GLUTEN-FREE BASICS

What is Cross-Contamination?

A few years ago, our friends invited us over for a dutch-oven dinner. To make a long story short, we had to cancel at the last minute. My friend was kind enough to send over a plate of food for us. As their son was handing me the plate of food he said, “My mom said to make sure and tell you that she did not bread the chicken.” Pretty awesome, right? Well, without giving it much more thought I chowed down. It tasted wonderful! Shortly thereafter, I got so incredibly sick! Why? Because the plain piece of chicken was cooked right along with the gluten-laden breaded chicken.

What is Cross-Contamination?

Cross-contamination occurs when non-gluten food comes into contact with gluten containing food.

Is it a concern? Absolutely! How your body reacts will depend on how sensitive you are to gluten. For me, it is vital that I do not eat cross-contaminated food! Even a little makes me very sick.

Are You at Risk?

Absolutely! When you eat out (in a restaurant or at someone’s home), you are always at risk for cross-contamination. Yes, there are many restaurants that offer gluten-free menus. However, I always let the waiter know that I cannot eat gluten. I love when the opportunity presents itself to educate someone about living a life without gluten.

If you share a kitchen with family members who are not gluten-free, the risk for contamination is high. But don’t despair! I promise you that you can share a kitchen with your loved ones.

How to Prevent Cross-Contamination

Even if you are sharing a kitchen with gluten-laden family members, preventing cross-contamination is much easier to achieve at home. You would not use the same tools (such as cutting boards and toasters) for preparing and cooking non-gluten foods as for gluten.

You might argue that your toaster has one of those nifty doors at the bottom that allows you to clean out the crumbs. I use one of those for my husband’s toast. Yes, it works; however, I would never put gluten-free bread in it. You cannot get all of the bread crumbs out of the wires where the bread nestles.

Having and maintaining a gluten-free kitchen is vital to successfully achieve a life of gluten freedom. Click here for some great tips for transforming your kitchen into a gluten-free paradise!

Don’t let cross-contamination to become a fear and take over your life. Educating yourself is one of the best preventive tools to help you live gluten-free.

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