104 To "App" or Not to "App": The Use of Gluten Free Product List Computer Applications - Celiac.com
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To "App" or Not to "App": The Use of Gluten Free Product List Computer Applications

Even just a few years ago, gluten-free shoppers were going to grocery stores with papers in hand, making sure they were reading ingredient lists correctly. In fact, in that first year after my daughter’s diagnosis, my average time at the grocery store doubled–and so did my bill.

But now, technology is making it a lot easier for us to navigate the aisles with more confidence and a lot less paper. I recently received a notification online that talked about an application for the iPhone that helps you access gluten-free ingredient lists.The software developer, Clan Thompson, also makes the software for Smartphones and pocket PCs. It is great for companies to seize on the need for easy access to gluten-free information and create software like this.

But dare I utter the words…Is the application worth it? You may be saying “how could it not be worth it? ”Well I’m personally not quite there yet. It’s not that I’m afraid of technology–although my husband might say I am. And it’s also not because I don’t have an iPhone or a Smartphone. It’s because I don’t understand why you need an application for something you can just find online using your cell phone with internet access.

I set out to get some answers. I checked in with my iPhone connections: my sister-in-law and my celiac brother. I asked them to check out the “app” –as the tech-savvy cal it– but I also gave one a link to a gluten-free ingredient list and another link to a forum that has an ongoing product list. How do they rate?

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First thing they both said: “the application costs $24.99” and my sister-in-law Dani Kassner added “…which is a little spendy”. Clan Thompson developed the software, and says on its website it “…will provide new versions quarterly, but you must purchase them individually. ”From what I gather, you could be paying as much as $99.96/year for updated gluten-free lists on the iPhone.

Software for a SmartPhone is $29.95, but at least double that for a year subscription which includes updated information. No matter which one you buy, the application for the “Celiac Food Smartlist” says it “…makes it easy to find gluten information on over 18,669 products.” It is a good start. My brother, Dave Cook, who has celiac didn’t buy the application, but says in general he finds iPhone “apps” user-friendly.“If this app can put the gluten-free database at your finger tips, and make it easy to search, [we’ll probably] be buying it”, he said.

In comparison, what did my “guinea pigs” find when they checked out the regular web links I sent them? “The [ingredient] link…worked great for me…” my sister-in-law reported. My brother said the forum site with the product listings was “tedious” to get to, but it worked and he could read it.

Thankfully we live in a time when we can make the choice: pay extra for the “app”, or just stick with the good ol’ World Wide Web. What do you do? I would love to hear about your innovative ways of using technology to help you handle the gluten-free diet. As for me, I’m pretty old fashioned. I either look it up online before I leave the house or at a last resort, I print up a list and bring it with me to the store. I know…someone just get me a cane.

As always, Celiac.com welcomes your comments (see below).


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2 Responses:

 
JoJo

said this on
14 Oct 2009 6:22:53 AM PDT
I read your blog
Very interesting
In fact I have been searching for this for months
www.celiac.com is a site I'll keep bookmarked
Great effort keep up the good work!

 
Lisa

said this on
04 Dec 2010 2:16:53 PM PDT
Your discussion of available applications was very helpful to a group of kids I'm working with on a research project.




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Gaerty, thank you for sharing this with me! You want to know something crazy? The night before you sent this I was googling "vitamin deficiencies linked to splinter hemorrhages" and an article came up about vitamin C deficiency. I can't remember the last time I took vitamin C or drank orange juice or consumed anything that has vitamin C on a regular basis. It's crazy that you responded to this post when you did. My splinter hemorrhage is razor thin and looks like it could be shrinking but it's hard to tell. Also it's not growing out of the nail bed. It stated more in the middle of my right thumb nail. I don't take a multivitamin mainly because I can't find one that doesn't trigger my anxiety. Trying to find a good one that doesn't have energy boosters in it like green tea and extra B vitamins (all my B vitamin levels are great). I haven't been tested for low C vitamin levels but I might have to now. I was tested for some of the base ones that most celiacs have issues with, folate, magnesium, B's, E's, and a couple others and all of them came back good with the exception of my vitamin D3 which in November 2016 was 16 and we tested it again in February, it moved up to 26. Still low but moving up. My liver numbers in October 2016 were bad but by February 2017 they were perfect. I had skin rashes, most of those have cleared up over the past 5 to 6 months, by about 85%, since I was diagnosed. This splinter hemorrhage came up about 7 to 8 weeks ago. Like I said it appears to be growing out but I'm still going to get it looked at. Let me know what your doc says about the vitamin C levels. Also what multivitamin do you take? Ps: I bought some clementines yesterday. Thanks for responding! Spencer

Maybe try a rice based milk, I find the coconut flavoured ones really good with cereal.

I guess they've never felt the political pressure the mainstream cereal producers were under in the age of rickets and pellagra? Plus there's not such a competitive market and its a cost manufacturers would sooner do without if they can, although if Udi's or Genius did start perhaps they'd get more business. I think I'll start eating flax seed again, that was good for fibre I think. I take a vitamin supplement also of course.

Good for you! One suggestion, if you run into another reaction like your Endo, try and ask a question which puts the burden of proof on them, ie: 'Given the positive blood test, on what clinical basis are you excluding celiac?' At least it forces them to be more precise and perhaps exposes any flaws in their reasoning. Although if you reach that stage with a doctor it's probably worth looking for another... If I were a cynic I'd say your Endo had already metaphorically left the building when they were analysing your tests.Your primary seems more on the ball though Best of luck! If and when you go gluten free come back here and there will be plenty of support for you.

Great Image JMG. Thanks for the feedback. I think I feel that the decision to push for further tests, and not shrug it off is the direction I want to go. And I think I may try the diet post-endoscopy, and see if I respond (particularly if my thyroid responds to the diet). Thank you All!