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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to Celiac.com's FREE weekly eNewsletter   What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet What if my doctor won't listen to me? An Open Letter to Skeptical Health Care Practitioners Gluten-Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes

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I am completely terrified to eat anywhere but my home which I share with family members that eat gluten. I fear preparing my food and getting cross contamination. I am even paranoid about touching kitchen door knobs and light switches with the chance that my family members previously touched them and I will be touching them prior to preparing my meal.

Should I be sharing a drying rack? What about a sponge? If they prepare a sandwich with gluten bread and touch my gluten free condiments is this surface now contaminated and will I need to wipe it down every time I use it? Does this go for if I have friends that want to prepare things for me. Will they need to wipe down door handles and the outside of containers to prepare things for me?

Also with gluten free items, will I need to verify with the manufactures every time I buy a product to verify cross contamination has not taken place within their factory for my gluten free food? this is so much and I cannot help but feel like I'm losing a part of myself. That my life is isolated and everything I do is around preventing cross contamination, I don't care if I never eat bread again. Or any gluten, I just don't want to get sick or be sick... The worst part is I could be reacting to cross contamination inside without it being shown externally.

Please help me.

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OK, take a deep breath. Relax. It's going to be OK.

 

You need to read the Newbie 101 thread. It will explain a lot. You need to have all your own condiments - things that a knife or spoon might double dip in such as mayo, mustard, butter. You need to have your own toaster. You need to stop using any wooden spoons, cutting boards, scratched teflon or plastic containers and get your own. You can mark them. It's easiest if you have your own cabinet to keep your stuff in.

 

Sponges can retain gluten so it's a good idea to have your own. The drying rack should be no problem because the dishes are clean. It wouldn't hurt to have your own section of coutertop to prepare your food on, but if that's not possible, just make sure you wash the area well before using it. As for doorknobs and light switches, all you need to do is wash your hands before eating or preparing food. That's a good practice for anyone, gluten-free or not, to prevent colds or other illnesses.

 

Some processed foods are truly safe for us if we learn to read labels. Kraft for example, will always put the source of any of their ingredients - you might see something like, "malt (from barley)" on their labels. If you do, you know it's not safe. The law in the US is that ANYTHING that contains wheat must be labeled, and hardly anything uses rye, so barley is the one you have to watch out for.

 

It's a good idea though when you first start to stay away from processed foods, not because they are dangerous per say, but because simple plain whole foods - meat, veggies, fruit, are easier for a healing gut to handle. Once you are feeling better, there are lots of gluten-free foods you can find in health food stores and in some grocery stores. Udi's makes good bread and desserts. Against the Grain makes a great frozen pizza and breads. Canyon Bakehouse makes my favorite bread of all. There are cookies and Lara Bars (they come in all different flavors and are similar to granola bars or in some cases, cookies). And of course there is rice, there are gluten-free pastas, tortillas, and TONS of other foods that are safe.

 

You need to talk to your family and get them on board. If THEY are careful with their gluten foods, YOU will be that much safer from CC. They should also be tested because celiac runs in families.

 

Make sure you check any medications or supplements you are taking to see if they are gluten-free.

 

Have I left anything out? Probably, but there will be other folks coming along with more helpful tips. In the meantime, welcome to the board. Ask lots of questions and don't hesitate to rant or cry on our shoulders. We have all been there. But rest assured that it does get easier - to the point that it becomes second nature. Every one of us "old timers" have been scared and sad and angry at the beginning. Now we're easy going, happy and HEALTHY. You will be too. :)

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Here is something I posted previously:

 

I don't have separate dishes, plates, spoons, forks, etc. I do have separate pans because we wanted new ones anyway. We have separate colander for gluten pasta. A separate cutting board for gluten bread. A separate toaster. I have new gluten-free cooking utensils like stirring spoons. I have new "Tupperware" stuff for gluten-free. We have 2 dish sponges that we dish washer every day. One is blue and the gluten-free one is pink.

Basically, if its easy to clean, you can use it. For example - Colanders have lots of little holes and its hard to get the pasta out, so you need a gluten one & a gluten-free one for everything else. My stuff is usually red or I put red tape on it - Red cooking utensils, plasticware with a red lid or red piece of tape, red toaster, red colander, red tape on my butter tub, etc.

We keep the gluten bread, pretzels, etc to one separate counter in our kitchen.

What makes this work at our house is:
-people are willing to follow the rules
-my kids were teens when I was diagnosed.
- We have an excellent dishwasher.
-We can afford new kitchen things (we don't eat out twice a week like we used to so we saved money there)
- Red kitchen utensils are in style and available at Walmart and Target

If you can't trust the people you live with, it may be best to have some of your own stuff & keep it safe or re-wash everything before using. You could switch to paper plates and disposable silverware for a few months, until everyone gets the hang of it.          

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I share a house with gluten eaters. IMO sponges are evil. They're nasty dirty things that just hold germs and are cesspools of bacteria. Worse though, is when you share a house, once they are contaminated they are useless. Dishcloths on the other hand can be laundered. I have a stash of several dozen. When I make food I simply wash the counter, twice, the second time with a clean cloth. (I'm just paranoid like that.) Then I use a clean cloth to wipe down the surfaces I'll be touching while I cook, and I make sure the pantry door is open. This is usually stove knobs and the fridge/freezer door handles. Before I started doing this I would wash my hands so much they would crack and bleed. OW!

 

I have my own separate condiments, my own shelves in the pantry and fridge. I also worried about the condiment thing and the bottles, what if they are making a sandwich and get bread out and then get the mayo out and then I want mayo and the outside of the bottle is covered in gluten? Um... we aren't using the same mayo, problem solved. (And it seems that everyone in this house is obsessed with touching as much as humanly possible while making toast. It drives me up a freaking wall!) I do have separate dishes, because toast. Like I said, people here can't seem to figure out CC rules so screw it. This is what keeps me safe. If on the other hand, people in your house can follow simple hand washing rules, the transition will be simple and easy. It seems there are as many different sets of rules as there are shared houses. You'll have to figure out what works for you and the people you share a kitchen with. This will take time. Until then, just breathe easy and take things slowly. You don't have to have this all figured out overnight.

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Well, I saw your thread title, drove over here to help, but I see Barty, Karen and Addy have already covered it all.

These are 3 very wise women. Listen to them.  ;)

 

I'll add this: No need to be paranoid, hon. Absolutely nothing to be gained from being fearful and worried. Once you get the hang

of this, you'll be fine! Worrying  just gives you icky wrinkles and who needs those, right?

 

Welcome to the forum and just try to relax. You're going to be okay! Best wishes.

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What I've learned to do is write with a sharpie on a piece of tape on the lid of any condiment I use, "GLUTEN FREE NO DOUBLE DIP".  My kids are old enough to know that means if you need more, you just take a clean knife/spoon.  My sink is full of dirty utelsils now, but I don't care because I know they are following the rule and caring about me. 

 

I use plastic utensils and not wood.  I have a granite counter, no cutting board. I run everything through the dish washer.  I use sponges very little, dispossable wipes have become my best friend and I use them constantly.  I got a new 4-slice toaster and the left side by the wall (the more inconvenient side!) is the gluten-free side.

 

I have a shelf in the pantry for gluten free items, not really because I'm worried about contamination, just because it's easier to find things.  Start to find snacks that the kids like that you can have as well (corn chips, gluten-free cookies, salad dressings, etc) and it will be very easy.  If I want to keep something as mine and mine alone because it's expensive, I write MOM on it with my sharpie and they all know.  gluten-free pancakes are actually very good, as is corn bread, so we just have that now and nobody complains.  I strain my pasta before the others so I don't have to think about contamination.

 

My son has had an allergy to red dye #40 and yellow dye #4 and #5 for 10 years now, so I'm used to reading labels.  This became just another label reading task is all.  I make sure those dyes aren't in any healthcare products too anyway, so know I look for gluten in them as well. 

 

It's not hard at all once you get used to it, I promise!!

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What I've learned to do is write with a sharpie on a piece of tape on the lid of any condiment I use, "GLUTEN FREE NO DOUBLE DIP".  My kids are old enough to know that means if you need more, you just take a clean knife/spoon.  My sink is full of dirty utelsils now, but I don't care because I know they are following the rule and caring about me. 

 

my grandkids love the 'splat' method of dispensing mayo, jelly, etc - they can make as big a mess as they want, "splatting" mayo or whatever onto their plate - as long as they don't double dip, i can't yell about them throwing food lolz  ;)

 

all good advice, susan :)  righty-o about the expensive snacks/whatnot - hey.  i just paid six bucks for twelve cookies and you just ate them *all* - your cookies are $1 for 100 - you're dang skippy i'm not sharing!!   :angry:

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I haven't read every post, so forgive me if I've missed something -- but I think unless you are one of the super-sensitive ones, or you've been struggling, undiagnosed, for a long time, you can take things a little easier --

 

I only have my own cutting board, butter and toaster.  Everyone knows not to use those.  I do have a good dishwasher, which helps.  And I do think I was once glutened by kissing my husband who had just had a muffin!  I check the colander, and rinse it and any pans before using, but I used to do that anyway.  And I wash my hands before preparing any food for myself.  As for condiments, I guess if I used mustard or jam, I'd want to have my own, but everything else gets poured out.  And, I bought that squeeze mayo for the house -- it's a little less cost effective, but we don't use much mayo, and this way I can be sure it isn't getting 'crumby'.

 

Oh, and i agree with getting everyone used to gluten-free snacks -- my kids like many of my snacks, and even though they''re more expensive, I've decided it's better all around if there's less gluten in the house.  We eat a lot more chips and salsa than we used to!

 

Admittedly, I think they caught my celiac pretty early on, and we don't cook that much, so you may need to be more careful, but you need liveable accomodations.  Hope this helps.

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As others have said, get your own cutting board, collander, toaster, anything that is hard to clean or could absorb stuff/get stuff stuck in it. If it needs to stay gluten-free, label it.

 

I live on my own, so no worries there, but I was just home for a week where, even though my Mom is celiac and has been eating gluten-free for at least 7 years, there's still old gluteny utencils and pots and cutting boards and NOTHING IS LABELLED! I kept just using whatever looked newest. There's not a lot of gluten around other than regular bread for my stepdad, and occasionally stuff for our nieces, but I have no idea what's used for gluten and what's not. Tried to talk to mom about it, but she gave me a "you're totally overreacting and of course it's all ok" kind of look, and she's an active member of the Celiac Society, so it kind of baffles me... (Anyway, I won't get into that...). I seem to have survived, at least.

 

In any case, unless you are super sensitive (which might take a while to determine) you should be ok by following the basic rules. No shared wood/plastic/teflon. Use a separate sponge. No double-dipping, etc.

 

Take a deep breath. You'll be fine.

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I swear, you'll get through this phase. I had plenty of fear early on and then, in the fourth month, had a week where I was afraid to eat just about anything after getting glutened fairly badly from cross contamination in a restaurant.

It does get easier. You'll get better at it. You'll learn from every mistake. And your family will get better too.

And I think you should cut yourself some slack that part of this "terror" you describe is probably related to the after effects of having been glutened. It takes days to recover at best, and often leaves us feeling worse for wear for long enough that we've spent too much time with negative thoughts.

Pretty soon, you'll be counting the length of time since your last accidental glutening in weeks rather than days, and soon it will be in months. You'll have all sorts of tricks up your sleeve for serving gluten-free meals to your family without them even realizing it. And you'll have added a few new favorite dishes to everyone's repetoire that give you a sense of accomplishment and the ability to relax a little about safety concerns.

It will get better.

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