Claira is a 17 year-old from Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania. She uses Nima to feel safe while traveling and eating out. Read how she adjusted to gluten-free life and uses Nima to make an informed decision at restaurants.
What’s your food identity, and how do you maintain it?
I was diagnosed with Celiac disease 4 years ago after a blood test and scope test at the Cleveland Clinic. I felt a mix of upset and relief because I finally knew what was wrong. We made our entire home Gluten free by removing all potential contamination. We did this by purchasing new strainers, wooden spoons, toaster, le creuset, and baking stones.
Tell us a little about your gluten-free journey. What was it like when you started eating gluten-free? What challenges did you face?
It was difficult, as any change is, when I first started eating gluten free. The biggest challenge was accepting the fact that I had to give up all of the foods that I loved. Eventually, we found new foods that I love, but the adjustment took time. Another challenge was eating out. I didn’t want to eat out at restaurants for fear of getting sick. Lastly, getting people to understand that celiac disease is serious has been a huge challenge. It is something that is hard for others to understand unless they have celiac themselves or are very close to someone with celiac. This contributes to the issue of eating at restaurants and makes it difficult to hang out with friends because some people just don’t get it.
The best way to explain to people who don’t understand is to say, “I have a severe allergy to wheat and barley and I will get very sick if I eat it.”
I hate to use the word allergy but its the only thing people understand because they don’t understand what autoimmune is and it’s equally as damaging.
What was your food life like before you had your Nima?
We were eating foods out that claimed to be Gluten free, and at best they were gluten friendly. Our favorite pizza place we stopped dining every Friday because of the cross contamination. Thankful that we had Nima or my blood work wouldn’t have returned to normal levels. We trusted restaurants when they said Gluten free, instead of Gluten friendly.
What’s your food life like now that you have Nima?
Now that I have a Nima, I feel more comfortable eating out. We take Nima on all of our trips and when dining out. Multiple Nima units allow us to test several things at one time, and I can begin eating my dinner sooner.
What do you test with Nima? Has there been anything that surprised you wasn’t safe (according to Nima)?
We test everything I order. Using a separate capsule for each thing on my plate we are able to quickly identify what is safe to eat . We have been to some restaurants that said their food was safe and it wasn’t.
What do your friends, family, and/or doctors think about Nima?
Most people that hear about Nima for the first time are fascinated by it. When we tell the waitresses/waiter that their food passed or failed they usually bring the chef out. They all want to know more about it. A few times we have actually had a chef say that they are going to purchase the device for their restaurant and test the food before they serve it.
When using Nima at restaurants, what has been your experience? Do you have a favorite Nima related story?
Nima provides a positive experience when dining out. It allows me to have confidence that the food I’m eating is safe and I don’t have to worry about getting sick a few hours later.
When we were on vacation in Bermuda, the chef at the Fairmont hotel came out to talk to us and actually said that they had their own Nima tester.
Bonus fun questions:
Option 1: If you can only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Gluten free Pizza
Option 2: If you can only use one spice or condiment what would it be?
Option 3: If you can only choose one restaurant for the rest of your life where would it be?