Margot is a community member from the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York. Read about her gluten-free journey to eating out and traveling again!

What’s your food identity, and how do you maintain it?

I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease five years ago at the age of 54. I’ve been trying valiantly since then to avoid all gluten.

Tell us a little about your gluten-free journey. What was it like when you started eating gluten-free? What challenges did you face?

When I was first diagnosed, I had a friend who had lived with Celiac Disease for a long time. She immediately took me to our neighborhood Wegmans grocery store (a wonderful resource)! We walked through the gluten-free aisles and she suggested items that I would want to have right away, and others that I probably wouldn’t want to bother with. It was really helpful to get me started on this journey. I was a little overwhelmed at first by the amount of time it took to read every label, and look up so many foods, and unknown ingredients etc. It didn’t take me long to realize that doing my own cooking and eating whole, fresh foods rather than a lot of packaged foods would be the key to my success.

What was your food life like before you had your Nima?

Even though I was able to get control of my own kitchen, I travel and eat out frequently. That has been the biggest challenge for me, and I think I am frequently “glutened” no matter how careful I try to be. Besides dealing with the loss of many foods that I used to enjoy, I felt some loss over not being able to be as spontaneous and adventuresome when traveling.

What’s your food life like now that you have Nima?

The Nima has been a valuable tool to help me better control those areas of my food life. When I first got it, I took it with me on a trip to Vietnam. In general I found lots of naturally gluten-free meals during that trip, but it was so reassuring to be able to confirm that a dish was gluten-free – especially when language barriers prevented really clear understanding of what I was getting!

What do you test with Nima? Has there been anything that surprised you wasn’t safe (according to Nima)?

I’ve already found several restaurant meals that were advertised as gluten-free that aren’t, so I’ve been focusing on that area.

What do your friends, family, and/or doctors think about Nima?

Most people have been pretty interested in it. I was surprised that my gastroenterologist didn’t know about it. He called two of his staff members into the office to watch me test a bit of Ritz cracker.

When using Nima at restaurants, what has been your experience? Do you have a favorite Nima related story?

I’m still getting used to it. I find it uncomfortable to “confront” my server, but it hasn’t been as difficult as I imagined. So far, they’ve been apologetic and have offered to try again, or at the very least they don’t really seem to care, but will happily take the dish back and bring me something safer like a salad or shrimp cocktail!

Bonus fun questions:

If you can only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?