Self-proclaimed font of Celiac knowledge, Libby tries to educate everyone she comes across on the differences between allergies, gluten sensitivity, and Celiac Disease.See all posts »
Keep Your Friends Close -- And Your Toaster Closer
This may be surprising, but I did not realize that toasters are very dangerous for Celiacs. When I was diagnosed, my family and I set aside one slot in the toaster to be gluten free. We had no idea that this adjustment did nothing to prevent cross contamination. As it turns out, the toaster is a complete danger zone. In my mind, this one slot was safe because no other bread would touch it, but since Celiacs are so sensitive to gluten, even the tiniest of crumbs can make us ill.
It was such a "DUH!" moment when I discovered that I was still getting sick because of the toaster, but at first, the littlest detail can escape you. Around the same time of my toaster problem, I went though a phase of renaming everything with gluten connotations to "death."So, Wheat Thins were Death Thins, beer was death soda, and toasters? Yep, deathsters. It was pretty immature, but it was a little joke with myself that create a little fun out of a difficult situation.
My solution to the toaster slot was going out and buying myself my own toaster, and then putting it in a different part of the house, away from the kitchen. A gluten eating person is not something your toaster wants to be around, especially not in the morning. Morning grogginess can result in the need for a new toaster. When I went to college, I took a toaster with me and stashed it in my dorm room. The university specifically said "NO TOASTERS" in the dorms for fire safety and such, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. And has anyone eaten gluten free bread not toasted? Not very pleasant, to say the least!
Later, when I moved into a house with roommates, the toaster got an upgrade as I wrote "This is GLUTEN FREE only" across the front in black Sharpie. I am about to move into a new house, and I have decided to buy a new toaster. I feel like I am changing my toasters every season as if it were a fashion accessory, but mistakes happen and roommates can, and will, slip up sometimes. Oh, how I yearn for my own, large kitchen stocked with endless gluten free goodies and every appliance under the sun never touched by the evil gluten protein, but I'm not there yet.
Living with roommates is fun, but it definitely has its pitfalls when you're on a restricted diet. Finding roommates who understand your needs and health issues is key to living a happy and healthy life. Having to worry about your own cooking space is the last thing that anybody wants to deal with, so keep your roommates updated on your disease. Let them know casually when you have been sick, and explain what Celiac Disease means in full detail. It keeps the concern of gluten contamination in the forefront of everyone's minds.
And remember: Keep your friends close, but keep your toaster closer.