Breaking Bread: Ellen and Her Family Regained Food Freedom with Nima
Ellen, her husband, and their two kids live in Emeryville, CA. They’re a family of foodies, and half of them are gluten-free. You can follow them on Instagram (@gfmelonoat).
What’s your food identity?
We are a house divided…by gluten. My husband and three year old daughter both are gluten intolerant, while I am not, and we are still unsure about our one year old son.
My husband discovered his gluten intolerance only five years ago after a year of doctor visits, scans, and tests. There was a time that we thought my husband had issues with tapioca flour and soy which further limited packaged food products and visits to restaurants. What ultimately helped us figure out that gluten was making him sick was an intense food elimination diet. Even though that was a few years back, we are still trying to figure out how to incorporate our favorite foods into our diet and which restaurants can accommodate all of us. I struggle with preparing creative gluten-free lunches for my daughter everyday!
How do you maintain your food identity?
Our refrigerator and pantry have been completely purged and restocked with gluten-free ingredients and snacks (we love Trader Joe’s). We cook a lot at home and I am constantly looking online for good gluten-free recipes to try out, especially kid-friendly ones. I try to find gluten-free versions of food that I eat, so my daughter doesn’t feel left out. Good thing that finding pre-packaged gluten-free items is so much easier today than even just a few years ago. I used to have to mix my own gluten-free flour and bake a loaf of bread each week, but now I just go to the market and pick up a loaf of gluten-free bread!
What are some of your hobbies or interests?
I enjoy cooking and trying out new gluten-free recipes that the whole family can enjoy. We used to post recipes to our blog (before we discovered the gluten intolerance), of family dishes that had no recipes or dishes at restaurants that we recreated. I still need to go through them and recreate them all using gluten-free ingredients! We also really enjoy traveling and are trying to go on more local kid-friendly trips this year.
What do you test with your Nima?
Everything! It’s been a lifesaver on a lot items that use gluten-free ingredients, but don’t specifically mention anything about being gluten-free. These range from fish balls at 99 Ranch Market, mixed nuts from Costco, steamed sweet rice cakes from Chinatown, to allergy pills! Nima is also wonderful when we go out to try new restaurants or even trying new dishes at the same restaurants we frequent. We just discovered the Pad Thai dish at our local Thai restaurant can also be made gluten-free!
What was your food life like before you had your Nima?
Eating out was nearly impossible. Even if the menu and servers told us dishes were gluten-free, my husband wouldn’t necessarily trust that they could make it gluten-free. He had been “gluten-ed” one too many times and the suffering afterwards wasn’t worth trying new food. Now he uses Nima to test the food beforehand and can actually enjoy eating without the fear of lurking gluten or cross-contamination. Let’s just say, it’s made my life easier to be able to go out and eat or even order in…
What’s your food life like now that you have Nima?
Let’s just say that now we actually have a food life outside of the house.
If you can only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Personally, it would have to be bread. As for my husband, it would be fruit or nuts. House divided.
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Thank you for sharing your story Ellen!