JonnaRae is a community member from Littleton, Colorado. She uses Nima to share delicious gluten-free foods and shares her finds on Instagram, @omg_shes_gf. Read more about her journey from diagnosis to finding peace of mind with Nima.
Tell us a little about your gluten-free journey. What was it like when you started eating gluten-free? What challenges did you face?
Five years ago I became aware of my celiac disease. Growing up I remember always having a stomachache, feeling like razor blades were slicing the insides of my intestines. My digestive tract was compromised and I always felt bloated. Dealing with this pain all my life, I began to think this was a normal feeling after eating. At age 21, I was tired of feeling this way and the pain was increasingly getting worse. I decided to see a homeopathic doctor. Upon seeing him he had diagnosed me with Celiac Disease. This was a foreign word to me. I had no idea what gluten-free and celiac really meant. I started my journey of a celiac life by doing a lot of research on my own and trying to understand what to eat and what to avoid.
At first it was very challenging because gluten can be hidden in several types of food that I never would have imagined. Especially coming from an Italian and Spanish background I had to make several changes to my diet. There were many times when I had accidentally eaten gluten and knew within minutes. I would get even more sick once the gluten was reintroduced to my body after being cleansed out for several weeks or months. My symptoms included my stomach and face swelling, and feeling so overly exhausted I would have to hurry home and go to sleep. After about a year of thoroughly understanding what food was safe and reading every single label, it was then I was able to enjoy food again. Although, there was always a concern about eating out. What if the restaurant was cross-contaminated?
What was your food life like before you had your Nima?
Before purchasing the Nima I had so much anxiety while eating out at restaurants. I had been glutened at restaurants that I trusted and I started to seclude myself to only eating at home. Not being able to dine out at a restaurant was very difficult because no one in my family is allergic to gluten.
What’s your food life like now that you have Nima?
Purchasing the Nima has been life changing. I now have the confidence to go to a restaurant with friends and family, and be reassured that I’m not going to get sick from gluten. Nima will take the first bite for me. I am no longer at home sick for days because of a restaurant’s mistake. It has also given me peace of mind to try different options on the menu that I would normally steer clear of because of uncertainty. I now can have a social life and enjoy dining out like a normal person. It has also been awesome taking my Nima when I travel. Traveling was always very difficult trying new restaurants and being out of my gluten-free comfort zone.
What do you test with Nima? Has there been anything that surprised you wasn’t safe (according to Nima)?
I enjoy testing every meal that I eat outside of home. There was a restaurant that I was very surprised when I tested it. It was my favorite Italian restaurant, Virgilios. It has an extensive gluten-free menu and they always assured me that they were extra careful when someone has an allergy. Although before the Nima, I would often get a slight stomach ache when I ate there and I could never figure out why. When I finally brought my Nima in, my zucchini pasta tested positive for gluten. This occurred three times as they tried to remake the dish. I am so thankful for the Nima because I now know this restaurant is unsafe for celiacs. I also appreciate the opportunity to bring this kind of awareness to the owner of the restaurant so others will not get sick in the future.
When using Nima at restaurants, what has been your experience? Do you have a favorite Nima related story?
Most of the time, when dining at a restaurant, the staff doesn’t always take being gluten-free seriously and they think that it is just a trend. They don’t understand how serious Celiac Disease is. Ever since I have purchased my Nima I find the waitstaff and restaurant owners very impressed by this device. They love the idea and always stop by several times to find out what the test results of everything came out to be. It helps them realize that it is a real allergy.
If you can only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Ironically, it would be bread. Bread and butter has always been my favorite snack.
If you can only use one spice or condiment what would it be?
I would use black pepper. I use black pepper in all of my dishes and I think it gives great flavor.
If you can only choose one restaurant for the rest of your life where would it be?
I love the Inn On Randolph. It’s a little bed and breakfast tucked away in Napa, California. It is completely gluten-free and absolutely delicious.