It’s a good idea to inform your future roommates about your needs in the kitchen before you actually move in together (see Living Gluten-Free: What Friends & Family Need to Know). Especially, if you suffer from celiac disease (CD), explain the serious side effects of ingesting even just a particle of gluten. State it clearly, concisely and without an ounce of apology. Let them know it’s not a choice, it’s a health issue. If you have chosen your roommates wisely, you should be met with compassion and possibly, more questions, about how to keep you safe.
At this early stage most people are trying to put their best foot forward. If you’re met with criticism or eye rolling, it may be a red flag to change living arrangements, if possible. Also, mistakes happen - it may take time and reminders for your roommates.
To help avoid exposures:
- Use permanent markers or labels to mark or initial your food items (jars, bottles, bags) and utensils (see Creating a Safe Kitchen)
- Use aluminum foil for covering grills, oven racks, toaster oven racks, and packaging your leftovers.
- Bring your own toaster oven, blender, color-coded utensils, cutting board, plastic storage containers, kitchen towels and silverware. A uniform color on everything may be helpful.
- Get a spray bottle for bleach-water or disinfectant wipes and diligently clean countertops, pots and pans and any shared items. Never prepare a gluten-free meal on the same surface that gluten products have touched unless it’s thoroughly washed and dried with a gluten-free designated cloth or towel. Clean everything before you cook, just to be safe!