If you have just found out that you can’t tolerate gluten, getting your kitchen ready for your new lifestyle can seem like a pretty daunting task. However, if you are sensitive to even minute amounts of gluten, it is well worth it to make sure your kitchen is ready for the change.
How Clean Do I Have to Get It?
Unfortunately, finding out how much gluten is too much is a matter of experimentation.
For some people that have issues with gluten, even a tiny amount may make them very sick. And, even if you only come into contact with a small amount of gluten every day, it can build up in your system and cause painful symptoms and damage to your body.
To avoid gluten, you not only need to choose gluten-free products, you also need to make sure that your kitchen is free of all traces of the stuff.
Preparing for Your Gluten-Free Life—Cleaning Your Kitchen
Gluten may lurk where you least expect it. For instance, you may have the remnants of gluten in your oven. You’ll want to make sure you clean it thoroughly, or use the self-cleaning option. And don’t forget kitchen drawers—some of those little crumbs in your silverware drawer may have gluten in them.
Preventing Cross Contamination
If you live alone, it is pretty easy to keep a gluten-free kitchen—however, it can get a bit trickier if you share the house with someone who can eat foods with gluten. Because it can be close to impossible to get every trace of gluten off of kitchen utensils, you’ll have to do more than just clean them.
Here are some tips for sharing a kitchen with someone who eats gluten:
- Have two of everything, and make sure they are kept separate. You’ll need duplicates for cooking spoons, spatulas, colanders, muffin tins, cookie sheets, flour sifters, and your toaster.
- There are many different ways you can keep gluten-free cooking items separate from the others, such as using different colors for gluten vs. non-gluten utensils, or maybe plastic vs. wooden. You could also keep items in different drawers—whatever it takes to make sure they won’t be used for the wrong thing.
- If you cook the gluten-containing and the gluten-free meals at the same time, it is easy to confuse them. If you do need to cook them at the same time, always put one or the other on the back burner of the stove.
- And finally, don’t underestimate simple acts like washing hands frequently to avoid cross contamination. Wiping down countertops is important, too—use paper towels instead of dishtowels, which can easily get gluten trapped in the fabric.
The first thing you probably did when you found out you were gluten intolerant was to get rid of all the food in your kitchen that contained gluten. Be aware, however, that some food items may have been cross contaminated with gluten. For instance, it is possible that the last time you baked, your sugar was contaminated with some flour.
If both gluten-free and gluten-containing foods will be cooked in your kitchen, there are steps you can take to avoid throwing away everything in the pantry and the fridge. Designate a certain area for gluten-containing foods, and make sure they stay separated. Label gluten-free items clearly to remind others in the house to watch for cross contamination.
It may sound like a lot of work to prepare your kitchen for your new gluten-free life. However, with these simple tips the transition can be a smooth one for you and everyone in your household.