Setting Up A Gluten Free Kitchen
Take some time to turn your kitchen, and your home, into a gluten free zone; your stomach will thank you for it! ~ Vedam
Below is an excerpt from “Vedam’s Gluten Free & Fabulous: Recipes From A Gay Southern Househusband”
There will be a few things you will need to do to prepare your kitchen for your new gluten free lifestyle. They are basically divided into two categories based on whether you are 1) a person who has been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, or 2) a person who is gluten intolerant.
If you fall into the first category, you will have to remove ALL TRACES of gluten from your kitchen cupboards and cabinets. You will have to either buy new containers that hold your flour, new measuring spoons, baking dishes, sifters, etc., or completely sterilize these items. Some resources claim that washing something in a dishwasher is sufficient; others say not to chance it. I suggest you consult with your physician, and you will have to make those decisions on your own. I do want you to be VERY conscious about cross contamination. Cross contamination can happen in ways that you would not even consider, and I will discuss that later in this chapter.
If you are like me, someone who is gluten sensitive, the things that you will have to change will be determined by your level of sensitivity. For some, they are almost as sensitive to gluten as a person that has been diagnosed with Celiac, and the symptoms can be almost exactly the same. No matter your level of sensitivity, the changes that you make are VERY important!!
I really don’t know my level of sensitivity at the time of my diagnosis, and it really doesn’t matter, simply because my sensitivity has changed since I have removed gluten from my diet. Now that I am not exposed on a daily basis to any type of gluten, when I am exposed, I can tell! I have had symptoms of hives, allergy symptoms very similar to a hay fever attack, sore and swollen joints, and the infamous continuous trots to the bathroom.
At the time of my diagnosis, I did buy all new ingredients, such as new flours, and other baking items just to be safe. I also bought new flour containers, and a new flour sifter. I was satisfied that simply washing all of my dishes, measuring cups, spoons, etc. would sufficiently remove the past traces of gluten; however, I had to be VERY careful about cross contamination. I had to consider things like my toaster oven, and make sure all of those items had been thoroughly cleaned. As time went by, I had to also consider other items because there were still gluten based products in my kitchen. Yes, I do 98% of the grocery shopping and cooking; however, visitors will bring sandwich bread, cookies, crackers, etc. into the house. They are trying to be kind, and not use my bread; however, they use my toaster, and sometimes ‘double dip’ into condiments. Sounds harmless, right? But what if they toast their bread in my toaster… crumbs are going to be left behind, and then when I toast my gluten free bread, it comes in contact with crumbs that could send my digestive tract into a frenzy. Another example… they make a sandwich with their bread, and use a clean knife to dip into the mayonnaise jar, but they did not get enough mayo on the first visit into the jar, and double dip to get more, to finish their sandwich. They, unintentionally, have now contaminated the mayo for me. And don’t forget about peanut butter; has it be exposed to gluten? You may want to get your own jar of mayo or peanut butter, and mark it as yours! Or, lets say, we are sharing salsa or a dip. They bought their crackers, and I have mine, however, we are using the same salsa… cross contamination!
It does not matter if you are gluten sensitive, or have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, any amount of gluten exposure can make a person very sick, or in the least, miserable for a few hours.
One more thing that I want to mention, because it knocked me over with surprise, CHECK THE INGREDIENTS OF THE ITEMS IN YOUR PANTRY AND REFRIGERATOR. I was SHOCKED to find gluten hidden in items that I had no clue would contain gluten. I had to change items such as Soy Sauce, Teriyaki, other condiments, soups, certain lunch meats, etc. Do NOT assume that a product does not contain wheat… investigate EACH and EVERY ITEM! Also you may want to consider other items that you are not digesting, but coming in contact with on a daily basis. Look into your cosmetics, dental items, and moisturizers. Gluten can be in many things that you would not consider!