2 weeks of gluten-free cereal names

Yes it’s true. Custom Choice Cereal skipped the usual blog entry honoring your creativity in naming your custom gluten-free cereal mixes last Friday. However, we felt that our update on the fake gluten-free bakery being shut down was more important. Thanks once again to the representatives of the NCDA&CS for the helpful and interesting information they provided.

This also means that we had more candidates to choose from this week, and selecting the most creative or “best” names for your gluten-free cereal was again a challenging task.

5. Yum Yum Yum Yum Yum (sounds like a fast food chain’s melody…)
4. cranpricalm flakes (because we can’t even pronounce it)
3. Good Morning Nuts (interesting to say the least:-))
2. Active Mountain (from VA, sounded like hiking fuel)
1. And our favorite Fruity Pecan Madness

Thanks again for being so creative in naming your gluten-free cereal. If you feel that your creativity deserves to be mentioned but is not included in the list above, please feel free to add your name as a comment to this blog entry. Have a great weekend!

Customize my… you name it!

The team at Custom Choice Cereal has its moments, and in one of them we started to think about where and when we first heard about the concept of customizing a product. What interested us even more was how the concept has evolved since then.

NIKEiDIt must have been around 2001/2002 (in a class in College) that we first heard about NIKEiD, a service that lets you design you own line of clothing. This service was initially launched in 1999 and was considered modular customization. The same is true for the automobile industry where customers can specify the color, engine, interior material, rims, sound system and more of their car with a so-called configurator. All major car manufacturers nowadays offer this service as a quick google search reveals.

Chocomize your chocolateA newer phenomenon however is customization in the food industry. Besides our custom gluten-free cereal there is another start-up that we particularly like: Chocomize lets you customize your chocolate through an easy process similar to ours: start with dark, milk or white chocolate and add up to five ingredients from the categories nuts&seeds, fruits, herbs&spices, candy, decorations and other. It’s a creative idea and definitely makes a great gift. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t like chocolate?!

Gift Certificate for gluten-free cereal

Custom Choice Cereal is very very excited to introduce a Gift Certificate option on its website! Now you don’t have to worry about the selection of dried fruits, nuts and seeds that you want to add to a customized gluten-free cereal mix for someone else. Instead let them choose for themselves. It’s the perfect gift for anyone suffering from celiac disease!

Just click on the “Give a Gift” button in the left sidebar on our gluten-free cereal homepage as illustrated in the picture below. You will then be automatically directed to a page where you can enter all the information, including a message to the recipient of your gluten-free cereal gift certificate. It’s pretty intuitive, but please contact us in case you should experience any difficulties!
Custom Choice Cereal Gift Certificate Button

Gluten free fitness reviews our cereal

Erin Elberson from gluten free fitnessErin Elberson writes the blog gluten free fitness, focusing on “eating well to be well” and “nutrition, fitness, and fun with a celiac spin”. When Custom Choice Cereal came across her blog we immediately said to ourselves that we have to try anything to be featured on it.

Custom Choice Cereal reviewed on gluten free fitnessIn addition to writing a stellar review of our custom gluten-free cereal, Erin mentioned that we are an “advocate for awareness of celiac disease and the gluten-free lifestyle”. She is also the first blogger EVER to mention our Quest for The Hoff, something that is very dear to my heart (Germans loooove David Hasselhoff in case you did not know this). Erin thought this to be “absolutely hysterical and made me almost fall of my chair and spit my coffee onto my keyboard. I love the humor. Points for that!”

Thank you Erin, we definitely like to look at the humorous side of life and appreciate your encouraging words! But honestly, how cool would it be if we could really personally hand a bag of our customized gluten-free cereal to The Hoff??

Custom gluten-free cereal review on fb

They say that there is a first time for everything, and it is so true! This “first timer” Gluten-free Milwaukee on facebookis related to a review of Custom Choice Cereal’s tasty gluten-free cereal. Our friend Kati started the page GF Milwaukee – Gluten Free in and around Milwaukee, WI on facebook and posted a great review of our customized gluten-free cereal on it. You can also become a fan of Custom Choice Cereal on facebook!

As many celiacs she had a craving for Raisin Bran because she has not been able to have it since she found out that she had celiac disease. Kati therefore creating a simple blend by combining our Good Morning Flakes with raisins. She writes that “the raisins are some of the biggest I’ve ever seen! I had to watch myself that I didn’t eat the entire bag in one sitting!”

If you are missing a specific kind of cereal from before your gluten-free days you can re-create it at Custom Choice Cereal. Please contact us if you are missing a certain ingredient that you would like us to offer!
Custom Choice Cereal review on facebook

Update on fake gluten-free bakery

The celiac community in North Carolina, across the United States, and even internationally was very upset when the news surfaced of a company in North Carolina advertising its bread as gluten-free even though it wasn’t. Local celiacs helped unmask this scheme by writing about it on their blogs (such as Fred from Juno Nutrition whose tests revealed the bread did contain gluten). Since the company was subsequently shut and and since Custom Choice Cereal tries to look at the bright side of things, we looked at the potential positive long-term effects of this de-facto enforcement of gluten-free labeling in January.

A very active local celiac who writes the blog Gluten Free Raleigh provided a great summary of the court hearing on Great Specialty Products and its owner Mr. Seelig that took place on February 2 here in Raleigh. During a meeting of the local chapter of the Celiac Sprue Association that took place last, representatives of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services were so kind to give an update on the case. We try to summarize the most important take-aways below.

  • They thanked the celiac community because without them this would not have been possible – from bringing the case to their attention, to testifying in court, to increasing the number of complaints, local celiacs played a crucial role
  • Great Specialty Products has been shut down, and the website has been taken offline
  • Please do NOT consume any products you might still have at home!
  • A Preliminary Injunction is in effect, and while the word “preliminary” might sound like this measure might expire or be temporary, it does in fact mean that additional legal action is required to remove it
  • Complaints keep coming in (including one from Iowa on Wednesday). If you purchased bread or other bakery products from Great Specialty Products - especially in January 2010 – and have not already done so, please contact the NCDA&CS
  • Anonymous complaints can be filed and have the same weight, the only difference is that the filer won’t be contacted

The next court date is set for February 24th, and we will definitely keep you posted on what will happen then.

LIVESTRONG.COM on celiac disease

Custom Choice Cereal had a day packed with meetings yesterday. While we usually rather spend time talking with our customers (about new gluten-free ingredients) and cerealizing your gluten-free creations, it is helpful to learn other’s people perspectives on our business. And trust us, it is too early to reveal, but we have some tricks up our sleeves…

Livestrong celiac disease articlesMost of you have probably heard of professional road racing cyclist Lance Armstrong who won the Tour de France seven consecutive years from 1999 to 2005 after an amazing story of successfully battling cancer. Most of you probably also know that he subsequently founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation to fight cancer. He also started LIVESTRONG.COM as the “the definitive daily health, fitness and lifestyle destination”.

Celiac Sprue AssociationLIVESTRONG.COM actually has a very informative section on celiac disease that is worth browsing through. While we feel that some of the background information on celiac disease is better presented for example by the Celiac Sprue Association, we really like the many articles on celiac disease that are listed there. Check it out and let us know what you think!

5 questions to discover celiac disease

5 questions to find hidden celiac diseaseCustom Choice Cereal finds it hard to believe but we’re really writing again about research on celiac disease. At least it is a good sign that the medical community has identified celiac as a serious enough topic to allocate more resources to it. While yesterday’s blog entry was about the benefits of gluten-free summer camp for celiac children, we are a little bit more practical today.

Danish researchers from the Odense University Hospital used a simple questionnaire with only 5 questions to identify children with a high likelihood of suffering from celiac disease. They were able to diagnose an additional 14 celiac children in a region that previously had only 13 known kids with celiac disease, i.e. the rate of successfully diagnosed kids more than doubled! The questions they asked were

  • Has your child ever suffered from abdominal pain more than twice during the last three months?
  • Has your child ever had diarrhea lasting more than two weeks?
  • Does your child have a tendency to firm and hard stools?
  • Does your child gain enough weight?
  • Does your child gain enough height?

You can also read the article on this research directly at WebMD’s Celiac Disease Health Center.

Gluten-free camps benefit celiac children

Custom Choice Cereal pointed out less than a month ago that one of the few gluten-free summer camps in the US is located in our beautiful State of North Carolina. Camp Kanata’s gluten-free week this year will be from June 27 to July 3. If you are interested in this for your child(ren) you should act quickly since the camp is usually booked by late February!

Summer camp counselorsThis being said we feel the need to share some very interesting research findings from the University of California San Francisco’s Department of Pediatrics. These might serve as an encouragement to (re-)enroll your child(ren) in a gluten-free summer camp this summer. A brief summary of the research report was printed in the online version of Pediatrics, The Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The research team asked 104 children with celiac disease aged 7 to 17 to answer a survey consisting of 14 questions, and 77 of them completed the questionnaire at the beginning and at the end of a week at a gluten-free summer camp. The results were astonishing:

  • All children felt improvement in well-being, self-perception, and emotional outlook
  • None felt different from other kids or frustrated by their diet
  • Campers on a gluten-free diet for less than 4 years reported improvements in 11 of the 14 questions
  • The positive effects were more pronounced in children who had been on a gluten-free diet for less than 4 years versus those who had been gluten-free for longer

While the long-term effects need further investigation, the study concludes that “stress and anxiety around food and social interactions” can at least temporarily be alleviated by the safe environment of a gluten-free summer camp.

Final stretch of our Quest for The Hoff

Time is flying by and it is already mid February! This means that Custom Choice Cereal only has a little over a month left on our Quest for The Hoff.

It all started as a rather silly idea during an office lunch in November 2009: the goal to personally deliver a bag of customized gluten-free cereal to David Hasselhoff since Germans “love” him so much… We set ourselves a timeline until March, and since we have so far not been successful in mailing samples to his publicist or agency, any ideas, suggestions, connections you might have and are willing to share are highly appreciated. Thanks a lot for all your input!