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 in 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.
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 roommate safe too. It lessens the overall burden on everyone in the house and requires less education and understanding of roommates.
For example, if you have someone who just doesn’t get it or doesn’t understand what gluten is, having separate spaces can help limit accidents that might occur because of that.
For instance, I live in a house with 4 other roommates. Rather than trying to educate, communicate, and manage them all. I have my own spaces to ensure that I am safe. It’s easier to say “this is for me only because I have allergies” than to provide them all with a bunch of rules, but that’s my two cents.
If you need some tips on setting up your home after a celiac diagnosis, there is a section in my celiac disease workbook that can help guide you through it. You can download it by signing up for me email list below:
Consider Dedicated Cookware / Cleaning Supplies / Eating Materials
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 will say having dedicated cleaning supplies, dish rags, etc. is important because these can be big cross-contact points. Having your own dishes/cookware etc. might not be as important, but if you can afford it and it helps you feel safe, I think you should go for it!
I personally have my own dishes, silverware (but this is also for food photography purposes), cookware, and cleaning utensils. Again, I live with 4 roommates so it just keeps things simple and easy for me. I was also lucky enough to be able to plan to move into this situation, so I was able to finance color coding and having all of my own stuff.
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.
Below you’ll find a list of some quick tips provided by you all (my viewers)!
- 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.
Those are my top 3 tips on living gluten-free in a shared household. If you are confused or have questions about anything, feel free to comment below or to reach out. Also know that working with a dietitian who specializes in celiac disease can also be super helpful too.
COMMENT BELOW if you live in a shared household or not and how you handle it!