Heather is a community member from Tampa, Florida. She uses Nima to test foods she is uncertain of and shares her results on Instagram @glutenfreebeautybabe. Follow along and read more about her diagnosis and journey to a gluten-free life.

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

I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in September of 2017. I have struggled with GI symptoms for decades but my body took a turn for the worse after my first child was born. I dropped all of my pregnancy weight within the first 6 weeks of being postpartum. I experienced dizzy spells daily, even fainted on one occasion. All I remember at that time was that I felt like everything that I ate made me sick. I assumed it was hormone-related issues so I didn’t take the warning signs seriously. After my second child was born, which was 18 months later, my undiagnosed disease began to wreak havoc on my body. I had severe brain fog, fatigue, blurry vision, occasional slurred speech, grey complexion, depression and anxiety, and of course my stomach was a wreck. As far as I know, I am the only person in my family that has this autoimmune disorder.

My home is 100% gluten free. My husband and kids also eat a gluten-free diet and I am very fortunate to have a supportive husband by my side–this gluten-free journey is not easy for the spouse of a Celiac.

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

Immediately after hearing my diagnosis, I began my research. I wanted to learn everything that I could to better understand what my body was going through, why the disease may have been triggered, and how I could put my best foot forward with healing my body and living a happy, healthy, gluten-free life. My research is what led me to discover the Nima Sensor.

After switching to a strict gluten-free diet, I noticed relief from my symptoms almost immediately. Within two to three weeks of going gluten free, the brain fog began to subside, my headaches went away, I had more energy, and I truly felt like a new woman. It took about six months before all of my neurological symptoms were eliminated and about 18 months before I started to see significant changes and improvement with my gut health.

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

It was very inconsistent. I would have a few great weeks with no symptoms and then that wonderful, gluten-free streak would end because of “hidden gluten”. For example, I remember getting severely sick from a store-bought fajita marinade sauce. It was labeled as gluten free, however, it had traces of gluten. The reason why I know is because when I became ill from this supposed “gluten-free product”, I had decided that enough was enough and that I needed to purchase the Nima Sensor. As soon as my Nima arrived, I tested the sauce and the test result was positive for gluten. I emailed the company to inform them that their product was unsafe for someone with Celiac Disease or someone with a gluten allergy and unfortunately I never heard back from the company.

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

It’s a worry-free, gluten free life! I cannot fully describe how grateful I am that this amazing, portable device exists. I have my life back thanks to the Nima Sensor!

Prior to owning my Nima, I was constantly paranoid. I still feel anxious from time-to-time, but for the most part, Nima has changed my life for the better!

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

I will test anything that I’m not 100% sure is safe for me to eat or drink. I’d rather be safe than sorry!

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

Most people are intrigued by the Nima Sensor and want to know more about it, and I’m always willing to share my knowledge and express my love for the Nima with anyone who is willing to listen. 🙂

There are a few skeptics out there but it doesn’t matter to me because this device has been life changing.

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

My experience with using my Nima at restaurants has been interesting. I have discovered that cross contamination is way more common than I realized. However, I think I’m most shocked by the negative reaction that I have received from managers and chefs. Occasionally, I will encounter a manager or chef that questions the accuracy of the Nima Sensor test result. I have to explain that when gluten is detected in my “gluten-free meal” that it’s usually caused by cross contamination. It’s always awkward having that conversation in the middle of dinner. In my experience, a few chefs, certainly not all, have acted insulted when I have to explain that my food is not gluten free according to the Nima Sensor.

Needless to say, I’m beyond thankful for the Nima Sensor and for the apologetic restaurant managers, staff members and chefs that are willing to LEARN and hopefully provide a safe, gluten-free meal for future patrons.

Bonus questions

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

Tacos! With guacamole on the side.

If you can only use one spice or condiment what would it be?

Gluten-free hot sauce.

If you can only choose one restaurant for the rest of your life where would it be?

If I had to choose just one, it would be Bartaco in Hyde Park Village in Tampa, Florida.