Review: The Nima Sensor

A small portable device that tests for the presence of gluten in food…Is this a dream come true?!

Nima Sensor- Gluten Detecting Device

Nima gave me the sensor to try and review. All opinions are 100% my own. 

Those of us living with celiac disease have to follow a strict gluten free diet and are unfortunately often at the mercy of others when it comes to our health. The only way to know for certain that what we’re eating is gluten free is to stick to a whole foods (fresh veggies, fresh fruit, meat, etc) diet and to prepare it ourself in a kitchen free of gluten.

In theory, this is great, but the reality is this scenario is unrealistic. Any time someone with celiac disease eats at a restaurant or packaged food, there is always a chance of cross-contamination. Cross-contamination can occur where the food is manufactured, packaged or prepared…so it’s really easy to happen!  Everyone is different, but for me personally, my body is so sensitive that the slightest trace of gluten will make me sick!

I’ve dreamed about the day where I could have peace of mind knowing if my food has been contaminated by gluten, and it’s finally happened! I’d like to introduce you to the  Nima Sensor, a small portable device that tests for gluten in products.

Here’s how it works…

Nima Sensor- Gluten Detecting Device

The Nima Sensor is a portable device that tests for the presence of gluten in food.

Nima Sensor- Gluten Detecting Device

Along with the actual Nima Sensor, each time you test something you need a one-time use capsule to put your food sample in.

Nima Sensor- Gluten Detecting Device

Nima Sensor-Gluten Detecting Device

Once you put your pea-sized sample of food into the capsule, you screw the lid on until you feel it pop and cannot see the green line.

Nima Sensor- Gluten Detecting Device

Then you place the capsule into the sensor and click it into place. Once you turn on your Nima, you will click the button again to begin the test.

Nima Sensor- Gluten Detecting Device

Next, the motor in the Nima will mix the solution in the capsule with your food sample. It uses an antibody designed to attach to the gluten protein, which will trigger a reaction on a test strip within the capsule.  While this is all happening, you will see a flashing sun symbol and hear the Nima really doing some work! After about 2-3 minutes, you will either see a happy face (gluten free) or a wheat symbol (gluten detected).

Nima Sensor- Gluten Detecting Device

Here you can see the Nima detected gluten! *It clearly displayed the wheat symbol, it just didn’t show up fully in my picture. 


Nima Sensor- Gluten Detecting Device

The Nima has an app which you should download beforehand and then when you test your product, sync the sensor to your phone. Once the results are in you will get a notification on your app and can then log your results and build a catalog for yourself!

The Nima is tuned to detect at 20 ppm (The FDA requires that any product labeled “gluten-free” contain a maximum gluten content of 20 ppm). However, according to their website, “Based on internal testing, Nima has detected gluten at levels as low as 5 ppm. If Nima detects gluten at any level, the “Gluten Found” message will appear on the device.”

After researching the Nima and testing it out myself, a big concern I had was that if you’re only testing a pea-sized sample of food, then it’s not testing your entire plate. This is something that bothers me particularly when I eat at restaurants since we all know that cross-contamination can easily occur anywhere on your plate.

Their website provides tips and tricks for this issue such as:

  • Wipe your sample piece all over your plate, touching all the food.
  • Take a sample from the edge of cut marks (ex: from a sandwich or pizza) because cross-contamination can occur from the knife/pizza cutter.
  • If your food has grill marks on it, take a sample from that section to test if cross-contamination occurred on the grill.

They have many other tips that I found helpful!

My final thoughts are that the Nima Sensor is a great tool to help me make informed decisions as to what I eat, however, I still am and will always be aware of what and where I’m eating in order to stay healthy. If I’m uncomfortable in a situation and feel my food was not prepared correctly, even if the Nima says it’s “gluten free,” I still will not eat it because I follow my intuition. Everyone needs to do what’s best for their own body and situation, so I’m thrilled to have the Nima help empower us as we make those personal decisions!

Click HERE to get your Nima!

*This post contains affiliate links. You can read more about that here

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Gluten Free Hot Dog & Sausage List

gluten free hot dog and sausage list

Are hot dogs gluten free? This is a question I get asked a lot… probably one of the most in regards to specific product lists.

Unfortunately, sometimes wheat is an ingredient you will see on the back of a hotdog or sausage package. This is why reading labels is so important!

With this being Labor Day weekend, I imagine the grills will be fired up and hot dogs or sausages are in your future! I’ve put together a list of large brands that offer gluten free hot dogs. As always, if you have celiac disease, please read labels first and if you’re unsure call the manufacturer.

Aidells: “Aidells products with gluten are Teriyaki Meatballs and Sweet and Sour Meatballs. All other products are gluten free.”

Applegate Naturals: Hormel, the parent company states, “Although our products are labeled in compliance with government regulations, it is always necessary to read the labels on the products to determine if the food product meets your required needs.”

  • Beef Hot Dog
  • Beer Bratwurst
  • Bun Length Beef Hot Dog
  • Chicken & Cheddar Sausage
  • Gluten Free Beef Corn Dogs
  • Jalapeño & Cheddar Sausage
  • Peach Jerk Sausage
  • Stadium Beef & Pork Hot Dog
  • Turkey Hot Dog
  • Andouille Sausage
  • Chicken & Apple Sausage
  • Fire Roasted Red Pepper Sausage
  • Spinach & Feta Sausage
  • Sweet Italian Sausage
  • The Great Organic Uncured Beef Hot Dog™ brand
  • The Great Organic Uncured Chicken Hot Dog™ brand
  • The Great Organic Uncured Turkey Hot Dog™ brand

Bar S: “Most Bar-S products are gluten free with the exception of Bar-S corn dogs. Corn Dog products contain wheat flour.”

Boar’s Head: “All Boar’s Head Brand Meats, Cheeses and Condiments, as well as Hans Jurgen Pickles are Gluten Free.”

Dietz & Watson: All their hot dogs are gluten free and are certified gluten-free by the Celiac Sprue Association.

Hebrew National: “Our foods labeled as ‘gluten-free’ undergo rigorous ingredient and preparation review, along with testing to validate that claim. We start by reviewing the label and our recipe to determine which ones should not contain gluten and then talk to our ingredient suppliers. Next, we review our preparation and cleaning steps. Finally, we test the food to make sure it contains less than 20 ppm (parts per million) gluten.”

Hormel Natural Choice: “Although our products are labeled in compliance with government regulations, it is always necessary to read the labels on the products to determine if the food product meets your required needs.”

  • Apple Gouda
  • Jalapeño Cheddar
  • Spinach Asiago
  • Sriracha chicken

Jennie-O:  Hormel, the parent company states, “Although our products are labeled in compliance with government regulations, it is always necessary to read the labels on the products to determine if the food product meets your required needs.”

  • All Natural Turkey Sausage
  • Lean Turkey Bratwurst
  • Turkey Sausage (Lean Hot Italian, Lean Sweet Italian, Hot All Natural)

Nathan’s Famous: “All of the hot dogs sold in supermarkets and club stores are gluten free. They are clearly marked as such on the nutritional panel.”

Oscar Mayer: “Kraft Foods products are labeled with very specific ingredient information to help you make accurate and informed choices. If a Kraft Foods product has an ingredient that is a source of gluten, the specific grain will be listed in the ingredient statement, even when present in small amounts.

**This list is for the US. If you’re in another country, please contact the manufacturer first.

I hope you all enjoy your 3 day weekend and have a wonderful Labor Day!

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Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl

This healthy sweet potato breakfast bowl is simple to make, perfect for those following Whole30 or are paleo, and is sure to hold you over since it’s packed with protein!

sweet potato breakfast bowl

Breakfast is the meal I have the hardest time with. I never know what to make and it’s challenging coming up with new ideas that meet my dietary restrictions. I try to avoid sugary cereals, limit my grains and I’m one of those with celiac disease that can’t tolerate oats… so needless to say my options are limited!

A few months ago I did Whole30 and was researching breakfast ideas, and sweet potato bowls kept popping up, so I thought I’d give it a try! What’s so great about sweet potato bowls is that you can modify them by adding in your favorite things! 

sweet potato breakfast bowl

Since getting diagnosed with celiac and often struggling to keep my vitamin levels up, I always say when it comes to food I try to get the “most bang for my buck”. What I mean by this is, I try to make sure each meal is filled with nutrients and try to avoid empty calories. This sweet potato breakfast bowl definitely is packed with lots of nutrients!

You can either bake a bunch of sweet potatoes ahead of time and store them in the fridge or cook them each day you make this. Eat this hot or cold… it’s delicious both ways!


(Serves 1)

  • 1 small sweet potato, pre-baked
  • 1 small banana, cut into slices
  • ¼ cup of blueberries
  • ¼ cup blackberries
  • Cinnamon
  • Almond butter
  • Chia seeds


Scoop sweet potato out of skin and mash in a bowl.

Sprinkle some cinnamon in and stir until evenly mixed with the mashed sweet potato.

Layer banana slices, berries, scoop desired amount of almond butter, top with more cinnamon and sprinkle in chia seeds.

*You can substitute with any type of berries or your other favorite fruit!

Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl


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Round-Up: Gluten Free & Paleo Lunch Ideas

Gluten Paleo Lunch Ideas

Happy Friday! I hope you all are having a great week! My hubby has been traveling for work ALL week, so I can’t wait for him to come home today!

I’ve decided I officially love routines. Actually, I’m pretty sure I knew this… but this week it was confirmed when Erik was out of town and I didn’t do what I normally do. Our life is pretty boring during the week, but I love it! When I’m done working I cook dinner every night and as soon as Erik comes home we eat and then go for a long walk. We live in a hilly neighborhood so it’s good exercise and quality time together to share about our day without our phones, tv, computers or other distractions. I actually look forward to our walks every day…so needless to say I missed them (and him!) this week!

Since I’m a rigid, I mean routine person I love to plan ahead. I’ve shared with you before that my meal prep game is pretty strong if I do say so (I’ve shared some on Instagram), but some weeks unfortunately I don’t have time to meal prep so I have to make lunches the night before or each morning (and by making lunches I mean for Erik and I)!

I’ve searched Pinterest for some new inspiration for lunch ideas. Many of these can be planned ahead of time so you don’t need to rush in the morning, and they’re great for adults to take to work or kiddos to school.

Some of these are paleo, and all are gluten free!

Italian Sub Roll-Ups (Grain Free) via Our Paleo Life


Apple and Peanut Butter “Sandwiches” via Bless This Mess 

Spinach and Bacon Mini Quiches (Grain Free) via MOMables

Mason Jar Healthy Taco Salad (Paleo) via Food Faith Fitness 

Paleo Steak Salad with Creamy Garlic Vinaigrette via Paleo Newbie

Banana chips and dark chocolate chips, string cheese, grapes, turkey roll ups, almonds via Celebrating Sweets

Hummus Vegetable Wrap via Emilie Eats

Thai Chopped Chicken Mason Jar Salad with Chili Vinaigrette via Lexi’s Clean Kitchen 

BLT Summer Roll Recipe with Avocado via Avocado Pesto 

I hope you found these healthy, simple meal ideas inspirational for when you’re packing lunches for work or school!


  • What’s your go-to lunch that you pack most often?



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20 Places Gluten Hides in your Kitchen

20 Places Gluten Hides in your Kitchen

If you’re newly diagnosed with celiac disease, then I’m sure you’re feeling overwhelmed with how much your life is changing! I don’t mean to throw a wrench into things, but I believe strongly that knowledge is power… so the sooner you’re aware of certain things, the quicker you will feel better and take control of your health again!

Cross-contamination is something I’m so passionate about (I know I say that often!) because unfortunately no one told me about it (yes, not even my doctors or nutritionist) and I learned the hard way.

I went over a year thinking I was working so hard to be gluten free, yet still sick and couldn’t figure out why… which was beyond frustrating! As soon as I learned about cross-contamination I was able to make big adjustments and regain control of my health (and life)!

When we think of cross-contamination most of us think about eating at restaurants or at other people’s houses… yes, this is true… but let’s start a little closer to home… YOUR kitchen!

20 Places Gluten Hides in your Kitchen:

Wood Cutting Boards: The reason for this is because wood is porous, so no matter how much they’ve been scrubbed small amounts of gluten can stay in them.

Butter: Even if you know the butter is gluten free and you’re eating gluten free bread, chances are the butter contains bread crumbs on it (if there is a gluten eater in your house) even if you can’t see any.

Toaster: All the breadcrumbs from gluten containing products will get you sick, even if you try to scrub it clean. Make sure you have a separate toaster deducted to gluten free items only.

Plastic Utensils and Silicone Spatulas: Gluten can stay in the handle or in small scratches on the surface, which can’t be removed.

Non-Stick Pans: These items get scratched easily, therefore they harbor gluten. No matter how much you clean them, you run the risk of getting cross-contaminated.

Colander: The little holes in colanders are hard to fully clean and can hold traces of gluten. So if you’ve ever used your colander for pasta that wasn’t gf, then cross-contamination can occur.

Wooden Spoons: The wooden spoons are porous; therefore gluten can remain inside them.

Oven: If you have a self-cleaning oven, use that. If not, then make sure you really clean and scrub all surfaces really well. Don’t forget to really scrub the racks and the drawer under the oven that harbors crumbs.

Microwave: I learned this one the hard way. I got very sick one time by using the microwave without a lid on my food after gluten was in it. If I go to someone’s house I bring the lid or heat my food with the Tupperware lid on it. In your own kitchen, be sure to clean your microwave very well, especially the vent inside. I recommend using a plate spatter cover when microwaving your food.

Jars of Condiments: Just like your butter, your condiments most likely have cross-contamination if you have gluten in your kitchen. I highly recommend getting your own dedicated gf condiments and label the jars so everyone knows not to use them on gluten-containing items. I also love squeezable condiments because then you don’t have to worry about a knife with bread crumbs going into the jar (just be sure whoever is using it doesn’t touch the tip onto their food).

Rolling Pins: If your rolling pin is made from wood and has ever been used on flour, then it most likely is harboring gluten. Remember… anything wood is porous and gluten stays in it!

Non-Stick Baking Pans: Just like your non-stick pans, I’m sorry to tell you that these probably contain gluten on them if they’ve ever been used for non-gf baking. Non-stick products scratch easily and gluten sticks to them. 


Silicone Baking Pans and Muffin Tins: These are similar to your non-stick baking pans, where gluten can stay in small scratches, which can’t be removed.

Sponges: Soap doesn’t remove gluten. If you clean a dish that has gluten it’s only seeping into the sponge and will contaminate other dishes. If you must share a kitchen that contains gluten, always have a separate sponge for washing gluten free dishes.

Sifter: You shouldn’t reuse a sifter that’s been used with gluten-containing flour, even if you wash it you won’t be able to remove all the gluten molecules from it.

Plastic Bowls and Tupperware: This concept is the same as plastic utensils, gluten can stay in small scratches on the surface, which can’t be removed.

Cast Iron Pans: Iron is porous, so it will hold onto gluten as do other porous items. If you don’t want to get a new pan, I recommend you run it in a cleaning cycle in a self-cleaning oven (it gets around 900 degrees fahrenheit) and then re-season it.

Pizza Stone: Since they’re porous, they will hold in gluten molecules that you can’t clean out.

Airborne Proteins: I unfortunately learned this one the hard way too after baking with my grandma using wheat flour (even though I didn’t eat it)! Flour can stay airborne for several afters after use (this is also why I avoid bakeries or pizza places that make things from scratch with wheat flour). If you inhale the flour, you most likely will get sick.  For this reason I say don’t let anyone bake in your kitchen with wheat flour. If you must, avoid the kitchen for several hours and make sure all surfaces have been thoroughly cleaned.

Tiny Crumbs: You can get cross-contaminated by the smallest crumb, so if there is gluten in your kitchen be sure surfaces are always cleaned and drawers are shut. If a drawer is slightly opened while someone is wiping down the counter, crumbs can fall into and onto utensils (or whatever is in the drawer).

Wow! Now that seems overwhelming… doesn’t it?! A rule of thumb to remember is… anything porous or that has been scratched has the opportunity for cross-contamination. I recommend using stainless steel and glass products in the kitchen as much as possible. I promise it’s not as complicated and hard as it sounds. It’s only hard at first when you’re trying to identify where gluten can be. Once you get new items that are strictly for gluten free food, then it becomes second nature!

If you’re new to a gluten free lifestyle and feel overwhelmed or are just realizing you may be experiencing cross-contamination, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for help! Comment below or email me and I’d be happy to help you with your gf journey!

Other posts that relate to this one you may find helpful:

How to Stock a Gluten Free Kitchen

Gluten & Cross-Contamination

How to Make your Kitchen Gluten Free

*This post contains affiliate links. You can read more about that here


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Weekend Recap!

Happy Monday! I haven’t done a weekend recap in a while, so I thought it would be fun to do it today! I meant to get this posted earlier, but the online class I’m teaching right now ends this week so I’ve been swamped grading papers!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen some of these pics already.

Friday I spent the day with my sweet friend Taryn and celebrated her 30th birthday! (This pic is form my instastory, so don’t mind my decorations!) We got our nails done, went to lunch and then stopped by Whole Foods for some dessert! She is so supportive of my celiac and made sure we went to places I could eat it. 🙂

We have been friends since we were 12 years old, so we literally experienced the ups and downs of our teen years and 20s together… can’t wait to see what our 30s bring us!

Although I’m trying to limit my grains and sugar intake, I believe in treating yourself from time to time… so I absolutely did not feel guilty about eating a cupcake (okay maybe I had two!).

Thank you Whole Foods for the great gluten free cupcakes that are made in a dedicated gf facility! You can find them in  the refrigerator display with other desserts (make sure you get the gf ones because they have other non-gf desserts next to it).

I’ve been trying to drink more Kombucha since it’s good for gut health and I’ve been hearing a lot about this new flavor… I personally was not a fan.

We spent Saturday with my family and had lunch. If you’re in Southern California, you HAVE to go to Roger’s Garden. It’s technically a nursery, but it’s so much more! They have little stores in it and a restaurant called Farmhouse Cafe.

I packed a lunch with me incase I was uncomfortable eating there. I figured there was a chance I could eat since it was a farm to table type of restaurant, but when we got there it was so crowded and after speaking with our server I decided to eat the lunch I packed.

They didn’t have a gluten free menu, and although she said they could make anything gf, she also said they use the same prep/grill.

It’s the cutest restaurant! My dream would be to have my yard look like Roger’s Garden.

Spending the day with my favorite people!

Sunday was also a family day! It has been a year since my yia yia passed away, so my mom’s side of the family all got together to celebrate her. (Can you tell we’re proud to be Greek?! Ha)

Such a great day honoring such an important person in our life. If you’re new to my blog, you should read the post I did about reliving my wedding day with my yia yia. 

Cousins! With life being so busy and we live all over southern ca, it’s so great catching up! (Ps: The shirt I was wearing is on sale now!)

I had a great weekend with family and now am ready to take on the week! If you’re looking for me, I’ll be attached to my computer grading papers all week! 🙂





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Cassava Flour Tortillas

These cassava tortillas are naturally gluten free, grain free, nut free and take less than 10 minutes to make! Once you make these, you’ll never get store-bought tortillas again!

Cassava Flour Tortillas

Recently I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of grains I eat, so that includes corn tortillas. Since tacos are a staple in our house I knew I had to find an alternative!

Cassava flour tortillas

I read somewhere about cassava tortillas and was determined to make them. I know what you’re thinking… “What the heck is cassava??”… yes I know, because that’s exactly what I thought.

Cassava is a yucca root, so that means it’s naturally gluten free, grain-free and nut free… perfect for those with food allergies! I use Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour and couldn’t believe how easy it is to make these tortillas.

 Cassava flour tortillas

It literally takes less than 10 minutes to make these and they’re SOOO good! I will never buy store-bought tortillas again after making these!

On the back of the bag, Otto’s Naturals provides you with a recipe for them! After trying the recipe, I found adding a little more water works best. Here is how I make them!


(Makes 6 Tortillas)

  • ¾ cup Cassava flour (I use Otto’s Naturals)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup warm water


Whisk together the flour and salt.

Add in olive oil and water.

Knead until dough is formed and smooth.

Divide dough into 6 pieces and roll into balls.

Place each ball between two pieces of parchment paper and flatten. I use this tortilla press.

Heat a skillet over medium heat (do not add oil- I learned the hard way!)

Once heated, place tortilla on skillet.

Wait until you start seeing air bubbles form (a couple mins), then flip and do the same on the other side. Each side should be slightly browned.

Cassava flour tortillas




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Overcoming a Chronic Illness: an Entrepreneur’s Journey

Overcoming a chronic illness: an Entrepreneurs Journey

Often times we have a plan for our life that we may have created the idea a long time ago, and then when life throws a curveball not only do our plans have to change, but sometimes that leads to disappointment and discouragement.

Getting diagnosed with a chronic illness is definitely one of those curve balls life can throw at you.

I know for me personally, I’m a perfectionist and a planner, so needless to say celiac and the modifications I’ve had to make were not part of my plan.

My mom is a strong woman who taught me at a young age that fear is not an option in life and when things get hard you can adjust your plans, but don’t give up on them.

I’m drawn to strong women with inspiring stories, so when I came across Tonya Walker’s  (aka The Shoe Maven) story in Entrepreneur I knew I had to reach out to her!

Although she doesn’t have celiac disease, she has overcome the challenges of living with a chronic illness. She combined her passion of shoes and entrepreneurial spirit to create a  platform to raise money and awareness for Parkinson’s disease.

Below I’ve asked Tonya to share her story and I think you’ll find her incredibly inspiring!

What was life like before your diagnosis?

My husband and I were married newly married. We had just bought a new home.  We had great jobs working as commercial litigation attorneys. I guess you could say we were living the American dream. Just two months after we married is when my first symptom appeared, but it would not be until almost two years later that I was officially diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s disease. During a part of that nearly two-year period, I was pregnant with my son. My pregnancy exacerbated my initial symptoms. By the end of my pregnancy, I could hardly dress myself.

How has your life changed since your diagnosis?

Living with a chronic illness will definitely change your life. I lived in denial and depression for several years until I finally was able to “accept” the diagnosis. I struggled with the fact that I was 34 years old and had been diagnosed with an incurable neurological disease that is typically seen in persons twice my age. At the time, there was very little information available online about Parkinson’s disease affecting a younger population. For me, it was easier to not tell people and to live in denial.

The years of denial were difficult years -difficult for me and difficult for my family. It took me having brain surgery to come to terms with my diagnosis. In some way, I felt like accepting the disease meant that I had let it win. However, as Michael J. Fox says “acceptance doesn’t mean resignation.”

Once I embraced the diagnosis, my life became much better. Instead of fighting the disease and living in frustration because I could no longer do things I used to be able to do, I began doing those things, but in a way that my body would let me. Parkinson’s is a very humbling disease. Every minute, every day, the disease is attacking the body. It is relentless and will wear you down – if you let it. Instead I choose joy in everything, every day. I have a new perspective on life. In some ways, I think Parkinson’s has made me a better person. My faith definitely helped me navigate the “lost” years and now the years of acceptance.

Have you always had the entrepreneurial spirit?

I think that I have always had it in me, but it really did not come out until acceptance of my diagnosis. It’s amazing how Parkinson’s has motivated me to do things that I otherwise may not have done.

What inspired you to start your blog/business?

I have always loved shoes. Seriously. Since I was old enough to walk, I was obsessed with shoes. Unfortunately, Parkinson’s began to impair my balance. I was no longer able to wear my favorite high heels. It was truly tough to walk into my closet and look at all of my shoes and know that I could only wear tennis shoes or flip flops. Needless to say, I invested in some cute flats.

Then in 2013 my life changed dramatically. I had Deep Brain Stimulation. It is a procedure where electrodes are implanted in the brain and are stimulated by a neurotransmitter. I often refer to it as a pacemaker for my brain. The electrodes help manage the symptoms of the disease. One symptom it helped me with was balance. I quickly realized I could wear my favorite high heels again. I started my blog – The Shoe Maven, as a celebration of me being able to wear high heels again. But, I also wanted to change the perception of Parkinson’s disease. I felt some sense of guilt living in denial because those are “lost” years because I was not proactive. I did not want others to experience what I had. The Shoe Maven serves as a platform for me to promote Parkinson’s awareness and fundraising while also sharing my love for fashion and shoes.

How did you decide on the type of business you wanted to start?

The blog is the Parkinson’s awareness component, but my husband and I really wanted to be involved in fundraising to benefit The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. We fundraise through Team Fox which is the grassroots fundraising part of the MJFF. One hundred percent of every dollar raised through Team Fox goes directly to fund research for a cure. This year we held the third annual Art of Fashion event to benefit the MJFF. Over the three years we have raised approximately $30,000 between The Art of Fashion and other fundraisers like running races. This November my husband and I are running the New York City marathon to fundraise for MJFF.

How do you run your business, but also take time for yourself and your health?

There definitely has to be a balance. I work full-time teaching Legal Research & Writing to first-year law students. Arguably, managing a chronic illness is like a full-time job too. My husband is a big help, but he has a full-time job practicing law. Honestly, I could not do a lot of what I do without his support. Each day I only have so much energy so I carefully plan my days and accept that I can only do so much. If I don’t set limits, I end up being exhausted which is not good. Stress and exhaustion exacerbate my symptoms and can wipe me out for days. Balance is the key. Although it’s easier said than done. So I rely on my faith in God. I thank God everyday for what I have. It could be worse.

If you could go back and give yourself advice when you first diagnosed (knowing what you know now), what would you say?

A lot of things, but the primary theme would be the words of Michael J. Fox – “acceptance doesn’t mean resignation.” The diagnosis does not define you.

What advice do you have for other young women struggling with a chronic illness?

We all struggle with different things and cope differently. Just know that you are not alone. Try to connect with others who are living with the same illness. The best thing I ever did was to start fundraising for Team Fox. I was able to connect with others affected by Parkinson’s and who also have a positive outlook.

What advice do you have for women who want to start businesses?

Find something you are passionate about and make it your business. If someone is already doing what you want to do, learn from their experience and then find a way to make it better. I have found when I’m on the right path the doors keep opening. Find your path to the open doors.

A big thank you to Tonya for taking the time to do this interview! My hope is for you to realize that whatever challenges you’re faced with, to know that you’re not alone. This is a reminder to have faith over fear and create an amazing life for yourself! Be sure to check out Tonya’s fashion and lifestyle blog “The Shoe Maven”.

You can read my previous interviews:

A Husband’s Perspective: What it’s like to be Married to Someone with Celiac

A Mother’s Perspective: What it’s like Raising a Child with Celiac 

Interview with a Gluten Free Chef


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Mediterranean Chopped Salad

This Mediterranean chopped Salad is made with fresh ingredients and includes a boost of protein with garbanzo beans added to the mix. This flavorful salad makes the perfect healthy lunch or side dish!

Mediterranean Chopped Salad

We are big salad lovers in our house. We have a salad every single night with dinner, just switching off between a green salad and a cucumber/tomato salad.

I’m trying very hard to be mindful of my nutrients, particularly protein since my vitamin levels are something I struggle with because of my celiac. I enjoy eating meatless a couple nights a week, so this Mediterranean chopped salad is the perfect addition with garbanzo beans in it!

Mediterranean Chopped Salad


  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 2 Tbsp fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar


In a large bowl add all your ingredients. Mix until evenly combined. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your liking, you can also add more olive oil/vinegar if needed. (I like mine with more vinegar!)

The dressing will fall to the bottom of the bowl, so stir before serving.

Mediterranean Chopped Salad


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Gluten Free Travel Guide

Gluten Free Travel Guide

If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, traveling can often be a challenge and an added burden. I learned this the hard way once when I was first diagnosed and did not plan ahead. Traveling should be fun and you shouldn’t have to worry about the stress of figuring out gluten free options along the way.

For most people, when it comes to traveling it means exploring new places, getting lost along the way and turning the experience into an unforgettable one. It’s not that easy for those of us that have to follow a strict gluten free diet. Where can I eat? Will they understand what gluten free really means? What if I get sick during my tip? I don’t want to burden those that are traveling with me. These are some valid concerns you may face while traveling. Whether you’re in a country where you don’t speak the language, are driving cross country or are just staying at a relative’s house for the weekend, you need to create a plan ahead of time and follow some simple rules during your trip in order to ensure a healthy and fun time!

I’m so excited to announce the release of my second gluten free guide, this time focusing on all things travel! 

Gluten Free Travel Guide Cover

With this guide you can enjoy having fun on vacation and not let your gluten free diet stress you out! This is a complete travel guide to help you plan ahead and avoid getting sick.

Included in This Guide Is:

  • Basic Travel Tips
  • Road Trip Tips
  • How to Stay at Someone’s House
  • Airport and Airline Travel Tips
  • How to take a Cruise

Thank you for all your support and I look forward to releasing more guides in the future!

To complete download after purchase click on “Return to Merchant” and then “Gluten Free Travel Guide”.


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