Part 3: In the House


Part 3: Be the master of your domain.

It’s pretty easy to keep gluten out of most of the rooms in your house.

The bedroom? Unless you’re into some unusual practices (none of my business), I’d say it’s pretty safe. Bathroom? Should be good. Family room? Iffy if you’ve got kids, but not too bad.

But the kitchen? Unless your entire house is gluten-free, this is where the majority of the nasty gluten critters will be lurking. If you’re going to get cross-contaminated, odds are, it’s gonna happen here. See that kitchen in the picture up top? Notice how clean it is? Hate to break it to you, but this is how your kitchen needs to be kept. The less clutter, the less chance for cross-contamination.

Keep your kitchen as gluten free as possible.

1. Buy separate utensils for yourself. Everything we bought was red to make it easier to differentiate. Things you’ll need include your own toaster, cutting board, silverware, colander and pots and pans. Yep…it’s expensive to have celiac.

2. Have one counter in your kitchen completely gluten free at all times. It should be off limits to anybody but you. Kinda nice actually. Feel a bit like royalty.

3. Keep your food separate from food with gluten. In the fridge and freezer, you should have your own shelf. In the cabinets, if you have a big enough kitchen, try to get one cabinet that is just your food. It makes it so much easier when things are separated.

4. Get a different colored sponge for your gluten-free dishes. Again, do red to keep it consistent.

5. Put “gluten free” stickers in any location where there is no gluten allowed. This especially helps when you have company.

6. Make sure your family is 100% on board and knows the rules of the kitchen. And trust me, getting your teen to stop cutting her bagels on my friggin’ counter is easier than it sounds.

7. Be patient and always, always, always err on the side of caution.

May the gluten-free gods be with you.

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23 thoughts on “Part 3: In the House”

  1. Hi

    I’ve been gf for 6 years and I would have said that I was very strict!!! Got my bloods done after starting to feel really exhausted and my antibodies are in those lovely double figures!!!! Tryin to work out why ??? Can I ask is my own pots and Pans not extreme???? I’ve never heard if this before???? I definitely think cross contamination is the issue for me? Please help?!

    1. The Gluten Dude

      Frustrating I’m sure Lynda. Yes…I totally recommend separate pots/pans, unless you run everything thru the dishwasher. Especially the colander.

      Do you have kids in the house. I have my own counter but besides that there are always crumbs on the other counters so I need to be real careful.

      And even when we do everything right, you can still feel crappy…as I have been lately.

      I hate celiac disease.

      1. you need a alcahol, viniger, alcahol, viniger, cleaning to get MOST (not all) of the gluten off, so defintly need own stuff (bad keybard=bad spelling.)

  2. Oh boy, I am so bad about this. My 9yr old eats gluten. There are no doubt gluten-y handprints on everything :/ I’m probably getting contaminated like who :/

    1. Try to keep your stuff and the kids stuff totally separate. They shouldn’t be handling anything that could contaminate you (in a perfect world).

  3. I haven’t really been taking the contamination issue that seriously I’ve realised after reading your site! However, sounds as though so long as things are being washed in a dishwasher I shouldn’t worry about using those items if they previously had non gluten free foods in them? Ocassionally though I do wash things by hand and I hadn’t given much thought about stuff being contaminated from that, but it’s made me think now! I am obviously very naive about the disease. I only know what I’ve picked up from my dad having the illness and I never really spoke to him too much about it looking back. (he died recently, but not as a result of this disease). Having read most of this site tonight, the first time I’ve come across it, I realise that I haven’t been imagining all my problems! Since being diagnosed I’ve kept to a strict diet but have still not felt great and seeing people’s comments here I realise that it’s almost certainly because of the disease. My husband moans when I complain of feeling sick and never takes me seriously but now I’ve read him some of the comments he’s starting to think, I hope!

  4. One other question, I have been preparing food for the non gluten free eaters, is this safe? I would think that if all I’m doing is putting chicken nuggets in the oven for my young sons that would be okay? Does this contaminate the oven though? I have a double oven should I keep one side purely for myself?!

  5. I didn’t get that in depth with it and it’s worked well for 4 years. I do get glutened when I get sloppy, though. Just getting where I’m not paying attention and place my food directly on the counter, or something along that line.

    I bought stainless steel everything. Pans, utensils, you name it. That’s as far as I went, though. I didn’t buy my own silverware and I don’t use my own sponge. I use my dishwasher and have never had an issue.

    I think that if some people would rather be more strict than I am, that’s great because they’re going to be a ton more protected than I am, but I’ve had decent success with it so far. I did screw up the other day and stuck my french fries in the oven in a pan that was teflon and my kids have been cooking pot pies in that same pan all week. DOH! 6 weeks of recovery for me.

  6. Hello Gluten Dude,

    Great post!

    I want to mention other areas that could be of concern to some people. I know they are elsewhere on your blog but since this post is about making the house safe…

    Toothbrush: throw it out and get a new one after going gluten-free.

    Pet food: my cat plays with her food and sometimes gets on the table/counter (I hate that but she’s stubborn). Also, I could not get up mid-meal for anything because I’ve caught her licking my food after eating her gluten-filled nuggets (thank you cat). Keep that in mind if you have pets that like to climb. I solved that by buying grain-free gluten-free cat food so she won’t contaminate my counters and food.

    Coffeemaker: If you share a Keurig with housemates, make sure you get a separate gluten-free Keurig (unless they don’t use those fancy gluten-filled flavoured blends).

    That’s all I can think of for now!

  7. To all my gluten free comrades;

    I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 1997. Most of you were probably just a thought back then. I want you to know the progression of my diagnosis since then. It might help someone. I was working in a Drs. Office back then. I had also suffered a dramatic loss in my life a few years previous to my Celiac diagnosis. I kept losing weight and was always in the bathroom 20 minutes after I ate (getting rid of everything I ate). When I would question my weight loss and frequent bathroom visits to my employer doctor, he would almost always tell me I had suffered a terrible loss in my life and it was to be expected. He would put me on various meds to help the bathroom visits. Of course, nothing helped. I decided to see a gastroenterologist. After the initial exam, he started prescribing same meds as employer doctor which never worked. Finally, gastro doctor sets up hospital tests ending in the diagnosis of Celiac Disease. Now, I want you all to know a diagnosis of Celiac Disease back then was “just a thought”. Gastro Doctor drew pics of how my stomach looked with those poor “down and out” villi. It was sort of scary and weird for me and I am pretty sure also for the gastro doctor. He put me on the gluten free diet and told me I would be just fine if I stick to the diet. Well, I love spaghetti and I told gastro doctor that. His reply was okay so eat the spaghetti one time and don’t eat anymore GF stuff after that. And I did what he said and “voila” I was okay – yes I was! I cheated a lot back then and I really was okay. In 2004, I started experiencing stomach cramping and fatigue. I went to another gastro doctor and he set me up for all the testing. Of course, my celiac disease was out of control. No more cheating! This gastro doctor was well versed with celiac disease. The medical field in America finally became acquainted with Celiac Disease.
    I am 70 years old now and have been faithful to my gluten free diet. I have travelled all over the world and was able to keep up with the diet, some countries better then others, but there was always something for me to eat. My worst enemy is still the people I hang with, they don’t get it. Invitations to dinner is still a problem – I am, more times then not, very embarrassed when I can’t eat what is put before me. My family understands though, they love me and what a good thing that is. They have changed their recipes around to fit my needs. I would do the same for them.
    So, my dear Celiac friends this is my story. You can live with this diet and you can live well!. So many good things have happened since I was diagnosed so long ago. Believe me, it is a lot better than it was back in 1997. I still wish I could eat a White Castle Slider – my mouth waters just typing SLIDER.

  8. 20 Uses For Flour, or as I like to call it, 20 Ways Other People Cross-Contaminate Their Households. *Le sigh*!/0

    To be fair, one of these ways uses (nominally GF) chickpea flour, and several of them are personal uses that pose little or no threat to others, but if there are other (non-GF) people using conventional wheat flour in their homes in some of the other ways shown here, it might make me a little uncomfortable in some situations.

    I really wouldn’t feel like having to ask people who invite me over for a game of cards if they’ve “unstuck” the deck with flour. I had NO idea anyone would ever come up with such a scheme. Heck, I didn’t know that this problem of having playing cards get stuck together was even a thing.

    To paraphrase F. Scott Fitzgerald, the non-GFers are different from you and me.

    1. I would not have thought we should check to see if someone “dry washed” their hair with wheat flours either. Or should we be concerned if someone hugs us when they’ve used wheat based deodorant? It’s not just in our kitchen and it may just be that wheat manufacturers will be finding more lame ideas for the flours that they aren’t selling so much of anymore, LOL. Check out another use for wheat that we don’t think normally of:

  9. Hello,

    I am fairly new the the celiac arena. Diagnosed 27 days ago and GF for 27 days.

    Also CF, corn free for two years, so the label reading and transition hasn’t really been that bad for me.

    Mourning on the other hand, I most certainly have my days.

    Ok, ok, I’ll get to my point. =]
    I recently accidentally glutened myself over a salad I chopped and prepared myself at home, and can’t seem to figure out the culprit.
    Or are there multiple?
    Plastic colander, wooden cutting board, plastic tupperware?
    I know my croutons and dressing are certified gluten free but Im not sure what really needs to go?

    I know the cutting board has got to get the boot, the beautiful lovely read Celiac and the Beast led me on to how I was accidentally glutened.

    But I recently read somewhere that plastic containers are a big no no for Celiacs. I mean I know plastic with BPA is a no Bueno but thoughts on plastic food storage for Celiacs?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. If that plastic colander was ever used for draining wheat pasta or any other food with gluten (and chances are this happened multiple times if it ever did at all) it should not be used for GF food prep. Too many little nooks and crannies where starch/gluten can get stuck. It’s tough to clean but can release later into your food when you definitely don’t want it to. I would advise a new, dedicated colander for GF food prep. Same thing with cutting boards as you say, too. If food with gluten was cut on it (again, prob many times), the gluten can persist in the grooves cut into the board.

  10. Hi,

    I was diagnosed with Celiac almost 2 years ago. My husbands family is not that understanding of my gluten issues, and we get together with them quite often. When we are invited for dinner they rarely provide a gluten free option even though they know I have Celiac. I feel like an idiot always having to ask or hover and read labels of everything they cook. My one relative just said “oh can’t you pick it out”, and another had croutons on a salad that could have easily left off. I don’t expect the whole meal to be gluten free however, a dish or two would be nice. I know it can be hard because gluten seems to be everything. My one relative is a vegetarian and I always make sure she has a veggie option when she eats at our place. Should I expect people to be mindful or just bring my own food or for go dinner invites?

    1. A serious YES to both questions. Your extended family needs to be much more mindful and if they won’t be, you need to bring your own food.

  11. …I thought it best when I was diagnosed to buy new pans, new sponges and cutting boards and have my own cabinet for the kitchen. Unfortunately, I was still getting sick almost daily. Finally I said- This house will be GF. The kids can’t protect me if they go eating a ding dong and then open every door in the home and touch the sink etc… I changed the house to GF. Luckily, at time when I was remodeling my cabinets- All GF. New pots, pans, cutting boards, stoneware, plates, changed to glass storage bowls. The only gluten in the house was my boyfriends bread- which sat on the refrigerator with his jar of peanut butter and he had a special prep counter apart from everything else. i don’t get sick from my kitchen anymore. I scratch cook almost everything and eat very little of the boxed garbage they label GF. (Honestly, I think I am more sensitive than the 20 PPM the Federal Gov’t allows to label GF)

    I made the mistake of having a birthday party for my boyfriends daughter who was 13. I told everyone just to come and don’t bring anything that everything was all set. The family came in bearing scads of food that was GF. Then came the crackers and bread bowl etc… Needless to say- I was sick for almost two weeks. I made it about an hour into the party before my face turned bright red and I felt about 105 degrees and started to power down. Then came the stomach and the bathroom cues. Someone probably dipped a cracker in my spinach artichoke dip. They all got to see firsthand what gluten poisoning looks like & why i bring my own food to the family meals. i used it as an opportunity to educate. You wouldn’t bring peanut butter cookies to a childs birthday that is allergic to peanuts- please don’t bring it in my home.

    I thought asking my family to go GF would be a big hardship for them all. They have many opportunities to eat out, at school, at work the gluten if they choose. I also had to learn to cook and stand up for my health. This is a journey to health and life and living and functioning in a world where so much can make you ill. Blessings.

  12. I am recently diagnosed 6 months and have been good about gluten in food. My son 22 years old also tested positive after I was diagnosed . We both have no outward symptoms , but I have developed osteoporosis & was anemic for years until anemia improved after diagnosis I didn’t realize even tough no Gf food in house any longer my tTG # is still 100! After reading all comments I see I probably have to discard all Tupperware ,pots and pans, cutting boards & rubber& plastic spatulas, Is this all necessary if they go through the dishwasher ?

  13. Our home is 100% gluten free. Not just our kitchen, but our dog food, cat food, shampoo, toothpaste. I have two daughters they’re celiac, my husband and I are not. I love them to the moon and back, and can’t imagine a reason for not going a hundred percent gluten free. I’m just curious why more families aren’t willing to do what’s in the best interest of that one or two people that have Celiac in their household? It’s so much easier to prepare meals knowing that everything in the house is safe, versus the whole cross-contamination thing.

  14. I tested positive for Celiac disease on three of the blood tests and negative on two. I was eating gluten free for a month when I had my endoscopy. The doctor said it could still be done, (even though the books said I had to be eating gluten). I reluctantly agreed. The biopsies came back saying no Celiac disease. I feel much better eating gluten free – migraines have lessened significantly. What do you think? Can an endoscopy done when a person is gluten free? What are the chances I have Celiac disease?

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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