Emma is a very active Nima community member and food lover from Albuquerque. We originally saw Emma posting many yummy #nimatested food dishes on her Instagram account (@glutenfreealbuquerque). We also recently featured her Albuquerque Nimatested Guide.
What’s your food identity?
I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2015, after 10 years of suffering from celiac symptoms! The diagnosis was a relief in that I knew what to do to feel better, but I cried because I dreaded being “that person” when going out to eat and I was scared how it would affect traveling.
How do you maintain your food identity?
I only eat food that I am certain where it came from, or that is certified gluten free, or that I have tested with my Nima. When I travel I bring lots of snacks just in case and I have my own plates and utensils at work to avoid cross contamination.
What are some of your hobbies or interests?
I always considered myself a “foodie” before my celiac diagnosis and I traveled all the time with my sister or husband, trying new foods and drinks at the trendiest spots. Now I’ve refocused myself and enjoy the challenge of finding restaurants safe for those with celiac disease and sharing the results online. I’ve focused on my city lately but hope to start traveling more again soon.
What do you test with your Nima?
Any time I eat at a restaurant I test their dishes, and any new, non certified gluten free packaged foods.
What was your food life like before you had your Nima?
I was heartbroken by no longer being able to eat out. I had to bring my own food when we went to restaurants, or I’d just get a drink and hang out. Or even worse when I was first learning to manage the disease I’d just hope for the best, eat whatever, and get sick.
What’s your food life like now that you have Nima?
Now I have a list of places I know I can confidently eat at because they have consistently tested gluten free with my Nima! So I either suggest to friends we eat there, or I get to try new places and bring my Nima for testing. I felt like a whole new world of food opened up to me the day my Nima arrived!!
Do you talk about Nima to friends and family? What do they think of your new device?
Friends and family are always curious when I use my Nima and they want to see how it works. Most of the time they are happy about it and like that I can feel comfortable with my meal. I have had one or two people be uncomfortable when it comes back “gluten found” and I can’t eat and talk to the staff about it.
What’s been one of the best features of the Nima app?
Now that I’ve been seeing more activity on it, I love that I can check periodically and see what places other people have tested. It gives me more ideas of places where I can eat! I love it for traveling to new cities for the same reason; the Nima App makes finding restaurants in an unfamiliar place a breeze.
When using Nima at restaurants, what has been your experience?
Staff are usually curious and ask a bunch of questions, but if they aren’t a place focused on food allergies I haven’t had many places offering to change their practices unfortunately. Restaurants that have been more focused on food allergies are always relieved to hear they are doing things right and that their food is gluten free.
What’s your favorite Nima story?
When testing the food at my favorite restaurant in ABQ, La Crepe Michel, for the first time, the chef wasn’t sure what would be cross contaminated and what would be ok. They make their own bread so she was afraid of flour getting around even though they don’t use it in a majority of their dishes, but she was confident her french onion soup would be fine. When I tested my meal, everything came up gluten free except for the soup!!! So she took me into the kitchen, into the pantry, and we stood and discussed every ingredient. She realized the only thing she didn’t make from scratch was the beef bouillon and when we read the ingredients, wheat was in there! She has since switched to a gluten free bouillon base 🙂
Bonus question: If you can only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Does breakfast count as one food?! I love everything about breakfast and would have it for every meal if I could…bacon, eggs, hash browns, and if I could eat real french toast and pancakes again I’d be all over that. Add in a mimosa and I’m in heaven!
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Thank you for sharing your story Emma!