Friday, April 29, 2011

I've Been Glutened!

Sooner or later it was bound to happen.  Fortunately for me, it fell at a good time:  in between races and early in my gluten-free lifestyle. 

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.
  1. 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.
  2. Bloating, stomach discomfort, fatigue, headaches, irritability, constipation:  all the signs I experienced.
  3. It took 6 days for my GI tract to normalize.  (Thank God as it took 6 weeks when I decontaminated myself the first time.
  4. I felt like crap on the bike! 
  5. YOU assume the risk when eating out.  People are only human and do make mistakes.  No hard feelings, PF Chang's. 
What I am interested in learning is the time it will take for my on the bike performance to return.  Will it be the same as the return to GI normalcy or will it take longer?

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!

1 comment:

Lynda Wallenfels said...

It is shocking that 1 tsp of soy sauce has such a huge impact.