Lazy Gluten Free: Gluten-Free Diligence: Avoiding Cross-Contamination

Gluten-Free Diligence: Avoiding Cross-Contamination

I know I post on here all sorts of delicious-looking (and tasting!) recipes, and it appears that I must live a great gluten-free life without any cross-contamination or gluten mishaps. Well, as much as I wish that were true, I definitely have my fair share of "glutenings". In fact, earlier this year I was plagued with nausea which led into panic-attacks for over 4 months! Let me explain.
It all started when my mom invited me to dinner with a mutual friend one night this past March, (we made sure to chose a restaurant that had a gluten-free menu). I ordered GF mac and cheese and was very excited about how good it was. This was short-lived however, since by the time I got home that night I ended up getting very sick. It used to be when I had gluten I was just in a lot of pain, well now, I throw up. It's terrible. This glutening was the tip of the iceberg in my health deterioration over the next couple months. 

Nearly on a daily basis I would feel moderate to severe nausea and I started getting really awful panic attacks. I became scared of eating and ended up losing 10 pounds, which mind you, I don't have that much to lose. My husband was very concerned for me and so I started making appointments with my doctor, my endocrinologist, and changing my current medications in case those were causing my panic attacks. 

When I met with my endocrinologist, he ordered a gluten blood test, to which I scoffed at but decided to humor him on. There's no way with as diligent as I am that I would be consuming gluten. When I got the results back two weeks later that said that one of my levels was elevated because of gluten, I was shocked. 

For the next day or so I racked my brains for what on earth I could be consuming that would have gluten in it. Then finally, it dawned on me. 

You see, my husband does not have Celiac or any gluten intolerance, so he keeps bread and regular glutenous pasta in the house. He's very very good about not cross-contaminating, but that wasn't the issue. The problem was that I was using the same pot to make my GF pasta that he was using to make his glutenous pasta, and guess what? Gluten is an extremely sticky protein! It all made sense, the reason I had gotten so sick at the restaurant, and why I was nauseous all the time (I eat pasta at least twice a week). 

So, I ditched the contaminated pot - like seriously threw it in the trash - bought a new one, and asked my husband if he would eat GF spaghetti, to which he readily agreed. And would you believe it, I started to recover after that. It still took a couple months for the panic attacks to fully subside, but I can say I am all better now. :)

My main reason for sharing this story is to warn you how easy it is to be contaminated by gluten. It's so easy to make mistakes like this. Just be very diligent in reading labels, and don't trust any product that you can't verify is actually gluten-free. Also, don't trust restaurants to know how to prepare a gluten-free meal. Although they have good intentions, they're not always educated fully and can make mistakes. For those of us with Celiac, it's not as easy as "just picking off the croutons". Be careful out there, it's tough being gluten-free in a glutenous world, but it's certainly not impossible!