I have put together tips to help you turn your home into a safe and gluten-free environment, eliminating risks of cross contamination. If you are able to convert to a gluten-free household that is ideal. But this is often not possible, when you live with family members who eat gluten. In either case, these 5 tips might come in handy.
1.Analyse your pantry or food cupboards and fridge, and separate gluten containing items from gluten free ones.
- start by eliminating any foods and beverages that obviously contain wheat, barley and rye, like bread, pasta, cakes, crackers and beer.
- then look at the ingredients lists and allergy advice on other products. Separate any products that contain, or may contain gluten. If you have any doubts as to whether a product is gluten free, it is best to remove it until you are sure.
- If you live with people who eat gluten, label your containers and opened packages of food in the fridge or cupboard as gluten free.
2. Clean up!
- Clean cupboards, kitchen benches and the fridge so that there will be no crumbs or traces of gluten. Keep designated and separate cupboards for gluten-free foods.
- Thoroughly clean and scrub pots and pans, colanders, chopping boards, utensils and cutlery. Even better, and if your budget allows it, buy new ones to be used for gluten free cooking only.
- Buy a separate toaster for your gluten free bread.
3. Go shopping!
- make a list of essentials and stock up on natural and healthy gluten free options like fruit and vegetables, lean meats and poultry, fish, beans and pulses, plain nuts, plain yoghurt, cheese and eggs. Plain tofu is a gluten free alternative to meat.
- visit the gluten free section of your supermarket for substitutes to gluten products like breads, pasta and other treats, but do not go overboard on these. Gluten free pre-packaged products tend to be low in fibre and high in fats, and contain added salt and sugar to improve the taste. It might take a bit of experimentation and tasting to find your favourite brands.
4. Educate yourself!
- look up information about which products are gluten free and which are not. Join an association. Read about your condition. Meet people going through the same situation by joining online groups. Find a good gluten-free cook book, or search for recipes online and start cooking.
- I found this gluten-free checklist compiled by coeliac UK extremely useful https://www.coeliac.org.uk/document-library/126-gluten-free-checklist/
5. Educate family members.
This is often a challenge at first because the gluten free lifestyle will affect everybody living under the same roof, whether they follow the diet or not. They must understand the risk of cross contamination and how to avoid it. Advise them to wash their hands thoroughly after touching or eating gluten-containing foods.
With a little effort by all members of the family, your home can be a safe haven for you to cook and enjoy wonderful and interesting foods.