We decided to take the plunge and make our kitchen completely gluten free! Why? Well, for a couple of reasons. You may or may not agree but, for us, this is working.
First, we often host dinners with friends and in an effort to accomodate them, we often allow them to bring non-GF bread or desserts into the house. Sometimes we buy them our selves and serve them with a meal. However, a few weeks ago we hosted a friend for a cookout and DH bought non-GF hot dog and hamburger buns (just as an aside, good luck finding rolls without HFCS). He plunked the bag down on the table and between the children reaching into the bags and touching who-knows-what and people serving themselves and touching who-knows-what on their plates and then returning the utensil to the larger bowl, I got exposed and broke out in hives before the meal was half over. Not cool.
Perhaps I should be more gracious and accommodating, but personally, I was really irked that not only was I going to suffer for the next week because we were trying to be nice to our guests (and oh, did I suffer...), but now I could not eat ANY of the leftovers because I had no idea what was safe or not safe anymore. That just seemed so wasteful because there was no way the little ones and DH were going to eat all the leftovers before they spoiled.
Plus, home is supposed to be my sanctuary. My place of safety and security where I know I can eat without worrying about what touched what and whether everyone followed the rules. We already went throught the process of replacing our cookware and most utensils because of possible gluten contamination. I don't want to go through the expense of doing that again! I need peace when I am eating, not more anxiety about my food. I get enough of that whenever I have to dine out. I need to feel secure eating SOMEWHERE! (yeah, me, me, me...)
Then, there is the possibility of one of the girls also having Celiac disease. I have not yet had them tested and for now I would rather err on the side of caution and limit the amount of gluten in their diets. That way, I can better gauge what their reaction is to gluten on the rare instances when they eat some out of our home. I will be having them tested soon.
So how did I go about getting the lead out, so to speak?
First, I did what every decluttering article/blog/website Ive ever read said to do. I emptied the cabinets! Everything out! I didn't want to miss some ancient box of partially petrified cream of wheat or some other such remnant.
Then, everything and anything that contained wheat, barley, rye or non-certifed GF oats went into either the compost pile or the trash. Bye bye Quaker Oats. Bye bye Kashi. Bye bye questionable mystery items repackaged in bags who knows how many years ago... This was a no-holds-barred moment. The garbage and recycling bag were full when I go done and the compost pile had some more fuel! Who knew the chickens would go so crazy for Kashi cereal???
Next, I sorted through what was left and threw out anything outdated. It's kind of eye opening when you start reading the dates that are ever so lightly and microscopically stamped on your products. 2005, really? Ew.
Last, I reorganized what was left and put it all away. Not only did I now I have a nice gluten free pantry, the less is more esthetic really spoke to my new love of minimalism. Bonus! It felt just as good as seeing 6 car fulls of stuff leave our house this spring for the garage sale, never to return!!
Now, I can relax knowing that all is well in my Celiac safe kitchen and I can cook (and eat) in peace! Whew! :)