Disclosure: I have not received any compensation for writing this post or producing this video. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. All opinions in this post are my own.
Nima sensor, where have you been all my life?
I first learned about Nima in 2015 at the Gluten Free and Allergy Friendly Expo in Atlanta where I met one of the developers and knew that I had to have this technology in my life. Having two people in my family (my 11-year-old son and myself) who can't eat gluten, I could definitely see where this could help keep us safe.
I've kept up with Nima over the past couple of years, but I finally had the opportunity to meet a Nima representative at the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference in Denver in early November and she took lots of time to answer my many questions about the device. I told her about my son's recent gluten cross-contact episode that was so severe that the school nurse called me to take him to the doctor. I also explained that he is participating in his school's science fair and that he wants to prove gluten cross-contact is a real thing so he can better advocate for himself. She was so interested in hearing about my fifth grader's project and she offered to loan him a Nima sensor to conduct his research! Just a couple of weeks later, a package arrived with the Nima.
Click here to watch the GFree Genius Nima Unboxing Video.
So, I never eat at restaurants that aren't dedicated gluten free--ever. Seriously. But the day the Nima arrived, I read the quick-start guide, put the portable gluten sensor in my small, crossbody purse and went out for my first "regular" meal.
Ultimate Foods, Olive Branch, MS
I verified with the employee that the meal I selected was gluten free, then purchased it and went to my table. She noticed that I was putting a sample into the one-time-use capsule and inquired about it, so I showed off the Nima. This was the first time I had ever used the device, so I wasn't really sure what to expect. I inserted the capsule into the sensor, turned it on and pressed start. Then I started getting nervous. The employee was standing over my shoulder watching the machine as it processed the sample. What if the food wasn't really gluten free? What should I say? Will she give me a refund? Will I ever be able to eat out again? A lot of questions and anxiety built up over the three minutes required for Nima results. Then finally, a smiling face appeared. I don't know who was more excited--me or the employee!
LYFE Kitchen, Memphis, TN (Downtown)
I knew we had to send the Nima back since my son's science project is complete, so we decided to take the kids out for a family dinner in a "regular" restaurant. My husband occasionally eats lunch at LYFE Kitchen in Memphis, TN since it is near his office and he knew they had gluten free options, so that's where we decided to go. I studied the menu online before we arrived and asked so many questions to the young lady taking my order. She assured me that my meal would be gluten free and answered my questions without a single eye roll. Meals were delivered to our table one at a time and we started Nima testing. All smiles! Every plate tested gluten free! Words cannot describe how awesome it was to go out for a meal together as a family and not worry about getting glutened. I did have the opportunity to speak to the manager and show off the Nima. She had never heard of this device and was so excited that it confirmed the meals at LYFE Kitchen were gluten free. I told her that we hadn't eaten in a restaurant in many months and we were so happy to have found a safe option. She actually got teary-eyed and thanked me for sharing. She said her staff is trained to deal with gluten and food allergies. They have a separate prep area with tools that are thoroughly sanitized after each use. She said she was so happy that their efforts are truly helping people like me be able to eat safely.
As I sat at a table for four at LYFE Kitchen listening to my kids laugh and chat about their school day while enjoying a meal outside of our home for the first time in a long time, I was very thankful for Nima. A little gluten detector that fits in my little purse was such a blessing. It gave me the choice to dine out without worry. It gave me confidence to order knowing that I wouldn't get sick if it tested gluten free. It gave me back my social life...at least for a weekend. Sadly, I have to send the Nima back tomorrow since it was borrowed.
Did you know Nima has an app? It allows Nima users to log their tests. Anyone can use the app to see which restaurants and which dishes have tested gluten free (or not). For more information on ordering Nima, visit www.nimasensor.com.