If you share your gluten free kitchen with non gluten free people, you may be worried about cross contamination with gluten. Cross contamination occurs when gluten containing foods come in contact with gluten free foods.
Even a very small amount of gluten transferred through cross-contamination can harm someone on a gluten free diet for Celiac Disease or other gluten-related disorders.
While gluten contamination symptoms are often less severe than explicitly eating gluten, it can still harm your gut health and prevent long term healing.
Cross-contamination in your kitchen could also be the reason your Celiac antibody levels remain high even after you switch to a gluten free diet.
Gluten Cross-Contact vs Cross-Contamination:
The term cross-contact is technically more accurate, since cross-contact refers to one food touching another.
Cross-contamination generally refers to food-borne illnesses and bacteria that are transferred between foods.
--> You may see these terms used interchangeably when referring to gluten, but they mean the same thing.
Here are 5 Gluten Free Kitchen Rules to follow if you have a shared kitchen:
1. Keep Gluten Free Foods on Top shelves
Choose and dedicate the top shelves of the fridge, pantry, cupboards, etc to gluten free foods if you share a kitchen with gluten eaters. That way, any crumbs that fall will be gluten-free crumbs, not gluten crumbs.
Mark or label your shelves as dedicated gluten free to remind everyone not to put their gluten foods in your safe space.
2. Have a dedicated Gluten Free toaster and items that are difficult to clean
It's not uncommon to have multiple sets of cooking tools in a shared kitchen.
These hard-to-clean items are a good starting place for your gluten free cookset:
- Wooden cutting boards and utensils
- Colanders and strainers
- Dish sponges and cleaning brushes
- Toasters, Waffle makers, etc
- Plastic mixing bowls and utensils that are scratched
- Nonstick cookware, especially if scratched
Anything you find hard to clean or is frequently used with gluten containing foods (like baking pans) are good candidates for your dedicated gluten-free cookset!
Alternatively, consider using toaster bags to keep your gluten-free bread crumb-free, slow cooker liners, and other liners for cooking gluten-free food.
Would you like step-by-step guidance for cleaning out your kitchen?
Check out the Trust Your Gluten Free Food eBook!
3. Dedicate dips and spreads to gluten-free foods only
A common source of cross-contact in the kitchen is peanut butter jars and other spreadable condiments. Crumbs can get into the jar when double-dipped after spreading on wheat bread.
--> Have a special jar just for you, or consider squeezable condiment bottles.
Examples of foods to dedicate as gluten free:
- Peanut and other nut butters
- Fruit jams and jellies
- Honey (if not in a squeeze bottle)
More tips for preventing gluten cross-contamination:
- Always use clean knives for spreading dedicated gluten free condiments on gluten free bread
- Use dedicated gluten-free measuring cups and spoons for baking, and store them in their own gluten free space.
4. Keep a separate dedicated gluten free dish towel and cleaning sponges/brushes
Dish towels, sponges, and brushes can all hold particles of gluten. Have safe gluten-free ones and make sure they're easily distinguishable from the others.
Note on gluten cleaning procedures:
Generally, dishwashers can be shared with gluten and gluten-free dishes safely if you have Celiac Disease. However, if you are washing by hand, consider a separate plastic wash basin for gluten free dishes.
5. Stick to a regular cleaning schedule.
Clean surfaces are key to feeling safe while preparing gluten-free food in your kitchen.
A quick wipe down of handles and countertops every night before bed was my routine when sharing a kitchen with gluten eating people. For this reason, we also kept the countertops clear and minimally decorated.
Related: Minimalism: my secret to a happy gluten free life with Celiac
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Are you new to gluten free or struggling with hidden gluten?
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- 10 Things I with my Friends knew about Celiac Disease
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With love and gratitude,
Melindas Gluten Free Goodies
Make sure containers are labelled with non-removable ink. In BIG writing. Do not take shortcuts and share container space with non gluten free products. Some coeliacs are so sensitive that even a few crumbs of gluten filled product can send them into a spin and cause major health issues.
So much helpful information here -- Thank you Melinda! The non-removable ink & big writing are so important!