For people with Celiac Disease, living a gluten-free lifestyle can be challenging. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley and other natural foods. Giving up foods containing these ingredients, however, is the main key to living a healthier, happier lifestyle. Once a person is diagnosed with Celiac Disease, a kitchen makeover is required to minimize the ill effects of cross-contamination to other foods and other parts of the kitchen. While making the transition can be expensive and time consuming, those on a gluten-free (GF) diet agree that it is the best solution to a difficult health problem.
The first step is removing all products that create a reaction. This includes wheat-based products, such as flour, baking mix, bread, cookies and pie crusts, as well as anything that comes in contact with them. The bread machine, the toaster, the mixer and the cutting board all have to go. The most practical solution is to have a give-a-way to friends and family that live elsewhere. Any foods that have open packages or canisters and may be cross-contaminated with flour dust, toast crumbs, barley or rye should be forfeited and removed. This includes condiments, sugar, salt and anything sitting on a flour-dusted shelf.
All surfaces should be thoroughly cleaned, including the oven — inside and out. While a self-cleaning oven may be sufficient, there is no point in guessing. All cabinets, shelves, floors, walls, fans and ceilings should be completely sanitized to create a comfortable and healthy environment.
Check all labels and do extensive research on what types of flour and other foods are safe. For example, most vegetables are OK to eat. There are lines of gluten-free baked goods and specialty desserts in the grocery store that often taste better than their standard wheat-based baked goods. Some are found in the frozen food section, while other stores have items in the bakery section. These include gluten-free brownies, mini pies and dinner rolls.
Ideally, a person living alone can have a kitchen that caters to a GF diet. In many cases, however, the kitchen must be shared with family members or roommates that don’t need to watch wheat. For a shared environment, use two sets of utensils, two sets of dishes and never allow the safe food, dishes and cookware to mix with non-safe items. This takes work, and is sometimes made easier by color coding cabinets or labeling shelves.
While this is a difficult transition to make, many people suffering from Celiac Disease find that forums, support groups and other friends or family members on a GF diet can make this lifestyle much more bearable. Where to find specialty products travels quickly, and it does get easier.