Celiac Sharing Her Story Of Going Gluten-Free

Happy Monday! I am still suffering a little bit from UNC’s loss against Kentucky in the NCAA tournament. However, I must admit that I am very pleased with their overall performance. Who would have thought in December that the Tar Heels will make it to the Elite Eight this year?? In addition, this picture of a very special gluten-free cake that my good friend Jules created lifted my mood significantly (even though it didn’t help UNC to a victory).

Back to business… I came across this video from THV in Arkansas. As you know, it’s our mission at Custom Choice Cereal to share information and educate about celiac disease and gluten intolerance, and I thought this video fit our mission. WIth a little caveat: while the commentator says that “gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and some oats” the truth is that most oats are cross-contaminated during harvesting and processing.

After a brief introduction that more and more people realize that they have gluten intolerance or celiac disease, a celiac who works at Whole Foods talks about how going helped her gradually transition to “less bloating and less tiredness and less achy joints and less headaches”. Does that sound familiar?? They also point out that “eliminating gluten is the only cure” – though I would have preferred the word “treatment”… It is indeed true that those of us on a gluten-free diet are much more aware of the food we put into our bodies – and the long-term consequences this has for our health and well-being!

Anne Luther, branch manager of the GIG of Central Arkansas, gives a vivid account on how far we’ve come since 2003 when she walked out of the grocery in tears and stresses the importance of avoiding cross-contamination. She also stresses that “Going partially gluten-free isn’t going to help you! You have to get it totally out.”


World’s Largest Gluten-Free Cake For “1 in 133″

On January 23, 2007, the FDA proposed the rule 72 FR 2795 for the Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods. Unfortunately, it is still exactly that – a proposed rule, and no action has been taken in the four years. In order to change this and draw attention to the FDA’s inaction, 1in133.org – named in reference to the prevalence of celiac disease in the United States – launched last Friday.

Custom Choice Cereal’s good gluten-free friends Jules Shepard and John Forberger initiated this event which “will host Capitol Hill legislators, noted celiac disease researchers, gluten-free community leaders and food corporations to the first Gluten Free Food Labeling Summit, in Washington, D.C. on May 4th, 2011. Coinciding with the newly recognized National Celiac Awareness Month, the event will also feature the world’s largest gluten-free cake – symbolizing the big deal that clear, accurate, reliable labeling plays in the lives of people dependent on labeling for their health.”

It’s A Big Deal, and the world’d tallest gluten-free cake symbolizes that strict, accurate and reliable labeling plays an important role in the lives of people dependent on correct labeling for their health. In order to make it happen, the gluten-free community needs YOUR support! Your participation helps increase food safety through improved gluten-free labeling rules. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can contribute to this important cause:

Don’t forget that sharing is sexy, especially for this great cause. In a few years you will hopefully be able to look back and say “I was part of the group who helped the gluten-free labeling rules that so many people benefit from become reality!”

Gluten-Free Cereal Creativity

Happy Friday! You know that I’m a sucker for college basketball, so I am anxiously awaiting the sweet 16 game between the UNC Tar Heels and the Marquette Golden Eagles tonight. But before it comes to that it’s time to recognize the creative names your gave your gluten-free cereal creations this week!

The spectrum of creativity was extremely wide this week, ranging from the standard “I just name my cereal after myself” to some really funny and a few inappropriate names. Even though it was tempting, the Custom Choice Cereal crew decided not to recognize any names from the latter category… Here are this week’s winners:

5. Go Heels! (mix ID 1c7304). You can always get me with this.
4. Sunshine Morning (mix ID 3f8818) and Sunset Evening (mix ID 1f210e). Perfect for mornings AND evenings…
3. the guitar masta mix (mix ID 68d39a). Fueled with this you’ll play like the next Jimi Hendrix
2. Triathlete Power Crunch (mix ID f75edc). Go you!
1. And this week’s winner is the No, I dont want to share mix (mix ID bdf435). We can sympathize!

Thank you so much for making my job fun by entertaining me with great names for your custom cereals. Have a wonderful weekend!

The Gluten Myth On The Dr. Oz Show

Dr. Oz Show
Just a quick heads-up: tonight’s Dr. Oz Show will focus on talk about “The Gluten Myth – Is It Really Making Us Fat?”

We at Custom Choice Cereal are really curious to watch and hear what Dr. Oz and his experts will have to say and to what extend they will talk about gluten, gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. Medical researchers now differentiate between celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, and we are especially curious if Dr. Oz will make the same distinction.

Most of all, it sounds as if Dr. Oz actually will bust the “fad” that a gluten-free diet is a weight-loss diet. We hope however that over all this myth-busting he and his experts won’t forget to stress that there are a lot of people who absolutely need to follow a gluten-free diet! And by far not all gluten-free products available are junk food! Besides, there are plenty of other things that are “making us fat” – we quite honestly think it’s pretty ridiculous to blame the gluten-free diet….

We at Custom Choice Cereal will definitely tune into the Dr. Oz Show tonight, especially after this quick preview on what to expect:

After initial skepticism we thought that yesterday’s Dr. Oz Show on “The Gluten Myth” was actually pretty good. While the title wasn’t very well-chosen, the show stressed that a gluten-free diet is not – we repeat: NOT – a weight-loss or low-carb diet! Dr. Oz stressed that many gluten-free substitute goods are high in fat and sugar. He also said that avoiding gluten may not help you lose weight UNLESS you are actually sensitive or intolerant to gluten.

That’s a statement that we at Custom Choice Cereal do not agree with! Dr. Oz unfortunately uses the term “gluten-free food” synonymously with gluten-free substitute foods. That is an important distinction that we sincerely wish he had made because it is more accurate! You can absolutely be healthy on a naturally gluten-free diet (and by the way also lose weight on it though that’s more of a placebo effect).

The main point Dr. Oz wanted to make is that there is NO reason to follow a gluten-free diet (again, we disagree and would have preferred the term “gluten-free substitute goods”) unless you have celiac disease or are intolerant to gluten. Well, at least he got that part right though it seems that many more people than initially thought have some form of gluten sensitivity – and thus benefit from going gluten-free.

Gluten-Free Bakery Product News

Canyon BakehouseWe at Custom Choice Cereal are always happy to see other gluten-free companies thrive and expand their offering. As a result, we had to share this video with Josh Skow, co-founder of Canyon Bakehouse, a gluten-free bakery that currently offers 6 products in over 44 States and is working on introducing 4-5 new goodies in 2011. Congratulations from one gluten-free entrepreneur to another!

A little warning before the video (because we know our own reaction and the sensitivity about this topic) – Josh describes celiac disease as a “disease but it’s like an allergy” and continues to say that “people who are allergic to gluten, which is mainly in wheat”, need to follow a gluten-free diet. Don’t forget that the protein gluten is also in rye and barley! In addition, most oats a cross-contaminated during harvesting and processing so you have to avoid them as well.


We are sure that Canyon Bakehouse’s products will also be carried in the new gluten-free heaven – with 6,000 square feet of floor space, the nation’s largest entirely gluten-free store is set to open in Burbank, CA. As Debora Ceizler, marketing director for the Celiac Disease Foundation, rightly points out and we at Custom Choice Cereal have tackled (2.5 billion combinations of gluten-free cereal, anyone?): “Variety is difficult to find and variety is key”.

Have you tried the Canyon Bakehouse products?  Which one is your favorite?

YOU Make Our Gluten-Free Day!!

Sit back in your chairs, relax and enjoy the show! Here comes a blog post that you will hopefully enjoy as much as we at Custom Choice Cereal did.

“Okay, first I was impressed that there was a site specifically for Gluten Free cereal. Then I was impressed because you could mix your own AND name them! THEN I was impressed by the ease of ordering, and the personal customer service as evidenced by the nice email I got after placing my order.

Well, now I’m a devoted and extremely satisfied customer and here’s why: I received my cereal today (two days after ordering – FAST!), and was so excited that I decided to make myself a bowl of one of my custom mixes as soon as I got home tonight. When I opened the box there were my two special mixes, cool labels included, neatly packed (and without a lot of unnecessary extras, I might add). Then I noticed in the box was a pamphlet about the business, and a business card – yours – with a PERSONAL NOTE!

Who does this anymore in this day of automation and “press one for English”?! I was beyond thrilled with that little piece of kindness.

Then I ate some cereal, my “Banaconut” (mix ID 22f1ca), a multi-grain flake with coconut and banana chips. OH MY GOODNESS! It was fantastic!! Having sampled some really tasteless or downright icky GF cereals since beginning this GF journey, I admit some concern about how my new cereals would taste. I am so HAPPY!! Actually, I did a little happy dance after my first bite!

I am absolutely thrilled that I found your company and that I placed my order. You WILL be hearing back from me in the future!

Thanks SO SO SO much!”

We have to thank YOU! You might not believe it, but when we received your email, we did a little happy dance, too :-D

Gluten Sensitivity Covered In The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal once again published an outstanding article including a video on a topic that concerns us all, this time focusing on non-celiac gluten sensitivity. And guess what? It was the most emailed article on the WSJ’s website yesterday! I think that’s pretty awesome and a great indicator how dear this topic is to many people.
Who Reacts to Gluten
A new study in the journal BMC Medicine shows that gluten can set off a distinct reaction in the intestines and the immune system, even in people who test negative for celiac disease. It concludes that the two gluten-associated disorders, celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, are different clinical entities. As lead author Alessio Fasano from the University of Maryland’s Center for Celiac Research says: “For the first time, we have scientific evidence that indeed, gluten sensitivity not only exists, but is very different from celiac disease. Though the details remain unknown, it is now clear that gluten triggers a quite extreme immune response in some modern humans.

Since gluten-containing grains such as wheat, rye and barley have been a staple of our diet for 10,000 years, it is not clear why both gluten sensitivity and celiac disease are on such a sharp rise. I have shared Joseph A. Murray’s research before, and he says about celiac disease that “people aren’t born with this. Something triggers it and with this dramatic rise in all ages, it must be something pervasive in the environment”. One of the possible answers: agricultural changes to wheat and other gluten containing grains that have boosted their protein content.

Gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity, however is much less researched and thus much more vague. As our friend Cynthia Kupper, Executive Director at Gluten Intolerance Group of North America, rightly points out: “There’s a lot more that needs to be done for people with gluten sensitivity. But at least we now recognize that it’s real and that these people aren’t crazy.” As of now, a gluten-free diet is the only treatment recommended for both gluten sensitivity and celiac disease.

Have you or your child tested negative for celiac disease but seen significant improvements on a gluten-free diet? What tests did your doctor run on you to determine a gluten sensitivity?

Snack Girl Reviews Our Gluten-Free Cereal

Happy Monday to you all! If you haven’t heard of Lisa Cain aka Snack Girl you should definitely check out her website. Lisa started Snack Girl to educate people “about the foods they eat every day”. We at Custom Choice Cereal couldn’t agree more, especially since cereal truly is an everyday food!
Snack Girl
That’s why we are very excited that Snack Girl reviews our custom gluten-free cereal on her website. She is especially intrigued by our concept because as so many of us, she “wastes a lot of time in the cereal aisle. It takes FOREVER to look at all the labels to try to understand what I am truly buying”. Now that she found Custom Choice Cereal, Lisa can “choose the ingredients that go into that cereal so I could make my cereal perfect”.

After sending us a very encouraging email (“I REALLY liked it!”), Lisa writes that she “designed my own cereal on his site and was pleasantly surprised by the results. I was supposed to share this cereal with my family, but I forgot”. Now that’s a great sign that we are doing something right here and the best encouragement we can get! But she doesn’t stop there and continues by saying that “the ingredients were high quality and were really not comparable to buying a box of cereal at the supermarket. It is like an entirely different animal”.

We also love how she points out that “kids will love designing their own cereal – so if you are trying to get Jimmy off of Cocoa Puffs – this is a great option”. Wow. Seriously, Snack Girl has been reviewing snacks for years and knows what she’s saying, so her “stamp of approval” is a great honor for Custom Choice Cereal!

Check out the Snack Girl website, it has great pictures of many snacks as well as an easy navigation menu with the categories Healthy Snack Recipes, Healthy Packaged Snacks and the Worst Snacks she has tried.  You are certain to learn a thing or two!

Great Gluten-Free Cereal. Names.

The weekend is almost here, and the faces behind Custom Choice Cereal can’t wait to see Carolina finally play its first game in the ACC tournament in Greensboro today! But first things first, and we’d like to stick to our good tradition of recognizing YOU the creative names your gave your gluten-free cereal munchies this week!

As you know, we try to be as objective as possible. However, sometimes – especially when sports are involved – we are easily biased. This being said, we think that this week’s best gluten-free cereal names are:

5. Sylvia’s GF Southern (mix ID 0cd976). Southern lifestyle starts at breakfast. You got it!
4. ChocoNanaBerry Surprise (mix ID 72d2fe). So deliciously tasty it surprises with every bite.
3. healthy choice (mix ID d84964). That’s the idea!
2. March Madness (mix ID 88da4f ). Couldn’t have said it any better :-)
1. And this week’s winner is THE KATE (mix ID 9004f7). Just have to love the article & simplicity!

If you feel that the name for your cereal should have been included among this week’s best names – please leave us a comment. Otherwise: enjoy a healthy and fun-filled basketball weekend!

College Athlete With Celiac Disease

Living with celiac disease is quite a challenge for anyone but it’s especially tough for athletes who need to maintain their weight – through grueling workouts and a high metabolism. Examples such as Cincinnati Bengals’ Running Back Cedric Benson, UFC’s Dennis Hallmann, LPG star Sarah Jane Smith and quite a few others show us every day that it is absolutely possible to be a top performer with celiac disease in various sports.
Utah's Diana Rolniak Has Celiac Disease
All these guys are full-time professional athletes though. I was therefore very impressed when I read how Utah’s women’s basketball player Diana Rolniak learned to cope with celiac disease as a college athlete. Diagnosed just before her senior year in high school in July 2008, Diana was trying to play basketball while dropping below 100 pounds – which is clearly not a healthy weight for the 6-foot-4 forward!

What I find most encouraging is the support she gets from the team. Interim head coach Anthony Levrets said that “On the road, we’ve figured out the restaurants that cater to gluten-free … that she’s comfortable with. And all of the hotels we stay in, we make sure they’re able to prepare gluten-free meals to go along with our pregame meals.” That’s pretty awesome! But Diana has also developed a few tricks that I think are worth sharing:

  • set up specific living arrangements in order to prevent cross-contamination and living by herself
  • preparing all of her meals and learning to cook
  • having two bowls of cereal, two yogurts, eggs and a homemade sandwich for breakfast

I have a great suggestion how Diana can add unrivaled variety to her daily gluten-free cereal bowl :-) But besides this, I was wondering if you know someone in college who has celiac disease or lives gluten-free? How do they manage? And do you have any advice to share from their experience?