One of the things that felt so overwhelming when my oldest daughter was first diagnosed with celiac (and then when her younger sister was diagnosed) was our kitchen. We needed an overhaul but it seemed SO overwhelming that I wanted to just curl up in a ball and not deal with it. After all…it was scary knowing that it takes an extremely small amount of gluten residue to cook into your non-gluten foods to make you sick.
So what did this mean for us? Did it mean I needed to throw away all our pots and pans? Did I need a new microwave, toaster and oven? Did I have to throw away all our spatulas and cutting boards and storage containers? MY GOODNESS – how am I EVER going to get through this.
It seems silly now to look back at how nervous I was – but the feelings were real. I saw it costing a lot of money to deal with our kitchen and a lot of work that I wasn’t sure I had the time to put in.
However…we dove into it head on and got it done…and it wasn’t so bad!
So here is what we were advised to do and what we actually did.
First…the toaster oven we always used was no longer allowed to be used for ANYTHING gluten free. Ever. The girls got their very own toaster and it has been not a big deal. The picked a really cool teal color and they felt excited to be able to do so.
Second…our plastic storage containers had to go. Gluten likes to hide and a lot of times it hides in plastic. So those went. We replaced them with glass containers from Costco – which honestly – were a lot better. You CAN still use plastic containers – but you may want to buy new ones.
Third…our pots and pans. We did not replace those. We wash those and sanitize them and felt that they would be okay. Some say if you use nonstick and it is scratched, you may want to replace them because gluten loves to hide in those scratches. Luckily ours were not scratched so we kept them.
Fourth…cutting boards. We got rid of our plastic and wooden cutting boards and replaced them with new. Gluten LOVES to hide in wood and scratched plastic (which will definitely be on a cutting board) so out they went and replaced with better items.
Fifth…utensils. We did not replace any utensils. You probably just need to give them a good wash and you should be okay!
Sixth…spatulas, spoons, etc. IF you use wooden spoons to cook with, you should replace those. Again…the gluten loves the wooden items in your kitchen. We kept plastic spoons and spatulas that were in good condition…but the ones that were not got tossed.
Seventh…Cast Iron Pans… We kept ours. Just scrub them and burn the seasonings off and you should be okay we were told. We have had no issues.
Eighth…BBQ grills. We sanitized ours. We had just bought it right before diagnosis and did not want to get rid of it. We burned off everything and thoroughly cleaned it and have not had any issues. You can put down foil for protection also. Be careful – a lot of charcoal does have gluten in it.
Ninth…Colander. If you have a plastic one that you used to drain pasta with gluten…it needs to be replaced. If it is metal (which is what we ended up buying) then a very good scrubbing and cleaning should be okay.
Tenth…Sponges. Bye-bye to any sponges that have wiped down the counters. Also, if you are not having your house be entirely gluten free…you will need to have TWO separate sponges. One for gluten dishes and one for non-gluten dishes.
So no…it does not have to be scary, or overwhelming, although it may feel that way. But use this guide as a start for you and always feel free to message me!