Breaking Bread: Eliana Finds Freedom with Nima
Eliana is a Nima community member living in Buffalo, NY. She is learning how to live healthy without gluten, soy, or dairy. You can follow her on Instagram @anotherway_elisway.
What’s your food identity, and how do you maintain it?
I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease seven years ago. Other than that I don’t have a specific identity per say, but I do avoid dairy for the most part, soy, and I moderate acidic and sugary foods. I try not to limit myself to foods unless they are trigger foods to my reflux. For a long time I followed a low FODMAP diet do to recurring SIBO but I no longer do. I can say though that doing such a diet helped me figure out my food triggers but instead of totally cutting them out, I am learning what limits I can’t exceed. I do not allow any gluten in my household and I try my best to keep meals nutrient dense, delicious, full of variety, and as unprocessed as possible.
Tell us a little about your gluten-free journey. What was it like when you started eating gluten-free? What challenges did you face?
My story began 7 years ago. After I had my first child I started experiencing horrible stomach pain, neurological symptoms and severe fatigue. After countless tests and labs I finally landed at a GI specialists office. They performed blood work confirming a gluten sensitivity but never an actual endoscopy with biopsy confirming the disease until years after. The irony is that I was literally left in the dark, I got a letter telling me my diagnosis and no counsel.
For the years after, what knowledge I had was purely from Google. Sadly because of my source of information, I lacked full understanding of what my condition was and I will even admit I was careless and ignorant. Sometimes I would follow a gluten-free diet and sometimes I would just give up and give in to gluten. I suffered years of pain until after the birth of my second child I decided enough was enough. At that point not only was I working with my GI and PCP, but I took a chance and discovered a wonderful naturopathic doctor who started me on my healing journey. I was finally received the right supplements, testing, and began to understand how the food I ate affected my body.
Fast track to the end of 2017 when I finally had a follow up endoscopy, which opened my eyes that not only did I have to pay attention to eating gluten free but to deadly cross contamination that was still eating at my small intestine. From there on out I promised myself I would do more! I banned gluten from my house, took a break from eating out, and I met with a nutritionist asap to correct some damage. The person I found is great, but I’m currently still facing the aftermath of food intolerances, which came as a consequence of years of damage. I also had to face other factors that were not contributing to my heath like anxiety centered on food and general stress. I’m still learning, still working hard, and still have bad days but I am better today than I was yesterday!
What was your food life like before you had your Nima?
One word, paranoid! Unless I made it myself and unless it said certified gluten-free I was always paranoid that I was hurting myself.
What’s your food life like now that you have Nima?
I feel free and excited!
What do you test with Nima? Has there been anything that surprised you wasn’t safe (according to Nima)?
So far I haven’t tested anything that came up indicating gluten. I feel more comfortable trying foods(canned goods, sauces, coffee) from stores that label items gluten free but are not certified.
What do your friends, family, and/or doctors think about Nima?
I haven’t mentioned Nima to my doctor but most definitely have to my family. Some think it’s a great idea and others are still skeptical. Those that are skeptical are the same that just don’t get what gluten free is!
When using Nima at restaurants, what has been your experience? Do you have a favorite Nima related story?
I still have not taken Nima out to a restaurant but this is going to be happening soon. Its been so long since I went out that even the places I used to go to, I know now are not safe so I need to do some research!
Bonus fun questions:
Option 1: If you can only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Option 2: If you can only use one spice or condiment what would it be?
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Thank you for sharing your story Eliana! If you have a Nima story to share with the community, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can feature it in our next Breaking Bread post. See previous Breaking Bread posts here.