Do coeliacs really need to replace kitchen equipment, such as chopping boards and wooden spoons?

I can completely understand the importance of having a separate, gluten-free toaster, but is it truly necessary to buy new sieves, colanders, cooking utensils and so on?

While I am fully committed to being gluten free, I am unsure how much I need to do beyond simply avoiding gluten-containing foods.

Advice out there seems to be mixed, so I would really appreciate hearing from fellow coeliacs who can speak from experience. It's all so confusing!

Many thanks!

17 Replies

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  • Hya Coeliacvegan, I'd put all your posts and pans in the dishwasher and give the chopping boards a good scrub as for the wooden spoons they're so cheap I'd invest in a new set.

    A really good tip is to not only clean your oven but to then to heat it up and put a dish with water in so that it steam cleans the inside.

    What you have to bear in mind is that when a coeliac eats out in a restaurant they eat off plates and use cutlery that has been used by wheaties so as long as everything is squeaky clean the gluten should be washed away.

    If you don't have a dishwasher then leave your pots and pans to soak in very hot water with

    washing up liquid, then wash and rinse thoroughly.

    It is all confusing and it's a steep learning curve and take it one step at a time so any other queries you just ask away. I'll let the ladies answer your question on make up as I have no experience on that LOL

  • I dishwasher everything.....I have glass chopping boards, I use toaster bags, and I'm a complete freak about keeping my granite worktops clean... I have my own fridge and freezer....and I always wipe up after my hubby has been in the kitchen....I prep on one side and him on the other if he is havin anything not gf.... It worth it....I can still gluten myself.....as I did on Monday night picked up the wrong brown sauce and used it......still feeling poorly today...but that was my own fault......:(

    Janie

  • Hi Coeliacvegan - I have tried posting this answer to your other question but there is currently a problem with the link. I am currently writing a blog post about problems with topically used products at this at the moment. There are various reports online. Experts explain that the molecules of gluten particles are much larger than the pores of the skin and so cannot enter healthy skin. They also believe that it is unlikely that gluten molecules that penetrate through broken skin and rashes will be able to get into the bloodstream - although as far as I am able to ascertain no tests have been carried out to confirm this. One of the main concerns expressed appears to be transference or cross-contamination. In other words if using products containing gluten then it is unwise to touch yourself and then put fingers/hands near to the mouth or eyes or prepare food without thoroughly washing the hands. If using solid soap bars make sure that they do not contain either wheat or oat derivatives and check liquid soap for wheat or oat germ oils, etc.

    I would advise that wooden utensils will pass on gluten so either never use them or have separate ones. Chopping boards: these depend on whether you have dedicated ones for vegetables but if there is a universal one or ones that are used for bread, cakes or any other grain products then this also should be separate. No matter how meticulous a cook may be there will always be the chance of a tiny amount of gluten could be left in colanders and especially sieves unless you have dedicated ones purely for vegetables.

    There is a Vegan Coeliac Network for around the world link that you may also find useful, with recipe shares etc.

    veganaroundtheworldnetwork....

  • Thanks, Jerry and Janie,

    I'm the household dishwasher, unfortunately (!), but as it's only me and my son, it should be easy enough for me to keep things gluten-free. I'll definitely try the oven cleaning tip, and will also look into getting some toaster bags.

    Am very relieved to hear I don't need to re-equip the whole kitchen!

    Thanks again for your advice, and I hope Janie feels better soon.

  • Thanks for your comprehensive reply, Lynxcat. It's good to hear that things aren't as complicated as I feared! This is such a steep learning curve!

    Thanks also for letting me know about the Vegan Coeliac Network, which I will certainly check out. Am very excited to know I am not the only one in the world!!!

  • There are quite a few coeliac vegans out there and here are some other sites that also may be of use to you:

    There are a few pages online to a book (mainly for vegetarians but there may be a useful tip or two that could be useful):

    docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&...

    For Vegan Coeliacs:

    punchfork.com/recipes/vegan...

    fatfreevegan.com/gluten-fre...

    theglutenfreevegan.com/

    manifestvegan.com/

    glutenfreeveganmom.com/

  • That's great ! There are loads of us!

    Many thanks, Lynxcat. That should keep me busy...

  • Hi again, I was a single dad when first diagnosed and my son had his own cupboard and workspace and he had the toaster and I used the grill. I was also the dishwasher so I laughed at this comment.

    My son embraced my diet as he didn't want to make me ill and he sorted the food cupboards out and I laughed when I looked as my cupboard was empty his had the steamed toffee puddings and the food he didn't fancy was in the bin...

    But it worked and I never had any issues and he was very protective of me so I'd sort things out with your son sooner rather than later. And children need defined boundaries and there are no if's or buts with being a coeliac.

    And good luck to you both.

  • Hello again, Jerry,

    That's very encouraging to hear. Have also been using grill and leaving toaster for my son, but have yet to divide up the cupboard contents!

    I haven't actually talked to my son about my coeliac diagnosis yet. I only found out a couple of months ago, and I haven't worked out how best to explain it to him. I've been quite ill on and off over the past few years, and I've always tried to underplay the seriousness of it, as I haven't wanted him to be worried about me.

    That said, it's great to hear how well things have worked out for you and your son, and makes me feel a lot less apprehensive about it all - so thank you for sharing your experience. I love the image of the cupboard full of sticky toffee pudding!

  • In my house I have replaced almost everything with its GF version, rather than having food for me and food for everyone else in the family. So everyone gets GF pasta, sauces, flour, stock cubes etc etc.

    Since I do most of the cooking, this makes life much easier for me, and I don't get any complaints about the cooking, at least not about that! I only get complaints if I serve stuff they don't like, like potatoes or salmon (son 1) or very spicy curry (son 2).

    Besides, I think there is way too much wheat in the diet even for people who are non-coeliac, and this helps balance things out (they still eat gluten laden school dinners).

    There are only a few exceptions: bread, pizza and the occasional packet of non-GF cereal (sugar in a box), or biscuits. Bread crumbs gets everywhere and I hate them. I have a separate bread board and butter dish for people eating bread.

    I don't have a formal coeliac diagnosis. If i get one (biopsy tomorrow), then I'm seriously thinking of banning bread from the house too.

  • Hi Poing,

    That sounds like a great approach. I just have the one son, who does, unfortunately, love his carbs (he's a keen footballer!), so I can't really banish bread. It would be easy to do everything else gluten-free, though - and a lot less cooking and washing up too!

    I was mainly concerned about contamination from chopping boards, wooden spoons, and other equipment, as I had read that they can harbour gluten even when thoroughly cleaned. Your way of doing things would avoid that problem too, so maybe I'll just dedicate one board for my son's bread and get a few new items to be gluten-free.

    I do hope your biopsy goes well tomorrow.

    Thanks so much for your help. It makes such a difference to know others are dealing with the same issues...

  • I have a separate toaster but didn't buy new utensils, chopping boards etc. The only gluten containing products that come into the house are bread kept in a bread bin on opposite side of kitchen, cereal, biscuits and crackers kept in a cupboard on opposite side of kitchen.

    Everything else is gf and eaten by my non coeliac hubby. Yes I do find crumbs on the bench and it irritates, but you just get on with cleaning it down. We don't own a dishwasher but make sure we wash things well.

  • Hi coeliacvegan,

    All kids are different, but I reckon most know when we're ill, whether we confess or not, and if you present your diagnosis as the beginning of a solution and much better health (which hopefully is exactly true), your son might be very pleased to do what he can to hurry that process along. Best wishes.

    PS My daughter's cupboard is always full of more exciting food than mine!

  • Hi Maqh and LHine,

    Thank you both for taking the trouble to answer. It makes such a difference to have the support of others in the same situation.

    LHine, I'm sure you're right, and have decided to have a chat to my son about my diagnosis this weekend (he's out playing football in the rain at the moment!).

    Incidentally, this is probably the subject of another thread, but do you think it is necessary to have children tested when a parent has been diagnosed with coeliac disease? My son is 12 and doesn't show any signs of having it, but, as we know, there aren't always obvious symptoms.

    Would be interested to hear what other people think.

    Thanks again!

  • Hi Coeliacvegan if you mention to your GP that you're a coeliac and you'd like you son to have an IGA blood test they will do this. But with him being 12 I'd wait as many coeliac go into remission in adolescence and especially as he doesn't have any symptoms. And it must be very hard for coeliac teenagers too. So I'd leave it for now personally.

    My son was tested when he was around 22 and it was negative.

    I think that you have such a positive attitude to your diet and life that you should consider writing a Blog about being a coeliac and a vegan as I think you'd be surprised how interested other members would be, me for one. GFG also has many members who are vegetarian or lactose intolerant or both so they would be very interested for obvious reasons. I eat many vegetarian foods like tahini, falafels and nut luncheon etc as what I eat is important to me. I also smiled when I read that you teach yoga and thought why aren't I surprised (that's a compliment) This also may interest you as it's where they sell gf polenta cake

    harbourhouse.org.uk/index.html it's a yoga centre with an art gallery + vegetarian cafe. (It's just nice to know that places like this exist)

    I also think that you should consider becoming a volunteer with GFG if that appeals to you and when you feel ready, so that you can help other vegan coeliac. That's my 2p's worth.

  • Hi Coeliacvegan, The only thing that i can think of that hasn't been mentioned is that you could consider running a cleaning solution through the dishwasher & cleaning the filters more regularl,y also using paper towel to clean worktops if you are sharing bread-cutting areas. I have found bits of wheat pasta lurking in the filters before now but have no idea what the chances of contamination like this. Still, it always makes me feel a bit safer when cooking in a mixed environment.

    Good luck, Kate

  • Hi Kate,

    Thanks for taking the trouble to reply.

    Unfortunately, I don't have a dishwasher, but I have been trying to wash anything gluteny up after all the non-gluten cooking stuff, to minimise the risk of contamination.

    Have also now replaced chopping boards and wooden utensils, so feel that I'm well on the way to a gluten-free lifestyle.

    Thanks again for your help.

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