Would I Eat Gluten If I Didn’t React Horribly?

For the first week on Hilton Head Island, I suffered with severe stomach pains, bloating and lethargy. I’d been vigilant about avoiding gluten, soy, dairy, and corn. I’d eaten at trusted restaurants and the waitstaff appeared attentive, communicating my dietary needs to the chefs

Had I developed another allergy?

Then, while having lunch with my husband, he started reading the ingredients on the bag of Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday potato chips we shared.

“Did you know these aren’t labeled gluten-free and are processed in the same facility as gluten, dairy and soy?”  he asked. (He’s been listening after all!)

Slap me on the side of the head. We’d left the chips in the house from our last visit; I’d assumed I’d checked the ingredients when we bought them. I’d broken my own rules for staying safe when eating processed foods: 1) Always read the ingredient list; 2) Look for an allergen warning; 3) Eat only certified gluten-free products.

Within days of avoiding the chips, I felt fine.

This mistake reminded me to never let my guard down. It also made me wonder, What if I didn’t experience horrible symptoms from being glutened? Without a debilitating reaction, would I be less vigilant about sticking to my diet–and maybe even intentionally eat foods I knew contained gluten?

The answer is NO! I have done my homework and I know the short- and long-term effects of celiac disease. Before diagnosis, I experienced many of these symptoms. Why wouldn’t I avoid gluten if it meant I’d feel better and stay healthy longer? Symptoms of Celiac Disease

Courtesy of Gluten Dude

Some People Do Cheat

In my week here on the island, two restaurant workers in their twenties told me they’d been diagnosed with celiac disease. They also shared they regularly cheated a little because their reactions weren’t that bad. I know kids and young adults aren’t the only ones who cheat.

I’ve witnessed adults who say they have celiac disease one minute and stuff a donut into their mouth the next. In my opinion, they are old enough to know better, so let them damage all the villi they want.

As a mother of two twenty-somethings, and who was once a twenty-something herself, I know health isn’t always a top concern. So when a young person tells me his or her celiac disease isn’t that bad and they eat a little gluten, I give them a short lecture about how any amount of gluten can cause longterm consequences. I’m sure they think I should mind my own business. I don’t care. If I help one young adult consider the damaging effects of a chicken nugget and choose a gluten-free burger instead, it’s worth a few eye rolls. Celiac Disease

Courtesy of the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center

Would I Eat Gluten If I Didn’t React Horribly? first appeared on Adventures of an Allergic Foodie.

4 thoughts on “Would I Eat Gluten If I Didn’t React Horribly?

  1. I wish I knew for sure if I have celiac or not (bad advice got me off gluten before the testing was done), but I do react pretty horribly to gluten, so I avoid it very carefully.

    But yeah, I’d probably have cheated at all things food-related in college. I’ve been dairy free for probably 10 years now, but it’s not an allergy. I’m lactose intolerant. I would go through phases of “cheating” with that and just living with the inevitable consequences. I ate HORRIBLY in college, though.


  2. I have a wheat allergy, so not exactly celiac, but for me my reactions are both bad enough and unpredictable enough that I won’t cheat. However, it does make it really tough because for some reason a lot of people think an “allergy” is something you may fake if you don’t like a food, unlike “celiac” which is a “real disease”…


  3. Can’t even imagine eating gluten and not having terrible painful symptoms!
    But I can see why some people who doesn’t have “consequences right away” would do it, same as people that smoke, they know it’s bad but they still do it…pretty sure that if they lite a cigarette and have the same attacks as when I eat gluten they would never do it again!
    Anyways I think Celiac Awareness and education to know how bad gluten is for you -long or short term- is the way to go! Great Post 🙂


  4. I am truly beginning to wonder if I have a gluten issue. Ate pizza and my joints are killing me, I’m bloating, exhausted, etc. I backed off of wheat, then started it up again just to see. Thankfully, I see my doctor next week. Do you get joint pain too?


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