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  1. 1


    GD – while you “touched” on it, you didn’t say it explicitly, so I will.

    Do not allow your kids (or yourself) touch gluten-laden foods/utensils and then TOUCH something that is to remain gluten-free. Hands and utensils must be washed thoroughly (and wiped with clean towels). Or use gloves and remove/change them.

    Yeah, its a pain, but its the only way to ensure there’s no transfer of crumbs between a gluten and a gluten-free plate.

    This is probably really tough with kids – especially in places where they’re accustom to sharing (schools, playgrounds, sports, etc.).

  2. 2

    Catherine N.

    I have a shared kitchen in the family vacation home. Here’s what I do. I have a red gluten-free bread bin that all my breads/cookies/etc go in. I have the top shelf of the pantry. I have some gluten free wood utensils, a small frying pan, a spatula, and two bamboo cutting boards with a rubber ring around the outside to differentiate. my “gluten free area” is where the coffee maker lives. I have stickers that go on all my condiments, and am going to buy a cheese dome so that I can have safe cheese. I wipe down surfaces a lot. And I try not to share family snacks. One of my biggest challenges was teaching people not to put the stuff back in if it wasn’t finished (chips/crackers/etc). I have containers for those, too. Take the gluten-free stuff out first, arrange it on its own platter. THEN the gluten stuff. I’ve recently bought some Stasher bags that can be washed in the dishwasher, since my fam has a bad habit of washing ziplocks and reusing (fine if no food allergies..). I don’t toast things up there. for a kid, find some options for any glutenous candy they like. My fam has a horrible habit of reaching hands into stuff to munch… so that is something to keep an eye out for!

    1. 2.1

      Gluten Dude

      Thanks Catherine. Great pointers.

  3. 3


    I find it easier to isolate the gluten than the other way. My husband and son prepare their bread toast etc on a microwave stand where those items are also stored. They have their own margarine (hubby is allergic to dairy) mayo mustard etc . They prepare any food or I gredients that are free of gluten first the tackle the gluten stuff. As far as family meals we just find it easiest to keep everything gluten free. Noodle dishes are all made with gf noodles. Rice veg meat etc. Are naturally gf. Then they can just add their gluttony goodness on the side safe from the rest of the food.

    1. 3.1

      Gluten Dude

      A little bit of reverse psychology…I like it.

  4. 4


    My kiddo was 3 when he was diagnosed a few weeks before Thanksgiving and then I was diagnosed right after. It was a hot mess to say the least. One day I was feeding my kid some of his favorite chips and by the time I remembered to read the label I broke down crying right in the restaurant because they had wheat in them. Lots of mistakes were made. That was 6 years ago. Our whole family went GF so the kitchen is a safe space. Our budget did increase but cooking from scratch and minimizing GF products has helped a lot and brought it lower than before GF. I would add that GF meals can be cheaper when you look at meats, rice, and veggies. It took us a few years to get there though. Deep breaths and lots of Googling. Take it one day at a time. It is hard to do all the things at once so triage. All the previous advice has been good for the how. Take care of your kiddo mentally. I was so devastated that there was something “broken” in me and struggled with some depression.
    What is a bright shining light is that this is manageable through diet and it does get better. Hang in there ❤

    1. 4.1


      I love your advice to triage. I highly second that point! Diagnosis is overwhelming and I felt like everything had to be addressed all at once, but once I started to calm down I realized it was okay to replace things and develop systems over time. The main thing was to immediately stop consuming gluten.

      For our small home (and forgetful inhabitants), we finally made the whole place gluten free so I wouldn’t be policing my family. This has brought so much peace and freedom! But we’re still working on replacing kitchen items we had to give away, as well as trying to figure out where to find certain basic ingredients, such as safe green lentils, of all things. I actually dramatically high-fived my husband in the grocery store last night when the almonds I can eat were finally back in stock. We have what we need, but not always what we want; for example, I still haven’t been able to replace my large wooden cutting board. Every time I chop vegetables on our small (affordable) wooden board, half of the vegetables fall off onto the counter. Fun times. But this small board was one of the first things I bought for myself that was safe to prep food on, so I am pretty grateful for it even as it prompts choice words. I am now seeing that every step, every change I can make is a victory, even on days when I am in no mood to celebrate. So I won’t tell the mom of a newly diagnosed teen to “celebrate every victory!” (I would deserve a punch in the head for that), but I do want to encourage her that every single step DOES matter and will contribute to supporting her daughter’s health and recovery.

    2. 4.2

      Gluten Dude

      Thanks Michelle. Agreed about the meat, rice, fruit and veggies. Stay away from the GF aisle unless necessary.

  5. 5

    Wendy T

    I’ve changed my diet and cut back on the “replacement foods” like GF bread and pasta. This has made an extra toaster unnecessary. The good ones are expensive. I treat them as a treat now, not a staple. Also, the gluten-free replacement foods are especially high in simple carbs and processed flours. Tapioca flour (Cassava) is an allergen all its own and is used in tons of GF foods now. Once I moved away from the “protein, vegetable, starch” plate idea that I grew up with, my dinners look more like “protein, veg, veg” and I get variety and flavor without spending ridiculous amounts on bread. Packing lunches for school (I’m in Grad school and work, so to save money and time I pack my lunches), are frequently meat rolls, salads, fruit, yogurt, leftovers from dinner, hummus, veggies, etc. If starches/carbs are your friend, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice are good staples to have in the house. Cut a vent hole in a potato, wrap it in a paper towel and microwave it until it’s “baked” then do potato bar with ground or shredded meat (great for leftover turkey), cheese, veggies (steamed broccoli or something?) for the family is an easy way to have a meal and makes for good lunch the next day too.

    Even if you’re sure that the item was Gluten Free last year, check it again. This is also why I stick to whole foods because fresh produce doesn’t change “recipe” at random. Check anything that has the potential to go into your CD person’s mouth – that includes ALL medications from aspirin to antibiotics. is a great resource for that.

    I don’t have an extra toaster. My kitchen wouldn’t fit extra appliances.
    Anything porous – stoneware, cutting boards (wood or stone), and cast iron I have GLUTEN FREE ONLY versions of. It’s the porous items that are the highest risk of holding on to gluten. Also, chipped or worn pots/pans where the non-stick surface or ceramic surface has chipped will hold onto gluten. You can keep them for the rest of the family, but I recommend replacing them if possible.
    The Celiac Center at U of Chicago recommended to me that after hand washing (to get the gluten off things) then disinfecting in the dishwasher was best. Yes, both. Gluten isn’t water-soluble so scrubbing is important. We have a different sponge for my items. Our dishware is all glass and metal. Our dishwasher has been broken for a while so we do everything by hand. Conscientious scrubbing has resulted in no illness on my part.
    We have one counter where the toaster is that is where my husband preps his sandwiches and anything that could crumble on that counter.
    I can’t stress this enough:
    THROW OUT YOUR WOODEN CUTTING BOARDS. This is one of the most common items people don’t think about using when they’re going GF. If you have one that’s been CCed, just keeping it around is a risk – others will use it. Wood feels good under the knife, so people are more likely to grab it when prepping food and not think about what lurks in the wood fibers. I get and replace my silicon cutting mats every year or whenever they get too marked up.

    As GD says, you’re not going to get this all overnight. Just keep notes and work with your family. It’s going to be an adjustment for everyone. I’ve been doing this for 20 years, 13 of which have been in a mixed food household and I still slip up sometimes.

    1. 5.1

      Gluten Dude

      Nicely done Wendy. And yeah…others have mentioned the squeeze bottle condiments. Great call.

  6. 6


    I’m still learning the ropes so to speak, and have to say… No matter how careful you and your family are, mistakes will be made. We all have them in the beginning! It takes time for some of these precautions to sink in (especially with kids!) If a mistake is made, try to think of it as a learning experience rather than beating yourself up over it. Getting everyone to understand the importance of the issue is key. My husband initially thought I was overreacting about things, and treated it as if it was like one of my more mild food allergies (I have many, both severe & mild). After seeing my improvement from going GF & the result of the few times I was “glutened” later, it finally sunk in that preventing cross contamination is a must. We now have what he jokingly calls his “Gluten cabinet of shame” where any and all foods containing gluten are kept. On a side note, always remind people that have eaten foods containing gluten NOT to give kisses (even on the cheek) to someone that has CD unless they brush their teeth/rinse/wash their mouths off as food particles can linger in saliva and on the lips for quite a while. A slobbery smooch from a younger sibling, or Great Aunt Maude could be troublesome. An ounce of prevention and all that. Best wishes on a smooth transition to a CD safe household!

  7. 7


    Also, since the person diagnosed is 13, they’re old enough to be responsible about having some kitchen tools. If possible, they can set up a mini kitchen with a toaster oven, microwave, mini refrig, and some utensils and plates in part of their bedroom. This would be as elaborate as budget allows and could include a sink if the room is up against the bathroom on one wall. Great way to keep the child safer and teach them a little self reliance.

    I think it’s important to point out that using flour in a kitchen where part of it must remain gluten free is an iffy thing. It takes more than a day for all the flour to get out of the air (as anyone with a baker’s allergy can tell you). So it would be better if this year she uses premade cookie dough and pie crust for holiday meals and then she can decide later what to do about the flour issue.

  8. 8

    Scott Morizot

    When I was diagnosed we did many of the things you outlined at first. But then since both kids who were still living at home were diagnosed within the next year, we transitioned to a mostly gluten free home. My wife still has a few things with gluten that help her like a particular bread for morning toast with butter. She has her own marked toaster and the kerrygold butter tubs she uses are marked with a Sharpie, “Mom – Not GF!!!” She will often order a dish with gluten when we go out to eat or when she’s out with friends. Other than that we all just learned how to make everything without gluten. So kinda the reverse of marking the gluten free utensils and areas. We mark everything that isn’t!


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