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JillianLindsay

Gluten-eating Boys Contaminating My Kitchen :p

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I am recently Dx and gluten-free for nearly one month! Some of this is venting and some is advice-seeking :)

My husband and I are foster parents for a 17 year old teenage boy (I'll call him "T" :)). Both my husband and T are gluten-eaters. The other day my husband dipped his cracker in our hummus. Today I found toast crumbs in our margarine after T made himself breakfast.

The boys have been eating freely for their entire lives without having to think about cross-contamination. They've only been asked to be careful for the past month and I completely understand that it's a difficult adjustment and a big learning curve (for me too!) and mistakes will happen.

I have talked to them about not dipping foods and about cleaning up every crumb from their gluten-filled foods, etc. and explained that even traces can make me sick. Yet they continue to leave crumbs on the counter (mostly T, being a teenager he doesn't seem to even notice when he's left a mess anyway), etc.

I'm wondering... how can I keep my patience and continue to educate them without getting frustrated (or without getting angry at them) and without sounding like a complete nag all the time?! I'm already the primary caregiver for T and have to be after him about doing his chores, cleaning his room, getting to work on time, doing homework, etc, etc. as any parent of a teen has to do. Now, on top of that, I have to nag him about every little crumb and dipping his foods!

My husband has been fantastic, learning how to read labels along with me and he has been very supportive. T is a typical teenager and honestly doesn't seem to care about it at all. When I remind him about crumbs he says "yes, yes, I know" and cleans them up and acts all put-upon (gotta love teenagers ;)), as if I'm such a slave-driver for asking him to clean his own mess that will make me sick.

I'm getting tired of hearing myself reminding him, but if I don't instil that he needs to be especially careful and clean up really well after himself then I'll get cc all the time. However me "nagging' doesn't work, he just tunes it out and thinks I'm giving him a hard time. I hope this doesn't sound like whining, it's mostly a vent, but any advice for teaching teenagers about celiac disease and cc in a way that they can actually hear and absorb would be greatly appreciated! Parents of gluten-eating teenagers, what do you do in your kitchens?

Thanks :)

Jillian

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Just some thoughts, even though I don't have kids, my kitchen is gluten free because I live alone, but here's some stuff that works for a lot of people.

1. Separate toaster (that's absolutely essential!)

2. Buy your own margarine, hummus, peanut butter, mustard, mayo, catsup, whatever that could be cc'd and put your name on them. Tell your husband and son they are not to use them no matter what (with a teenager, make sure they don't run out of theirs). Or buy squeeze bottles of the condiments, although this could still be slightly risky.

3. If possible, have a designated counter space that's for you and no one else. Put up signs so T doesn't forget.

Good luck with everything, I hope this helps a little.

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i have a shared kitchen. we have two butters. one for me and one for him so that he can double dip with no worries. they are different brands so no risk of confusion. other things like ketchup that you pour out i dont worry about. also i wash my counters before i do any baking or cooking. that sounds anal but i feel like it is the easiest way. it also forces me to lean my counters every day :P

other ideas are to come up with an identifying marker that they will see and think of you. for instance keep a marker in your kitchen.. and on your containers wrote gluten-free or find a color coordinated sticker system.

as long as everyone is on the same page and their isnt any hostility you should be fine. compromise is. good.

toasters have to be separate along with any scratched cast iron or teflon. you also need separated gluten free woden things like bread boards and wooden spoonds. thigs like these are pourous and potential for glutening

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Im gluten free where my husband is not.....

We have a shared counter that I do my cooking on (and clean each time) then we each have our own counter where if he wants bread he makes his sandwiches or flour tortillas on "his" counter and cleans up after himself.

We have a spray butter which is mainly used on naturally gluten free foods but in the beginning we each had our own tub of butter and I would put gluten-free and/or a sticker on it that was girly so it would catch his attention like what is this haha (I'd also write his name on his tub)....

Condiments we have the squeeze bottles. If he wants shredded cheese I either take it out of the bag or he gets his food ready then washes his hands and then takes the cheese out of the bag without touching his food (or he has his own bag)... Peanut Butter we each have our own container (way easier).

A lot of the food in our household is naturally gluten free... occasionally we share somethings where I would have the gluten free verzion of something to go with it and he has the gluten version so we but the item we are sharing on a plate and then that way there is no chance of CC.

Our pantry I have his gluten things on the bottom shelves... then we have our shared shelves and then I have my gluten free cooking items and "my" stuff separate. Same thing with the ref. If he is getting gluten type foods he keeps them on the lowest shelf then the rest of the ref we share.

It is really frustrating in the beginning but as the 1st couple of months go by and they see how you are feeling and the improvements I am sure they will be more carefull =) Especially since (at least for me) if you are gluten free for a couple months and then get glutened it is almost worst then when you were first eating gluten items.

Good Luck!

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We've got a "shared facility" also.

The counter with the gluten toaster and his spot at the table is the only area that my son gets to use for the gluten stuff. The area by the gluten free toaster is only gluten-free stuff. The rest can be either, but it is used by me and I clean it.

You might just have to get in the habit of always cleaning a counter before using it . . . or always using a plate no matter what. As for items that are easily contaminated(condiments, butter, etc), we use a marker for my son's (contaminated) stuff because every so often he messes up and then knows to put his name on the container so my daughter won't use it. I've seen where some people keep a small bin in their fridge so that it segregates their items and is just an added reminder for the forgetful members of the household. I'm not sure how to enforce the "you've touched gluten, go wash you hands before you touch the <insert naturally gluten free item here>" . . . with my son, we just kept telling him (repeatedly) that if my daughter started having problems, then all the gluten items would be gone and we would take the house gluten free. It worked for him, don't know if that will work for you.

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I have a 'mixed' household, also. I'm the only one of 5 that is gluten free. I have my own drawer in the fridge with my condiments, my own counter in the kitchen that no one is allowed to put anything on so it's virtually crumb free and that's where I prepare my food. I keep my own toaster on there also. I cook all the dinners and except for the occassional hamburger bun or Italian bread, they are 100% gluten free. I bought a new colander, cutting board and Teflon pan. The only other bit of advice I can give you is to wash your hands before you touch anything that is going in your mouth. I know my family is touching bread and cereal, etc. and then opening the fridge door and microwave so I'm living in gluten minefield, but I just wash my hands after I've opened that door and am making my wrap. It becomes second nature after a while. I also went through a ton of paper towels at first, but now I have a hand towel on my counter that is mine alone! I throw everything I can in the dishwasher, but for those things that need to be done by hand, I do my gluten free items first, then the gluteny dishes and throw the dish cloth in the wash each night.

I was very paranoid at first, sure that I must be getting 'glutened' somehow, driving everyone a little bit crazy, but it's been a year, my bloodwork is back to normal and we're all still talking to each

other! It can be done.

Good Luck!

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Thanks so much everyone for your helpful advice :) I think I was feeling a bit sorry for myself, but having practical steps I can take makes it feel much more manageable. I will definitely make a corner of the kitchen that is for me only and buy a few items (cutting board, spatula/spoons, margerine, toaster, etc) that are mine only.

Thanks, and feel free to keep the tips coming if people have more to offer!

Jillian

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