita ate lunch out one day this week and had an immediate gluten reaction that sent her to bed in misery. We are mother and daughter with two entirely different reactions. Just when you think you may have come to terms with gluten issues you end up right back over the edge; which is where we derived the name for ‘The Gluten-Free Edge’.

    Also, back in November I posted a really whiny missive about discovering that the red and white can of tomato soup that we previously used as sauce for our New Years stuffed cabbage contained wheat flour as a thickener. Don used plain old tomato sauce for this batch – no wheat involved – and after spending most of New Year’s day in bed I was able to enjoy a small helping and we agreed that it was not very different and every bit as tasty.

All is well for now – until the next gluten/celiac surprise.
Gretchen (Mom) and Rita


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