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snowmom

Cleaning Kitchen After Diagnosis

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My 3 year old was diagnosed a few weeks ago. Cleaning and reorganizing the kitchen has turned out to be a monumental undertaking. At least to start, we plan to go entirely gluten-free, although we're leaving one cabinet empty in case we  decide that we can safely re-introduce down the line.

 

I know we need to replace our colander, knives, baking pans, and chopping boards. We plan to hold on to our stainless steel pots and pans, our flatware, and our plates and bowls.

 

There are many items I am unsure about. Can any veterans on this forum let me know what you did with these things:

 

The ceramic pot inside the crock pot?

Plastic and ceramic baby plates and bowls (these are for my younger non-celiac child but share shelves with our stuff)?

Baby utensils, which seem to be made of plastic (ditto the above)?

Sippy cups, which my celiac child uses?

Tupperware and ziploc containers, which my husband and I use to tote lunches to work?

Measuring cups, both plastic and stainless steel?

 

Thanks in advance for the input!

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What you're trying to do is remove dishes/utensils with pits, scratches, or cracks where gluten has worked it's way in and you can't get it out.

Stainless and ceramic should be fine after a good scrubbing unless it's scratched or chipped or bent.

Old plastic with scratches should be tossed.

For items your Celiac child won't use I advise marking them with red dots/marks using a sharpie or cheap fingernail polish. In the end, you'll probably just toss them because the energy and memory involved in remembering not to use them for her is greater than the benefit (that's what I found).

I don't know why your knives would be tossed unless they have wooden handles?

What you shouldn't do is bring home newly glutened dishes (if you put gluten in them at work, etc.) and wash them with her dishes. Use a separate rag and wash them thoroughly by themselves. Toss or wash rag.

You must (assuming your house is gluten-free) treat it like the contaminant. Separate and wash. Wash hands and surfaces it touched with soap and water and toss the rag in the trash or dirty laundry.

You have replaced your toaster, too, right? If it's a toaster oven a thorough soap/water cleaning will do, but a stand up slice toaster must be replaced.

If your daughter is celiac you won't ever be reintroducing her to gluten. If your doctor has lead you to believe you may, you need a new doctor. Children do not outgrow Celiac disease.

I'm sure most if this is covered in the Newbie thread in one of these sections. Coping? It's pinned to the top.

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Thanks. This is very helpful advice.

 

Just to be clear: we would of course not re-introduce gluten to our daughter, ever. My post must have been unclear. We might re-introduce gluten to our kitchen for other family members or guests, depending on whether we believe we safely segregate it. The cost of gluten-free foods is already feeling prohibitive, and if we can't find a way to work around that, we might need the flexibility of having at least some conventional foods on hand for us non-celiacs.

 

Thanks for the point about the knives. They live in a definitely contaminated butcher block, but perhaps we can toss the butcher block and sanitize the knives themselves....

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I didn't mean to imply you're being medically cruel to your daughter...they (medical community) thought celiac was a childhood disease that kids outgrow....and some docs (rare) still think that, and tell their patients the same.

Anyway, my take on gluten in the house is that if you have it there will inevitably be contamination issues. I allow a few processed foods in, or prepared foods....but ultimately someone isn't careful and whammo...I'm glutened. I try to make my son and husband eat it outside the home or in the porch. Then I stand over them while they use soap and water to wash up.

I don't buy many "gluten free" specialty foods. But the ones I do buy are, yes, pricey.

I will say the initial investment of replacing pans, etc. is painful. After that, it's easier.

It's also expensive to try to figure out what got contaminated if you have a mixed kitchen, so keep that in mind. All it takes is someone not wiping down a counter after a sandwich and you have gluten everywhere...and everything that touched it is contaminated....see where I'm going? Or, sticking a gluteny knife in the mayo... And leftovers get tricky since you must decide up front how to portion out food, what gets cc'd, because if the leftovers get glutened then the gluten-free person can't eat them... Then you gave to mark the cc'd leftovers in gluten containers....then you have to wash the gluten containers with a separate rag....

Get my point?

Some households are good at being mixed, but in my experience young children are terrible at not tracking gluten everywhere. There's also the cheating aspect - some kids will, others won't...you just have to discover what works for you.

Anyway, it's a process. You won't get it perfect the first time around - no one does. But you'll get there.

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I would definitely get rid of the sippy cups, even if they are the kind with smooth silicone tops that can go through a dishwasher.

My daughter is 4 1/2, and we had a totally gluten-free kitchen for the first six months. This was by far the easiest approach for us. Recently my spouse decided to keep a loaf of wheat bread at home, and that has made everything immensely more difficult. Although the bread is only used on a separate counter and we clean the toaster oven after each use, I'm still constantly worried about cc. I sometimes find crumbs on the hand towel that we use to dry our hands in the kitchen and often have to replace it several times a day. If you can convince your whole family to stick with a 100% gluten free kitchen without excessive strife, it will be so much easier.

Good thought about the knife block - that was something I hadn't thought of. Sounds like you're well on your way to a decontaminated kitchen. I hope your daughter heals up quickly!

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Hi snowmom,

I am the one in our family with celiac disease and I have children. Here is my experience with a mixed household...

 

We tried at first to have gluten in the kitchen for the kids. I found trying to supervise the kids who are old enough to do for themselves (ie making their own sandwiches) was just too difficult. I bought as many squeeze condiments as I could find and they really tried but they are kids and make mistakes...frequently. Then there is my littlest one who is messy and requires hosing down after meals (kidding!) or walks around dropping goldfish or Cheerio crumbs everywhere. Well, I just couldn't do it anymore. It was driving me nuts. And as PricklyPear mentioned, you have to be careful washing your gluten vs. gluten-free dishes and pans.

 

Given how difficult it was to keep myself safe from cc in a gluten kitchen, I can't imagine what you face doing the same with a 3yo. I suppose all you can do is give it shot and see if it works for you. I will probably give it a try again years down the road when my kids are much much older...or perhaps moved out altogether  :unsure:

 

My house has been gluten-free for 3 weeks. The kids are the ones who had the hardest time adjusting. They like sandwiches for lunch and there have been mass protests and meal strikes regarding the gluten-free bread....especially from my youngest. It took some trial and error to find a brand I like and I've demonstrated that once toasted, the gluten-free bread is really pretty darn good. So far, they seem to agree. It is expensive though. It was much cheaper to shop for gluten bread, pasta, snacks, etc. We eat a lot of whole foods and I am trying to learn to bake but our grocery bill has still gone up tremendously. I'm not going to lie, it hurts.

 

Oh, and regarding the knives, I threw out my butcher block and put them in a ceramic crock.  

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Prepackaged sushi, a Subway sandwich, delivery pizza....my guys think it's worth the soap/water/paper towel Gluten Police.

Anything else - gluteny hamburger buns for homemade burgers (so whole kitchen and dining room can get cc'd, as well as condiments etc.) they have decided not worth it.

Evidently I'm mean.

I'm meaner if I glutened, though.

You just have to figure out what works. It is much easier to be 100% gluten-free (though grocery trips are laborious the first 6 months).

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Thanks for to all posters for this input! These are very helpful comments. For now, our plan is to completely de-gluten and then assess in a month or so whether there's anyway to safely have any gluten-containing products in the kitchen (other than the occasional beer for us grownups!)

 

It sounds like it might not be worth the hassle, as some of you pointed out, especially since we also have a non-celiac toddler with very messy habits. But everything feels like trial and error right now.

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I have two celiac kids and one non-celiac preschooler (most likely will be DX when older).  Since our girls need a safe place our entire house (sans beer, my Synthroid and Daddy's shaving cream) is gluten-free.  Kids are messy so wanted to not stress over dropped crumbs!

 

Before deglutening my house I took a long hard look at what I was going to get rid of and repurchased those items (anything wooden, plastic, silicone, chipped, scratched, etc).  I slowly bought them and put them all on the dining room table.  Then I pitched all the open gluten items and donated anything unopened (also donated all the kitchen supplies to my oldest's girl scout troop for camping).  Next I SCRUBBED the kitchen.  Seriously, the cleanest it has ever been!  Next I opened the packages and started with new pieces for my kitchen.  I must say that it was nice to have new stuff - not piecemeal items from over the years.

 

I found that I really needed to concentrate on some areas.  Like the knife block and the silverware drawer organizer.  Then I had to start over with my oldest's lunch stuff.  All the containers I use (Ziplock containers) needed to be replaced and thermos and all that.  But now I have a new system that all works together.  Oh yeah, it was PAINFUL to toss all my spices and seasonings and those bottles that I use daily, but couldn't guarantee were safe from flour.

 

Once I got the kitchen in order I moved to the bathroom - medications, beauty aids, etc.

 

It's seriously a never-ending process, but it gets so much easier with time.  You'll get there. :)

 

Also, we seriously all went gluten-free overnight.  My middle kid really missed Cheeze-its and asked a time or two, but I found him BETTER snacks.  And I make my own gluten-free bread that is pretty stinking awesome stuff.  The kids love it.  The only thing I really, really miss is the ability to just run through a drive-through and pick up dinner.  Now I have to think about meals.

 

ETA: My husband does eat gluten lunches at work, but he does NOT bring anything home.  Period.  In fact, he's pretty good about reading labels and if he has ANY questions he calls before bringing something home.  In my opinion, the risk to my little kids isn't worth my husband's desire for an Oreo.  He can eat that poison at work!

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I think the cleaning the house from gluten is probably the worst part of this change. :( My husband is so upset over the possibility of my oldest having it that he's already been running around looking at what in the house we'd have to replace. I haven't broken it to him yet about the all new kitchenware until we get a final diagnosis. He's not gonna be happy about that one! 

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I'm not sure if I am doing dishes correctly. I have an infrared sauna that I use daily and helps me feel better, as I have other issues than celiac. Can I put dishes in there to sterilize? I'm not sure how hot it gets, but I usually have it at 150. I only use specific sponges/towels for each and make sure everyone is cognizant of what I'm going through and make sure they listen yo my rules, I'm some what of a hard ass but I do have to be for my health (life)! Thanks for whoever can help me

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18 minutes ago, Healthymom42 said:

I'm not sure if I am doing dishes correctly. I have an infrared sauna that I use daily and helps me feel better, as I have other issues than celiac. Can I put dishes in there to sterilize? I'm not sure how hot it gets, but I usually have it at 150. I only use specific sponges/towels for each and make sure everyone is cognizant of what I'm going through and make sure they listen yo my rules, I'm some what of a hard ass but I do have to be for my health (life)! Thanks for whoever can help me

Dishes do not need to be sterilized just because of celiac disease.  Gluten tends to be sticky.  Heating it up is not going to make gluten go away (except burning it off like on a grille or cast iron pan, but at those temperatures (over 600 degrees), you'll ruin your dishes ?.    A good scrubbing on non-porous surfaces (does not include plastics or wood) does the trick. Most dishwashers clean well too.  Dedicated sponges are needed for hand washing and washing dishes separately.  

Read our Newbie 101 tips under the "Coping" section for more tips, as I am sure I have forgotten something!  

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On 1/5/2014 at 10:40 AM, snowmom said:

Thanks. This is very helpful advice.

 

Just to be clear: we would of course not re-introduce gluten to our daughter, ever. My post must have been unclear. We might re-introduce gluten to our kitchen for other family members or guests, depending on whether we believe we safely segregate it. The cost of gluten-free foods is already feeling prohibitive, and if we can't find a way to work around that, we might need the flexibility of having at least some conventional foods on hand for us non-celiacs.

 

Thanks for the point about the knives. They live in a definitely contaminated butcher block, but perhaps we can toss the butcher block and sanitize the knives themselves....

Reference the knives, most of them have wood or a black type of plastic for the handle.  With plastic handle, isn't rule of thumb to throw out all plastic especially if it is textured at all?

 

 

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