Last weekend was a busy one. We had friends visiting, lots of swimming, and a few meals eaten away from home. While I was careful to specify my diet restrictions to the restaurant staff, I still managed to get sick. I ended up with a bloated tummy, fatigue and other symptoms that I had managed to keep away for the first two weeks of my celiac adventure. Last night I made the decision that while I won’t limit my social activity, I will only eat food prepared in my own kitchen for now (along with pre-packaged gluten-free bars and snacks). I desperately want my body to heal, and getting sick by cross-contamination puts me right back at square one.
When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease, I cleaned out the pantry and separated the gluten-containing foods (or cross-contaminated foods) from the gluten-free foods. As we run out of something, I replace it with the gluten-free version or just leave it out altogether. Today my mom came over and helped me do a more thorough job of really cleaning out the kitchen. We took all of the wheat flour, grains, and bread out of the house. The remaining foods on the bottom shelf will not be replaced when they are gone.
We got rid of the toasted and wooden utensils.
Then we cleaned.
We washed all of the counters, cleaned out the silverware drawer, and cleaned all of the utensils. My mom used some serious elbow grease to take the seasoning off of our giant wok. We will have to reseason both the wok and the cast iron griddle/grill pan. I have a few more drawers to clean out, then I think we will be good to go.
Why go through all of this trouble? As the primary cook and caregiver in our home, I have to feel safe when I’m preparing food for our family. Cooking is a joyful experience for me, but the last two weeks have proven stressful. Trying to keep my food from being cross-contaminated by everyone else’s food has been tough. Dropping something on the counter and not being able to pick it up to eat is has been frustrating. Now I can cook in peace knowing that my food is safe. Ahhhhh, that feels better!
If you are gluten-free, do you keep your own kitchen gluten-free? Or do you keep your food separate? Do you eat out often?
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I am gluten free. I have gluten intolerance and did the same thing to my kitchen that you did. I eat out, I would say, 4 times a week. Alot for work. I stick to salads alot and meat and try not to cross- contaminate but I can tell when I am sick and bloated that I need to take care of me and stay home. It’s hard but worth it as you start to feel better. I have leaky gut pretty bad and am trying to heal it as well. Love your blog and wish you the best of luck on your journey.
Thank you Heather! I was amazed at how quickly it hit me when I was contaminated. I am so determined to do a better job from now on. Any tips you have would be great!
wow, that is some serious work, but I’m sure it will be worth it. I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through such a traumatic experience. Praying relief is around the corner!
Thank you Melanie! It’s hard, but I’m so glad that I’m finally going in the right direction.
I’m curious, why did you get rid of the wooden utensils?
From what I’ve read, they are too hard to clean adequately enough to avoid cross-contamination.
Alyssa, you’ll be relieved to have that cleaning done, and it will pay off for you. Only one member of our family has Celiac, but it didn’t take long for us to see that food prep and prevention of cross contamination were too big a challenge for me if I had to keep gluten-full and gluten-free meals separate. We did just as you’re doing–removed all wheat flour and bread products from the house (too big a risk), and all other gluten foods moved to the bottom shelves until they ran out.
A bit of encouragement for you: as you cook at home and those accidental contamination events happen less frequently, you WILL heal and be amazed at how much better you feel!
Thanks for sharing your story. 🙂
Jaimie, thanks so much for the comment. I am so looking forward to feeling better! Glad to know that your family has made it work by using a gluten-free kitchen.
I know how you feel, my husband can’t have gluten, dairy, or eggs, and now the doctor has suggested my THREE year old daughter have the same diet, with the addition of soy free (she has terrible food allergy rashes and bowl issues, and we need to figure out what exactly is making her ill.)
Going out is usually not an option for us, it’s simply too difficult to find something my husband and now, daughter, to eat.
Almost 100% of the food we eat is prepared by me, even gluten free foods typically have dairy or egg in them; so it’s just easier to make our own foods. It ends up being cheaper, albeit much more time consuming.
Good luck! It is do-able and not even hard once you’ve made a routine. 🙂
[…] social gathering. But what if it’s sneaking into my diet at home too? We did two original kitchen cleanses in the beginning, but have since become a little bit lax. The crackers the kids were only allowed […]