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Are you wondering what is best for you and your family in regards to a gluten free kitchen vs. a shared kitchen, then look no further!
Gluten Free Kitchen
A gluten free kitchen is just that, gluten free! Like 100% gluten free! For some people, that is necessary and you might be one of those people. Some do that because they may be allergic to gluten while others may do that because they are a super sensitive Celiac. Regardless of your reason, you need to do what is best for you and what you feel comfortable with.
We initially were 100% gluten free when our daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. It was just easier for me as the primary cook to wrap my head around her new diet limitations by not having anything in the house that would make her sick. Also, I can be a bit scatterbrained at dinner time and didn’t want to have an oops moment and gluten her.
Gluten Free Kitchen Pros
- No risk of cross-contamination when you don’t allow any of the evil gluten in your house.
- You don’t have to have any shared kitchen appliances (less clutter).
- Only making one meal for everyone.
Gluten Free Kitchen Cons
- Everyone has to eat gluten free all the time.
- Higher grocery bill (this can be a big issue for larger families).
- There aren’t one-for-one swaps for all gluten items so you either need to make/create your own or go without.
A shared kitchen (in this scenario) is one that contains gluten free and gluten items. There are several reasons why someone may choose to go this route. Again, just like before, if you do this and find it works for you, that’s awesome. You will get no judgment from me.
We now have a 95% gluten free/5% gluten kitchen and have found that it works for us and our needs. I only have pre-packaged gluten items though and that is primarily due to convenience on my part for our non-Celiac son. Anything that is made from scratch is 100% gluten free for us so that our daughter (the Celiac) can have it as well.
Shared Kitchen Pros
- Cheaper grocery bill because you are only buying gluten free for those who have to have it. (not a factor in our case)
- Everyone isn’t eating gluten free all the time.
Shared Kitchen Cons
- You will need to make multiple meals depending on your gluten free to gluten ratio.
- Storing multiple kitchen appliances to cook with so there is no cross-contamination.
- Higher risk for cross-contamination
Things to consider when you are trying to decide what is best for you and your family.
- Do you have the space to store multiple kitchen appliances/tools/etc?
- in most cases, you would need separate pots, pans, cooking utensils, baking pans, etc.
- Do you have the financial means to buy 100% gluten free groceries?
- you can minimize the cost by shopping sales, making some items from scratch, etc.
- Do you pay attention to detail under stress?
- if dinner time is chaotic (it is for me, lol) then you might run into issues
- Do you have the space to carry gluten free and gluten items in your pantry?
- think different flours, baking mixes, snacks, etc.
- What will make your life the easiest? Now, in 6 months, in one year, etc.
- you may want to go 100% gluten free initially as we did and then adjust when you are more comfortable
- How old are your kids (if you have them)? Will they understand what they can or can not have?
- toddlers and elementary kids are more likely to make mistakes with staying gluten free due to their age and ability to understand or read labels
- Can you trust your kid if they are old enough?
- some kids really struggle at first with the diagnosis and will cheat when the opportunity is presented
Only you can decide what is best for you and your family. People will judge, it sucks, but it happens. Don’t let them derail what feels right for you. If you can maintain a shared kitchen and rock that, do it! We do on a super limited basis but it works for us. If you feel that you can’t or that it isn’t worth the risk, then don’t! That too is completely acceptable.
What I really dislike are parent/women/whoever saying that you can “only” do things one way. Well, that is not reality and in the real world, there isn’t a one size fits all! It may take some trial and error and that is OK. That is how we all learn and find what works best for us. Just know that I am here for you! If you need to vent, a virtual shoulder to cry on, or celebrate finding what is working for you, let me know.