I often wonder what would happen if I ate gluten now, four and a bit months after being gluten free? I have read on other blogs what happens to them and it can be very serious but with me, I have never suffered from serious symptoms and that is why I had untreated Coeliac disease for so long, possibly as long as 20 years.
I know a couple of months ago I got stomach cramps, nausea and a bloated stomach from eating pan fried fish that must have been dipped in flour, but what would happen if ate a piece of cake or a scone? I have sometimes secretly (and deviously) thought that once a year on my birthday, I could have a scone or something equally glutinous. How would it affect me? Would the symptoms be worth the sheer pleasure of eating it! What would one scone each year do to my already severely damaged gut (I don’t like that word but it is a medical term so I guess I can be ok with it. My mum used to think it was a swear word). Would the symptoms now be worse since not eating gluten for so long?
Well, today I found out. Not by choice but by accident. After having a wonderful hour or so in the cookbook section in Borders with Aitch and Haitch, we decided to go to Smith and Caughey in Queen St for a coffee and something to eat. I had heard they had gluten free bread and sweets.
I ordered bacon and eggs on gluten free bread and then I asked if they had any gluten free sweet options. The lady said they had a passionfruit cake that was gluten free and pointed to a beautiful looking pile of little round sweet cakes. I said I would have one of those as well. Then when she opened the lid, she took out a cake that was sitting beside the passionfruit ones and it was clearly different to the others but I didn’t think anything of it and thought that would be gluten free as well, as it was in the same display container.
When we sat at the table, I cut into the cake to see what it looked like and it looked like the light springy texture of a wheat flour cake. So I got up and took it back to the lady at the counter and asked if she was sure this was gluten free because it didn’t look gluten free. She assured me it was, so I went back to the table and took a bite. I was sure it tasted like wheat flour but then, maybe they use an amazing gluten free flour that tastes really good. So I had another little taste and then another little bit.
Then my bacon and eggs came out on the gluten free toast. So I pushed the rest of the cake away for afters, and started eating the lovely scrambled eggs and bacon. I know I shouldn’t have been eating my cake first but I was intrigued as to how “normal” tasting it was.
Then about 5 minutes into eating the bacon and eggs, I suddenly felt light headed, really hot, nauseous, strangely unable to focus and felt like I was about to pass out. All I could do was put my knife and fork down and stare into space. Haitch asked me if I wanted to go outside and get some fresh air but by this time I needed to get quickly to the ladies toilet as my stomach was started to feel rather odd and scary.
We came home straight after that and all afternoon I have felt “fragile”, lethargic, heavy, exhausted, not able to focus and very sleepy.
Well, now I know what happens to me if I eat gluten after four and a bit months of being gluten free. I definitely won’t be having anymore secret and devious glutinous thoughts.
I sent Smith and Caughey an email and I got a very supportive reply. They also went back to their baker to ask about the cake and what the ingredients were and all of the ingredients listed were gluten free. All I can do is put this down to a strange phenomena, as I have no idea what happened.
UPDATED 5 June 2011
I went back to Smith and Caughey yesterday and bought a takeaway of the same little cake and brought it home. When I ate it, I could taste the rice flour and had no effects from eating it at all. I still have no idea what caused the reaction above. Now I really don’t know what would happen if I eat gluten as I am not sure if the above reaction was caused by gluten or not. Maybe one day, I will just have to have a wee test. Gosh, am I brave enough? I will update this post if I ever do that.
UPDATED 3 January 2012
I ate brown rice salad that unknowingly contained gluten. The rice had been soaked in soy sauce overnight. If you would like to see how my body reacted to this, check out this post.