Saturday, March 29, 2008

Recent Celiac Diagnosis: Gluten-Free Kitchen -- What you need to buy new

Congratulations on your recent celiac disease diagnosis!

Yeah, it's a weird thing to be congratulated on, but if you had to choose an autoimmune disease, with celiac, you don't have to take drugs or injections or lance your fingertips every day, you aren't going to gain weight from any steroids, you aren't going to pass away, and you are going to feel better within a couple days of going on the gluten-free diet.

Considering how sick you have been feeling, and you probably have been feeling pretty sick or else you wouldn't have gone to enough doctors to finally find one that can accurately diagnose celiac, that's a pretty good disease to have.

So, what now?

For this article, I'm going to assume that you're going entirely GF. Just make your house GF. Especially at the beginning, that's the easiest way to do it. It's not like going cold turkey from cigarettes. It's more like cleaning up the spilled paint to avoid tracking it everywhere.

Things you will need to buy new:
  • Toaster -- Absolutely necessary. There is no way to clean all the crumbs out of a toaster. Start with a new one.

  • Toaster oven -- if you use one. Same reason.

  • Cast iron skillets, if you have cast iron. Because cast iron pans build up a layer of "seasoning" that is non-stick and keeps the pan from rusting, this layer has gluten trapped all the way through it. I like the "Emeril" brand at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. They're reasonably priced and have a "helper handle" on the far side. They're also perfectly flat for glass cooktops.

  • If you have non-stick or steel skillets, inspect them carefully for a layer of burnt oil build-up. Stainless steel can probably be scoured with a steel wool pad until it is shiny and new-looking. Non-stick (Teflon) skillets, especially if they are the kind with recessed ridges, should be closely inspected and discarded if you see anything sticking in there.

  • Baking sheets and pans that have become "dark." Again, layer of burnt-on oil that has trapped gluten.

  • Wooden cutting boards, wooden spoons, or other wood items.

That's really all that you need to buy new. A good cleaning, perhaps a trip through the dishwasher, should suffice for pretty much anything else.

More on setting up your GF kitchen next time.

Did I miss anything? Send me comments!


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