How to Recover from Holiday Gluten Exposure
Recently I’ve been sharing tips for surviving and thriving during the holidays, including how to stay healthy and stress-free during the holidays, and some great gift ideas for promoting health, because I know the holidays can often make sticking to a protocol, relieving stress, and avoiding inflammatory foods that much tougher. During the holiday season, if you’re out at holiday parties, going to potlucks, or having holiday meals with your family, it’s more likely that you may accidentally ingest gluten — otherwise known as getting “glutened”— while enjoying the celebration!
The outward manifestation of getting glutened may be different for everyone, and can cause a variety of symptoms such as brain fog, diarrhea, constipation, headache, rash, weakness, joint pain, swelling, vomiting, and fatigue. However, inside your gut, the effects are essentially the same; gluten is wreaking havoc. Gluten causes inflammation and damage to the intestines, which can trigger or cause a flare in autoimmune disease. It can also cause your immune system to attack your thyroid, worsening thyroid dysfunction symptoms. Gluten also causes inflammation and damage to the intestines, leading to leaky gut. Ridding yourself of this inflammatory protein, reducing inflammation and healing your gut from the damage are essential to recovering as quickly as possible.
Now I want to walk through some proven tips for you to keep in your back pocket so that you’re prepared if getting ‘glutened’ happens to you!
3 Steps To Recover After Getting Glutened
1. The more quickly you can get the gluten out of your system, the better you’ll feel.
These three things will help you do that promptly and effectively:
- Digestive Enzymes. Digestive enzymes help speed up the breakdown and absorption of macronutrients. Be sure to take an enzyme that includes dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP-IV), which helps break down gluten specifically. In fact, I recommend that those with celiac and gluten intolerance take enzymes with DPP-IV when dining out.
- Binding agents. Activated charcoal binds toxins and help reduce gas and bloating. It’s best to increase water intake when taking this supplement to avoid constipation, which will only delay healing.
- Hydration. Fluids will help flush your system and keep you hydrated if you’re vomiting or have diarrhea. In addition to regular water, you can try coconut water, which contains electrolytes that may have been lost through vomiting or diarrhea.
2. Decrease inflammation in order to heal your gut as soon as possible.
Inflammation occurs naturally in our body when there has been an insult or injury to it. Decreasing this inflammation is essential to healing your gut. These three things will help you reduce inflammation quickly:
- Omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oils, flax and chia seeds are full of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. I recommend 1-2 grams of omega-3 oils daily. You can go up to 4 grams a day for a week after accidental gluten ingestion.
- Ginger has high levels of gingerol, which gives it a natural spicy flavor and acts as an anti-inflammatory in the body. It also has potent anti-nausea properties and can ease stomach cramping. I like to drink warm ginger tea as a comforting, anti-inflammatory beverage.
- Turmeric is a member of the ginger family that contains the active ingredient curcumin, which is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. My anti-inflammatory smoothie with turmeric is a great drink to help you quickly recover from getting glutened.
3. Repair your gut to keep your immune system functioning optimally.
Nearly 80% of our immune system is in our gut. Having a healthy gut is crucial for optimal health. The four things below will help you repair your gut.
- Probiotics. Routinely, I recommend taking a highly concentrated probiotic (25-100 billion units) a day to maintain healthy levels of good bacteria. I advise my patients to “double-up” on their probiotic dose for a week after a gluten exposure.
- L-Glutamine. Glutamine is an amino acid that is great for repairing damage to the gut, helping the gut lining to regrow and repair, undoing the damage caused by gluten. I recommend 3-5 grams a day for a week after exposure.
- Collagen is very high in the anti-inflammatory amino acids glycine and proline and peptides that help maintain and promote optimal gut lining health that may get disrupted by being glutened. The cells lining your intestinal tract use collagen to promote tissue repair and a healthy intestinal barrier. Supporting the gut lining is absolutely paramount for those concerned with autoimmunity, healthy thyroid function, and a balanced and normal inflammation response.
Once you realize that you have been glutened, implement this three-step approach as soon as possible. If your symptoms persist or if you’ve had multiple exposures from holiday overindulgences or from getting off track and you’ve been following one of the programs from my books The Thyroid Connection and The Autoimmune Solution, I recommend getting back on the program until your symptoms go away. Or if you haven’t yet started my programs, right after the holidays is the perfect time to start!
I hope you have a happy, healthy, and gluten-free holiday with your loved ones, and a very happy start to 2017!
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