Keeping it Clean * Gluten-Free

If you're transitioning from eating gluten to a gluten-free/wheat-free life the first thing to do is clean, clean, clean. Empty all the cabinets and wipe down all surfaces…I like to use those anti-bacterial wipes only because I know it may be quite a while before I ever do anything like that again. I may even sprinkle a little borax into the corners just because I live in Florida and bugs like to share everything. Overhead cabinets, and underneath cabinets, all counter tops…everything should be pulled out and every surface wiped down. Don't forget to clean the fridge and freezer too. It's going to take time…so I suggest you handle one major area a day and don't feel like you have to handle it all at once.

Use the dishwasher…a lot. In fact I have a rule in my home…if it doesn't fit into the dishwasher it goes into the trash. So run as much as possible through the dishwasher before putting it back into the cabinets. Hand wash everything else and rinse, rinse, rinse. As you're putting things away do a quick inspection of anything that might be tough to clean…like those pots and pans…anything with cracks and crevices. Run your fingers over the surfaces…any bumps or lumps are suspect and need to be cleaned off or you may need to consider tossing the items. If you can see any metal through the scratches on non-stick surfaces those will need to be tossed anyway…so don't waste you time cleaning them. Deep non-stick scratches are great hiding places for gluten and every time you use the pan you're poisoning yourself with the exposed metal anyway.

Read the labels of all food items as you're putting them away. If you're feeling ambitious go ahead and give the packages a wipe down with one of those anti-bacterial wipes too. Sort out any suspect items and set them aside to be donated to a food pantry. If you really can't part with a favorite item…then Google it. Go to and type in the name of the product along with the words "Gluten-Free" and then see what comes up. You can make your decision then as to whether you should keep it or give it up. I generally have a rule that if I can't read the ingredients or pronounce the words I don't buy it and don't use it. For me the fewer ingredients the better; I avoid processed foods as much as possible.

Going Gluten-Free can seem so overwhelming and you feel like you're losing many of your favorite foods. After 25 years I still look at a good donut and just sigh…ah well. I have many friends who keep a Gluten-Free home, and save their glutenous desires for when they eat out or visit friends :-)

Carolanne LeBlanc

Meeting:  Cypress Palms, 400 Lake Avenue N E, Largo, FL 33771