As we come to the final stretch in Gluten Free Awareness Month, I am kicking off this week with a post all about cross contamination. I believe, cross contamination is something that can be over looked (I know it was for me) but it is so crucial to understand when having Celiac Disease.
For about a year, or more, after getting diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I had no idea about cross contamination. I would literally just eat whatever I knew was naturally gluten free. This included french fries, sharing a toaster with my fiancé, and even eating out at restaurants.
So, with this post, I want to educate you all on the things that you may not know about when having Celiac Disease. It isn’t something many people think of, and can actually make a drastic difference in your symptoms.
Like the rest of my posts, I want start off by explaining what exactly cross contamination is. In this case, cross contamination is when a food containing gluten unintentionally makes contact with foods that are gluten free. For example, frying french fries (that are naturally gluten free) in the same fryer as frying chicken nuggets (that are breaded with wheat).
Cross contamination not only happens in shared fryers, but in also sharing toasters, dipping a butter knife back into the butter after using it, cooking or prepping food containing gluten on the same surface as you would gluten free foods. I, myself, am super sensitive to consuming gluten so I have to be extremely careful. I have to be so careful to the point where I can only eat grass fed meat.
Cross contamination is everywhere and it can take a while to figure what is safe to eat and what isn’t. With that said, I want to share some tips with you that have helped me a TON.
Tip #1 – If you are going out to eat, first and foremost, make sure there is gluten free options. Secondly, once you sit down, tell your server that you have a gluten allergy. This ensures he or she knows to be extra careful when serving your food. When ordering your food, double check if it is actually gluten free and where and how it is prepared. If it is prepped or cooked on the same surface as all the other foods it is more than likely contaminated.
Tip #2 – Always bring a snack. With the first tip in mind, options may not be available, so you want to always have something just in case. Hangry doesn’t look good on anybody.
Tip #3 – Purchase a four slot toaster, or any other cooking utensil/pan you would normally share (if sharing). Having a four slot toaster ensures you one side of the toaster is 100% gluten free.
Tip #4 – Gluten is NOT bacteria. It CANNOT be cooked or boiled away!
Tip #5 – If you are preparing food for a lot of people, and you are the only gluten free individual, prep and cook your food FIRST and SEPARATE. For example, if you are using a cutting board, prep the gluten free foods on there first, then the gluten filled foods. When cooking in the oven, place your gluten free food on top so there is no risk of other foods contaminating it.
This can seem pretty overwhelming if you were unaware of the many ways gluten cross contamination happens. I personally didn’t even think twice about it until roughly a year ago but is has opened my eyes and has helped my symptoms tenfold.
However, gluten contamination isn’t 100% avoidable when you are eating out. Sometimes you may have a small about of contamination and won’t even notice, and other times it can be much, much worse. The important thing to remember is always triple check before you consume something you are unsure of.
I hope this post was helpful to anyone with Celiac Disease or anyone looking to gain more knowledge on this topic!
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