Did you know gluten can be found in any number of processed foods, products, and even household cleaners? Because of this, making the change to gluten-free requires not just a complete make-over of your pantry, but your whole kitchen.
If you have celiac disease or are extremely sensitive to gluten, even the tiniest bit of gluten can make you seriously ill. I know of people who cannot even touch gluten laden foods without having a reaction. Here is a great example: if you are gluten-free and you share a toaster with someone who eats gluten, you are at risk for cross-contamination.
Not sure what gluten is? This article will will help answer any questions you might have.
I have gotten so sick from eating gluten contaminated foods. It is down right awful! It takes several days for me to recuperate and feel better.
Gluten is sneaky! It can hide in contaminated condiments when a family member or friend dips their non-gluten free food. Some condiments contain gluten. Crumbs from gluten laden foods can hide in the most unlikely of places including crevices of drawers, cabinets and door handles. These near invisible crumbs could find their way into your feed.
Even if you keep a sparkling clean kitchen, the tiniest unseen crumb can make you sick. The first step in creating a gluten-free kitchen is completely clearing your kitchen of non-safe food to eliminate cross-contamination. Reading food labels is one sure way of determining if an item contains gluten.
How to Create a Gluten-Free Kitchen
Here are some helpful tips for you to create a gluten-free kitchen.
Clearing Your Kitchen
- Baking supplies: give away (or throw away) baking supplies, including flours, that are laden with gluten.
- Gluten products: give away (this is the perfect time to donate to a food shelter) all products containing gluten, including pasta and crackers.
- Refrigerator: check each item in your refrigerator for gluten. Discard opened condiments, including peanut butter and jelly, and replace to avoid cross-contamination.
- Appliances: replace your toaster, coffee makers/grinders (especially if using gourmet flavored coffees as they can contain gluten). Thoroughly clean or replace waffle irons, colander and blenders. If you are sharing a kitchen with a gluten family member, you will want to have a separate toaster.
Cleaning Your Kitchen
First rule of cleaning is start at the top and work your way down.
- Ceiling fans, light fixtures and vents: wipe off with a damp rag. Did you know that dust from gluten flours can stay in the air for hours?
- Drawers and cabinets: remove all items, vacuum and wash out using a naturally gluten- and chemically-free cleaner, such as vinegar. Pay special attention to cabinet handles and front of doors. Be sure to wipe down top of cupboards as well as any knickknacks.
- Eating and Cooking Utensils: wash in dishwasher or by hand using hot soapy water.
- Microwave oven: wash the inside of microwave out thoroughly.
- Stove: remove drip pans and wash in hot sudsy water. Wipe down stove.
- Oven: generously sprinkle baking soda over bottom of oven, and sprinkle with water. With a sponge or damp rag, wipe in a circular motion to create a paste. Wipe the top and sides of oven as well. Rinse your sponge or rag with hot water and wipe paste from oven. If oven is especially grimy, let sit overnight.
- Refrigerator: remove all items from refrigerator. In a spray bottle, mix one-part water to three-parts vinegar. Spray walls of refrigerator and wipe down. In hot sudsy water, wash racks and drawers. Dry with a clean, dry cloth. Clean gluten-free items and return to fridge.
- Floors: sweep and wash floors. I like to use vinegar to clean my laminate flooring with.
- Curtains: wash curtains and windows.
Sharing a Gluten Kitchen
Can you share a kitchen with a gluten laden family member? Absolutely!
My husband does not have to eat gluten-free. I am fortunate that he has adopted my gluten-free lifestyle at home. Some families find it better to share a gluten/gluten-free kitchen. If this is the case, put your gluten-free foods on the top shelves of the refrigerator and pantry. This helps to protect items from gluten contamination.
Yes, it takes a significant amount of “elbow grease” to clean and clear every single thing in your kitchen. However, having your health restored is worth every bit of sweat. As a bonus your freshly cleaned gluten-free kitchen will just shine and sparkle!