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Almost Gave My Celiac Mother A Lecture...
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7 posts in this topic

Hey,

So I appear to have survived the holidays more or less. Aside from eating a few too many buttery treats (best gluten-free apple pie ever!), and accidentally eating a bit of stuffing (hey bro, is this gluten-free. Sure it is. Oh, this tastes like stuffing. Yeah, of course there's stuffing. Ergh...) Feeling sluggish today (could be lack of sleep) but hopefully should recover soon.

Something I did notice at home, that I never clued into before, and made me a little nervous not so much for me as for my mother, is that even though Mom has been diagnosed Celiac and gluten free for nearly 6 years now, she is somehow still using many old items, like the same cutting board (that we've had for a good 20 years), plastic measuring cups, wooden spoons, collanders, etc etc that she did before going gluten free, and that I'm sure my step-father uses as well for regular bread and such (he's really good about keeping things separate and clean, but he really should have a separate cutting board. seriously). I think she threw out some of the more scratched-up items. Mom tries to be very careful, is active with the Canadian celiac society and thinks she really knows her stuff. She's a lot better, but still has problems with dermatitis, acid reflux, and (I think) a bit of depression. I wonder if it could be linked to cc in the house that she thinks isn't an issue.

I didn't want to get into an argument (or mom just avoiding the issue), so held my tongue and washed everything really well before using it. But any suggestions on what I should do to get her to replace things? Buy her replacements? Say I'm super sensitive and can't use anything that's touched gluten? too bad I didn't think of this BEFORE christmas.

I'm back to my apt, where the only thing I still have that needs to be replaced is my cutting board (and cause it's got issues aside from possible gluten cc.)

Ok, enough for my concerned rant.

Any advice/experiences appreciated.

Cheers

Peg

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Has she had her antibody levels checked every year? If they are normal, she may be doing Ok with the gluten part.

For Valentines Day, get her a red colander and a red cutting board ( target and Walmart has had these). Tell her hub that red is for gluten-free stuff only - which is most everything except gluten pasta and bread! You can get red toasters, too!

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Kareng's idea of buying the red items is great!

I was going to say go ahead and give her a new set of everything as a special gift from you (your stepfather can use the old stuff so she doesn't have to throw it out and feel bad). I'm sure she'll appreciate it -- I know I would!

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I might just have to. New cutting board/collander/measuring cups for xmas next year or something, or early birthday gift for when I'm home in the summer.

They've got the toaster issue covered (4-slice toaster, 2 slices dedicated to gluten-free).

Anyway, hopefully she just isn't as sensitive as I am (and I seem to be getting more sensitive), but I do wonder if she would feel even more better using uncontaminated stuff.

Thanks all

Peg

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Just buy her the stuff that she needs. I'd zero in on the wooden utensils and mesh colanders first. Also a good idea to get them all one type or color or something, so that your dad will know which ones to use.

If your family were mine, I'd be much more concerned about cc from someone else eating gluten in the house and there being crumbs on everything, no one changing the dishtowels, the dishwasher depositing unknown particles on things, etc. My dad has is pretty clueless as to keeping my food safe from cc when I'm over, despite being told a million times, and no one can cook without making a giant mess of the kitchen.

If you can handle the slip and the dulling knives, go for glass cutting boards since they never scratch.

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Hey all,

 

I'm reviving this topic, since I need some venting space. I was just home for a week last week, and ooh man! It's amazing how many old things are still sitting around. I did mention this quite emphatically to mom, but she insists she "rarely uses" anything that could be contaminated, so it can't be a problem (really, she gave me the "you're totally overreacting, everything will be fine" look.) Ok, having old stuff in the house is fine, but NOTHING is labeled! I have no idea what's safe and what's not. I go for the "newest" looking items so I don't have to interrogate her and my stepdad every time I cook. However, my sister (also Celiac) is home as well, and I know I saw her using plastic utensils that should have been chucked years ago.

 

In any case, I survived the week unscathed, but I'm concerned about Mom's long-term health. She seems to be doing fine, but sometimes you don't realize something is bothering you until its gone.

 

For Christmas this year I might have to buy her some new stuff, whether she likes it or not. A nice new cutting board would be good (I used the "safest" plastic one when I was home, but don't know if gluten might have touched it before too), and maybe some labels/tags whatever to make it clear that this item must remain gluten-free. Mom and Don might each know what's safe and what's not, but if someone comes to visit, there's nothing to stop them accidentally using a gluten-free item for something gluteny, or vice-versa.

 

I love my mom, and want her to stay healthy (especially since there's a high rate of cancer in her family). She keeps up on the gluten free/celiac front, but I thought chucking things was Celiac 101!

 

Anyway, any advice appreciated.

Peg

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I say forget about the labeling where possible by having items that can be cleaned easily - metal. You should be able to find sharable alternatives for almost everything except maybe the toaster and the cutting boards.

When it comes to concern about your mother's health, I think you may end up having to bite your tongue about some of the cross contamination issues. Some people just don't want to admit some things, or feel that worrying about the little things isn't worth the stress.

My best friend and my sister both react to gluten and try to stay gluten-free, but they also knowingly take risks all of the time so that they can participate in the social experiences that they cherish without having to stress about the food. Your mom probably also has some nostalgia attached to her kitchen items that she just doesn't want to give them up. Even when you buy new ones as a present, she'll probably still use the old. 

 

And it could be much worse. I go to my Christmas dinner surrounded by a room full of people that I suspect have celiac, but all of them refuse to consider it as they pop the pharmaceuticals needed to deal with their symptoms. We've got personality disorders, thyroid problems, depression, diabetes, a completely disintegrated spine that is now half metal, sleep apnea, asthma, horrible skin, infertility, delayed growth, ear and sinus problems, obesity in some, extreme weight loss in others. Even the four year old has GERD and sleep issues. A few years ago, colon cancer would have been included on that list as well. Heck, if it hadn't been for all of their symptoms, I may not have taken gluten so seriously myself. But that generation before me is a great cautionary tale.

I'd buy a few gifts for your mom in the future, but pack your own cutting board next time you visit. And I'd try to focus on enjoying the time with your family as much as you can. You're probably going to have to pick your battles, one utensil at a time. 

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