(NaturalNews) Being gluten-free means more than just purchasing gluten-free ingredients and prepared meals. People who live a gluten-free lifestyle, unless they live alone, are preparing their meals in a non gluten-free environment. These people may experience symptoms that they thought they left behind when they switched to a gluten-free diet. The reason for these health concerns may be cross-contamination at home.
Contain gluten in the kitchen
Most people who share kitchens with family or roommates are not going to be able to convince others to go gluten-free too. Since banning gluten from the kitchen is not feasible in these situations, the next best thing is to contain gluten foods as much as possible.
Step one is to declare certain areas of the kitchen as gluten territory and a gluten-free area. Gluten-free fans should stake out their own cupboard and, if possible, counter space. Items with gluten should be in their own area. It is also helpful to put grains containing gluten in their own airtight container. Since many people order gluten-free foods in bulk from websites, find extra storage space for these foods in an area other than the kitchen.
A separate area in a freezer or refrigerator for gluten-free foods is also helpful. An extra freezer, ice box or small fridge in another room, garage or basement is the perfect place to put gluten-free foods, especially homemade items.
Post it notes or a label maker are helpful in labeling gluten-free foods so no mistakes are made.
Avoid cross-contamination from shared items
Shared kitchen items lead to contamination. A toaster, for example, is too risky to use for both gluten foods and gluten-free items. Getting two toasters and labeling one gluten-free is the only way to ensure that crumbs do not get onto gluten-free toast or waffles.
Another item to duplicate is a colander. Pasta with gluten when drained in a colander can leave traces of gluten. Use separate colanders.
The stove is another place where traces of gluten can get onto gluten-free items. Since buying two stoves is not possible in most circumstances, people should place aluminum foil on any area of the stove that gluten-free food is placed on.
Separate cooking utensils is also a must for protecting gluten-free dieters from cross-contamination. Separate bowls, pans, knives, stirrers, and measuring cups are just some of the items that could have traces of gluten. Porous items such as wooden cutting boards and spoons are most likely to absorb gluten.
Avoid cross-contamination from shared foods
Some foods are gluten traps, condiments particularly. Mayonnaise, butter, jelly, jams, and nut butters collect crumbs when knives or spoons are doubled dipped. It is safest to get two of these items, one for the person who eats gluten-free and one for gluten eaters. Squeeze bottles are also safer. Ketchup and mustard usually come in squeeze bottles.
Protect against cross-contamination on surfaces
For a safe kitchen, people need to keep surfaces such as counter tops and shelves free of gluten. Frequently cleaning helps. Before preparing gluten-free dishes, people should wipe off counters and other areas each time to eliminate the possibility of crumbs or small amounts of gluten items getting into the gluten-free dishes.
Another concern is that wheat flour could get onto surfaces. Every time someone uses wheat flour, it gets into the air and onto most everything, including separate cooking utensils left out. Ideally, wheat flour should not be used in a home with gluten-free residents because it is not possible to fully prevent wheat flour from settling all over the kitchen.
Following these tips for a safe kitchen can help keep people healthy.
About the author: Sarka-Jonae Miller is a published novelist and MARSocial Author of the Year runner-up. She's also a former personal trainer and massage therapist. SJ's published work includes the #3 bestseller "Between Boyfriends" and the just released sequel"Between the Sheets". The chick lit series was recently featured in the San Diego Reader, the largest alternative newsweekly in the United States.