A Little Bit of This & That

The Random Things We Love to Make and Do

Gluten Free Friday – Non-Food Sources of Gluten July 29, 2011

Filed under: Gluten Free Friday — Lizz @ 7:40 am
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Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of Gluten Free Friday!  I hope you’ve all had a great week, and have left enough energy to read through all the information I’m about to throw at you.  This week’s topic is about non-food items that need to be considered for someone who is gluten free.

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When we got Skylar’s Celiac diagnosis, I sat down with a nutritionist.  If you are in this boat, and have not yet seen a nutritionist, I would highly recommend it.  Even one consultation will give you a wealth of up to date information.  Ours gave us a whole folder full of information.  While every page was jam-packed with tidbits, I found the non-food items most interesting.  I had no idea just how many items in our house were going to require some attention.

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Gluten is a very very sticky substance.  It cannot just be flicked or swiped off the counter.  It must be wiped off, cleaned, and sanitized.  There are several things that simply cannot be cleaned properly.  Anything with deep ridges or crevices cannot be wiped properly.  Have a great old pot that you love to cook in?  Does it have a little crack in it?  Consider it a no-no now.  So, with that in mind, on to the list:

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Toasters and Breadmakers

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This seems like a fairly obvious one.  Both of these things are full of crumbs, and impossible to ever truly clean properly.  If you use these, they will need to be replaced with a brand new appliance.  If you are planning to have a mixed kitchen (still keeping gluten products for the other family members), make sure these new clean appliances are away from the others and stored in a place where they cannot be contaminated.  I keep mine in a special gluten free-cabinet.

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Colanders/Strainers

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Once you understand the whole gluten-is-impossible-to-clean-out-of-crevices thing, this one will seem very obvious.  While you could sit and meticulously clean every single whole, I think that’s crazy since this item can be very inexpensive.  I say just buy a new one, and keep it in your special gluten free space.  Along the same lines, you will need to re-think any slotted spoons, pasta spoons, or any other hard to clean utensils in your home.

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Sponges

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I will admit, I am still having trouble with this one.  I love my sponge that’s attached to a handle filled with dish soap.  But sadly, I cannot use it to clean dishes anymore.  Sponges are porous and hold crumbs.  If you have gluten caught in your sponge, and you wipe up the counter, you have now spread gluten all over said counter.  This sort of makes me want to never clean my counters with sponges ever again.  If you are wondering what to use now, you will need to use a disposable form of cleaning, like a paper towel.  For dishes, get a plastic bristled brush that you could put into the dishwasher to sanitize after use.  Like this one:

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Condiment Jars

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Okay, this one sort of borderlines on food, but there’s a reason it’s on this list.  I’m going to use mayo as an example (Hellmann’s of course, because I like to bring out the best!).  Mayo itself is gluten free.  But consider this scenario:  I would like to make myself a sandwich, with my regular gluten-y bread.  I use a knife to spread mayo onto one piece of bread.  I then put the knife back into the jar to get more for my second slice.  PAUSE!  I have just contaminated the entire jar of mayo!!

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There are two solutions here if you are not a completely gluten free household.  First, you could have separate condiment jars to keep uncontaminated.  Use a marker to mark those jars so there is no confusion.  Secondly, if available, use a squeeze bottle version, like this one:

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Medications, Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbal Supplements

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This is a big one, because it’s a little trickier than you might think.  First and foremost, these items are not always gluten free, and it is very important that if you are prescribed a medication that you verify with the pharmacist that it is safe for you.  Vitamins are something that most celiacs are going to need to take daily to help restore nutrients lost due to malnutrition.  These also need to be checked carefully.

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So what’s the tricky part you might be asking?  The FDA does not have the same rules for drug labeling as it does for food labeling.  For example, modified food starch is something that can contain wheat.  In food labeling, the FDA requires they specifially notate if wheat is used.  That is not the case for medications.  Again, it is best to check with the pharmacist to help you verify the safe-ness of your prescribed or over the counter medication.

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Toothpaste and Mouthwash

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Again, this is one of those things that you might not think about.  I have been told that Colgate and Crest are safe, but the other brands should be checked carefully.

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Stamps and Envelopes

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I laughed when I heard this one.  Really?  Stamps?  Yes, they are not always gluten free.  This really shows that you need to pay very close attention to what’s going into your mouth.  You are probably paying tons of attention to your food, but not these other little things.  Don’t lick that envelope!

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Lipstick, Lip Gloss, Lip Liner, and Lip Balm

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Yes, Yes, Yes!  Remember, all of these things are going on your lips, and therefore creeping right into your mouth as well.  I am a chapstick-a-holic, and that’s another thing to be conscious of.  I haven’t done a lot of research into the safe products in this category, since my daughter is only 6 and doesn’t wear makeup.  I did toss all of her play make-up just to be safe, and plan on making her some fake make-up in the near future.

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Play Dough

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This one had me scratching my head a bit.  I do know that play dough is made with flour, but my daughter is old enough to know to not put it in her mouth.  That’s not actually the issue.  Even adult celiacs should be cautious when handling play dough.  Play dough has a tendancy to get stuck under our nails.  Even if you wash your hands, that’s not enough to get all of that contaminated substance out.  You will need to buy a nail brush, and really go to town to get everything out before eating.

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So that’s what I have for you so far for non-food gluten free offenders.  I am sure there are things I haven’t thought of.  If you have a great tip or suggestion, please feel free to comment below.  I’d love to hear from you!

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Do you have a question, or something you would like me to post about?  Let me know!

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If you would like to check out all of our other Gluten Free Friday posts, *Click Here*

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Thanks for stopping by!  Have a wonderful weekend!

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Lizz

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(Something Noteworthy:  I am not a doctor, or a dietician.  I am simply a mom of a child with Celiac Disease.  Her need of a Gluten Free Diet required a lot of research on my part.  I am sharing this information with you in the hopes that it might help answer your questions too, but I in no way claim to be the absolute authority.  I will happily answer any questions I can, but my advise in no way should replace that of a doctor, nurse, dietician, or other medical professional.  Any photos used in this post were simply searched for on the internet.  They all were given source credit by attaching a link to the picture itself.  No products shown in this post were intended for promotion, and I was not compensated for using them)

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4 Responses to “Gluten Free Friday – Non-Food Sources of Gluten”

  1. I just had a test done on Wednesday to see if I have celiac disease. I don’t think I do, but we’ll see. I’ve been having stomache probs & they are checking me to see if I am lactose intolerant & other things.

    • Lizz Says:

      Oh, good luck to you!! While it stinks to learn there is something wrong, it’s also a relief to finally know how to feel better. Please let me know if you have any questions or if I can help in any way!

  2. Great review and info on bread maker, I love your article.

  3. […] couldn’t handle making pie crust on a Thursday night. My rolling pin had touched far too much gluten for me to roll out cookies. So I went the more “anything” route. These are reminiscent […]


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