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badgerette

Cross Contamination & Loved Ones

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So now that I'm planning on staying gluten-free, I have the issue of living with a partner who does not need to be gluten-free. In fact, my partner really needs to eat lots and lots of everything. We're already vegan, so it's not that easy for her to gain weight and she really must maintain and gain, so I think going gluten-free would be a bad idea for her. For now, she has been doing it for me just so there's no cc, but this can't go on. What should we do? Is it ok to use the same bowls and stuff, after they've been washed? What about cutting boards and such? If anyone has any experience w/this I'd love to hear what you did to cope.

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One of the biggest signs of celiac is inability to hold a normal weight. Are you sure your partner doesn't have issues with gluten?

Dishes run through a dishwasher should be fine. If you're hand washing, be super careful with clean sponges and grabbing a fresh drying towel. If your partner does something completely natural like wiping up spilled pasta with a dish towel and forgets, you'll cross-contaminate the clean dishes. Just keep a stack of freshly washed towels around so she doesn't have to worry.

You will need a separate toaster, separate cutting boards, separate wooden spoons, separate colander for gluten-free pasta, separate seasoned cast iron (since you never really scrub it), and there are people who have run into trouble with scratched or chipped Teflon holding gluten. Anything porous or hard to clean should be separate.

You also want to be careful about crumb-covered knives in margarine, jelly, peanut butter, ketchup, mustard, relish or anything put on bread or sandwiches. Most people either get squeeze bottles or separate containers and label them to free their family members from worrying about mistakes. I would also strongly recommend that you ask your partner to refrain using wheat flour and purchase baked goods premade. If she really likes baking, I'd ask her to measure the flour and add liquid outside so the unavoidable dust doesn't spread around the kitchen. Flour gets into the air and lands everywhere! I'm pretty laid back about guests bringing bread into the house because crumbs aren't too hard to clean up, but I have a very strict "no flour" rule.

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It's just my husband and I, and he gluten a few times a week (pasta, bread, beer), otherwise just eats what I eat. Part laziness, part curiosity. Here are our major rules of the kitchen:

I have my own dedicated counter to prepare foods and he has his but I could still do this by preparing my food on a plate or off contact with the counter by using saran wrap, etc.

I don't usually eat much bread-like foods but if I did, I'd have my own toaster, waffle iron, bread maker, etc., kept in a separate place from all the other such appliances

I have my own marked condiments in my own place in the fridge so there is no transferance of double dipping, e.g., wheat bread to mayo

I have my own mixing bowls, colander, pots & pans,etc. (got pans for a song at TJ Maxx if you don't mind mix and match)

I use paper towels to scrub everything, including pots, and I never have to soak anything and no gluten residue on a sponge

Hasn't happened to me that I know of but I've heard of getting glutened by kissing someone who just ingested gluten

I think this all works because my husband was eager to learn how to be just as careful as I am, which is very helpful. I have grown to trust his cooking completely, even when he's cooking differently for himself at the time. So far it has worked out very well and he actually likes that he feels less stuffed whenever he eats only the unprocessed gluten free food that I do. But I am happy to eat my food and he eats his at times. He knows I'd never expect him to give up eating certain foods simply because of me. I think that's what makes it work. Sounds like you are considerate of your partner and on the right track.

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My hubby and son still eat gluten. I would add get a seperate can opener to the list. My son was opening a can of spaghettios and noticed it was going on the cutting wheel thingy. He asked if I had a gluten free one. I hadn't thought of it! :blink: I got a cheepo one from the dollar store and will upgrade later.

I've always had a habit of going barefoot around the house, but when I saw my hubby brush crumbs off the counter and onto the floor, I realized I should be wearing slippers or socks or something? So..if your partner does the same..just heads-up on that.

If you share a computer like we do, have a pop-up container of baby wipes to wipe off the keyboard if your gluten munching partner has been snacking while online. ;)

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Do like they said and also make sure that she washes up before and after eating, brushes teeth really well before you kiss her, etc. To give you an idea of the kinds of contamination to look out for and prevent, you may want to read the Going 100% Gluten-Free post I made on the blog linked from my profile. Not everyone has to have a dedicated gluten-free kitchen like I wrote up, but it will open your eyes to what you are dealing with so that you and your partner can make sure you stay safe.

My kids' dad was vegan for something like 15 years (during 4 of those I cooked for him). He had started to be vegetarian shortly before we realized our son really needed to be gluten-free. My partner and I have been vegetarians in the past as well, though she and I were eating meat at the time (we raise our own as well as buying other (pastured, organic) meat from local farmers). Our daughter had been vegetarian from the time she was 4 to 12 years old as well. We live in a city with active vegan and vegetarian communities. So we were well-versed in what it takes to eat a "balanced" vegan or vegetarian diet.

I know a lot of people say you can be vegan and be gluten-free and be healthy, but that has not been our experience. Our whole family ended up going to the GAPS diet, which is very meat-based (lots of veggies, too!), and we are all much healthier for it physically, mentally & emotionally. We still care about all the issues which led us to vegan and vegetarian life-styles, but we have found ways of addressing those issues that we now believe to be more effective in the world and healthier in our bodies.

The Vegetarian Tour of the Weston A Price foundation was one of the resources that helped us understand our experience.

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One of the biggest signs of celiac is inability to hold a normal weight. Are you sure your partner doesn't have issues with gluten?

I'm not sure, no. She's had blood tests to make sure she's ok w/her vitamins and thyroid, and the only thing that came up odd was slightly low platelets. But we don't know about gluten. It's something to explore.. and now is probably a good time, since we've both been eating gluten-free. Worth a try, so thanks for the thought.

We don't have a dishwasher or a washer and dryer, so that's tough. We always eat the same meals, but it's the snacks that would be different, I think (toast and whatnot). So another toaster may be in order, if that's the case. Thanks for all your input :)

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Thanks for your input! It sounds like we might need to get some separate utensils. I don't think we will be making separate meals, thankfully, but if we do plan on it, we'll have to look into that!

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Thanks for your input! Fortunately, I do not think I personally have celiac, maybe just intolerance. I am still confused about the external gluten stuff- shampoo and such. Why is that a problem? Any helpful links on that? I was feeling really great after being careful with my diet for several weeks, and I cook and bake a lot. I don't think the residual stuff on pots and pans got to me, but it's good that you've got a thorough guide to starting fresh. I will consider getting new pots and pans and cleaning everything once the last of the flour is out of my house. My pans definitely contain scratched teflon. I wondered about the baking sheets today, so I just used parchment paper for now.

Re: veganism. It's different for everyone, but cutting out gluten doesn't really make sense as to why a vegan would suddenly be "unhealthy". Humans went many thousands of years without eating gluten, and some cultures still do. I'm not sure that I'm missing out on any vitamins or minerals I would get otherwise. I've recently had my blood tested and I was good on everything except D because I live in the cold, dark north and it was spring when I got the test haha. I'm on a supplement for that for now, just temporary to get my levels back up. The only thing a vegan can't get naturally via plant based foods (although some may be found in certain fungi) is B12, which is produced by bacteria that live in the soil. Food is generally very clean now (i.e. we don't eat dirt), so many vegan foods are fortified with B12, but I take a supplement occasionally just to be sure I'm getting what I need. It's interesting how some folks are under the impression that you have to be super precise in balancing your foods, like you've got to be a chemist to be a vegan and be healthy. I feel like it's quite easy and I don't have to worry about it at all. In other words, I'm fine and will continue being vegan. :) But again, thanks for your input!

[edit] Also, I looked up the Price Foundation and found a lot of claims of quackery, as I suspected when reading the page. http://www.wellsphere.com/general-medicine-article/weston-price-take-your-pseudo-science-elsewhere/32629

Butter is not a superfood. Much of the world is lactose intolerant. Many people on this forum are lactose intolerant. Drinking the milk of another species is unique to humans alone and is recent in our evolutionary history. Anywho, I really don't want to debate about it so I won't, but I do encourage you to check out other websites regarding the claims of this institution as they do seem to be a little off, if not a lot... [end edit]

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Re: body products, etc.

I wondered about this too at first, and ran into several contradictory statements... Yes, you do need to avoid external products with gluten; no, it's just what you're eating that matters; yes, you should avoid gluten containing products, but only things like lip gloss and toothpaste; no, avoid all gluten containing products; on and on.

Some people report reactions via absorption through the skin, others don't believe that is possible.

And then I was standing in the shower one day and realized that when I wash my hair, sometimes the shampoo water runs into my mouth; when my husband shaves he sometimes gets a little shaving cream in his. I put on lotion (with my hands), and 20 mins later I might lick batter off a finger while making breakfast.

To me, this realization made all the arguments moot. The bottom line is that if it's ON your body, it WILL end up IN your body, so it shouldn't have gluten in it.

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I am gluten-free, my partner and adult son are not. Our home is 95% gluten-free because I am the cook. They have their gluten food away from home. They do have a box of cereal, soup etc on the very bottom shelf of the pantry and keep a couple of things in the bottom drawer of the refrig. The majority of the time they just eat the same as I do cause it's easy and it's good food. I do have a problem with my partner's gluteny (after a cookie!) finger on the computer keyboard :huh:

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I'm new to gluten-free, but have kept a vegan house for years... Going gluten-free has definitely made things healthier (less meat subs and vegan pastries!) but I've had to think a lot harder about filling foods for my husband. we have a LOT more rice now, plus I've been making larger quantities of everything so he can have seconds or thirds. I've found I also eat more without the gluten bloating me all up and sitting like a brick in my gut.

I have been playing everything by ear. We got new cutting boards and wooden spoons and a collander to start, and when I got glutened from watermelon on the wrong cutting board, I realized I needed to be more careful. Everyone is different but I've found a lot of off limits things-- I have to wear gloves if I make my husbands lunch with gluten, it turns out, and I can't use cosmetics with wheat because I blister and get rashy. I tested negative so I wasn't expecting this level of sensitivity, but this whole thing has been an eye opening learning process.

Definitely keep an eye out for kissing and drink sharing cross contamination! That one got me a few times before I finally learned to pay closer attention to my husband's cookie habit.

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Weird, I thought I'd responded but my post isn't here. I'll try again.

Thanks for your input! Fortunately, I do not think I personally have celiac, maybe just intolerance. I am still confused about the external gluten stuff- shampoo and such. Why is that a problem? Any helpful links on that? I was feeling really great after being careful with my diet for several weeks, and I cook and bake a lot. I don't think the residual stuff on pots and pans got to me, but it's good that you've got a thorough guide to starting fresh. I will consider getting new pots and pans and cleaning everything once the last of the flour is out of my house. My pans definitely contain scratched teflon. I wondered about the baking sheets today, so I just used parchment paper for now.

There is a wide range of people's responses to gluten. The post I mentioned was written with someone with autoimmune responses in mind. Some people really do seem to be fine with small amounts of contamination. Other people feel some improvement but hit a plateau and never really get the full benefit of being gluten-free until all traces are eliminated. Others experience a big improvement being "gluten-lite" but then get more and more sensitive to trace amounts. It's up to you to figure out what works for you, of course.

I think the parchment is a good idea for baking. As for the teflon - you may want to buy one cheap pan at the dollar store for now. Later you can decide if an investment in new higher quality pans is worth it to you. For the personal care products, you can call the manufacturers of your favorites. I'd also watch out for kissing your partner after she eats, or if she has gluten in her lipstick.

Re: veganism. It's different for everyone, but cutting out gluten doesn't really make sense as to why a vegan would suddenly be "unhealthy".

I'm sorry if I came off as preachy regarding veganism. My intention was to share my family's personal experience, not to criticize yours. My comment about knowing how to balance a diet as a vegan was not to say it's very difficult, rather to convey that we were getting plenty of nutrients and protein when we were vegan/vegetarian. What I like about the Weston Price Foundation is the focus on whole foods and the quality of the food and methods of production over the simple nutrient-based approach to health.

For a person who is healthy on a vegan diet, I agree that just eliminating gluten wouldn't automatically make it unhealthy. What I meant to say is that our family members were not healthy being vegan or vegetarian, and eliminating gluten didn't solve that problem. The dietary changes that resulted in many health improvements for each member of our family went far beyond just gluten-free. The diet we now use eliminates all grains, soy, most forms of sugar, and most legumes.

I'm not suggesting you need to switch to our diet, but if you are interested in learning more I have a GAPS Resources post on the same blog linked in my profile. The basics of the diet are that you start with a very limited diet of very readily digestible, nutrient-dense foods, such as bone and meat broths and fully cooked non-starchy veggies. Then you slowly add in less cooked veggies, home-fermented foods, and more meats. Then you get honey, egg yolks, ghee, eventually egg whites, apples, nuts, white beans, less cooked veggies, more fruit, all the while noting reactions, taking the introduced foods very slowly, and continuing broth as a staple. Many foods get reintroduced, but some, (such as most forms of sugar and most grains) never do.

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