Gluten Free Froggie in the Kitchen

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Adventures with celiac — why your shampoo should be gluten free

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my short life so far. But, like my aunt and Mrs.Frizzle say, that’s how you learn. Some mistakes have been not funny at all, others quite funny, and others have been funny only after the fact. And this is one mistake I’ll never make again and I’ll always chuckle at when I remember though at first I didn’t know what I should do.

Two or so years ago I had traveled to help some friends put on their annual fair for Deaf kids and their families. I love getting to help with it, it’s so much fun to be surrounded by ASL everywhere, especially seeing kids using it as their first language. But back to the story.

A few weeks before I had realized that my shampoo had gluten in it, so I changed it to one that didn’t. And boy am I glad I did! Not only is it a good idea to not be putting gluten on the skin of a celiac, but sometimes you can make other mistakes. The night before the fair, after we had finished setting it up, everyone went out to eat. I had planed ahead and ate dinner before going, but when we got to Skyline I ended up having a conversation with the waiter and he was amazing and after much deliberation, we figured out that the fries were one of the things that were safe for me. It was amazing to have a plate of fries from a restaurant and be able to eat it and not have a reaction.

Now, I also had a sinus infection and was on antibiotics, and due to inactive ingredients(lactose), I couldn’t have the tablets, only the icky liquid. But, I had discovered that by putting jelly or honey in the liquid, it made it taste less nasty. So, before going on the trip I poured honey into one bottle for this purpose. I also had poured shampoo into another bottle, which was exactly the same size and shape. Both were tinted with the same colors too. Realizing I could get them mixed up, I took a sharpie and labeled them.

When we got back from the restaurant, I was itchy due to the tree pollen and the benadryl wearing off. So, I was in a hurry to first off take the antibiotic as well as take some ore benadryl. I measured out the antibiotic and then poured the honey into it, slightly puzzled why it seemed a bit different than I remembered honey being. More puzzling was why it tasted so horrible.

All of a sudden, I realized I had poured the shampoo into the antibiotic, not the honey!! OOPS!! My friend and I were both freaking out about what to do. She pulled a book off her shelves and found that shampoo was NOT on the “induce vomiting list”. Still rather concerned especially that I felt like I was going to throw up, she called poison control. All turned out ok, thankfully the stomach ache only lasted 15-20 minutes and after that all I was left with was a really soapy taste in my throat. And my throat was rather dry for a day or so. So I kept munching on food to try to get it to go away (chocolate chips worked the best).

Thankfully there was no gluten in my shampoo, otherwise I’d have felt much much worse and for much longer too!

So from that I learned several things.
1. My friend and I, though both conversationally fluent in ASL hadn’t a clue what the sign was for shampoo. Both quite curious, she hunted it down in one of her ASL dictionaries and it’s a sign neither of us will ever forget.

2. Make sure your shampoo doesn’t have your allergens in it, and if you have celiac, make sure there’s no gluten!

3. Label things a whole lot better and before pouring something into anything when you’re traveling, double check to make sure you are pouring what you think you are!

I’ll never forget the look of shock on the face of the lady I was helping the following morning when I explained why I was munching on chocolate chips every 5-10 minutes! And while at first my friend and I were horrified about what happened, we later ended up laughing really hard about the whole event. It’s something I’ll never forget!


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