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What Do You Do About Cross Contamination?
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I am the only one in my household with celiac. My kids and husband eat gluten-free meals, for the most part but I have a lot of gluten containing snacks, breads etc. in the house for them. They eat frozen pizzas, pancakes etc.

My question is how do I make sure I do not accidently ingest gluten. I have been gluten-free since September and still have a lot of problems. I believe it is because I am still getting gluten into my system.

What precautions do I HAVE to take. I would prefer to not go gluten-free in my household, since one of my children is an extremely picky eater and one has pretty severe reflux. ;)

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I'm in the same situation... I'm a mom to 3 kids, and my husband and kids don't have celiac disease, just me (so far, anyway)

This is how I handle the kitchen: I have a separate cabinet for all my gluten-free flours and utensils (labeled gluten-free so they don't get mixed up). I keep some of my gluten-free foods in the regular pantry, but only if they can be sealed or boxed up. I bought a new toaster that has 2 sliding racks, the top one is just for gluten-free foods, and I remove it after I'm done using it. I keep a separate peanut butter jar for gluten-free in my cabinet, and I have a separate tub of margerine and jelly in the fridge labeled gluten-free. I bought a new cutting board (different color) that I use , and store away from the nonGF board. I don't have separate towels and sponges, but I'm watchful of crumbs.

As for cooking, breakfast is nonGF, I make my own. Lunches are easy- I pack them lunches for school - non gluten-free. Dinners, however, I make gluten-free for everyone...except once a week we eat pasta and I make my own separately (they don't love the gluten-free pasta and it's really too expensive to make for people who don't even need to eat it) It's easy to make gluten-free dinners - its just a meat/chicken with a side of potatoes or rice and fruit/ veggies. If they don't eat it...too bad, I know that they won't starve...

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Sara has got it down pat!! I keep tabs on where gluten goes and wherever it goes my food doesn't. I have never had a problem with dishes. I store my food separately totally everywhere (in the fridge, freezer, cupboards and pantry)

Don't stress out it becomes second nature! :P

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:unsure: Oh, boy. This will be a challenge. I've been gluten-free for a month with only a couple accidents. But I don't store things separate like you mentioned. My kitchen is so short on cupboard space I have to store lots of food in the basement and all my pots and pans get stored either in the oven or on top of the stove! It will be a reall trick to figure out how to reserve one whole cupboard just for gluten-free stuff! I suppose I need to do it though to prevent accidents. We are just so short on space around here this house stresses me out. There is just stuff everywhere. I try to clean it up and put things away, but there is not room for everything and then my kids and hubby come along and leave stuff out again. It drives me crazy. Am I the only one in this household who has the technology to put things away???? :angry:

Marsha

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I don't have a lot of cabinet space, either, so I just use one shelf and two bins for my stuff. I make sure it is clearly marked, so my family knows not to eat it. I do not have my own pans and utensils, though. My canisters are different colors and stored in across the kitchen from the family set.

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At least you'll have cabinets, I haven't had cabinets since October of 2001 :D

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It's just my husband and I, but the only things that contain gluten are his cereals, his crackers, and the two loafs of bread. The portion of the counter where the bread goes is his and his alone, as it the built-in cutting board. I have a stack of my own cutting boards (had a stack before I went gluten-free, I like to cook) and pretty much everything else is gluten-free. Most of the reason for that is that we don't buy pre-packaged items, so that makes it a lot easier. For the numerous flours I got to bake gluten-free, I got some plastic tubs with lids, and store those on a shelf thingy that's actually in the dining room.

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Hi everyone,

I'm very new at this gluten-free thing, just trying to get started. I simply cannot understand the need for being so careful about cross contamination. I'm reading about CC on foods, make-up, vitamins, and prescriptions. Now, the counter and shelves? Maybe I still don't understand this disease! I understand where I'll feel better, without gluten in foods. I don't understand how traces of gluten, on sheleves, the toaster, in my make-up, can be so bad. Will my lesions not heal, heal too slowly, or just cause a flare-up in the tummy? I have to admit, the tummy probs are not good, so wish to avoid them!

Any help or advice will be much appreciated! I just found this board, and have read several pages, but just don't get it yet!

Thanks,

Nita

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Did you take chemistry in high school? You ever do one of those experiments where you add just the tiniest of amounts of something to something else, and it totally changes what you started with?

This is much the same. The thing is, one molecule (an immune system molecule) sees a gluten molecule, and does its thing. While it's going to take more than one single molecule to cause any true amount of damage, there are millions of molecules in particles far smaller than you can see.

That's why we avoid ALL instances of contamination.

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My family doesn't eat entirely gluten-free...probably because it's a pain in the neck to do so when you don't have to, and second, it's an unnecessary added expense. In terms of cross-contamination:

- COOKING EQUIPMENT: My family uses the same pots and pans that we always had, but I have my own pot, spatula, pan, measuring cup, strainer (since the old one is plastic and plastic is harder to get completely clean).

- DIFFERENT SIDES: When you cook a gluten-free noodle and a regular noodle at the same time, and you need to stir them every now and then, you start to wonder which fork you used to stir the gluten-free noodle, and which fork for the regular. Therefore, we usually cook gluten-free foods on the right burners, and the regular foods on the left burners. Also, forks, etc. used to stir or touch gluten-free foods are on the right, and ones used to stir non gluten-free foods are on the left

- TOASTER: Obviously, a different toaster oven...only my stuff goes in there and there is a separate toaster (that looks very different) for the rest of the family

- MISCELLANEOUS: Different cookie jars for gluten-free/non gluten-free cookies, and most of my gluten-free foods are kept in cabinets away from the gluten-filled processed junk... :)

As for why contamination is important:

I'm very new at this gluten-free thing, just trying to get started. I simply cannot understand the need for being so careful about cross contamination. I'm reading about CC on foods, make-up, vitamins, and prescriptions. Now, the counter and shelves? Maybe I still don't understand this disease! I understand where I'll feel better, without gluten in foods. I don't understand how traces of gluten, on sheleves, the toaster, in my make-up, can be so bad. Will my lesions not heal, heal too slowly, or just cause a flare-up in the tummy? I have to admit, the tummy probs are not good, so wish to avoid them!

Tarnalberry's analogy is good:

Did you take chemistry in high school? You ever do one of those experiments where you add just the tiniest of amounts of something to something else, and it totally changes what you started with?

According to my nutritionist, it only takes an amount of gluten the size of your smallest fingernail (short fingernails) to undo all the progress your intestines have made. Therefore, if you toast a gluten-free bagel where some other "gluteny" bread has toasted, you could be picking up enough gluten to make you sick. Even if that alone doesn't contaminate you enough, look at all the other sources of contamination. Every little bit has an effect...like in a chemical reaction.

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Hi celiac3270. I want to commend you for taking charge of your new diet at such a young age and also being a support to this group. You will grow up with out a lot of the health challanges us oldies have had. keep up the good work. Do you have any problems with your friends over this? I take it you are the only one in your family with this diagnosis? Hugs, Carol B

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i was diagnosed at 20 months and we remoldeled our house right after that so i have my own frige cupbord counter EVERYTHING. the people who eat gluten are on a different side of the kitchen i have my own toaster but not silverware. we wash our silverware by hand sometimes if they have had gluten on them. we are very careful about cross contamination. my sister has just gone on the diet and she is still trying to break the habbits of making gluten-free food on the Gluten side oln the kitchen. i now basically make my own food so i know what i am always having and i never have to worry about contaminatibno...

you really need to have differnt toasters because the wheat proteins stick to the wires and you can never clean off the wires cause they are too hard to reach.

just some thought

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Thank you Tiffany, celiac3270, Kalo, and Flag!

I very much appreciate the time you all took to help me with this! It is a bit overwhelming at first! I'm just starting the gluten-free diet, and didn't realize what harm some of the traces, molecules, could cause!

Any other things I need to know, please fell free to let me know! :)

Nita

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I really like celiac3270's idea of always putting the gluten-free utensils on the same side of the stove, but my husband is very forgetful! So we bought new spatulas, spoons, etc., and marked the handles with nail polish so everyone will know that they are for gluten-free use only. Now I never worry about scrubbing gluten out of my gluten-free slotted spoon! We also use cast-iron pans, which are "seasoned" with shortening and never washed, so I bought new ones for gluten-free cooking and marked their handles with nail polish, too. So far, no mix-ups! I often use a paper plate for a quick, disposable cutting surface--cooking gluten-free and regular meals simultaneously is hectic enough--and that cuts down on the washing up. And my pull-out cutting board is dedicated to gluten-containing foods. We (my daughter and I) are slowly but surely taking over the kitchen and our family's eating habits in general, and everyone is beginning to see that it's just easier if we are all gluten-free. (Two of us have celiac disease, two of us don't.) And since it's the cooking mommy who's gluten-free, what choice do they have?!

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Thanks Dana!

I see it is a big effort, when getting started! Thanks for the tips. It is just hubby and I, so I will probably do all gluten-free eventually. He can have a tv dinner, if he doesn't like it! :D

I can't remember where I read it, but I think I saw this somewhere. I don't have time to check it out right now. I just noticed my Mary Kay mascara has hydrolyzed wheat protein in it, along with my Rusk hair gel and sheen. Any idea if this will cause a problem? If so, why, on your hair and eyelashes? I've emailed for info regarding the skin lotions I use.

I also seem to be having trouble digesting the extra vegetables and fruits I'm eating. When will this stop??? I'm running out of stuff to try, that I have at home! Need to get out shopping for gluten-free products soon! I've already bought some mistakes, and plan to return those yet unopened.

Thank you everyone!

Nita

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Nita, the hair products can easily affect your scalp and the mascara comes dangerously close to your eyelid...like you don't have enough to worry about! As far as the fruits and veggies go, it's not at all uncommon to have difficulty digesting them for as much as a year after going gluten-free...but don't panic, just slow down your intake a bit and re-introduce slowly until you can tolerate them well. Remember your gut is in the healing stage, and it can take 6-8 months before that happens, at least that's what my doctor said. Try softened steamed veggies instead of the hard-core stuff. I know I was trying to plow through giant mixed veggie salads and they were going through me almost as fast as I was eating them...something you don't want to get in the habit of. Somebody on this board explained it to me and I adjusted my diet--now I can actually eat simple greens again without distress. You just need to take some time out.

One more thing about gluten-free cosmetics--I never experienced contact dermatitis before going gluten-free but I have since. I'm aware of everything I put on my hair and skin, at home or away--including at the hairdresser's, in a hotel, etc. Oh, and by the way, don't lick stamps or envelopes because they contain wheat paste. Thought THAT would make your day!

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Dana,

Oh yes, that made my day! Thanks for sharing! No more stamp licking for me!

I knew it was hard to eat raw veggies, so have cooked them. I just thought I could and should eat more of them and fruit. It's the fruit that I think isn't setting real well. Maybe I am eating too many, too soon. So, if fruits and veggies are hard to eat, at first, and most grains are out, and I've given up dairy, I think I'll starve!! :D Okay, not too likely, as I'll learn to eat something.

I have had the painful sores on my elbows and ankles for 8 months or more. I didn't know what they were, and haven't yet had them checked out by a dermatologist. Of course, they have quit, since my stomach took over! If I have another flare-up, will be getting a referral to the dermatologist. So, you think because of these, I should be more careful with the skin and hair products? I had one company tell me they didn't know! Can you believe that? They said to check in my local store, to ask. Like they're going to know anything! It was Victoria's Secret bath gel.

Thanks again for your helpful reply!

Nita

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Anther problem with the hair products and make-up is that you will undoubtably touch your face or hair throughout the day, and unless you wash your hands every few minutes you may have gluten particles on your hands. You might then touch some food and will accidently ingest a few particles of gluten. This will probably not be enough for you to notice any symptoms, but over time will keep you from healing like you should.

As for the fruit. Sometimes it is hard to digest the fruit sugars while you are healing. Go easy on the high sugar fruits for a while. Then slowly add them back in. You will know when it is too much.

I was able to eat a lot more things when I took a good digestive enzyme supplement with my food. Pioneer brand Digestive Enzymes and Herbs has been my favorite to use. I started by using it at every meal, and now I only use it when something is having a hard time digesting.

It does get easier. Just take it slow and don't be too hard on yourself.

God bless,

Mariann

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Thanks Mariann!

I'm sure this will get easier! I was telling my brother, who has similar problems, and he asked too, what can you eat??? I made more mistakes again yesterday. Stuff just doesn't digest or set well. I think I really know, just struggling with complying. Then paying for it later!

I thought of something after having my hair done yesterday. I have gotten what I thought were ingrown hairs (I have short hair!) on the back of my neck, after an appt. Then I read where that is a place for the skin sores to show up, also. Now I wonder if they are caused by hair products! Maybe, but not necessarily. I'm still waiting for some companies to get back to me, on their products. And you are right, I just ran my hand through my hair! I bet we do, more than we think.

I'll get some of the digestive enzymes, and hope that helps, too.

Thanks for posting, and the support!

Nita

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