Why do we keep our home gluten free? (Why wouldn’t you?)

To say I have supportive parents would be an understatement. The older I get, the more thanks I give for the love, loyalty, and encouragement they show me every day. For Celiac Awareness Month, I asked them to write a guest post about how they keep a gluten-free kitchen, not for their sake, but for mine. I hope this is something you can show your family if you are struggling with support at home, as I know many who have celiac disease are. I am overwhelmed by the lengths my parents have gone to keep me not just safe, but comfortable and included. Here they are, in their own words.


Hi. We are Mark and Megan. Our daughter, Alysa, has celiac disease. It has been a mean, ravaging, wearing experience for her to adjust to. Our other daughter, Kate, has extreme gluten intolerance. Our favorite thing to do is to cook and we have always had family over for big meals, barbecue, homemade sushi, just any excuse to get together and eat good food.

For quite a while, we have kept a gluten free kitchen even though we don’t have gluten intolerance or celiac disease. This story will tell you why we do.

When Alysa was first diagnosed we decided to keep a “gluten-free” area of the kitchen with which to cook her food – new pans, gluten-free ingredients. Everything we thought we needed. We placed the pieces of equipment which we thought were “most glutened” such as our toaster and panini press, in another cupboard.

We cooked our first gluten-free meal and Alysa was ill for a week afterwards. What had we done wrong?! Oh…spices can have gluten in them, condiments can have gluten in them, raw nuts can be contaminated. Wheat flour swirls around in the air and puts a light coating on EVERYTHING. Oh….

So we tried to be even more careful. Installed an app on our phones that tells us what products are gluten-free when shopping at the grocery store. Switched to all-purpose gluten-free flour instead of wheat flour. Learned the basics of reading labels. That worked pretty well. Then we made fried chicken in the cast iron pan we have lovingly seasoned for years. Once again, Alysa was sick for a week.

But Alysa just doesn’t get sick. Gluten affects her brain, she doesn’t feel safe to drive. She has absolutely no energy. The effects last a long time. And she has 2 children to keep up with. We decided it was time to make sure our daughters really felt safe eating in our home. They have to be so careful about eating in restaurants and other peoples’ homes. We wanted them to be able to just walk in to our house and pull out chips in the pantry, leftovers in the refrigerator, cookies on the counter, and know that they can eat them without worrying.

It hasn’t been a big transition for us to eat this way. If we want to eat gluten bread, pasta, pizza, we go out to eat. And we don’t bring the leftovers home.

Last weekend the whole family was together at our house. Both daughters felt free to help themselves to anything and everything in our kitchen. We have gluten-free bread so they made a sandwich, helped themselves to left over chicken, snacked on pretzels from the pantry and gorged (a little) on chocolate cake. They have total peace of mind in our home knowing they won’t get sick.

Our question is this – Why wouldn’t any parent want to do this for their child? The health is and peace of mind of our daughters is definitely worth it.



  • toni May 5, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    What lovely dedicated parents! I hope you have a wonderful Mothers Day. <3

  • Amy western May 5, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    So lovely to read. Both myself and my sister are coeliac but we just have to be extremely careful when at my parents or anywhere else. I was ‘glutened’ on Thursday and have the same problem with my brain. I can’t think straight, am exhausted and have cut myself with a knife. I’m sure I still have a week or so to go aswell.

  • Peterson May 5, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    My sentiments exactly. We got some weird looks from people when we said we were going to keep a gluten free kitchen, which involved donating just about everything and buying new, but peace of mind is worth the initial conversion difficultly. We have to question everything outside our home, I wanted our daughters to have a safe place where they didn’t have to think about it.

  • donna May 5, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    What a wonderful family. I installed a brand new kitchen in my home nothing is too extreme when it comes to eating uncontaminated food. Not if you want to be as well as you can be.

  • Catherine Noujaim May 5, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    This is wonderful. I avoid visiting family because of the gluten issue.

    • kimsaria May 6, 2014 at 10:13 am

      We do too. It’s a no brainer really. Anyone who doesn’t care if they make me (or my children) suffer, is not worth visiting.

  • Mar O May 5, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    I want to marry this family!:) but I also must add that my family – spouse and children – have been wonderful about living in a gluten-free house. No gluten here – anywhere. At diagnosis I was gifted with – new kitchen, new tools, cleaned out pantry, new cookbooks, and everyone relearning to cook! Sadly, for me, like many persons with CD these considerations rarely extend beyond my doors. My parents still offer me things to eat that are not safe and immediately say “oh sorry, you can’t have that”. But being gluten-free feels so good I cannot stress over their ignorance.

  • Chantal May 6, 2014 at 2:55 am

    This is such a heartwarming story. Made me smile and made me let out a “wow”. What an amazing Parents!
    My mom is sure she has glutenfree stuff in her home for when I get there. But it’s not all glutenfree. But when I get over there for dinner, she makes sure that we eat something that is completely glutenfree, so I don’t have to fear for getting sick.

  • Debra Riedesel RD May 6, 2014 at 5:57 am

    Wow, what wonderful, supportive parents you have. Wouldn’t it be great if all families were this supportive?

  • Val Swabb May 6, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    This is lovely. I simply do not eat anything from anyone else’s kitchen, neither do I allow my kids but things still happen. My son got ‘glutened’ or ‘corned’ at a church picnic this weekend, and he’s having major brain, and physical problems from it. Don’t know what he ate, but at 8 years, he still sneaks once in a while. Hopefully it is a lesson he will learn quickly.

    • InspiredRD May 7, 2014 at 7:49 am

      Oh that has to be such a hard lesson to learn as a child. Poor guy.

  • Catherine Noujaim May 7, 2014 at 6:16 am

    Just a heads up, but I realized one place people might be getting glutened at home without realizing it… the coffee grinder. People clean it with stale bread.

    • InspiredRD May 7, 2014 at 7:49 am

      I’ve never heard of that. Thanks!

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