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Gluten-Proofing the Kitchen

Gluten-Proofing the Kitchen

Once you have been diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you will need to prevent gluten contamination of gluten-free foods.

Here is a guide to gluten-proofing your kitchen:

Pantry

1.  Clean out your pantry cupboard and divide the foods you have into two groups:

  • Keepers: Foods that are safe to eat, such as canned tuna, salmon, or real crabmeat, canned sardines, beans (canned or dry), rice, pure spices, canned vegetables, canned fruit, tomato-based pasta sauce (check for gluten first), honey, peanut butter, rice vermicelli or rice paper, chili sauce, oil, vinegars (except malt vinegar).
  • Giveaways: Foods you’ll have give away to relatives, friends, or neighbors. Use this opportunity as an ice-breaker for letting close relatives and friends know about your new diagnosis. These foods include breads, tortillas, crackers made from gluten-containing flours, cold and hot cereals, flours you used for baking, ready-made baking mixes, regular pasta, couscous, scalloped potatoes, seasoned rice mixes, other gluten-containing grains (wheat berries, barley, rye, oats, spelt, Kamut, triticale), cornmeal not labeled gluten-free, Worcestershire sauce, and barbecue sauce made with malt vinegar.

 

2.  Now stock the pantry with foods to share with the rest of your family. Guess what? There are many foods that are gluten-free and delicious, including snack foods (gluten-free potato chips, cookies, corn chips, nuts, seeds, cheesy snacks, flavored rice cakes, chocolate bars).

 

3.  Dedicate a pantry shelf to foods that are gluten-free and that will be for your use only.

 

Refrigerator

1.  Again, sort out the keepers from the giveaways.

  • Keepers: milk, chocolate milk (ensure that no malt ingredients are used), individual servings of yogurt, juice, soy milk (check if it is gluten-free), squeezable bottles of plain mustard, kaetchup and mayonnaise, butter, oil-based salad dressings (ensure that they are gluten-free).
  • Giveaways: While a lot of refrigerated foods are perishable, if there are products you used to enjoy and can take over to a relative’s or friend’s house, you may avoid having to throw them away.

 

2.  Restock with gluten-free foods and label them with your own name: butter or margarine, peanut/nut/seed butter jars, jars of jam, jelly, fruit butters, or honey (you may purchase the squeezable kind of bottle); any other jars of condiments that people other than yourself use.

 

Appliances

1.  Buy a new toaster for gluten-free toast. Don’t be tempted to wash an existing toaster or divide a 4-slot toaster into “gluten” and “gluten-free” sides. It’s only a toaster. Why sabotage all the other efforts you are making to maintain a gluten-free diet for the cost of a toaster?

 

2.  Use a toaster oven as an alternative. The gluten-containing and gluten-free foods can be separated by a sheet of aluminum foil or a clean dish.

 

Counters

Before starting meal preparation or whenever you prepare your own snacks or meals, make sure you clean the counters to avoid the risk of contaminating your food because another member of your household may have left crumbs of bread, crackers, or cookies on that counter.