When Solea was 12 months old, she became very sick. After a long six months of doctors’ visits and hospital stays, she was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Her “special gluten-free powers” have made her the sweet, loving, and caring child she is today. She loves sharing her gluten-free baked goods with her friends, family and, hopefully, one day, the world!
What’s your food identity, and how do you maintain it?
I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease at 18 months. My mom packs all my food ahead of time so I always have treats.
Tell us a little about your gluten-free journey. What was it like when you started eating gluten-free? What challenges did you face?
I don’t remember ever eating gluten. The biggest challenge is being embarrassed and feeling different. Scared to tell my friends. That is what influenced me to write my book Super Gluten Free Girl, so other kids could understand how I feel.
What was your food life like before you had Nima?
Much more difficult, I couldn’t go out to eat really. I always had to eat at home and miss out.
What’s your food life like now that you have Nima?
Eating out isn’t as much of a challenge. I can test any food that I request to be gluten-free. When I first got the Nima I was in the second grade, at the beginning of the year I presented the Nima to my class. We tested some gluten-free graham crackers and I showed the class how my Nima worked so everyone could understand my allergy.
What do you test with Nima? Has there been anything that surprised you wasn’t safe (according to Nima)?
Mostly school treats – my friends always try to bring my gluten-free stuff. I always want to try it and this way I can test it and see if its safe for me.
The most surprising was Spanish rice at a Mexican Restaurant. We found out later that the rice had been cooked in oil from the fryer which had contaminated the rice. Also vinegar, I hate vinegar, sometimes the vinegar has gluten.
What do your friends, family, and/or doctors think about Nima?
My friends think it’s cool that I can test school treats and maybe eat with them. My family thinks it’s so cool because now we can eat out. Before we could only go to dedicated restaurants or ones we really trusted. The Nima has made traveling so much easier.
When using Nima at restaurants, what has been your experience? Do you have a favorite Nima related story?
Really good! Me and my mom just took a road trip and we wanted to get pizza and the restaurant said they could do a gluten-free crust and clean the whole area so I wouldn’t get contaminated. We tested the pizza and it was gluten-free! I was so excited!
Bonus fun questions:
If you can only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Pizza and sushi, I can’t pick one!!!
If you can only use one spice or condiment what would it be?
If you can only choose one restaurant for the rest of your life where would it be?