The holiday season approaches — and with it comes an increased risk of accidentally eating gluten. Gluten-free living is on the rise, and not just among those with a confirmed celiac diagnosis. In fact, Forbes reveals that up to 72% of non-gluten eaters do not suffer from a celiac diagnosis, but rather from a non-celiac sensitivity. While the autoimmune disease is the most serious form of gluten intolerance, it is far from the only form of gluten reactivity; as with many phenomena in life, gluten reactivity occurs on a spectrum.
In fact, Healthline‘s estimates that up to thirteen percent of the population experiences adverse health symptoms due to gluten exposure — hence why more and more of the global population is eliminating the binding protein from their diets.
Reactivity to gluten primarily begins in the GI tract, but the innate inflammatory response it triggers is systemic. This means that eating one little piece of contaminated food causes symptoms throughout the entire body. To be fair, bloating, digestive difficulties (including diarrhea and constipation), stomach pain, and damage to the intestinal lining are some of the most unpleasant reactions to gluten reactivity.
But as Healthline points out, headaches, fatigue, skin eruptions (i.e. acne, rashes, hives, psoriasis, etc.), depression, anxiety, joint pain, numbness, and brain fog (i.e. difficulty concentrating) are all common reactions to gluten among those who are sensitive to gluten.
Many of us plan to feast with our friends and family during the holidays, but USA Today warns that this puts us at extra risk of accidental getting “glutened” when we dine out; up to 32% of restaurant food that is labeled as non-glutenous has been found to be cross-contiminated. So, we talked with Los Angeles- and Chicago-based naturopath Nadia Musavvir to find out what to do when you accidentally eat gluten.
Take digestive enzymes.
In order to help rid your body of gluten as quickly as possible, take supplemental digestive enzymes. These help your body break down the protein more speedily so that it can be eliminated from your system. One expert notes that dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP-IV) is an especially effective enzyme to take, but other names to look for include: Amylase, Bromelain, Papain, Protease, Cellulase, Lipase, and Maltodextrin, like the ones found in Love Wellness Sparkle Fiber, $29.99 or Bye, Bye, Bloat, $24.99.
Musavvir recommends turning to charcoal to help your body rid itself of toxins. Activated charcoal tablets and elixirs are excellent for cleansing because they bind to the toxins, helping you to flush them out. Remember to drink plenty of water, or to take charcoal in a detoxifying drink like Wild & The Moon Black Lemonade, $7, or your own DIY version.
Take an Anti-Inflammatory Herb or Supplement.
Turmeric, curcumin, Omega-6s, and even CBD are all fabulous anti-inflammatory agents that can help your body cope with the innate inflammatory response that has been triggered. When it comes to quelling imminent inflammation, we say the more the merrier. Consider a turmeric supplement, like Ancient Nutrition Fermented Turmeric Capsules, $39.95, or DIY a remedy like Golden Mylk.
Protect your gut lining.
To protect or heal your gut lining, Musavvir suggests a collagen supplement or ingredients like colostrum or glutamine. However, it is important to note that for some of us, animal-sourced collagen might be inflammatory. If you would like a vegan collagen option, Moon Juice Beauty Shroom Vegan Collagen Protection, $58, is ideal. If you are not sensitive to animal products, Bare Bones Bone Broth Instant Mix Beverage Mix, $24.99, provide organic, instant broth mixes that are convenient for on-the-go use.
Flush your system with water.
Drink plenty of filtered water when detoxing or taking supplemental charcoal, but always stay hydrated regardless. Keep your Necessite Limited Edition Water Bottle full and with you at all times to help with cleansing your system.
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Rest as much as you need.
Above all, remember that your body’s immune system is activated and that systemic inflammation may leave you feeling tired. If you’re the type that finds it difficult to relax, give yourself permission to have a lazy day and rest up. To help you relax, a weighted sleep mask that uses lavender aromatherapy, like Branché La Sieste Tranquilité, $48, works wonders for napping, while a Magnesium supplement, such as Moon Juice Magnesi-OM, $42, can help you relax for a nap.