Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Purging the Pantry of Gluten and Dairy

Since getting my test results and finding out that a gluten-free diet was now a permanent thing for me, I knew that I had to actually break down and clean out my kitchen. But my kitchen is big and I was feeling overwhelmed by it all so I kept putting it off.

A friend of mine suggested tackling it slowly and just focusing on one part at a time and I knew that would be my best bet. So last week, I decided I would start by cleaning out the pantry.

Here is how it looked when I started. It was just a jumbled mess of items and nothing was all that organized, especially gluten and gluten-free items.

To start, I emptied everything out onto the table and counter. I sorted as I went, making a pile of gluten and dairy free items, items containing gluten or dairy and then a pile of items I wasn't sure about.

Once the pantry was completely empty, I got a bucket of hot soapy water and washed out all the shelves.

Then I went back to my piles and double checked most of the items, just to be sure I wasn't missing anything.

Foods I can eat
My "maybe" pile
Foods that I can't eat
Once I knew what food items I could still eat, I put them all back onto the shelves and tried to organize it a little better.

At this point, I took a break for supper. I just whipped myself up a stir-fry type meal, with rice, veggies and honey garlic sausage. It was good!

The other nice thing about my supper break is that it gave me more energy to finish off what I had started. Once I finished eating, I got right back to work on my pantry.

Once I had all my foods back on the shelves, I made some room for some of Dan's foods that wouldn't leave any crumbs or gluten residue. For example, cereal, granola bars, peanut butter, pasta, etc. I knew that he would still want his regular foods to be easily accessible and not buried in some bottom cupboard somewhere.

Here are the two shelves that we now share.

As for the rest of the gluten and dairy containing foods, I put the flours, spices, powdered milk, extra pasta, etc into a corner cupboard. That way they are still accessible but since they aren't used regularly, they are more out of the way. And they're far away from all my foods.

I'm pretty proud of all that I accomplished in that one evening. Plus, I only had to throw away two things since I could give the rest of my opened-but-still-good items to a friend.

My give away pile
So the pantry is now done and I only have three more areas to tackle: the fridge, the freezer and the spices. Maybe this week I'll be able to check one more off my list? Then I will move on to thoroughly cleaning all the counters and buying myself a new toaster.


  1. I see your giveaway is full of chocolate. I can help u with that ;)

    Good job on cleaning it out! I am sure it much nicer to open the pantry and see tons of food you CAN eat vs all the things you cant

  2. Casey, the chocolate has already been given away. :P

    And yes, it is nice to know that I can eat basically everything in that cupboard. It's encouraging.

  3. Good job Jenn! It is amazing to see picture proof of how much there is that you can't eat, just from one cupboard. you got a lot done in one night.

  4. Megan, my pile of "can't eat" was slightly depressing but I do feel better now that it's all sorted and I can see how much there is still in the pantry. My progress for one night felt good!

  5. I hope you checked your sausage! My local pork farmer, Paula at Fletchingtonfarm, pointed out to me that I need to ask her for gluten free.

  6. Karen, yes I checked my sausage. There is a fabulous little butcher shop around the corner from work that makes GF sausages. I may spend way too much money there. :P

  7. Very impressive. I put our GF in containers in the pantry so those who can eat gluten stay out of it. Too costly for the whole family to eat GF.

  8. onesimplefarmgirl - I agree, eating GF is too costly. Lucky for me, it's just me and my husband so for the most part, it's not too bad. Although he does still have his foods he can eat.

  9. Great job Jenn! You made a lot of progress in one night and I'm sure it feels good to know that you can eat most everything in your pantry now.

  10. Thanks Erin! I was happy with my progress that night but I still have yet to get more motivation to keep going in the kitchen. :(