6 easy ways to stay contamination-free in a shared kitchen

Living with Celiac disease can be tricky, especially when you share living spaces with others who don’t have to eat gluten-free…especially the kitchen. The following is a list of ways that you can avoid contamination when sharing the kitchen with fellow gluten-lovers. Yes, some of these may seem obvious, but there’s surprisingly lots of people who don’t bother and then can’t figure out why their symptoms are so persistent.

  1. Toast Temptation– Maybe this one has occurred to you but you’d be surprised how many people don’t bother with it. If you’re sharing a toaster to toast your gluten free bread, bagels and other goodies…..don’t. You’re already making the effort to prepare your own food at home so don’t be set back by all the crumbs of gluten lurking in the bottom. Just because you don’t see them, doesn’t mean they aren’t there. (That may be a good motto for other situations but not here) Ditch that toast you just made and head to the nearest department store to pick yourself up a shiny new toaster. Yes, I AM giving you permission to spend money in a department store (maybe I’m the only one who loves department stores though…awkward)
  2. Better Butter– You use the knife to rub butter on your bread and then go back for more so why wouldn’t somebody else? I have become the butter ninja in my house… impressive, I know. Always call first dibs and scoop yourself some butter to be kept in an air-tight container just for you throughout the week. Hint: I always take way too much but since going gluten-free I eat way less bread than before so take only a little at first to avoid it going bad before consumption. You could always buy your own butter stick of course but we can’t ALL be that fancy…big spender.
  3. Fixing Fixings– Okay, same with the butter people. Just because we might not see crumbs, we all live with at least one shameless double-dipper. You have a few options. Either be the first to all of your favourite condiments and scoop into separate containers for future use, or buy separate condiments all together. DON’T FORGET TO LABEL. My cupboards scream “possession issues” with everything labeled “GF-keep out” but it’s a matter of health here and I can’t be worried that someone’s been dipping in my jam jar. Another option is picking up lids (from any grocery store or Walmart) and attach them to all your shared condiments, so that you can squirt them (jams, peanut butter, mayonnaise) instead of spreading it!
  4. Oven Lovin’– One product that I am constantly running out of since beginning life gluten-free is foil. Ahh, magical life-saving foil. Place whatever you’re cooking on a piece of foil and there you go (I like to fold mine so it’s stronger and doesn’t tear). This is great for heating up pizza, bruschetta or anything that you don’t want to put on a tray. I also find that trays are really hard to clean and thus, more likely to have remaining gluten, even after a wash. Save yourself and just use foil, or at least line your trays with foil just in case.
  5. Dishes for Days– This one is a tricky one because unfortunately, we can’t see tiny gluten particles but that doesn’t make them too small to make us sick. When washing dishes, make sure you’re using hot water and a rough cloth for scrubbing. I’m lazy so I usually just use the dishwasher, best. invention. EVER. But remember that it’s best to keep a separate wash cloth for your dishes to avoid scrubbing gluten particles onto the plates you will be eating on.
  6. Storing Safely– I may be repeating myself but this is probably the tip I use the most. Clear yourself a shelf in your kitchen designated to gluten-free foods, and ONLY these foods. I’m talking crackers, brownies, pancake mix, and any other goodies you’ve gotten your hands on. This keeps them out of sight therefore less temptation for others who don’t actually need to eat it. Am I the only one or is everyone always saying they feel bad that you’re gluten-free and then end up stealing your food to eat? I keep it tucked away to avoid being mixed up with other foods or contaminated and on top of that I LABEL it. Write “Gluten-free” on everything, even shared items like mustard to ensure that others remember to keep it as contamination-free as possible.