Last week I talked about reading labels and gave examples of what to avoid. If you missed it or just want to read it again, here it is.
There are two major areas of the kitchen that can become cross-contaminated with gluten: food and cookware/appliances. Let's start with food.
Anything that is used repeatedly over a period of time should be considered for gluten contamination. Common items are butter/spreads, peanut butter, jelly, and mayo. If a knife is used to spread jelly on a piece of wheat toast and is then put back into the jar to get more jelly, the whole jar is contaminated. Label all gluten free spreads clearly.
If you have wheat bread in your house, be careful where crumbs fall. Be conscious of what gets dipped in the salsa jar and the ranch dip. Watch out for kids with messy hands reaching into the chip bag.
Establish a cupboard that is for gluten free food only. Or, if the majority, but not all, of your household eats gf, have a special cupboard only for gluten-containing snacks. Always consider cross contamination. Once it's a habit, it won't have to rule your life.
Anything porous, like a cutting board, should not be shared by gluten-containing and gluten free foods. Never share a toaster with wheat bread. Be careful of baking pans with foods burned onto them. Even the smallest particle of gluten can cause problems.
If you're just switching to eating gluten free, but very discriminatory about what pans and dishes you keep. Evaluate each dish individually, but don't get overwhelmed. You may only have to get a new toaster, cutting board for gf use only, and a few storage containers. Have you ever heated up wheat spaghetti in a plastic bowl and had the tomato sauce scar the bowl? If so, throw that bowl out. As a side note, it's not healthy to be microwaving in plactic anyway.
This is a brief treatise on the gluten free kitchen. Once you establish a routine, this aspect of eating gluten free will become easier and easier. Do not be overwhelmed or discouraged. Take heart! With a little vigilance and an adventurous spirit, you'll get settled into this new lifestyle with ease!