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MandaSue

Cross Contamination: Do I Really Need To Replace Everything In My Kitchen?

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Hi. I am VERY new to this. I was diagnosed as a Celiac about 3-4 weeks ago and have been very careful to eat gluten-free ever since. My boyfriend has been very supportive. We both cook a lot at one of our places. We started using all gluten free ingredients (for my food at least-- sometimes we'll make two batches of something-- one gluten-free and one regular-- but are very careful with utensils and CC) and I've felt GREAT. (just to be clear-- we use all the same utensils or dishes in either of our kitchens--- but we make sure we wash them well before i use them-- and i don't use anything that could have obvious residue/crumbs (like a toaster, etc)

However, I've been reading things about those living gluten-free having to go buy all new utensils, dishes, cutting boards, etc?? my dishes are kind of "porus" (ceramic) and I still haven't had a problem. I also have many friends/family members who were either in the nursing field or knew someone with a gluten sensitivity and they don't seem to think i need to be that careful. I also eat out at restaurants with gluten-free menus and haven't had a reaction-- they assure me that they prepare everything separate-- but i would guess that they could be the same utensils that were just washed between uses?? I am confused by this and have many questions:

1) Do i really have to go buy everything new?? (i really don't think i could afford to eat anymore if that were the case)

2) I know dishes washed in a dishwasher are more "sanitized" than those washed by hand; is this true for gluten too??

3) I've also read about people being careful with even being near things with gluten (like dog treats, cleaning supplies, glue, etc). can someone please explain how this works? I always thought it was something you ate?

4)are these answers the same for everyone? or does it vary based on your level of sensitivity?

Here is just a bit of background info if anyone needs it to be able to answer:

Prior to being diagnosed, I had had "minor" but consistent stomach problems/"uncomfortableness" as long as I can remember. My stomach would often feel "tight, upset, or gassy" after i ate and sometimes i'd have sharp (often mild) pains. Usually, after i felt like this, my stomache would be "off" the next morning but nothing specific or unbearable. My symptoms don't really seem as severe as others have described.

After a conclusive blood test, my doctor basically told me that I should be strict with gluten-free diet and "do my best to stay away from it". She said that if I have a reaction, then just try to figure out what that was from and not eat it again. She referred to me to a specialist "just to be sure"-- and he told me the same thing-- and said just to call if anything changes. He said, since my diet was helping, no further tests were necessary at this time.

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I'll start by assuming that you are not in the small minority of us that are "super sensitive."

You are right that most restaurants do not have separate tools and dishes. They are washed between uses. For most of us, a good washing is all that is needed.

You don't need to replace everything. Most things that you already have can be thoroughly washed and then used safely.

Wooden utensils and cutting boards should be replaced. Toasters can't be cleaned--there are too many places for crumbs to hide.

Glazed ceramic in good condition should be fine. Metal pots, pans and utensils will come clean in the dishwasher. Wire colanders and sieves are problematic because the points where the wires meet can trap matter.

Cast iron pans pose a special challenge. Details can be found in other topics, or I can provide the specifics here if you need them.

Non-food products are a concern for many of us because of the chance of accidental ingestion. You touch them, getting gluten on your hands. Then you touch your food without remembering to wash, or you hand and mouth come into contact for other reasons.

In the course of my business, I frequently handle products containing gluten. I am obsessive about washing my hands afterwards.

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1) Do i really have to go buy everything new?? (i really don't think i could afford to eat anymore if that were the case)

2) I know dishes washed in a dishwasher are more "sanitized" than those washed by hand; is this true for gluten too??

3) I've also read about people being careful with even being near things with gluten (like dog treats, cleaning supplies, glue, etc). can someone please explain how this works? I always thought it was something you ate?

4)are these answers the same for everyone? or does it vary based on your level of sensitivity?

If you feel GREAT you are probably doing just fine. You can ask your doctor to rerun your celiac blood tests in six months and be sure the antibodies are going down too.

1) I didn't buy anything but a new cutting board, toaster, and wooden spoons. It's always nice to have a fresh cutting board that isn't scratched up and wooden spoons are cheap. Good luck getting all the crumbs out of your old toaster! I didn't replace anything else.

2) It depends on how you wash. If you do something silly like wash a gluten pasta pot first and get gluten in the dish water and on the sponge, and then don't change the water or rinse the sponge, of course you'll get gluten on everything. Use a little common sense and do the gluteny pots last. Dishwashers are nice because they flow lots of clean water over everything.

3) Feed your dog a gluteny treat. He eats it and gratefully licks your fingers. Next he jumps up and licks your face, and he got your mouth with his gluteny tongue! For people with dermatitis herpetiformis, the skin contact alone may trigger a rash. For others the bit of CC on their hands if they forget to wash, or that lick that lands on their lips is too much gluten.

4) The answers are NOT the same for everyone. You have to learn what works for you. Occasionally eating a slice of bread will NEVER work, but some celiacs tolerate up to 10 mg of gluten a day. (We've been discussing that lately.) We tend to get people at the extreme end of sensitivity on the board because it's hard to be way and they need a lot of support.

Hope this helps.

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Thank you both!!! thank you for clearing up the "cross-contamination" issues of non-food products. That, obviously, makes a lot of sense!!! I had somehow gotten the impression that people were saying they were concerned about simply being around these products. I do not have a dog currently, but was curious about that one.

I really don't use my toaster at all- i'm not really sure why I own one :) So if I ever decide I will use it, i'll get a new one first.

thanks again so much with all the replacing and washing info/tips. I realize a lot of this is "common sense". But, as you know, beginning to live gluten free is A LOT of info at once and I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing anything. I hope this info helps other people who are new to this too.

thanks!!!

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Thank you both!!! thank you for clearing up the "cross-contamination" issues of non-food products. That, obviously, makes a lot of sense!!! I had somehow gotten the impression that people were saying they were concerned about simply being around these products. I do not have a dog currently, but was curious about that one.

I really don't use my toaster at all- i'm not really sure why I own one :) So if I ever decide I will use it, i'll get a new one first.

thanks again so much with all the replacing and washing info/tips. I realize a lot of this is "common sense". But, as you know, beginning to live gluten free is A LOT of info at once and I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing anything. I hope this info helps other people who are new to this too.

thanks!!!

You got some great advice. My symptoms before being diagnosed with Celiac were very similar to yours. I used to get bad stomach aches/bloating/uncomfortable usually after going out to dinner. I just mentioned that to my doctor at a yearly physical and she tested me for Celiac and all my bloodwork was positive. I got an endoscopy to confirm and am glad that I did since I really didn't believe it. I had pretty severe (total villous blunting) small intestine damage. I really didn't have any other symptoms.

I am 100% gluten free (to the best of my knowledge) and have only had 2 times in 3 years that I know for sure I hate something with gluten. I had stomach cramping and my whole body felt like I had "tight skin" and I had no energy but nothing really severe. Sometime I have an "upset stomach" the next morning but I never really know for sure if that was from gluten. My husband and kids are not gluten free so we occasionally have gluten in our house but we are really careful.

Every year I get blood tests. After the 1st year I still tested positive but my numbers were much lower. Then I had 2 negative blood tests but last month I tested positive in my DGP IGA test which means I'm somehow getting gluten (or that it was a false positive). My doctor and the test rep feel that it's not one time exposure but I bought a gluten test kit and called every manufacturer of products I use frequently and can't figure out where it's come from . I've done extensive research and decided that I'm going to get a follow up biopsy to see if I have any damage. Although I'm very careful, I like to eat out and if I truly have damage again, I'll need to be extra careful.

So, there are not many of us out there that don't have many symptoms. We are very lucky it was caught early but sometimes it's hard because we don't know if we are getting cross contamination but we still could be having intestinal damage. I would just make sure you get yearly tests.

The diet is hard but also can be fun to figure out all the things you can eat. Good luck!

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Thanks again, everyone. I noticed everyone is very specific with the same wording wording of what should be replaced (like metal colanders, nonstick pans with scratches, plastic large spoons, utensils).

So, just to be clear does this mean that the following are generally OK (if clean and put through the dishwasher):

non-stick pans with no visible scratches?

plastic collanders/strainers?

regular saucepans (not non-stick) with some visible scratches?

What about "tupperware" dishes (plastic dishes for leftovers)?

Also, I noticed that the cermaic part of my crock pot (inner part that contains food) has some visible lines (caused by heat over time). I frequently used flour to thinken dishes. I'm assuming the crock pot should be replaced?

Again, I'm sorry for being so specific with so many "silly questions". I just want to make sure i'm understanding correctly now. i realize there are no gaurantees-- but all the general advice from those that have been doing this longer is greatly appreciated! :)

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No colanders that were used for any gluteny pasta! You just can't get those little holes clean! That's the point of all these " replacements". Anything that is porous, has little cracks, crevices, screw hole, etc where particles can lurk needs to be replaced. I replaced the Tupperware type stuff because. I didn't feel I could clean it well enough. I just get Pyrex bowls with plastic lids or the cheap "glad ware" with red lids for gluten-free. Glass bowls from before, I felt were easy to clean and don't stain from chili.

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No colanders that were used for any gluteny pasta! You just can't get those little holes clean! That's the point of all these " replacements". Anything that is porous, has little cracks, crevices, screw hole, etc where particles can lurk needs to be replaced. I replaced the Tupperware type stuff because. I didn't feel I could clean it well enough. I just get Pyrex bowls with plastic lids or the cheap "glad ware" with red lids for gluten-free. Glass bowls from before, I felt were easy to clean and don't stain from chili.

Thank you!!!!

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Hello, I'm wondering about ceramic cookware.  I had some ceramic quiche/pie dishes and cooked myself a quiche.  As far as I can tell, they don't have scratches. However, twice after eating this quiche I've had the same complete exhaustion that starts a gluten attack for me.  I thought I may have figured out the culprit when I read ceramic dishes can be porous.

 

What's the verdict on ceramic?  I am getting mighty tired of accidentally glutenizing myself, or being accidentally glutenized. :)

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Ceramic should be fine to use.  It is porous, yes, but not after it is glazed and safe for food.  If there are large cracks or chips in it I would replace it.  hairline cracks wouldn't worry me

 

Good Luck.

 

Colleen

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Ceramic should be fine to use.  It is porous, yes, but not after it is glazed and safe for food.  If there are large cracks or chips in it I would replace it.  hairline cracks wouldn't worry me

 

Good Luck.

 

Colleen

Thank you!

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Waffle irons (if you use them) should be replaced. I can't imagine ever getting all the gluten off a waffle iron. (and they're not really designed to be washed anyway)

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