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What all do I need to do to my kitchen, in terms of preventing cross contamination?

I've seperated my dad's food from mine. I put all his in the pantry, and mine is in a cabinet away from it. Everything is seperated in the refrigerator. But, I'm curious about things such as ... what I should do with the toaster which he keeps next to my coffee maker ... is it okay for his cookie jar to sit on the counter ... stuff like that. The toaster kind of makes me nervous ... there is crumbs all over it. Should I move it? Clean it?

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I gave away or got rid of anything in the kitchen which had been used for gluten food - pots, pans, dishes, bowels, rolling pin, cutting board, baking pans, wood and plastic spoons - anything that was rough surfaced or scratched. I kept metal utensils, glass and ceramic bowels which weren't scratched, ceramic mugs, glasses. I had read that I might have to do this and it took me at least a year to figure out what I needed to discard because of the gluten tapped in rough surfaces. Gluten can also become trapped in counter tops so you may need to have your own area to prepare food on and either cover it to keep off flour dust or scrub it down before using the area.

Recently I read a post by a woman who had been diagnosed with celiac disease about 7 years ago. Although she was on a gluten-free diet she kept cooking regular meals for her family. Her Dr decided to repeat the lab tests to check if she was still having damage to her small intestine and they came back positive so she was still reacting to gluten. Recently I got glutened just being in the same room with a large pot of cooking spaghetti.

From what I have read on various forums some people can tolerate small amounts of gluten but many of us become very sensitive after going on a gluten-free diet. As time goes on you will understand what you need to do to protect yourself, what you can tolerate and what you can't. We all have gone through this learning process so don't be discouraged. My health is much better after 4 years of being gluten and cow dairy free.

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When I was diagnosed, we set up a gluten free area of the kitchen, and a section that was not. It was hard to remember to keep things in the appropriate area, especially at first. I was just as guilty as my husband who is not celiac, maybe more so because I had done so much baking and cooking in that kitchen that I had to break my long standing habits of moving where ever I wanted. But as time progressed we got better at it.

Eventually my husband decided to go gluten free too, at least most of the time. He has wheat bread on occasion, and uses his own bread board in the designated area, but it makes things a lot easier now that we mostly buy and cook gluten free. He has a toaster for wheat bread and it's on the counter where the crumbs can be contained and can't fall into the silverware drawer for example. We also keep separate jam, honey and peanut butter jars to avoid cross contamination.

It sure cuts down on the complexity now that we're a gluten free household 99% of the time, but I still have to be on guard when there's bread in the house, and especially when we have house guests; they have to be trained! I ended up marking my items with a big 'gluten-free' on their lids and instructed the guests not to touch those ones.

Best of luck with your situation.

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