Treatment Guide

Gluten Reaction 101

Living 100% Gluten-Free is a challenge. Most of us, even after we’ve learned about hidden sources of gluten and done our best to stay away from them….are going to get “glutened” from time to time. This happens most often with:

1-Cross contamination
2-Eating out at a new restaurant
3-Eating products that don’t have any “gluten” ingredients…but still aren’t 100% GF.

We have to be extremely careful with cross contamination in our own homes. Most of us are living with non-GF people. So make sure everyone knows which toaster is the GF one….and when your grandma is baking glutenous pies, cakes, and bread….stay far away from the kitchen.  Trust me, I know. Even a TINY bit of gluten will do THIS to me:


Of course, I often get the same reaction when eating out at a new place I’m unsure about. Many restaurants  offer “gluten-free” items, but they are cooking them on the same surfaces as wheat products. This picture was actually taken after dining out at the California Pizza Kitchen. I was excited to try their new “gluten-free” pizza crust….but came home looking like this. (I have since contacted their corporate office and they are “making it a priority” to fix this problem….. Geez, let’s hope so ;0)

There are also a lot of products out there that don’t list any “hidden gluten ingredients” but are still unsafe. We’ve all seen those labels that say “made in a facility that also handles milk, wheat, tree nuts, and soy.” For those of us who are super sensitive….it is a risk to eat any products with these types of warnings on them. I have had both good and bad experiences with this. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Truffle, for example, has this label, and I’ve been OK with eating it for over a year now. Cocoa Boulders Cereal from Fresh & Easy, however, gave me a “gluten belly” within a few hours after eating it. So, it’s up to you to decide if you want to take that risk.

The good news is, there are things you can do to help ease a gluten reaction. It won’t necessarily go away within a few minutes or even a few hours…but there are things you can do to ease the discomfort.

*Take GLUTAMINE. This is a very helpful supplement. It is highly utilized in the GI tract, and helps to heal the lining of the intestine. If you have any of the symptoms of LEAKY GUT, look into taking glutamine, even on a daily basis. I always carry some with me, just in case of a reaction.


* Eat some raw veggies and lean protien. This helps relieve some of the bloat and fluid retention that comes from getting glutened.

Even though you will feel more tired…make yourself get up and move around for a while. It will help!


Author Information: Christie Bessinger, Fresno, CA
Publisher, Celiac Scoop Blog
You can reach Christie via Email

About Christie Bessinger

  • Paula says:

    Thanks for sharing the belly photo! It gives me comfort to know I am not alone, when my mysterious 6-month pregnant looking belly appears! Paula – CeliacCorner

  • Ren says:

    Thanks for sharing! Although I make and sell gluten-free goods, I have to use kitchens where others have used wheat (for now, until I get my own space). I usually wash all surfaces before baking anything, but after reading your post I’ll be sure to be extra thorough about cleaning all my counters, equipment, and utensils!

  • Sharon Johnson says:

    Thanks so much for this – it is good to know others suffer like I do with the swollen gut thing except mine looks 10 times worse than yours! Also thanks for the tip re glutamine – now I just need to source some.

  • Diane says:

    Thanks for the tips! My belly is worse than yours. Will try the glutamine!!

  • Celiac Sara says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I dread eating outside our home for this exact reason. The thing most people don’t realize is that is a “hard” bloat – and it hurts. I feel for you. I’m just coming off of being glutenated … it was 2 days of feeling flu-like, major neuropathy, and then bloating with each meal from the inflammation – finally the “D” hit. It’s awful. I appreciate the tips, and will share them with my gluten intolerant friends.

  • Jen says:

    Thanks for the pic and info! I will get the Glutamine today! I also get mouth ulcers from gluten contamination, and my hair falls out much faster than normal for up to a week or more. I have also found that papaya enzyme helps a bit, as does ginger in any form (for the nausea). 1000 mg of vitamin C every 2-3 hours for the first 48 hours also helps big time for any type of reaction.

  • Bec says:

    Thanks for sharing. Because I’m the only one of my friends who suffers badly from gluten reactions I often thought I was the only one who looked pregnant from a gluten reaction. I’ve even had complete strangers pat my swollen belly and ask when the baby was due. The only thing I’m having is a gluten baby! Not that I want anyone else to share the pain and suffering of a gluten allergy but it is good to know I’m not alone. I’m going to try glutamine and see how that helps. I find plenty of water and gentle walking helps relieve the swelling and pain.

    It does make me angry though that restaurants don’t take more care in their service of people with allergies. I’m always very careful to call ahead and check that they can cater for a gluten free meal, but I’ve eaten out too many times to count now where either the front of house staff don’t pass the request on to the kitchen, or the chef doesn’t check the products being used to see if they contain gluten. It makes me so angry and means I eat at home more than I’d like because I know at home I can control the food I’m consuming.

  • Tobe says:

    Unfortunately, Red Brick Pizza does this to me.

  • Katie says:

    Wow! As a mother of four life is very busy. When we first lenraed that my oldest child has Celiac disease, I was a bit overwhelmed. Then we discovered that my husband and two more of my children also have it. Triumph Dining’s grocery guide and resturant guide have been very beneficial in giving us hope of safe products on the market and safe locations that we can eat out. The iphone would definitely help make locating information about gluten free products even easier. Thanks for caring enough to provide research about products and a way for us to access this information easier.

  • Krissie says:

    wow it make sense now . I get this all the time im the only one in my house and family that has cealiac disease. So I get gluten a lot thank you so much for all the great info

    • Glad to help, Krissie. We have a ton of helpful info on the website. If you are looking for more symptom-related information, think about signing up for our Health Guide. It will show you how to identify your symptoms and fix the underlying causes. (gluten is just the first step.)

      -John Libonati, Publisher

  • […] Here is a great article on Gluten Reactions: Click Here […]

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