Keeping a gluten-free kitchen in a gluten-filled world


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

The bedroom? Unless you’re doing some kinky things in there, 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.

But there are ways to keep your sanity in the kitchen. Take it from the Dude and follow these tips:

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.

Take a look at some gluten-free kitchens from our wonderful community and may the gluten-free gods be with you.

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15 thoughts on “Keeping a gluten-free kitchen in a gluten-filled world”

  1. Fantastic advice! Thanks for sharing. For those of us with older homes who have just made the switch, it’s a little challenging. Doing my best until my kitchen gets a major renovation. I will have a half kitchen to myself unless someone else pops up sensitive….then we’re all making the change. =D

  2. Thanks for the comment Heather. Yes, I’m blessed to have a decent sized kitchen but definitely a bit more challenging for those with older homes. Buy hey, a half a kitchen to yourself is better than no kitchen…

    1. Hi Dude – your gluten free kitchen link does not work – I wanted to use it to educate some flatmates. Any chance it will be reinstated?

  3. Great post. The bit about the bedroom made me laugh because quite often cans of whipped cream have gluten in them! And check the chocolate body paint too!!!!

  4. I share my space with a housemate who can eat “normal.” At first, he insisted on doing dishes by hand; however, that left gluten on the colanders, etc. Now, we seem to have the problem licked by running all the dishes through the dishwasher, even the pots and pans. My DW is a newer model with a potscrubber feature. Since the housemate is meticulously clean, this seems to be solving the cross- contamination problem. However, any comments or suggestions would be welcome.

    1. As long as things go thru the dishwasher, you are safe. That being said, I still have my own set of pots and pans and some other basics (colander, etc.) There is safety in knowing that some items are just for me.

  5. We don’t have a dishwasher, so you are saying I have to wash their dishes and then I have to wash mine separately? I would need two sinks or what would be the point of that? They are using the same sink bowl. At our house, all dishes get stacked together and washed by hand. I can barely get them done most days, if I had to separate them and do dishes twice, I would be the one washing both loads anyway. (My husband and adult son both have hard physical jobs and I wouldn’t leave dishes for them to do.) I have been wondering if we have gluten in our dish soap, though. I do have a counter I can claim but I am spending a lot to furnish it. We are on a pension and a $10 per hour job. I read in the book “The Healthy Gluten-Free Life” by Tammy Credicott that “Flour can stay in the air for as long as twenty-four hours and cover every inch of a kitchen, seeping its way into drawers and coating place settings and napkins. It is impossible to remove all traces of flour once it is used, no matter what anyone tries to tell you. This holds especially true for food production. If you eat a cupcake from a bakery that bakes traditionally as well as gluten-free, you will get gluten in your cupcake. It doesn’t matter how often they clean or what order they bake, the flour gets everywhere and there is no way to control it.” (pg. 36) To me that sounds like I need to do the following: 1. throw away our ancient cook stove that is not working that well anymore anyway 2. throw out our toaster oven and bread machine 3. banish all gluten containing foods from the house. 4. call a cleaning company to disinfect the kitchen. I would agree with that, but my husband won’t! I feel like in order to save my own life, I have to become a superb cook and baker overnight, and have all manner of fresh meals and bread and buns and pizzas and cookies for the lunchboxes ready daily, because there is no way he will accept a gluten free life unless he can’t tell the difference from his old life. He needs to go gluten free as bad as I do (major health problems) but he has been downright snapping at me since I started trying to go gluten free. He bit my head off last night because he had to reheat some sloppy joes for his supper – “I have to cook my own supper!” yeah, sometimes you might I guess

    1. I’ll withhold any comments I have about your husband and his lack of empathy.

      As for the kitchen, you need to be careful but without being paranoid. You don’t need two sinks. But use a separate sponge for your gluten free dishes. Keep a set of dishes just for you. Get your own toaster and cookware. Yeah…I know it’s an expensive pain. Sorry.

      Hang in there Penny. It’s overwhelming at first but I promise you it gets easier.

      1. I am not the least worried about my smooth glass/stoneware dishes. They wash clean easily. We only have 7 plates and 6 bowls in our little family. We don’t use sponges, we use dishcloths. A clean one each time I do dishes and they are washed in the washing machine. I bought separate new towels for drying dishes only and regulated the older towels to counter mopping only. I do understand about the cooking pots, ours are stainless steel so not too much worry there either, and I do have three that are new; 2 skillets just for scrambled eggs and one glass lidded skillet for paleo cooking. I did buy a new bread machine and baked a loaf of gluten free bread. I could eat it with a spread on it such as chicken salad or bbq beef, but two slices would be too much. I haven’t even tried to toast it. I did just go on a 6 day trip and managed to stay gluten free as far as I know – score one for me. I ate scrambled eggs, bacon, ground beef, brown rice, the aforementioned bbq & chicken, raw vegetables and fruits, smoothies, herb tea, 1 natural root beer, almond milk, buckwheat cereal flakes, and a couple glutino blueberry bars. My pants got looser!

  6. My mom tried to have a peanut free house when I was a toddler because I was, and still am, deadly allergic to peanuts. However, since I had two younger siblings and a dad who just loved the stuff, I had to learn early to keep away from it and people eatting it. When I finally had my own place, peanuts were completely banned. Once my sr-in-law brought peanut brittle for everyone else for XMas, I told to put in the car or else I would trash it. (Car)
    Two years ago I was diagnosed with celiac. So I did my research regarding what I could eat, and either tossed G foods or gave them to the church food pantry. Oh yes, I also must ballance this diet with my ADD, 1 Kidney low sodium & Fibromyalgia diet. Within 3 months I Iost 60lbs and a very bloated painful abdominal area.
    My kitchen is still gluten free, low sodum & nut free. I am trying several new GF cookbooks & I try to bake from scratch as much as possible to avoid the excess sugars in GF baked goods. I found that the sugars bothered my FM.
    So if you are doing the GF cooking for you or a loved one, just do it and make the kitchen completly GF. Life will be easier and more enjoyable. My guy, family, and friends truly enjoy and look forward to the new healthy and delious meals that come out of my GF, LS, & NF kitchen. Don’t waite, just do it!

  7. Ok freaking out slightly… Just waiting on blood tests but biopsy has confirmed Coeliacs… Is this for real? Is this what I’ll need to do if my blood come back positive? I hope I don’t sound ignorant but I didn’t realise a cross-contamination could be so toxic. I obviously have a lot to learn. Great info xx

  8. wait ok so I’m 15 and just got diagnosed with it. my parents are supportive kinda (my mom buys gf pasta and stuff—dinner foods and my dad buys me gf cookies and stuff) but my dad always complains that he doesn’t wanna eat gf (in my opinion it’s better than regular). they also don’t do a good job about making the kitchen a gf place. I told my mom she needs to clean out the toaster and oven and she’s like “Maria stop you’re fine” but it really does hurt my stomach. it’s also so hard to eat out with my friend because they don’t understand ABSOLUTELY NO GLUTEN. ugh I hate it!! 🙁 any suggestions? also the food is so expensive and my mom lost her High paying job so it’s so hard. I feel like it’s all my fault. I feel like I’ll never get better 🙁

    1. It’s NOT your fault. Don’t ever think it is. Your parents will need to get on board…quickly. And yes…you need to have your own toaster. Hang in there. It gets easier…promise.

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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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