Following a gluten free diet does not happen simply by accident. Whether you are following a gluten free diet because of medical necessity or because of a personal choice you have made in efforts to seek a healthier lifestyle, you probably know that it is not always an easy task. The significant changes going from a conventional diet to a truly gluten free diet do not happen without your conscious effort and attention, and a gluten free kitchen though the results are well worth the effort.
Gluten Free Kitchen
In order to help assure that all of the energy you put into adhering to a gluten free diet are successful, it is vital to create an environment that helps to supports your goals. Aside from your actual food choices, an efficient, well-organised kitchen may just be the most important piece of the puzzle when it comes to thriving on your gluten free diet. Just a short amount of time spent setting up and organising your gluten free kitchen can lead to major pay-off when it comes to thriving on your gluten free diet!
1. Start with a Clean Sweep
Kick-start your gluten free lifestyle by performing a clean sweep of all of the items in your kitchen. If the entire household is going to be following a gluten free diet, gather up all the items containing gluten in them so you can get dispose of them. Donate unopened items to a local food bank or church. Give items that are still good but have been opened to friends or family members who might enjoy them. If some members of your household are planning to continue eating foods containing gluten, set aside all of those foods in a separate area of the kitchen.
Don’t worry- you’ll find a place for them in a subsequent step of this organisation guide. Be sure to thoroughly wipe down all counters, drawers, refrigerator shelves, and storage areas to remove any crumbs or residue from foods with gluten. While this step is most critical for those with the highest levels of sensitivity, it can be beneficial to all, if only for the sense of a fresh start it provides.
2. Get Things “Write”
If you are going to be sharing a kitchen with people who eat foods containing gluten as many people do, a permanent marker can be your best friend in making sure your gluten free foods stay gluten free. Use a label and a marker to boldly indicate which foods are strictly gluten free. With the wide abundance of gluten free foods available today, it is easy to mistake a gluten free item for a gluten item and vice versa.
Items such as butter, jam, spreads, and sauces that may be used on a variety foods should be labeled as such to prevent situations like a knife with bread crumbs being inserted into them and contaminating them with gluten. Again, this step may be more critical for those with the highest level of sensitivity, but anyone making the effort to follow a gluten free diet likely does not want his or her diet derailed by errant gluten particles.
3. Tool Around
Make your kitchen more gluten free friendly by equipping it with any tools you may need. While most of your current kitchen tools and gadgets from your life before going gluten free can just be thoroughly cleaned and reused for your gluten free foods, you may find that there are a few new tools that you need to make your gluten free lifestyle run as smoothly as possible. Items to consider replacing include, but are not limited to, sieves, strainers, and toasters.
Additionally plastic or rubber items with cuts and nicks in them may need to go or be regulated to cooking with gluten only. The reason for replacing these items is that they are typically too difficult to completely clean of all gluten residue, thus posing a cross contamination risk to those with a high level of gluten sensitivity. Because they are all relatively inexpensive, making the benefits of them replacing them likely worthwhile. If you do not have a high level of gluten sensitivity, you may be able to use more of your current kitchen items, but monitor to see if the small amount of gluten ingested from cross contamination seems to have a negative effect on you.
As little as a couple hours of performing a gluten free spring cleaning session in your kitchen will go a long way in helping to make your gluten free lifestyle easier and more successful!