After the SERC XC race in Spartanburg, SC where we both podiumed, we treated ourselves to a post-race victory meal. As Carly loves their lettuce wraps, we stopped at PF Chang's in Asheville. I had done my homework and discovered that they have a gluten-free menu ... and the lettuce wraps were on it!
|Carly's Favorite! Mine is on the right, no wonton crisps for me.|
Our waiter seemed to be very knowledgeable and quickly exchanged the sauce tray to a gluten-free one. We had our fill with just the lettuce wraps. Carly also had the egg drop soup.
Later that night (about 6 hours later), I should have known something was not quite right when I did not get hungry again. I just assumed that the race had curbed my appetite and that the hunger monster would strike in the morning.
The next morning I awoke with no hunger pains. Hmmm. After I drank my usual cup of coffee, my abdomen blew up and I had discomfort in my stomach. Oh no! As the day progressed, I felt worse. By noon, I came to the conclusion that my body had been contaminated.
Now I cannot be 100% sure it was from the restaurant, but for the week leading up to the race, all the food that went down my gullet was made/prepared by moi. So I am 99% sure. The only conclusion I can come to is that I had ingested some soy sauce that contained gluten. It may have come from Carly's plate, but I had ordered hers GF as well. After researching a bit more, the chicken lettuce wrap recipe does use 1 tsp soy sauce. Perhaps some one in the kitchen made a mistake or there might have been cross-contamination.
I definitely learned a few things from this experiment.
- I was just as miserable with this slight poisoning as if I had eaten a loaf of bread. It only took a fraction of gluten (1 tsp soy sauce) to set me back full force.
- Bloating, stomach discomfort, fatigue, headaches, irritability, constipation: all the signs I experienced.
- It took 6 days for my GI tract to normalize. (Thank God as it took 6 weeks when I decontaminated myself the first time.
- I felt like crap on the bike!
- YOU assume the risk when eating out. People are only human and do make mistakes. No hard feelings, PF Chang's.
Since that fateful day, I have not eaten out. I am scared too! Having to go through the gluten demon exorcism was most painful and not an experience I want to repeat. So for all you racer and non-racer friends, don't be embarrassed if I brown bag it when going out to eat with you all!