Living and Thriving Gluten Free

Healthy & Whole Food Eating

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This is part of a beginner series. To see the others, click here.

Gluten contamination is a big thing. It's not always talked about as much as it should be.

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Image by: Photosforyou

Mainly because it involves a bit more work, and a real change in habits.

It's also an area where it can involve other people. Often, people who aren't completely on board with how you need to live.

It's trendy to insult and degrade the "gluten free" thing now a days. Unfortunately, if you're eating gluten free for health reasons, such as Celiac disease, Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, or a number of other autoimmune diseases, a gluten free life is essential.

Part of that is making your home either fully gluten free, or having designated areas that are gluten free. Along with that are some habit changes required by other family members, as well as replacing a lot of kitchen equipment.

We'll cover some of the kitchen basics here. There is a lot more to what will need to be done, but this overview will give you a jumping off place to start.

Whether you will have a fully gluten free home or will have only some designated areas is a decision that you'll have to make as a family. Keep in mind that it can be a lot safer to have a safe haven, particularly if you are still sick.

Any new items purchased should never be used for anything that contains gluten.

  1. Get all new items that are made of plastic and wood. This includes bowls, containers, cutting boards, utensils, colanders, strainers, etc. It is a good idea to get items that are a different color, so they're easy to tell apart.
  2. Get new non stick and cast iron pans, baking pans, pots and pans, and metal utensils that have any nooks and crannies, dips, folds, etc. Any fold in metal is a trap for gluten, so be sure to take a careful look at everything and get new items for gluten free only cooking. This includes even expensive pots and pans that have folded lips, or screws to hold the handle on, as well as cutlery / silverware.
  3. New small appliances, such as a new toaster. As well as any plastic or metal small appliance that comes in contact with the food, and has lots of nooks, cranies, and folds.
  4. If having a mixed kitchen, you need a counter that's a decent size that's only ever for gluten free food preparation.
  5. Gluten free food should be stored separately from gluten containing food. It should be in separate drawers. In the pantry it should be in a separate area, such as on one side, or on the top shelves. In the fridge and freezer it should have separate shelves, and should never have a risk of gluten food dropping on it. It should have separate door shelves, and again, should not have gluten food drop on it.
  6. You need to wash the dishes separately, and should use separate wash cloths and sponges. If you use a dishwasher, you can use the same one, but always rinse off all gluten containing food residue and crumbs before putting them in the dishwasher, including the silverware. If you do enough dishes in a day for multiple loads, then you can separate them to their own load.
  7. Label foods really well, and be sure to always include gluten free in nice big letters or get some stickers.
  8. Label the gluten free areas of the kitchen, such as the drawers, cupboards and counterspace. This is really helpful when you have guests over.
  9. Discuss the setup with your family, so they're 100% clear on the rules, and that they're on board with it. It may take people a bit to get used to it, so you'll have to be diligent. Be patient.
  10. Last but not least, always, always, always err on the side of safety. Your health is more important than letting something go, or not taking some extra precautions.

Yes, this can start to add up. I look at it this way: if I had some other health condition, I'd have to pay for pills, surgery, therapy, etc. With Celiac disease, this is my therapy; clean, safe, gluten free food and life.

You may get some pushback from others, particularly outside of the household, who may say things like "well, that's a bit extreme", or "oh, come on, that's ridiculous," etc.

Be aware that this isn't coming from a place of knowledge. Those kind of statements come from a place of ignorance. When it's family members, it can be extremely hurtful. When it's a member of your own household, it can be downright devastating.

Work towards explaining it to them as best you can. You can even share medical articles from Celiac organizations, to help them begin to understand.

But in the end, it's your health, and not theirs. It's your home, and it's your life.

If you ever have questions, feel free to drop me an email.

Thora - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This is part of a beginner series. To see the others, click here.

Here's a number of resources to help in creating and maintaining a safe gluten free kitchen:

How to Make (and Keep) Your Kitchen Gluten-Free

Making Your Kitchen Gluten Free – Our Guide to Preparing Your Gluten-Free Kitchen

Do I need to make my entire kitchen Gluten Free?

FREE Guide
10 Steps to Healthy Gluten Free Eating
GF 10 Steps Guide
The 10 Step Guide is packed full of tips, tricks, recipes and regular Member only tips to get you started on the road to living healthy without gluten.
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