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14 Sneaky Ways We’ve Been Glutened!

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Don’t you just hate that moment when you realize that somehow, someway, somewhere you managed to accidentally get gluten into your body? Most people call this getting “glutened”; some call it getting “glutenized”. We need to get Webster to add glutened to their dictionary.

I’m sure most celiacs would agree, there isn’t much worse than realizing you’ve been glutened, and dealing with all the symptoms that come with that. I can remember that as a newly diagnosed celiac, I asked my friend and celiac mentor how I would know if I’d been glutened. “Oh you’ll know”, she said. She was right!

While symptoms of a gluten reaction vary from person to person, and can hit at varying intervals from time of exposure, you’ll soon learn how your body reacts.

The next step is playing detective and figuring out what got you so that you can avoid that in the future. Sometimes, it is impossible to figure out the exact source, as there were too many possibilities, but often you can narrow it down.

14 Ways We've Been Glutened at home or at restaurants

I started making a list of the various ways I’ve been glutened over the past 4 1/2 years since my celiac diagnosis, then I decided to contact some of my fellow bloggers asking them to share theirs also. Hopefully this list will help you avoid the misery from getting glutened!

14 Sneaky Ways We’ve Been Glutened:

  • “I was glutened after learning that wheat vinegar was a thing. And that thing was sometimes used to cook sushi rice. UGH.”
  • “After I ate two bites of my gluten-free cereal, my tongue felt something on the back of my spoon. It was a large flake from a wheat cereal that had gotten stuck to the back of the spoon in the dishwasher! Enough had come off in my mouth that I got very sick.”
  • “I was glutened from drinking from a water bottle that another family member had drank from while they were eating gluten! Duh!”
  • “I glutened myself because I licked my fingers after making a gluten-filled PBJ for my daughter.  Don’t lick my fingers now!”
  • “A few years ago on vacation I went to the same restaurant several times after taking the time to ‘train’ the waitress about my GF needs. I ordered the same meal for lunch each time and was confident it was safe. On the last occasion, though, it was dinner and the restaurant was darker. I ordered the same seaweed salad again, but tasted it and realized it had soy sauce on it. I was sick for 2 weeks. Booooo!”
  • “I was glutened from sharing candy with my husband. He’d eaten a gluten-full hamburger, had not washed his hands afterwards, and then grabbed some of the treats. The bowl of treats (unwrapped candies) then became contaminated via cross contact, but I didn’t know that until after I got sick and started asking questions.”
  • “I was glutened from kissing my husband after he had eaten bread.”
  • “I was glutened after using honey that my young kids had used on English muffins. When I went back and looked at the bottle, there was a crumb stuck to the top part where the honey comes out.”
  • “Play-Doh has wheat, and I learned that rolling out Play-Doh with a class of Kindergarten students is NOT a good idea for a celiac! Oops!”
  • “At a supposedly very safe restaurant, where the owner oversaw the making of my salad, halfway through eating it I found a piece of pasta!”
  • “Enjoyed an amazing ice cream sundae where they scooped the ice cream out of fresh containers with clean scoops and everything. Later found out that they thicken their store-made caramel with wheat flour! Who puts flour in caramel sauce?!”
  • “Our neighbors made a delish lamb dish that had no flour in it, but they sealed the pot to the lid with a flour-water paste and when they removed the seal, the flour mixture got into the dish!”
  • “At a family gathering potluck meal, I took the word of a family member that their dish was gluten free. Never trust someone that isn’t sure what can all contain gluten! Lesson learned.”
  • “While I made my kids sandwiches on wheat bread, I mindlessly started snacking on some cheese I was cutting. My hands were going back and forth from the wheat bread to the cheese to my mouth. Didn’t even realize I was doing it!”

Thanks to the following bloggers for contributing their experiences to this post: gfJules, Faithfully Gluten-freegluten free easily, Gluten is My B****.

How have you been glutened? Share your story so it helps someone else!

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Wednesday 16th of June 2021

Ever since I started making breakfast for my mother in law who came to live with us, I have been glutened almost continuously. I wash my hands after making her toast or an English muffin, and after rinsing her plate. I don’t know how, I am getting it into my system.

Ruth harrigan

Wednesday 1st of September 2021

@Shelly, Do you keep your own butter or spreads labelled for your own use? Do you keep your own toaster only for your gluten free breads? Even a teeny tiny non visible crumb could be making you super sick my dear! I have four kids and have to literally clean everything before I make my own food counters surfaces and have to have my own toaster griddle and spatulas and pan! It’s the most awful sickness I even can get sick from my kids kissing me after eating a sandwich or pizza and not washing there little faces xxx

Stephanie M Schultz

Wednesday 3rd of March 2021

I'm kind of surprised i haven't seen more of this. My closest friend told me they were gluten free in their home. I trusted her because i had known her for years, my whole life to be exact! People make simple small mistakes, THE BUTTER DISH GOT ME SICK FOR 3 DAYS! SHE felt Awful needless to say! I have also been glutened by mayonaise jars, i Don't buy them anymore! Unwrapped candies or chips are very common also.

Amanda Langford

Sunday 5th of April 2020

My daughter got glutened at school bc they rotate classes and a 5th grader popped a homemade stress ball in the class she was headed into at the desk she sat at no less.


Tuesday 15th of October 2019

I made french toast for my husband and myself. I made mine first so it wouldn't be glutened and then made his, after using the spatula to remove his from the grill, I did not use it to remove mine, but without thinking transferred mine that had been keeping warm with the same fingers that had picked up the gluten bread to dip in egg mixture and onto the grill. I just didn't think. Next time, wash hands after touching the gluten products and use a new spatula for mine. I guess I didn't think that would be enough contamination to make me sick. Will know better next time.

Jenna Schweigart

Saturday 8th of September 2018

We celebrated my birthday Sunday with chopped BBQ beef sandwiches, I just ate the BBQ, baked beans, I oversaw that as well. I did pull the buns from the bag to set them out. My brother made me special potatoe salad without eggs for allergy purposes. I also made canned cinnamon rolls for the grandkids that morning. Monday and Tuesday I was really sick! My thoughts are either the cinnamon rolls which I didn’t eat or lick my fingers or my brothers mayonnaise had gluten in it from sandwiches. What are your thoughts? I’ve only known I’ve been Celiac for about 6 months so just figuring all this out.