Thursday, June 12, 2014

Setting up a GFCF shared kitchen

This week I have been busy setting up the kitchen to make sure none of the gluten-containing foods contaminate Julianna's gluten free ones. I found a great pin that explained how to do it, and the more I read, the more overwhelmed I became. She talked about using separate sponges or scrubbers for dishes, separate hand towels to dry with, and the biggest one that I knew I wouldn't be able to do was to put all gluten foods in one corner, and make sure you only prep gluten foods in one specific area, and then gluten free ones would be everywhere else. I felt like this would be impossible to do with my family. Making sure that they only place gluten foods on one area all the time was just a huge job. So I kind of personalized my kitchen to what I thought would work for Julianna:

I first cleared out one cupboard large enough to hold her GF cereals, snacks, and baking supplies, so it would not be contaminated by gluten foods.

I then cleared out the drawer and cabinet below for her own silverware drawer (because I figured others would be touching and dropping crumbs into the family silverware drawer) and her own dishes and baking supplies (again, because I didn't want fingers or crumbs contaminating the things she was putting in her mouth.) I even found a great online deal for a whole new baking set, and then for her own dishes, I used glass Corelle bowls and plates that I already had, and some glass mugs for now. No more plastic, since plastic is porous (as my wonderful respite worker pointed out) and might trap some of the gluten. I feel very OCD doing this, but I figured if I'm going to do this diet for Julianna, I am going to do it 100%! I just went to the dollar store and got her a silverware tray and some new silverware. Nothing fancy.

I made sure to label the area GFCF so the family knows not to touch it or prepare food on it. I told Julianna that she has to get her cereal in the morning in this area, and her snacks, too, and no where else in the kitchen. The great thing about this is she is old enough to understand, and listens. She knows all about the diet, and her respite worker brough some cereals that were GF, but one contained soy, which we have also removed. I told her she couldn't have soy. The next day, our respite worker brought a different GF cereal, and Julianna asked her, "does it have soy in it?" She gets it. The other thing that was really cute...when I was all done getting her area ready, she said, "Mommy, it's like I have my own little kitchen!" Here's what it looks like.

She has her own fruit bowl, her own cooking supplies (which she is really excited about), and I did do the hand towel, and gave her a hook to hang it on, away from the other hand towels. Success!
The other thing I did was get her a new sponge and scrubber, and dish drainer for her own dishes to keep them separate from the gluten foods that would be in the sink. I told her she needs to wash all her dishes when she is done and place them there. Again, she is old enough to do this, so it is working just great. She did all these dishes by herself!
The last project to tackle was the fridge, and this was by far the hardest one. I HATE cleaning the fridge, but again, I will do it because at this point, it is absolutely necessary. I had to get all those little gluten crumbs out of there! The pin I was using recommended either getting a separate fridge (not going to happen right now) or placing all GFCF foods on the top shelf, so no other crumbs can drop down below. So I began taking out the shelves in the fridge, and noticed that there were little crumbs in the grooves. I had no choice but to take all the shelves apart, and clean all the little crumbs out that get in those crevices. It took me a VERY long time, but I am confident that nothing will contaminate her shelf in the fridge, and hey, my fridge is a clean as it was when I bought it almost 8 years ago!
So there you kitchen is ready to be completely GFCF now! I feel so much better. I just hope we can stick to this system and that it will show results. The diet takes at least 6 months before you really see a lot of changes, but I am going to stick with it! I have already noticed subtle changes in her mood, and best of all, she really feels special knowing she is on a special diet and has her own "kitchen!"

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