Let’s Begin At Home
If you are at the beginning of your gluten free journey, the first thing you’ll want to do is a full inventory and clean-up of your pantry and kitchen.
Start with all the boxed / packaged ingredients and create 3 “piles”: gluten free, not gluten free, and not sure. Anything obvious like white flour, bread, cookies, pasta, crackers, baking mixes and other similar items made with wheat, rye or barley needs to be removed. Unfortunately, there are also less obvious items such as soy sauce, licorice and some other candies. For example, some candy companies use wheat glucose in their ingredients, as well as other companies that use wheat in their seasonings, spices, flavored coffees or teas.
GIG National (gluten.org) has many great resources in place already. See links below…
Also, the American Celiac Society is also full of resources on where gluten hides and what to look for when reading labels.
If you are switching your entire household to be gluten free, store all the items that have gluten and donate them to a food bank. If there are people at home eating gluten, it is still possible to cook safely with some precautions. When switching to a gluten free diet, you will need to become a label reader and recognize where gluten may be hidden. DO NOT PANIC…just like anything else, it is a learning process.
No amount of cleaning can remove traces of gluten that will get stuck in certain kitchen electronics and utensils. The biggest offenders are toasters, strainers & colanders, flour sifters and cutting boards. You want to avoid cross-contamination at all costs, so replace these items and dedicate a separate location in your kitchen if you live in a “shared” household.
It is also recommended to replace baking sheets (including pie and other cake pans), any wooden spoons and spatulas, and if you have the budget, pots and pans. I personally switched all my Teflon style pots and pans to stainless steel. Healthier cooking and no risk of cross contamination.
After having thoroughly cleaned your kitchen, it’s time to look in other areas where gluten can hide. Your skin absorbs anything that you put on it so you want to make sure you are using healthy beauty products, that are free of gluten (and other chemicals generally speaking). Just like in the kitchen, there are obvious items you’ll want to replace such as lipsticks and lip balms. Depending on your level of sensitivity, you will also want to check and replace shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, etc.
You will also need to take a look in your medicine cabinet and make sure your medication / supplements do not contain any gluten. Here’s a good article giving more information on what to look for:
IT’S OK TO GRIEVE
Most people have a very emotional relationship with food, because it’s what connects us with our memories, culture, childhood, and who we are as a person. When we realize that we cannot eat certain foods anymore, there is a natural emotional reaction that needs to be taken into account. Give yourself grace as you are transitioning into a fully gluten free diet, and understand that there is an “un-learning” process that will take place while you are learning the new ropes of this new life.
So now your home is becoming gluten free, let’s go out to eat…