Gluten Free Writer

I don’t talk a lot about medical things. If you’ve seen my baking posts, you know I do a lot with gluten free baking. That’s because I am medically gluten free. I don’t have celiac — I have had the genetic tests, and I don’t have the markers. But when I eat anything with gluten (which means anything which contains or has been contaminated by wheat, barley, or rye), I get sick. The official diagnosis was Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance. It’s an auto-immune condition, and it’s not very well understood.

Now, this is the point where I get to tell people that no, I’m not looking for Doctor Google or any macrobiotic diet tips. I’m not looking for the current research — I keep up on that. And I’m not looking for people to tell me that it’s all in my head. My gastroenterologist and I have this under control

Last night, I had the fun of participating in a dinner hosted by the group putting out the Nima sensor. This is a nifty little device that uses spectrographic analysis to test your food at the table and see if it contains a safe level of gluten. For anyone who is medically GF, eating out is like playing Russian Roulette, so something like this is a tool that can be very useful, especially for people who have to travel a lot. You know, like writers. It was a little daunting — attending this dinner were the best and brightest of Central Florida bloggers on allergens and gluten free dining, and sitting right next to me was the Head of Special Diets for Walt Disney World. And then, you know, there’s me, being a little bit of a fish out of water.

Now, this device — you take the removable capsule (single use only, but they’re working on a recycling program for them). You put a smidgen of the foot you want to test into the capsule, and close it down hard. There’s a pop, which is the internal seal breaking and releasing… something. Then you put the capsule back into the machine, which is about the size of my palm. You turn it on, and it starts gurgling as it grinds up whatever you put in to prepare it for analysis. And within two minutes, you have an answer in the form of a smiley face or a frowny face. Frowny face, clearly, is BAD.

What was surprising was that this dinner was held at a restaurant that is pretty well known for the care it gives to gluten free dining. And the group hosting the dinner went in with full disclosure — we’re going to be testing EVERYTHING. So you’d think that they’d be extra careful, right?

There were positives — two of the choices of soup, and the only vegetarian entree both came back strongly contaminated! And I heard just a little while ago that several people got sick — I apparently dodged a bullet!

Needless to say, I *want* one! Especially with the travelling that I’m going to be doing over the next couple of years!



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