12. Base your GF decisions on facts.
It’s easy to worry needlessly about a few gluten-free topics because of all the misinformation floating around about them. We include chewing gum, stamps and envelopes and toothpaste in this category. Research into each of these topics has shown that finding gluten in any of them would be difficult if not outright impossible.
Likewise worry about gluten in lipstick, medications and cold cuts is out of proportion to the danger it poses for those who follow the gluten-free diet. While you might occasionally find a brand of one of these products that is made with gluten, the vast majority are gluten free. It’s wise to verify the gluten-free status of each, but silly to spend a lot of time worrying about the risk they pose.
Overall, your gluten-free decisions should be based on facts, not broad generalizations that spring from a nugget of misinformation that keeps getting passed around.
13. Customize your kitchen.
Develop a plan for your kitchen that will protect gluten-free food from contamination. Although celiac disease does tend to run in families (see 23) most of those who follow a gluten-free diet live with gluten-eating relatives.
If you can, buy two containers of spreadable staples like butter, mayonnaise, peanut butter, jellies and cream cheese, and designate one of the two for gluten-free use. This will prevent gluten-containing crumbs from getting mixed in and then spread on gluten-free bread. Another way to prevent contamination is by using a clean spoon to remove spreads from a container and then spreading with a knife.
Some families buy bright tape or neon stickers and stick them on everything that is or should remain gluten free. You might also want to keep all the gluten-free foods in one place in the refrigerator or cupboard and even designate a portion of the kitchen counter for preparing gluten-free foods.
Buy a personal toaster and make sure on one else uses it to toast bread that contains gluten. You might even want to treat yourself to a deluxe model. Many gluten-free breads taste better toasted so it will get a lot of use.
You can also toast gluten-free bread in a toaster oven, but protect it with foil or one of the special bags that are available for just this purpose. Several brands are available at Amazon.com.
There are as many simple and practical ways to prevent cross contamination as there are families coping with the needs of gluten-free family members. Whatever works for you is the right way to go.