In 1994 I was diagnosed with celiac disease, which led me to create Celiac.com in 1995. I created this site for a single purpose: To help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives. Celiac.com was the first site on the Internet dedicated solely to celiac disease, and since then it has become an invaluable resource to people worldwide who seek information about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet.
In 1998 I created The Gluten-Free Mall, Your Special Diet Superstore! which was also another Internet first—it was the first gluten-free food site to offer a shopping cart-style interface, and the ability for people to order gluten-free products manufactured by many different companies at a single Web site.
I am also co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.
This is a tale that will make every mom proud. Our founders, Scott Mandell and Bert Cohen, were inspired by Bert's mom, Joyce. Joyce was on a restricted diet to help manage her MS, and though she felt much better, she was frustrated by the poor taste and nutrition of the gluten-free products on the market. After choking down a few crumbly cookies and looking over the numbers (approximately 10% of Americans are intolerant to wheat!), the guys quickly realized that Joyce was onto something big. So these then-bankers traded in their suits for aprons, and put everything they had into turning mom's dream into a reality.
Starting-up has been no piece of cake (no pun intended). There was money to raise, a dedicated facility to build (no gluten or peanuts allowed - both are highly contaminating), and recipes to ace. Luckily, Joyce had been experimenting for years and had mastered the art of healthy baking - without the wheat or other common allergens (i.e., gluten, dairy, casein, soy, corn, dairy, eggs, peanuts). She turned her notes and favorite recipes over to our chefs who have been wowing us ever since with delicious and nutritious cookies, bagels, bars, and more. No longer do moms (or dads or kids) have to give up taste when they give up gluten.
Says Joyce "I used to eat foods that weren't good for me, but I would really feel it. It's not worth it to feel bad because of food, especially now that there are these healthy foods that taste great. The difference has been remarkable in how much better I feel."
Feel proud? Told you so.
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