Dear Toronto: Did You Really Gluten Me, Again??


The last time I was in Toronto, I (naively and unintentionally) glutened myself. Ironically, it was the same weekend that I was there to attend the Gluten Free Expo. You can get that story in my Glutened, Days After Attending the Gluten Free Expo … and No. It was Unrelated post.

This time, I was super cautious about what I put into my mouth. “When in doubt, go without” was my motto for the weekend (as it is any other weekend that I don’t have a serious lapse in judgement). However, I did a spa day for my BFF’s birthday and although it was a fantastically relaxing and detoxifying day, about 20 minutes after we left, my stomach had swollen to the point that it appeared as though I was 5 months pregnant.

The spa that we went to was Body Blitz. We did an afternoon in the therapeutic waters while a few of us had spa treatments done before returning to my friend’s apartment for a party involving a slightly larger audience. The therapeutic waters were AMAZING!! I’ve never felt so relaxed and detoxed at the same time. It was fantastic! I’d highly recommend it if you live in, or will be visiting, the Toronto area.

Body Blitz Therapeutic Waters. Source:

Body Blitz Therapeutic Waters. Source:

Body Blitz Therapeutic Waters. Source:

Following the Therapeutic Waters, I had a session booked for a Winter Warming Mud Basic Body Bake. It was ultimate pampering! As good as the day at Body Blitz was, as we were travelling back to my friend’s apartment, I noticed that I could feel gas bubbling up in my colon (sorry if this is a little TMI). This is usually a sign of me having a reaction to something. As we drove back to the apartment, I could feel my belly swelling, and within 20 minutes my stomach was swollen to the point that I looked like I was 5 months pregnant. When we got inside to the Party Room which my friend had booked out for her party, I had mentioned, to the girls who came back to the condo building a little early, that it felt like I had reacted to the moisturizer that was applied at the end of the treatment. When they said “Really?” …. as it was obvious that I didn’t have any hives or obvious skin reactions. When I said “Huh uh. My belly is swollen”, they looked down to my belly, and I immediately seen all of their eyes widen, as their jaws dropped, and they simultaneously expelled a “Whhooooaaaaa …..” They said that, had they not seen me a few hours previously in a teeny bikini with an obviously flat belly, they would have seriously thought that I was 5 months pregnant. There was so much pressure in my belly that I was incapable of sitting upright and spent most of the night stretched out on the couch. It was the most bizarre feeling to walk around “stomach-first”. Getting up out of the chair was also a struggle as I couldn’t really bend properly at the waist. When I would get up, it was in the same manner as someone who is severely pregnant would move into a standing position. Throughout the night the girls were still flabbergasted at my swollen state. They even asked “Did gluten really do that to you?” and my only response was that I could only assume so.

I had assumed that the moisturizer would have absorbed into my skin and that’s what caused the reaction. However, in talking with my Celiac friends at our Celiac Association meeting last night, they said that you need to actually ingest gluten in order to have a reaction. Did I accidentally have moisturizer residue on my hands and accidentally put my hands in my mouth? Or was it something else in the moisturizer that absorbed through my skin and reacted to? I’m not quite sure. I had a similar experience a few years ago at a local spa but at the time assumed that it was perhaps related to residue on the jug of water or the glass that I had drank out of immediately following my massage. In that instance my stomach had also swollen within a span of 20 minutes.

So, Toronto. Did you really gluten me, again? Or have you allowed me to discover that I may have another intolerance or sensitivity?

To answer this question, I’ve contacted both spas to see what ingredients are in both moisturizers in hopes that I can find the common link. Stay tuned!!

4 comments on “Dear Toronto: Did You Really Gluten Me, Again??

  1. Kayla says:

    Hmm, not so sure it’s a coincidence that happened twice after going to a spa. When it hapened here, i don’t think you ate or drank anything except water. Was it just a wrap that you had that time? I don’t recall exactly.

    • Yeah, I had a wrap and they applied moisturizer at the end. Afterwards I was waiting for you for a few minutes in the waiting area when I had a glass of water. It wasn’t long after, that my belly started to swell 😦

  2. Amanda says:

    That spa looks beautiful. But that’s crazy how you reacted! Have you ever read The Gluten Free Makeup Gal’s website? ( Her reactions to cosmetics with gluten in it are crazy. Aside from the obvious ingredients, Vitamin E is often derived from wheat (which you may already know). I don’t seem to react with GI symptoms to products with gluten, but the more I eliminate them, the more I seem to be sensitive to increasingly smaller amounts in products. I hope you figure out what exactly it was! Be sure to update us ..

    • I know, eh? The first time that it happened was a couple of years ago. I thought it wasn’t really possible to have a gastro reaction to it being applied to my skin so I assumed it must have been something in the glass of water that I had immediately following my treatment. But when it happened this time, it seemed all too familiar. I haven’t heard back from the emails I sent to both spas. I’m just getting over Strep Throat so my voice isn’t exactly clear. As soon as I’m able to speak sensibly I’m going to follow up with a phone call. I’m assuming it’s the moisturizer, but if not, in both cases I had a detoxifying treatment done. Could it be a reaction to toxins being removed from my body??

      I do follow The Gluten Free Makeup Gal on Facebook but I haven’t seen a lot of posts pop up in my newsfeed. Perhaps I just need to pull up her blog and read through them or add her blog to my Feedler App so that I get her post notifications. I’ve only been gluten-free for a few years so I still have some learning to do. This reaction was definitely a learning! :-/

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