Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cross Contamination and Celiac Disease

Guest Post by Author Jeanne Donnelly

When first going gluten free, most people who have suffered for years with diarrhea, irritable bowel, headaches or other complaints, feel much better. Recovery can be slower for some, but if you’re not improving you may still be ingesting gluten.
Gluten can be hidden in some of the things you consume everyday or you may be getting it from cross contamination.  Double check the ingredients in all prescription medications, vitamins, and any other supplements you may be taking. Wheat is sometimes used as a filler in pills. Glutenfreedrugs.com has lists of all medications that are deemed to be gluten free.

Make sure anything you use to prepare your food is clean. Tephlon coated pans and plastic ware will hold the gluten molecule and contaminate the next thing cooked in it no matter how well you scrub it. The same is true for wooden cutting boards. The best thing to do it have cutting boards or plastic ware (including plastic spatulas and spoons) designated especially for food without gluten.  Use stainless steel pots to insure the food you cook is free from cross contamination. If your toaster has ever had gluten in it, it will now contaminate anything else you toast in it. It’s best to purchase a new toaster and only use it for gluten free bread.

Avoid double dipping. If a serving utensil touches gluten, it is now contaminated until it has been thoroughly washed. If you use a knife to spread jelly, peanut butter, or butter on a piece of bread with gluten, and then put the knife back into the jar to retrieve more, the jar is now contaminated and should not be used by someone who must maintain a gluten free diet. If you do live with people who are not gluten free, it may be best to have separate jars.

Be aware of the words gluten can hide in every day foods.  Malt, spelt, couscous, semolina, and triticale should all be avoided by people following a gluten free diet. Terms such as “modified food starch” or “flavors” could contain gluten as the label may not state what it’s been modified with, or what “flavors” includes. In this case calling the manufacturer is your best bet.

Jeanne Donnelly has been gluten free since 2003. She is a regular contributer for several magazines, as well as eHow.com, Livestrong.com, and more. 

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