When I was first diagnosed with celiac, back in late April of 2005, I was exhilarated to have an answer to the question plaguing me for years: why do I feel so awful? But I was also overwhelmed, especially the first time I went grocery shopping. That first trip took me 3 hours. I spent 3 hours in a small grocery store, picking up every single food item and examining the labels, wondering if I could eat it. Would there be cross-contamination? Did it have hidden gluten? Was mayonnaise safe? How about that yogurt? I persisted, and I figured it out, but those first six months or so of being gluten-free meant living in a constant state of unrest and doubt.
What I would have given to own a copy of Cecelia’s Marketplace Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping Guide. This handy guide contains exhaustively researched lists of food items, currently on the market, that are gluten-free. It’s an excellent resource for anyone who is gluten-free but especially for those of you who are new to living gluten-free.
This is why Cecelia’s Marketplace Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping Guide and their accompanying smartphone apps (download them today!) are our newest sponsor. We’re proud to bring them to your attention. You need this resource.
We asked Dr. Mara Matison to tell us about her company and their story.
What made you begin writing the Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping Guide?
After years of mystery symptoms that my doctors could not find an answer for (heart palpitations, tingling lips, itchy bumps on my skin, sudden urgencies to run to the bathroom), I am forever grateful for the gastroenterologist that finally diagnosed me with celiac disease in 2006.
But going gluten-free was not always an easy road. I initially had a very difficult time finding gluten-free products. Not knowing a thing about “gluten-free” at the time, except for the information I researched online, the whole process was an overwhelming experience. Every day I had to question what I put in my mouth, in fear of gluten ingestion and a relapse of symptoms. It was this drastic lifestyle change, that involved a lot of reading labels, calling food manufacturers and worrying about cross-contamination, that drove me to publish our gluten-free guide. There was no “easy reference book” available and my frustration grew rapidly.
So, as my husband and I gathered all this ‘golden’ information we decided to compile it into a small guidebook. We figured other people being diagnosed must be feeling the same way as me? Lost, confused and looking for answers. Well now, 8 years later and 6 new updated editions, Cecelia’s Marketplace Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping Guide is the nationwide best selling guide on the market, won numerous awards, has received rave reviews and has helped thousands of people safely follow a gluten-free diet! In addition, for those people that have multiple intolerances, we expanded our guide selection to include a Gluten/Casein Free and Gluten/Casein/Soy Free Grocery Shopping Guide.
How do you hope to help people?
I hope and truly believe that we have already helped thousands of people ease into a gluten-free diet. I remember that there were days that I had tears in my eyes that I was so frustrated and felt so isolated thinking “what can I eat”? My hope is that I have helped to eliminate that doubt and frustration from anyone looking or needing to start a gluten-free diet. For some people, including myself, this can be a life-changing experience. Going from feeling horrible with no energy, to feeling a thousand times better, energized, and able to live again!
Can you tell us about your smartphone apps? How do they meet a different need than the guidebook?
Ahhh…the new smartphone apps. Yes, they are wonderful! These are for all you “techies” out the there that don’t like reading books anymore. We released our updated iPhone app earlier this year and for those of you writing us and patiently waiting….you’ll be happy to know that your prayers have been answered. Our ANDROID app was just released last week!
Both apps, iPhone and Android, have the same layout. One great thing about these apps is they can search for gluten-free products by either company name or by product category. The apps have the same information as our guidebook, minus the bonus OTC pharmacy section located in the back of the book (which includes toothpastes, shampoos, lotions, etc.). The apps are comprised of strictly food and drink products. Maybe we’ll come up with an OTC pharmacy app next…who knowsJ
But in support of our guidebook, I feel it’s always nice to have both on hand, the book and the app that is. I know there have been times that my iPhone battery was dead and I luckily had a copy of our guidebook in my purse to quickly double check the gluten-free status of a product. Some people also are just more “book people”, they need to see it written out, like me. While others love all the new technology and would rather opt for the app. It’s just a personal preference.
Can you share a story of a customer whose life has been helped by your product?
Wow…this is a toughie. Seems like there have been hundreds of tear jerkers that we’ve either experienced personally or received via email. I will name a few. My sister…2 years of severe panic attacks (to the point where her social life was getting so compromised by these heart pounding, sweating, uncomfortable, “get me out of here” situations, that I suggested maybe she should try a gluten-free diet.) I gave her our GF guide and within 1 month, all her symptoms were gone! Totally gone! Kind of crazy if you think about it…those nasty little proteins…what they are doing to our bodies.
Another story. My girlfriend, diagnosed with Langherhans cell disease. Basically started out with small ulcerations in her skin that kept expanding and eating away at her skin. What a devastating very cruel disease. Multiple doctors ran tests, and by accident she found out she also had a high sensitivity to gluten. She went gluten-free and used our GF guide religiously and the ulcerations completely disappeared. This was such a miraculous recovery that one of her doctors proceeded to investigate the possible link. I’m not saying this is a cure for the disease, but a lot can change in your body when your immune system is no longer compromised.
Okay…one more story that sticks in my mind. A young girl came up to our booth at a book signing event we were hosting. She said, “I’d like to thank you for all the work you have done. Your book saved my life.” She proceeded to tell me that she had been misdiagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis). Parts of her body were shutting down. She was no longer able to move her left arm and her speech was getting slurred. Someone, somehow… recommended a gluten-free diet. She used our GF guide book, followed a strict gluten-free diet and started regaining all feeling in her body. When I met her she was a happy healthy college student, and you would have never known what she had been through.
What do you see as the future of gluten-free? Where is your place in it?
The gluten-free market is growing at such a rapid pace, I know that some skeptics think it may crash and burn, along with other diet fads. But, I think completely the opposite. First of all, it’s not a fad. For most of us, like me, with celiac disease….it is a permanent lifestyle change. There are so many people yet to be diagnosed with celiac disease and so many others with gluten-intolerance that I only see great things for the gluten-free market in the future. Tastier breads, beer with great flavor, crispy pizza crusts, lower affordable prices, and more restaurants offering gluten-free menus.
What I feel will further this upward trend is the fantastic feeling people get from following a gluten-free diet. For instance, my husband chose to go gluten-free with me a year after I was diagnosed. His psoriasis completely cleared up, his post nasal drip cough disappeared and he’s had better nights’ sleep. He won’t even touch a piece of regular bread now. So if eliminating gluten from one’s diet helps them get rid of unwanted symptoms, I believe gluten-free is here to stay.
As long as customers are continuously looking for the most ‘up-to-date’, most reliable gluten-free product information, Cecelia’s Marketplace Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping Guide will be here for them. The 2014/2015 edition is now available. We have re-verified all of our product information, including the new labeling laws, the latest product ingredient changes, new GF dedicated facilities, new certified gluten-free products, and added new gluten-free products. With our Gluten-Free Guide, as well as our Gluten/Casein Free and Gluten/Casein/Soy Free Guides, we have helped thousands of GF dieters nationwide find the most accurate gluten-free information possible.
For more information on all of our helpful gluten-free resources, please visit www.CeceliasMarketplace.com.
The Matisons would like to give away a copy of the Cecelia’s Marketplace Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping Guide to three lucky winners here. Simply leave a comment explaining why this would be of use to you! We’ll choose three winners at random on Friday, November 7th and inform the winners by email.