By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For the millions of Americans who are gluten free, this time of year can be challenging, but a new device could help.

There can be hidden gluten in all kinds of dishes. Now, new technology is taking the guess work out of avoiding items that can make people sick. Experts say it could be especially helpful for Thanksgiving.

For people like Jolene Warren who have celiac disease, it’s a problem.

“I had severe anemia and my red blood count was terrible and I had no oxygen going into my blood,” said Jolene warren, a celiac disease patient.

Celiac is an autoimmune disease triggered by gluten, found in wheat, barley and rye. It’s commonly controlled through a strict diet.

“Food was my social activity and since then I eat as much as I can at home because that’s my safe spot,” said Warren.

But now a pocket-size gluten detector is helping her to eat out more and worry less.

The device scans a sample of food placed in a disposable capsule.

A smile shows its safe — a wheat icon means gluten was detected.

But it’s not a 100-percent guarantee. While the tested sample may be safe that doesn’t mean the entire meal is gluten free.

“So they don’t know how to use the proper tools of asking questions, communicating with restaurants or reading labels and then they feel like they can’t actually make a choice without the device,” said Emily Luxford, a registered dietitian and nutritionist.

Jolene uses her detector at least 2 to 4 times a week.

“I don’t go anywhere without my tester to make sure that I’m safe,” Warren said.

An added layer of security helping her cope with her condition that will come in handy for holiday festivities.

The device does not require FDA approval. It costs about $300 and nutritionists say there are plenty of gluten free Thanksgiving options, including turkey, sweet potatoes and fresh vegetables.

To learn more about the detector, CLICK HERE.

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