Tips on Living Gluten-Free in a Shared Household
Living in an entirely gluten-free home isn’t always feasible (and not always necessary). That being said, living in a shared household can be overwhelming and stressful. I have some tips on living gluten-free in a shared household that I think could benefit anyone considering or living in this situation.
Hopefully, these tips not only help limit cross-contact but also give insights on how someone might limit stress in this kind of environment.
Please note that these tips are to help guide people with celiac by building their own safe space in their home. Everyone’s shared household “procedures” will look different depending on their needs. If you’re
looking to share a space with someone with celiac, have that person involved to make sure they feel safe in the space.
Feeling safe is vital because even if the space is safe, feeling stressed in it could cause the very symptoms people with celiac are trying to avoid.
If you want more help, the Cross-Contact Workbook has more information and worksheets that guide this process step-by-step. Or consider signing up for my Celiac Crash Course which dedicates an entire module to this topic.
Tips on living gluten-free in a shared household:
Consider a Dedicated Kitchen / Pantry Space
This is not required, by any means, but it can be helpful. Having a dedicated kitchen or pantry space can help bring peace of mind to someone with celiac disease.
Like I mentioned previously, it is important for someone living gluten-free in a shared household to feel safe. Being stressed about cross-contact can bring about the very symptoms someone with celiac might be trying to avoid, without them ever ingesting gluten.
Having these dedicated spaces can not only bring peace of mind, but it can make it easier for housemates to keep their celiac friend safe too.
It lessens the overall burden on everyone in the house.
Consider Dedicated Cookware / Cleaning Supplies / Eating Materials
Another tip for living in a shared household with gluten is to consider separating certain kitchen appliances, utensils, and other supplies.
This is also not necessary to an extent but again, it can help provide peace of mind for a lot of the same reasons as having your own dedicated space can.
I cover the things you might consider having separate in the Cross-Contact Guide (along with some research on the topic). However, a general rule of thumb is, if it’s difficult to clean thoroughly, consider having it separate.
A pro-tip: if it’s hard to clean, you might also ask if you can simply create barrier with foil or parchment paper to prevent any cross-contact that may occur as opposed to having an entirely separate version of the item.
For example, maybe you have a George Foreman grill with plates that are not removable, instead of getting a separate grill you might consider placing down foil on the grill plates, or grabbing a George Foreman with removable grill plates (like this one! This is an affiliate link).
Educate the Household / Set Boundaries
This is my last but arguably most important tip. Like I mentioned before, educating the household on celiac needs can be a lot.
Expecting everyone in the home to remember and understand is also a lot. It’s important to determine the level of understanding and trust in order to decide how to set up your home for gluten-free safety.
I told my roommates something along the lines of:
“I have celiac disease, which is basically like an allergy to gluten, this means I have to have my own separate stuff and space. You know it’s mine if it’s blue. Please try your best to prepare gluten foods on the other side of the kitchen and if you unsure about anything, please ask me. If you slip up on accident, just let me know so I can make sure I take the proper precautions to stay safe. I won’t be made – accidents happen”
That being said, what you tell your roommates or family is entirely up to you and how you set up your household.
Other Tips for Living in a Shared Household with Celiac
- Wipe down countertops using paper towels (not Eco-friendly but definitely trustworthy)
- Label products that you have two of (ex. label the gluten-free and non-gluten-free peanut butter as such to limit cross-contact of double-dippers)
- Prepare and serve gluten-free food before the non-gluten-free food
- Consider color coding gluten-free items
Want more help? Check out the Cross-Contact Workbook has more information and worksheets that guide this process step-by-step. Or consider signing up for my Celiac Crash Course which dedicates an entire module to this topic + a ton of other modules related to celiac living.