The house of people with coeliac disease, Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) or wheat allergy is a safe haven (or it should be!), especially the kitchen. It is one of the few places, if not the only one, where those people eat well and safely, knowing that no symptoms will bother their health.
Unfortunately, not everybody understands that cross-contamination
is a huge risk to the health of those on a gluten-free
diet due to medical reasons. Although gluten is tiny, invisible to the naked eye, the threat is real. Gluten
should never enter their house. According to Dr. Tom O’Bryan
, recognized speaker and workshop leader specializing in the complications of NCGS and coeliac disease, each exposure to gluten maintain the antibodies activated for about three months. If it happens four times in a year, it means that the body never gets a break.
Eating out increases dramatically the chances of getting glutened, even when the menu has gluten-free options or a friend makes an effort to cook gluten free. Therefore, the house of someone with coeliac disease needs to be totally free of this villain. And if you are visiting someone living gluten-free, you must know how to behave yourself.
Gluten spreads easily
Please, do not bring any gluten food or product to a coeliac’s home! And never, ever, ask to use their blender, their microwave, or their oven if you are planning to put foods containing gluten on it. Gluten spreads easily! Any tiny crumb or any drop of sauce contains enough gluten to cause reactions even with no symptoms.
Stop and ponder, would you take your pet to the house of a person allergic to dogs or cats? I believe you would do that only if you do not like this person at all, right?
Gluten may be invisible
In Europe and in the United States, gluten-free foods may contain a maximum of 20 p.p.m. (parts per million) of gluten. For example, in 1 kilo of a gluten-free flour, what means 1.000.000 (1 million) milligrams (mg), only 20 milligrams may come from gluten. Divide 1 gram into a thousand parts and take only 20 parts. It is impossible to do it by the naked eye, right? Now, mix those 20 parts into that kilo. That is more or less what the legislation stands for in terms of gluten in foods certified as gluten-free. In other words, gluten is invisible to you. You will not be able to find gluten without a microscope. And even if you set up a microscope into a house and try to clean it up, you will not be able to pull the gluten out easily.
Gluten-free acts like glue! It sticks to any surface. To pull the gluten out of something, you will have to work hard. It is necessary to do what is called a triple wash
, a process that makes the gluten to dissolve and gradually degrade through washing by using different substances. According to the Coeliac Association of Brazil (Acelbra-SC)
, it is necessary to create an acid, saline, and alcoholic environment.
- First, do the regular washing using a sink sponge, water, and soap. Clean all the mess, dry well;
- Then, wash it again using a new sink sponge with vinegar and salt. Clean and dry;
- Wash it one more time with another sink sponge, water, and soap. Clean and dry;
- Finally, clean it with a cloth and alcohol.
Yes, this sucks! And yes, you will need at least 3 sink sponges in the process and 4 cloths to clean and dry it. If you use the same one, the gluten stuck on it will contaminate the surface again.
Now that you understood what gluten-free environment means, behave yourself when visiting someone who lives gluten-free. Just take certified gluten-free products to their house. If you are going to stay at their place for longer (days, weeks), eat gluten-free with them. And if this is too much to ask, please, eat gluten when you are out.