Better Batter Gluten Free Mixes Giveaway

Disclaimer: I was not paid nor given samples in exchange for writing this post. I have received samples from this company in the past. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I, myself, use and love.

I love Better Batter so much! They embody the holiday spirit of love and generosity all year round. They donate 10% of their net profits to social and charitable causes, and their financial aid program provides discounted gluten free products for low income families, families that have children with autism, college students, and households with extraordinary circumstances. So much love for the community! 

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Quick Better Batter facts:

  • Certified gluten free
  • Made in a facility that is free of milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, wheat, soy, fish, crustacean/shellfish, mustard, sesame, and corn.
  • Most products do not contain sulfites
  • GMO free
  • Kosher OU Parve
  • No dyes or artificial flavors/preservatives
  • Vegan appropriate
  • Packaged in recycled and recyclable boxes, printed with vegetable ink

Better Batter’s product line includes:

  • All Purpose Flour (cup for cup)
  • Seasoned Flour
  • Pancake & Biscuit Mix
  • Fudge Brownie Mix
  • Yellow Cake Mix
  • Chocolate Cake Mix
  • Corn Free Powdered Sugar
  • Gift Cards (great for the holidays!)

Have a favorite recipe from your pre-gluten free days that you’re dying to make again? Just use a Better Batter mix as a replacement for the old mix. Kris’s mother and I came up with a plan to surprise Kris for his birthday – she’s in California, he and I are in NYC. Every year, she shipped him a special chocolate cake made from a family recipe. When Kris and I moved in together and decided to keep my kitchen 100% gluten free, Kris’s mother didn’t want to ship a gluteny cake to our door. So she asked if I could try making him the cake myself. I used the Better Batter Chocolate Cake Mix. Kris’s response – amazing. The only difference was a very slight change in texture. 

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To purchase Better Batter products – check local stores, order directly on www.betterbatter.org, or purchase on amazon.com (prime eligible).

GIVEAWAY! One winner will receive 3 Better Batter mixes! Enter via the rafflecopter link below. Continental US residents only. Giveaway ends Monday December 25th at 11:59 EST.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit my Instagram for an extra giveaway! A second winner will be chosen there!

Positive Quotes from Kids With Celiac

I am so excited for this post! Throughout the years I’ve chatted with several children who have Celiac Disease. Each one was bright, well spoken, and empathetic, and they inspired me to create this post. I recently sent out messages on the facebook and twitter-verse asking parents to chat with their kids about the positive side of Celiac Disease and send me what their kids had to say (thanks to everyone who participated!). These kids are the BEST. While I’m stressing about food to eat at a wedding, these kids are conquering the universe! I hope this post will be inspiring to both children and adults. It’s certainly been inspiring to me. 

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What is the best part about having Celiac Disease?

  • “You get to see your insides on pictures after the biopsy”
  • “You feel amazing!” (10 years old, diagnosed 1 month ago)
  • “The best part is you are aware and can fix the problem so you feel better.”
  • “I don’t have to be sick” (9 years old, diagnosed at age 3)
  • “My mum makes me so many different foods I don’t feel I am missing out.”
  • “At class parties everyone else gets store bought cupcakes, but I get homemade cupcakes that are way better.”
  • “I get bigger treats” (4 years old, diagnosed 8 months ago)
  • “The gluten free pizza tastes better than the pizza with gluten.” (6 years old, diagnosed 1 week ago)
  • “You don’t have to share your yummy food as most think gluten free food is not good and has no taste.”
  • “If there is a food that I really don’t want to eat at a party, I can just say – hmmm, I’m not sure if that is gluten free. Sorry I can’t eat it!”
  • “I don’t eat a lot of junk food and other foods that I know I shouldn’t eat that much.” (9 years old)
  •  “I am a kid that likes to eat” (7 years old, diagnosed at age 3)
  •  “Sometimes I get bigger treats than the other kids” (7 years old, diagnosed at 18 months)
  • “I feel special because mum makes everything at home for me, and my brother and dad have to eat the same food! hahaha”
  •  “That I’m like my mom” (8 years old, diagnosed at age 3)
  • “I love going to the Allergy Show in London with my mom every year. I like trying all the different foods – especially pizza! – and also meeting up with my mom’s Twitter friends. Also I love eating out at safe restaurants.” (11 years old, diagnosed age 5)
  • “The best part of having Coeliac Disease as a 17 year old is that I don’t have to share my food! I also love sharing my food finds on Instagram and in Facebook support groups. There’s a community that I would never have been involved in without having Coeliac Disease.”
  • “You are not like everybody else. We are different.”

What is better now that you eat gluten free?

  • “I don’t feel sick anymore” (9 years old, diagnosed at age 3)
  • “Much less pain! More people are beginning to understand what it’s like for me. The ready made food is always improving too.”
  • “I don’t really remember eating gluten containing foods. I’m learning new cooking and baking skills which I love!” (11 years old, diagnosed age 5)
  • “You don’t throw up.”
  • “Everything because I feel better and I can eat cake!”
  • “I always get to take my own food and I always know I will have food I like for lunch in school.”
  • “I’m not sick anymore! I prefer natural gluten free foods to begin with, like fruits and vegetables” (9 years old)
  • “I’m not throwing up anymore and it’s better for my body.” (6 years old, diagnosed 1 week ago)
  •  “More cheese!” (his parents are vegan) (10 years old, diagnosed 1 month ago)
  •  “That I don’t get sick” (7 years old, diagnosed at age 3)
  • “My health. I feel better all around” (4 years old, diagnosed 8 months ago)
  •  “I don’t have any more tummy aches” (8 years old, diagnosed at age 3)
  •  “I’m not so sad” (7 years old, diagnosed at 18 months)
  • “I make healthier choices because I guess I don’t have a choice. It forces me to eat better because I can’t eat the pizza and junk food that kids eat at birthday parties.”
  • “Now I eat gluten free I don’t feel ill at all, I have energy again, and I don’t feel sick constantly. I also know I’m not making my insides unhappy!”

What would you want to tell other kids your age who just got diagnosed?

  • “You are not alone. Don’t need to feel different.” (4 years old, diagnosed 8 months ago)
  • “It’s nothing but food so it’s no big deal.”
  • “You can make almost anything without gluten.”
  • “It’s a-ok and you can eat lots of things even cake and sometimes it’s even better than regular cake. Can you tell I like cake?”
  • “It’s okay, you just have to get used to eating gluten free. There’s a lot of great gluten free foods out there. I don’t feel like I miss anything.” (9 years old)
  • “It gets better! I cried at first but it’s really not bad.”
  • “That gluten free foods are good” (7 years old, diagnosed at age 3)
  •  “It feels easier the longer you have it” (8 years old, diagnosed at age 3)
  •  “You’re not the only one and there are other Celiac kids” (7 years old, diagnosed at 18 months)
  • “If someone is teasing you about the food like ‘You can’t eat gluten’ you can say ‘hey stop it!’ If they don’t stop you can tell their parents.” (6 years old, diagnosed 1 week ago)
  • “Don’t be scared, the food isn’t as bad as everyone thinks and in some cases it’s easy for your mum to make your favorite food gluten free.”
  • “Our cupcakes are way better than grocery store cake.”
  • “Don’t be worried. You’ll miss the foods you used to eat, but it will get easier. Always read labels and ask lots of questions when you eat out.” (11 years old, diagnosed age 5)
  • “As a 17 year old, you think it’s awful but honestly it’s not bad at all! There are groups that have events and provide support. Socially, your friends will understand and accommodate you but you have to stick to your guns and be gluten free because it’s what your body needs!”
  • “It’s not as hard after you get used to it” (9 years old, diagnosed at age 3)
  • “Class parties where everyone is eating cake except for you may suck at first, but in a year or so you’ll realize that it’s not a big deal at all. I don’t care now. I can eat a cupcake anytime.”
  • “The most important thing is to understand about Celiac and understanding everything you can and can’t eat so then you can educate others when they ask you questions.”
  • “It’ll be o.k.” (10 years old, diagnosed 1 month ago)

Do you have a child/teenager with Celiac who would like to contribute some positivity? Leave a comment or send me an email, and I’ll add their quotes to the list! TastyMeditation@yahoo.com


Gluten Free Holiday Gift Guide 2017

Disclaimer: I was not paid nor given free products in exchange for writing this post. Some of these companies have previously provided me with samples. This post contains a few affiliate links (always specified) in which I get a small commission that helps maintain the cost of this site (there is no added cost to you). All opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I, myself, use and love. As always, double check labels and product information. Ingredients, allergen policies, and facilities can change at any time. 

It’s that time again! – The Tasty Meditation Gluten Free Holiday Gift Guide 2017! Below you’ll find some favorite from previous years, plus a few new ones. Find the perfect gift for your gluten free loved one!

For the chocolate/sweets lover:

  • See’s Candy – I highly recommend their gold box chocolate truffles. Yes – gluten free truffles!! The perfect decadent treat.
  • Pascha Chocolate – Very allergen-friendly dark chocolate.
  • Al Nassma  Elegant camel-milk chocolates from Dubai (please see my previous post for allergen information).
  • Organic Living Superfoods  – (affiliate link) Health conscious friends will love this organic, dairy free, chocolate covered fruit. I recommend the dark chocolate covered pineapple and coconut. (Get 10% off with code “TastyMeditation10”)

For the experienced cook – Often times experienced home cooks know exactly what ingredients they need and what new kitchen gadgets they are dying to try, which makes a gift card to the right store a perfect gift.

  • Nuts.com gift certificate –Gluten free flours, nuts, and baking ingredients can get expensive, so I’m sure that any home cook would love the gift of a full pantry.
  • Guittard Chocolate Chips – My absolute favorite chocolate to bake with. Most of their products are made in a dedicated facility and will say so on the label.
  • Bed, Bath and Beyond gift card Not sure what gadget your GF friend is missing? Let them pick! I asked my followers on Facebook what was on their wish list, and cooking gadgets (bread makers, in particular) were at the top of many lists.
  • Digital Kitchen Scale – Digital scales are essential for measuring gluten free flour and making sure gluten free recipes come out the best they can be! So far my favorite scale is by Escali who provided a sample in exchange for this review. 
  • Blendtec blender with twister jar – One of the most useful gadgets in my kitchen. The twister jar is perfect for making nut butters and small servings of anything.
  • “1000 Gluten Free Recipes” by Carol Fenster – My first cookbook when I went gluten free, and boy was I glad I had it! Five years later it still has a prominent space on my bookshelf.
  • Natural Contents Cookbook Good Food For Everyone: Farm Fresh Clean Eating  – Gluten free, grain free, soy free, mostly paleo, dairy-free friendly and vegan friendly recipes. 
  • Any books by Elana Amsterdam (aka Elana’s Pantry)  Through the years Elana has proven to be my favorite source for paleo recipes. Buy some almond and coconut flour and get cooking!
  • Gluten Free Labels – (affiliate link) Fun labels, stickers, tags, and toothpick flags that will easily help distinguish the gluten-free products from the gluten-filled products in a shared kitchen.
  • A dinner at their favorite GF restaurant – Because every great cook deserves a relaxing culinary experience every so often. Great option if you know your sweetie has a favorite. Unless you’re taking them to a new 100% GF restaurant, don’t surprise them with a new place they haven’t had a chance to research.

For those who like easy baking projects:

  • Luce’s Gluten Free Artisan Bread Mix – Delicious, rustic bread mix. Just add water, mix, and bake. I recommend the sourdough and “rye” mixes (not real rye, of course), which are oat free (the other mixes contain non-purity protocol GF oats, an ingredient that I do not personally eat/recommend)
  • 123 Gluten Free Mixes – A high quality set of mixes that are extremely allergen friendly. Great for loved ones with multiple food intolerances. Over a hundred recipes on their website – you will never get tired of their mixes. The Sweet Goodness Pan Bars are a personal favorite. 
  • Better Batter Mixes – Better Batter has a beautiful mission. I urge you to visit their website and read about the family that was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, the business that sparked from it, and their dedication to various communities including individuals with autism. Very allergen friendly, and there are literally hundreds of recipes on the Better Batter website.
  • Really Great Food Company Mixes – A big hit at the recent GFAF Expo. Their coffee cake and banana bread were huge hits and personal favorites.
  • Gluten Free Prairie Oatmeal – IF you know your GF loved one can tolerate gluten free oats, they will be super impressed with Gluten Free Prairie! Unlike many GF oats on the market, Gluten Free Prairie uses gluten free purity protocol oats which are grown/harvested in dedicated fields. For more info on the purity protocol issue click here. 

Subscription Boxes

  • American Gluten Free– (affiliate link) My favorite gluten free subscription boxes on the market. AGF supports small businesses across the country, so you will taste very unique products that you might not have found otherwise. All items are made in dedicated gluten free facilities and/or are certified gluten free. They’re all dairy free, as well! You’ll find subscription options for both on-the-go snackers and experienced cooks. AGF is offers single boxes as well as their regular month-to-month plan – it’s the gift that keeps on giving! Use code “Tasty10” to get 10% off ANY subscription for LIFE – every box, every month, for as long as you are a customer. 

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For the beauty product lover:

  • Red Apple Lipstick gift certificate – (affiliate link) Amazing allergen-friendly makeup with stunning lipstick colors for all complexions. The Rallye Balm is a lifesaver for chapped/dry lips during the colder months. Favorite colors include Vogue and Wine & Dandy. Get 22% off orders of $50+ with the code “TastyMeditation”
  • Éclair Naturals – A line of beautiful handcrafted lotions, shampoos, soaps, bath salts, and more that are certified gluten free, soy free, vegan, cruelty free, and non GMO. The body butter is perfect for friends who have sensitive skin during the winter time.

For the book lover:

Fresh GF treats shipped to your door (dedicated GF bakeries):

  • Bread SRSLY Sourdough (affiliate link) “The best gluten free sourdough bread on the market,” says my San Francisco-native boyfriend. I’m a total Bread SRSLY addict. You can even eat it without toasting! $5 flat rate shipping.
  • Krumville Bake Shop – Perhaps my favorite bakery in NYC. Delicious cookies, cakes, muffins, and bread – everything that comes out of the Krumville kitchen is incredible!
  • Meredith’s Bread – Wonderful breads and the best black and white cookies you will ever eat. Their products are in farmers markets all over NYC/NJ/CT (look for the GF label! – they have a separate bakery for their wheat-based products).
  • Izzi B’s Allergen Free Bakery – Try the yellow cake. Your friends will never guess that this bakery is free of gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, all nuts, and casein, preservatives, trans-fats, and refined sugar! Located in Connecticut. 
  • Gluten Free Territory – Amazing raspberry cheesecake brownies! You won’t want to share. (Note: I recommend their oat free products. Two of their cookies contain non-purity protocol GF oats, which I do not eat/recommend). 
  • Squirrel and the Bee Goodness Grainless Granola – The most amazing granola you will ever taste! I highly recommend both the pumpkin spice and cinnamon vanilla. Also available at farmers markets in NJ.
  • Everybody Eats– My mom and I are obsessed with their baguettes, and the company is run by some of the most caring people you’ll ever meet. Pickup locally in Brooklyn or get it shipped to your door.
  • Mariposa Baking Co – Located in San Francisco, Mariposa is one of my favorite bakeries in the country. I highly recommend their cinnamon rolls – out of this world!
  • Gluten Free Gloriously – One of my top favorite bakeries! Located in NJ. I highly recommend their cookies. While many bakeries are often limited to two or three cookie variations, Gluten Free gloriously makes everything a Celiac has been missing — lintzer cookies, biscotti, rainbow cookies, holiday pies, even cannolis! Getting married? Their wedding cakes are stunning!

(Pictured above: Krumville Bake Shop cake, Bread SRSLY Sourdough, Gluten Free Territory brownies, Izzi B’s Allergen Free Bakery cupcakes, Everybody Eats baguette) 

For the alcohol lover:

  • Tito’s Vodka – Certified gluten free, corn-based vodka. You might want to get some for yourself too. I’ve found that you save more money in the long run if you buy the bigger bottle (wink).
  • Wine – When in doubt, always a good gift.

GF  Resources:

  • Gluten Free Watchdog Subscription – GFW is one of the most incredible advocates the community has. Her website is a wealth of information. Subscribers get special access to products reports (selected items are tested for gluten in a lab) and support her overall efforts. 
  • Celiac Research Donation – Donate in honor of your Celiac loved one! The Celiac Center at Columbia University is one of several organizations doing amazing research for the community, searching for better treatment and a cure.

 

Don’t forget that your loved one is not defined by Celiac. We all have other interests and hobbies – theatre, movies, music, pets, crafts, games, sports – gifts that are not food-related are also great choices. 

Please feel free to email this list to loved ones and leave a comment – what gift are YOU wishing for?

Happy Holidays!

GFAF Expo in Secaucus, NJ Oct 14/15 + Giveaway!

It’s been on my calendar for almost a year now – the GFAF Expo is coming back to NJ October 14th and 15th! I’m thrilled to be returning as one of their official bloggers. It is truly one of my favorite events of the year – a place for Celiac/gluten free folk to come together, learn, and support each other – there is so much joy in that expo hall every year!

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Do you love free samples? I do. The expo will feature dozens upon dozens of gluten free vendors, many of which are also very allergen friendly. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn about new products as well as sample treats from east coast GF bakeries.

Great expo features:

  • Free samples and raffle drawings
  • Free seminars hosted by notable members of the gluten free community.
  • Opportunities to buy products directly from vendors.
  • The hall is divided into two color-coded sections. Both are gluten free, but one section is specifically nut free, as well.
  • Secaucus is about 7 minutes away from the Port Authority Bus Station in Manhattan. It’s about a $7 round trip ticket, and the bus lets you off right at the expo. www.njtransit.com/pdf/bus/T0320.pdf

I will also be there representing the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup Group – please leave a comment and let me know if you’re attending! I’d love to meet up. One of the best part of attending the expo is chatting with other Celiac/GF folk. 

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Need a ticket?

  1. Members of the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup Group receive 30% off their ticket price with the code NYC30 or by clicking here. If you are not a member, check out our group at www.meetup.com/Celiac
  2. Interested in volunteering at the expo and getting a free ticket? Click here. 
  3. Ticket giveaway! I’m giving away three Adult Single Day passes. Enter via the Rafflecopter link below – giveaway ends Friday September 15th at 11:59 pm EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more info please visit www.gfafexpo.com/locations/2017-secaucus-nj

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this. As an official blogger for the expo I am receiving a comped ticket. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I, myself, use and love.

Gluten Free Watchdog’s FDA Citizen Petition

Many of you are aware of Gluten Free Watchdog’s ongoing efforts to encourage the FDA to enforce their gluten free rules. She has now submitted a citizen petition to the FDA docket. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to come together as a community to help create change. Gluten free must mean gluten free. 

With her permission I have copied/pasted GFW’s recent email. Please see below and consider taking two minutes out of your day to comment/share.

Best,

Jessica

 

 

Gluten Free Watchdog’s Citizen Petition has posted to the FDA docket. Please read the petition and comment. Please ask others to comment too. The petition is available at: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FDA-2017-P-5118

Sample comment to cut and paste into the docket:

Too many products are labeled gluten-free yet contain ingredients (e.g., barley malt) not allowed in labeled gluten-free foods. I support Gluten Free Watchdog’s citizen petition asking FDA to establish new reporting and investigation processes to address facial misbranding violations under the gluten-free labeling rule.

What is facial misbranding? We are defining facial misbranding to be when a product label displays a “gluten-free” claim but the ingredients list includes an ingredient that is prohibited under FDA rules from being contained in any product labeled “gluten-free” (e.g., barley malt, barley malt extract, barley malt syrup, wheat [except in limited circumstances with clear additional markings and language]).

What is an example of facial misbranding? Chips labeled gluten-free yet containing barley malt extract are facially misbranded. And soy sauce labeled gluten-free yet containing wheat is facially misbranded.

Is facial misbranding that big of a problem? Yes. See Foods Labeled Gluten-Free Yet Containing Barley Malt Ingredients available at: https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/foods-labeled-gluten-free-yet-containing-barley-malt-ingredients/ and Products Labeled Gluten-Free Yet Containing Wheat-Based Soy Sauce available at: https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/products-labeled-gluten-free-yet-containing-wheat-based-soy-sauce/

What we are asking of FDA:

  1. Electronic Consumer Reporting

FDA should establish a reporting system on its website for consumers/consumer groups to electronically report Facial Misbranding to FDA. Because Facial Misbranding is plainly evident from the face of the label itself, the reporting would need only require the uploading of product photos that illustrate the gluten-free claim and the ingredients list (e.g., the photos attached as Attachments 1 through 6), along with a simple form for consumer input of relevant information such as product name, “Best by” or “Use by” dates and lot numbers.

  1. Warning Letters and/or a “Facial Misbranding Initiative”

In order to curtail consumer exposure to misbranded and dangerous products, FDA should routinely issue a Warning Letter based on Facial Misbranding within thirty (30) days of receipt of an electronically submitted report demonstrating Facial Misbranding has occurred.

Alternatively, FDA could implement a “Facial Misbranding Initiative” under the Gluten-Free Labeling Rule, utilizing consumer submissions and information collected through other methods of surveillance.

What you can do to help:

  • Comment on the petition
  • Ask others to comment on the petition
  • Spread the word about the petition on Facebook, Twitter, and blog posts
  • Use #EnforceGFRule & #ReclaimGF

Opinion – Not a fan of the Nima Sensor

I am not a fan of the Nima Sensor, and I’m going to tell you why.

Disclaimer – Several of my readers wrote to me expressing their own doubts and concerns about Nima and asking for my opinion. The following opinions are my own. This is meant to be a discussion, so please feel free to contribute. I own a Nima Sensor (which I paid for myself), and these are my experiences. It is not my intention to sway readers for or against Nima. I am simply discussing my opinions. Many of you know of my hero, Gluten Free Watchdog, an invaluable expert in the gluten free community. I will be referencing several of her articles about the Nima Sensor. Please also keep in mind that the FDA has defined gluten free as less than 20ppm. Some GF certification organizations require a food to be less than this. I am aware that some extremely sensitive Celiacs react to 20ppm. Nima’s chemistry is optimized for 20ppm.

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I was among a group of gluten free bloggers invited to informational events with the Nima team before the product was released. If you remember my post from two years ago – “The Nima Sensor – A Game Changer” – you’ll remember that I was incredibly excited about this product, so much so that I preordered my sensor the second it went on sale. I also loved the Nima team. The creators were kind and seemed to really want to do some good in the world.

Some facts:

The cost – $279. The capsules cost about $4.87 – $6.08 each and are not reusable. And they expire within about six months.

Nima doesn’t work on:

  • Fermented foods
  • Soy sauce
  • Pure vinegar
  • Beer
  • Alcohol
  • Xanthan and guar gum in their pure form
  • Bright colored food
  • Hard food such as uncooked pasta and dry beans
  • Nima has not been validated to test for gluten in medication or non-food products such as makeup. If tested, the Nima team cannot make claims about the accuracy of test results.

Problems with the sample size

Watch Nima not pick up cross contamination in GF crackers that came in contact with wheat

When using Nima, you only test a pea-sized sample of food. This means that if you have multiple items or components on one plate, it may be hard to get all of those into one capsule, and you’ll end up having to use multiple ones. If you use three capsules for one meal, that’s about $15-$18.

Also, because you are only testing a small amount, Nima may not find the gluten in food that has been contaminated. Remember, cross contamination is not necessarily evenly spread out throughout a dish. The Nima team recommends testing likely areas such as grill marks on a piece of chicken, but there is no guarantee that it will find a hot spot of contamination.

Example – you order a gluten free pizza and test 1/2 pea-size of crust and the other 1/2 pea-size of cheese. The Nima results in a happy face – no gluten found. Is your pizza gluten free? Who knows. All you know is that the pea-size sample you tested is.

A false sense of security 

Watch Nima test non-GF oats and a recalled box of Cherrios and result in a

happy face/”no gluten found”.

Gluten Free Watchdog also describes spotty cross contamination in gluten free oats.

I’m worried that the device is giving the community a false sense of security. Celiac Disease is highly emotional, and many of my followers have expressed that the hardest part is the social aspect. I’ve had too many occasions where I sipped water at a restaurant while everyone else ate pizza. We all want to believe (myself included) that this device will give us comfort and allow us to regain control. We want to fit in. We don’t want there to be any problems. We WANT this device to work. 

The Nima team emphasizes that it’s important to still ask questions about how food was made and where it was prepared. But will consumers end up relying too much on the device itself? 

Several people I know tested Cheerios (click here to read more about Cheerios’ questionable gluten free status). When I explained to them how spotty cross contamination can be, particularly when it comes to gluten free oats, they all replied that they would continue to eat Cheerios anyway because Nima gave them the answer they wanted to hear.

Testing under 20ppm & damaging reputations of truly gluten free businesses

Nima once said that foods under 20ppm occasionally may test positive for gluten, but that is rare. Now Nima publicly admits on their site, “For foods containing below 2ppm, Nima reported ‘gluten found’ 7.8% of the time.”

This is highly concerning to me and brings up some other important questions – What is the percentage for under 10ppm? And under 20ppm? Even though the device is “optimized for 20ppm”, logic shows that greater than 7.8% of food under 10 or 20ppm will test positive. 

Click here to see five foods that Nima detected gluten in, yet tested below the limit of detection of 1ppm when tested with the R5 ELISA method.

I worry that restaurants and companies that are doing an excellent job may have their reputations unfairly tarnished.

Imagine this – you go to your favorite restaurant and test a dish. It comes back positive for gluten. You question the manager and the chef. They swear that all of their ingredients were gluten free and they took their normal steps to prevent cross contamination. What do you do? Do you eat the dish? Do you stop going to your favorite restaurant? Did your food have 2ppm in it? 10ppm? 100ppm? There is no way of knowing because Nima cannot tell you.

And then that information gets logged into the Nima app. Other Nima-owners can see your test results, and perhaps they will start avoiding that restaurant.

I refused to bring my Nima with me to restaurants. I thought it would be irresponsible of me to potentially tarnish the reputation of a restaurant that is doing a great job because the device that I was using had no way of telling me how much gluten was actually in their food. 

Now before you say, “Any amount of gluten that it detects is too much”, let me ask you – is less than 1ppm too much gluten?

And before you say, “But so-and-so said that their Nima saved them from eating unsafe food at a restaurant,” let me also ask – did that person also send their dish to a lab to have it verify that the dish contained over 20ppm? Maybe it was gluten free and maybe it wasn’t.

And of course, I am certain that Nima has saved people from ingesting gluten – if a sample has over 20ppm Nima will most likely find it (unless it is a food that Nima cannot test for like soy sauce) – but how many times has it prevented someone from eating food that was totally safe? How many times has it damaged the reputation of an excellent company? It is a question of consistency. 

I also see a lot of social media posts of people testing certified gluten free food and getting upset when Nima says “gluten found.” Do you disregard the testing requirements of the certification bodies?

Testing a food multiple times

lays

At the request of other Celiacs, I tested quite a few foods including this bag of gluten free potato chips – labeled GF (company tests ingredients and finished products), the bag was new/unopened, samples gathered with a new plastic spoon that had been sealed in plastic. Nima came back with a “high gluten” result (likely over 100ppm). I tested a second sample from the same bag with a new spoon – happy face/ “no gluten found”.

brownie

We also tested this gluten free brownie twice with the same precautions. The first test came back “low gluten”, the second test came back “no gluten found.”

What do you do? Do you eat these foods? Or do you stop trusting the companies? How many times should you test a product with Nima to feel satisfied with its answer?

So Jessica, what are you currently doing with your Nima? 

Remember I wanted Nima to be our community’s savior. However, mine is currently collecting dust in my cabinet, and I don’t plan on ordering any more capsules. My personal opinion – a costly gadget that makes my gluten free dining experience even more expensive yet still leaves me unsure as to my food’s actual gluten free status is not a gadget that is useful to me. For my needs, I don’t think the technology is there yet.

The way I see it:

“No gluten found” – No gluten was found in your pea-size sample. Is the entire dish gluten free? Nima doesn’t know.

“Gluten found” – Nima found gluten in the sample, but it might be less than 2ppm. How much gluten is in it? Nima can’t tell you.

Sure, the Nima team will emphasize that the device is another tool for your toolbox. I ask – is it a consistent/accurate tool? And does it leave you with more answers or more questions?

Click here to read more concerns from Gluten Free Watchdog.

 I know others out there may disagree with my feelings about Nima. Again I will stress that these are my opinions based on information provided by both Nima and Gluten Free Watchdog. This is meant to be a discussion, so please feel free to leave a comment – what is your opinion of Nima?

 

 

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this review, and I did not receive any product samples. All opinions are my own.

Call to Action from Gluten Free Watchdog

Gluten in gluten free food??? The FDA appears to be doing a less-than-stellar job at holding companies accountable for complying with their regulations concerning gluten. For the safety of the Celiac and gluten free community, this needs to be taken seriously.

Many of you know about Gluten Free Watchdog, aka Tricia Thompson. GFW is an incredible resource to the gluten free community, and she believes that we all need to come together to encourage the FDA to do their job. In the link below she explains the situation and outlines her action plan.

https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/encouraging-the-fda-to-investigate-when-products-labeled-gluten-free-appear-misbranded/

They need to hear our voices! Share – retweet – make your voice heard!

To stay informed I encourage you to follow Gluten Free Watchdog on Facebook and Twitter. Also, subscribing to the valuable resources on her website is only $7/month – I’m a subscriber myself. I’ll be sharing on Facebook and retweeting articles as GFW Action Alerts are released to the public.

GFW’s first Action Alert was just posted. It describes several instances where regular wheat-containing soy sauce is stated in the ingredients list of products that were labeled gluten free. FDA – are you going to investigate???

THIS IS SO DANGEROUS. We trust the FDA to make sure that our food is safe. When they do not enforce their rules, it is our lives at stake. 

Please join me in encouraging the FDA to investigate when products labeled gluten free appear misbranded.