Over the past four years we always seem to have a shortage of knives. We have a silverware set with service for 12 but by the time the kids head to school with their lunches and we have all eaten breakfast we barely have one knife left for the rest of the day. Why you ask? It is from cross contamination!
Typically, we use a minimum of two knives for every sandwich. Once a knife touches a piece of non gluten free bread that same knife may not be put back in what you are spreading. If you do, you run the risk of cross-contamination for those with Celiac Disease. Making peanut butter and jelly in our home takes planning and precision. For example, if you scoop out the peanut butter and spread it on a piece of bread but then realize you didn’t scoop out enough, guess what? Time to grab another knife! Same goes for the jelly!
A big adjustment that has evolved over the last four years is being aware of the cross contamination issue. The good news is that over time my family is conscious of what they are eating and how they prepare items. My seven year old daughter will tell me if she accidentally grabs gluten-free chips out of a bag after touching her whole wheat bread. It makes me proud that she is so aware of my intolerance and other food allergies her friends experience. She has also witnessed what eating gluten does to me and she understands it places mommy on the disabled list for a few days.
The dietitian I met with upon my diagnoses, recommended having two toasters in my home so there is no worry about ingesting unwanted gluten. This has drastically reduced my chances of accidentally getting a crumb of wheat bread in my diet. Having two toasters is inexpensive, but also has been priceless in terms of my health. Another suggestion was making sure those who help you are honest. It’s okay to contaminate the butter or cream cheese. My only request is that you tell me you screwed up!
Most people think having Celiac is an inconvenience but for me the frustrating part is getting sick by not following a wheat and gluten free diet. Having friends and family on board and informed about what cross contamination is certainly helps. All I ask for is honesty, acceptance, and more knives!
Sari Solondz was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in November of 2009. Sari resides in Tampa Bay Florida with her husband and two young daughters. With a Masters in social work, she has worked in health care and educational institutions. Now a stay at home mom, Sari has some free time to share her personal experiences with Celiac Disease to others.