This might be the most important place to start. You could be eating all gluten free food and still be getting “glutaminated” (this word was made up by my friend Diana so I am giving her credit for it). Keeping a sense of humor is crucial to getting through this transition. There are many areas to look into when going truly gluten free! Okay, let’s start! Look at your kitchen. Do you have any dedicated gluten free pots, pans, or utensils? The mission for this week is to analyze, not change, everything in the kitchen as you prepare your snacks/meals (don’t critique the food yet) and make a note as to the tools you use on a daily basis. Do this throughout the week and make a list of them. Those are the pots, pans and utensils you will need to a) either buy new, or b) really clean up so they have less chance of cross-contamination. Here is a good post from About.com on which cooking gear needs to be replaced (as well as excellent links to other details you will need to know) to ensure you are cooking in a gluten free environment. I had to give up my prized iron skillet because they are known to be very porous and are almost impossible to clean up to be free of gluten cross-contamination. I almost attempted re-surfacing it, but it meant using a sandblasting method to bring it down to a smooth surface and then re-seasoning. With all those particles flying around and the trouble and mess, I just figured that project was not for me! And I truly recommend you don’t skip the important step we are focusing on today. It could really sabotage all your hard work in cooking with gluten free ingredients. But before we get into the nitty-gritty of this project, let me confess a little secret to you that might make you feel better…I have at least 5 boxes of my old gluten-laden kitchen tools in my garage! Yes, it’s okay to take some time to say “good-bye.” I did this because I was sure that one day they would be back into my life. And in some cases, that could happen but right now I don’t want to risk low level gluten exposure, so perhaps soon, I will have a nice, big, garage sale and get some new gluten free kitchen items! But for now they serve as a “security blanket” of sorts.
I promised that September (2013) would be the month this blog will focus on the true gluten-free diet transition. (If you are reading this at any other time, I am numbering these post so you can always go through them at your own pace.) However, there are some very important points that need to be made before we start, mainly because there are a variety of people and situations represented in the readers of this blog and those on our Facebook Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Support Group. So, I want to give what I hope is a fair representation of as many of us out there as possible as we move forward. I am approaching this endeavor from a strict gluten-free standard. After you are strictly gluten-free for a while, it will be up to you to find out how sensitive your body is to gluten in the event of cross-contamination or accidental exposure in any way. It is impossible to know what symptoms gluten is causing until it is thoroughly out of the diet and 3 months is the recommended strict abstinence before testing in any way (however this is strongly NOT recommended!). I did not realize it was to blame for many of my symptoms until I was truly gluten-free!