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bridgetm

Living With Three Roommates Who "understand"

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I'm living in a campus apartment this year-- full kitchen, big fridge and freezer :)-- with three other girls. They all cook fairly often and we all snack a lot so there are always crumbs around. One of them comes from a family of Celiacs though she doesn't have it herself so she understands the CC issue, but apparently we are all too busy to pick up after ourselves properly and I am becoming concerned.

I have separate (and well labeled) pots, pans, spatulas, etc. and usually wash my own dishes as soon as I'm done with them but occasionally something will end up near the sink and someone will decide to finally wash her own dishes and do mine as well (without switching to my dedicated gluten-free sponge. Grrr!). I appreciate the effort, but... And then there are the crumbs everywhere. I am almost tempted to do all my prep in my room on my desk where I know without a doubt there are no gluten crumbs.

I am not super sensitive (and actually I fall under the gluten intolerance category; my biopsy came after I started the diet and was negative), but I have noticed that tell-tale gut inflammation and bloating and the mild brain fog that comes with accumulated CC. If I ask questions while I watch one of my roommates cook and clean with questionable practices, I always get the "Don't worry. I'll clean it up. I know what you need" response but I'm starting to think they say this to shut me up.

Any tips??? I'm going crazy.... And I think part of that craziness can be attributed to the effects of the CC.

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I am almost tempted to do all my prep in my room on my desk where I know without a doubt there are no gluten crumbs.

That is what I would likely do as well as keeping all my utensils, pots and pans etc in your room. Perhaps get a dishpan and put your dirty rinsed dishes in there when you don't feel like washing right away. Cover them with a dishrag and a post it saying don't wash please.

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First, let me say..I don't think there's any way someone without the gluten reaction could fully understand cc?

It just doesn't compute with them sometimes? I live in a household that's not gluten-free and find hazzards everywhere I turn!

For prepping food I have a couple of plastic place mats that can easily be wiped off after using. It ensures I will have a cc free surface every time. I also have a dish bin I keep my cooking utensils, etc. in. I wash everything up right away and put it on the shelf with a red tea towel over it.

The suggestion to rinse your dishes and pans and place a towel over until you can properly wash them is a good one.

I also learned from others here that using red for your items is a good idea.

Good luck..I hope you can get a system sorted out.

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Can you four create a schedule of who cleans the kitchen on what day? Or do it by the week? Yes, this means that you would need to be part of the rotation however, you can wear gloves to clean. Do not try to create a cleaning schedule that does not include you because you do use the kitchen too so you need to be just as accountable as you want them to be. I had a roommate senior year who was on

Or you could get those thin flexible cutting boards and only prep your food on them and wash your dishes when you are done. And was the counter space that you are going to use prior to use

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Raven has an excellent idea. Living with roommates tha have different expectations on cleaning can be hard even if you didn't have gluten intolerance. Just having issues with their level of cleanliness can cause a lot of tension. I would do as raven suggested and keep a dish pan for your dishes so you can wash them with your gluten-free sponges/dish towels. Your roommate's celiac family members expectations/standards for a gluten-free friendly living space may be different than yours OR they might just be tired of hearing you ask. You shouldn't have to worry about them contaminating your dishes and work space, but they may never actually understand or remmember to not wash your dishes and clean up crumbs. Avoid the confrontation and added stress by just removing your stuff from the equation and watching out for yourself. Sometiems we have to do that even for non-gluten related things just to keep the peace.

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I do have a lot of red (a strainer, spatulas, sponge). My pots and pans aren't red and I ran out of red tape and ribbon, but they look different enough from theirs (and are in their own cabinet labeled with a pink post-it and red sharpie) that they haven't been too much of a concern. I also started keeping separate butter, peanut butter and such.

I agree that we need a cleaning schedule. Even if the CC weren't an issue, the messes have gotten ridiculous. I will definitely be pitching that idea shortly. I plan on raiding my mom's kitchen this weekend for a cutting board or baking sheet I can do my prep on. Maybe I'll get some place mats too. Sometimes it's hard to believe that separating my things isn't enough. I thought my post-its everywhere would be pretty effective.

Thank you all for your suggestions!!!

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I do have a lot of red (a strainer, spatulas, sponge). My pots and pans aren't red and I ran out of red tape and ribbon, but they look different enough from theirs (and are in their own cabinet labeled with a pink post-it and red sharpie) that they haven't been too much of a concern. I also started keeping separate butter, peanut butter and such.

I agree that we need a cleaning schedule. Even if the CC weren't an issue, the messes have gotten ridiculous. I will definitely be pitching that idea shortly. I plan on raiding my mom's kitchen this weekend for a cutting board or baking sheet I can do my prep on. Maybe I'll get some place mats too. Sometimes it's hard to believe that separating my things isn't enough. I thought my post-its everywhere would be pretty effective.

Thank you all for your suggestions!!!

Is your Mom's kitchen gluten free? If not you would be better off going to a discount or dollar store for the cutting board.

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Is your Mom's kitchen gluten free? If not you would be better off going to a discount or dollar store for the cutting board.

My mom's kitchen is fairly gluten free... I didn't crack down too hard since it takes more than a couple of crumbs to really get me. But I suppose it would be a smarter idea to buy something new and 100% CC free instead of just taking a step or two up from what I'm using now.

It may have been you, Raven, but I am not sure... Anyway, someone mentioned that my roommate's CC standards could be different from my own. This actually came up over drinks last night; her mom is the type to say that a bite or two of gluten is worth the consequences. Thus, she can get away with the, "Oh, don't worry. I'll wipe it up," method. Now I will definitely be cracking down in our kitchen.

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Wow, it sounds like I wrote this! I am living on campus with 3 others and it is extremely frustrating. Things that I "normally" shouldn't frustrate me do. They don't understand although they say they do! I don't think people realize how it affects our WHOLE life. Sometimes, it's like I don't want to see anyone and I wish everyone would just leave me alone. and quit asking me questions about celiac and my gluten free diet... I never thought about the separate sponge or anything! I guess that would include kitchen towels used for drying too.. :/

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[quote name='bridgetm' timestamp='1316526709' post='732237'

Any tips??? I'm going crazy.... And I think part of that craziness can be attributed to the effects of the CC.

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If you don't want to do the food prep in your room, how about a foldable card table or something you can set up close to the kitchen area?

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If you don't want to do the food prep in your room, how about a foldable card table or something you can set up close to the kitchen area?

That's a great idea!! It hadn't even crossed my mind. I got a cutting board I can use as a clean surface, but I would really like more safe work space. I will definitely look into it.

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Wow, it sounds like I wrote this! I am living on campus with 3 others and it is extremely frustrating. Things that I "normally" shouldn't frustrate me do. They don't understand although they say they do! I don't think people realize how it affects our WHOLE life. Sometimes, it's like I don't want to see anyone and I wish everyone would just leave me alone. and quit asking me questions about celiac and my gluten free diet... I never thought about the separate sponge or anything! I guess that would include kitchen towels used for drying too.. :/

Exactly! I don't mind explaining the condition to people who genuinely want to know, but I hate dealing with the people who think they know and think they're being helpful when they are actually not. "Oh, of course I'll wipe it up. I know how importance it is." And then you find a pile of crumbs and if you question them the response is, "but it's only a crumb. Does that really scare you??"

I had mentioned something about missing the seasonal pumpkin beer (BTW: Anyone of gluten free varieties???). We went out to a bar that same night and found one of those table tent things advertising a new apple beer that had just arrived for the season. My friend said, "That sounds like something you'd like, but I bet you're too scared to try it." I'm not scared; I'm just not stupid. A swallow of seasonal beer is not worth the two + weeks of hell it would bring on when I have a perfectly good rum and coke in front of me.

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Exactly! I don't mind explaining the condition to people who genuinely want to know, but I hate dealing with the people who think they know and think they're being helpful when they are actually not. "Oh, of course I'll wipe it up. I know how importance it is." And then you find a pile of crumbs and if you question them the response is, "but it's only a crumb. Does that really scare you??"

I had mentioned something about missing the seasonal pumpkin beer (BTW: Anyone of gluten free varieties???). We went out to a bar that same night and found one of those table tent things advertising a new apple beer that had just arrived for the season. My friend said, "That sounds like something you'd like, but I bet you're too scared to try it." I'm not scared; I'm just not stupid. A swallow of seasonal beer is not worth the two + weeks of hell it would bring on when I have a perfectly good rum and coke in front of me.

It's definitely better to be safe than sorry! People just don't understand how gluten affects us. It's annoying. Btw, I briefly mentioned about using my own g.f. towel for drying and one replied, "We'll let you." Well, gee thanks...I don't need your permission. (I'm probably making it bigger than it is, but still!) Concerning the kitchen, I feel so bossy telling them how they need to clean up, so half the time I end up cleaning up the crumbs before I cook anything (which of course take more of my time but whatever I have to do, I guess)

I hate trying to defend myself and explain why I do what I do. For example, why I don't want to go hang out because I'm too tired and don't feel like it. Or why I take little naps throughout the day (because I need to). Why can't they just leave me alone and quit asking questions?! It's amazing how this celiac has affected my mood, too. "Be happy!" one of my roommates told me. That is not the "normal" me. Just waiting, waiting, waiting for this gluten free diet to kick in. Hoping to notice a difference soon. Well, thanks for letting me vent. Good luck with your roommates.

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It's definitely better to be safe than sorry! People just don't understand how gluten affects us. It's annoying. Btw, I briefly mentioned about using my own g.f. towel for drying and one replied, "We'll let you." Well, gee thanks...I don't need your permission. (I'm probably making it bigger than it is, but still!) Concerning the kitchen, I feel so bossy telling them how they need to clean up, so half the time I end up cleaning up the crumbs before I cook anything (which of course take more of my time but whatever I have to do, I guess)

I hate trying to defend myself and explain why I do what I do. For example, why I don't want to go hang out because I'm too tired and don't feel like it. Or why I take little naps throughout the day (because I need to). Why can't they just leave me alone and quit asking questions?! It's amazing how this celiac has affected my mood, too. "Be happy!" one of my roommates told me. That is not the "normal" me. Just waiting, waiting, waiting for this gluten free diet to kick in. Hoping to notice a difference soon. Well, thanks for letting me vent. Good luck with your roommates.

This is a great place to vent. I think these living situations are so frustrating because it should be common courtesy to clean up after yourself even if your crumbs won't make anyone sick. No one can understand unless they're dealing with it themselves. I've found that there is a fine line between people who don't understand/don't care and people know exactly what you can't have and start to think that the word gluten is taboo. I have a friend who tends to be overly apologetic about everything. If I'm sitting with her while she's eating something she'll say, "This is really good. I want some more... Oh, no. I'm sorry. I don't want anymore, I won't talk about it, I'm sorry, I'll just throw it away, I'm sorry." Once I yelled, "Just eat it!!!" I always want to get up and walk away, but she misinterprets that and thinks she needs to apologize more.

It might take a while for you to notice the affects of eating gluten free, but it is totally worth it! I should mention that I tested negative for Celiac (though I was tested after going gluten-free) so what I have is really 'gluten intolerance,' but I treat it the same way: Strict diet (I can usually handle small amounts of CC), lots of supplements and constant vigilance. One of my doctors wants me to start eating it again so I can be tested, but it's not worth it. It seems to work, so I'm going to let it work.

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This is a great place to vent. I think these living situations are so frustrating because it should be common courtesy to clean up after yourself even if your crumbs won't make anyone sick. No one can understand unless they're dealing with it themselves. I've found that there is a fine line between people who don't understand/don't care and people know exactly what you can't have and start to think that the word gluten is taboo. I have a friend who tends to be overly apologetic about everything. If I'm sitting with her while she's eating something she'll say, "This is really good. I want some more... Oh, no. I'm sorry. I don't want anymore, I won't talk about it, I'm sorry, I'll just throw it away, I'm sorry." Once I yelled, "Just eat it!!!" I always want to get up and walk away, but she misinterprets that and thinks she needs to apologize more.

It might take a while for you to notice the affects of eating gluten free, but it is totally worth it! I should mention that I tested negative for Celiac (though I was tested after going gluten-free) so what I have is really 'gluten intolerance,' but I treat it the same way: Strict diet (I can usually handle small amounts of CC), lots of supplements and constant vigilance. One of my doctors wants me to start eating it again so I can be tested, but it's not worth it. It seems to work, so I'm going to let it work.

yeah, I don't like when people are apologetic. It's just the way it is - I can't eat gluten and they can. Thankfully, I haven't run into anyone that is "overly apologetic" that you described, but I would probably yell the same thing!! If the gluten free diet works for you, I wouldn't see a need to start eating gluten again just to be tested! That just sounds crazy.

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