Taste Test: Erewhon Breakfast Cereals

Corn flakes bring me back, way back. To when I was five, when nothing else but corn flakes mixed with just a tad of sugar and sliced bananas would make me excited to wake up every morning with a grin on my face. Just the thought of this delicious breakfast, and I’d hop out of bed and race downstairs for a bowl. It’s the classic breakfast cereal, the original breakfast cereal.  How better to enjoy it than with Erewhon’s Organic, Gluten-Free Corn Flakes?

We were shocked just a few weeks ago by Envirokidz Gorilla Munch, as it only contained only three ingredients (organic corn meal, organic evaporated cane juice and sea salt). But Erewhon has done this delicious cereal one better, as its corn flakes only contain two ingredients – organic milled corn and sea salt. Amazing to think that something like cereal, which I’ve always associated with large factories, processed foods, and an ungodly number of flavorings and sweeteners, could be boiled down to just the absolute basics, and organic basics at that.

But maybe you love the basics, and love fruit, but fresh fruit? That doesn’t quite do it for you. Erewhon’s Strawberry Crisp Cereal takes corn flakes and adds a helping of freeze-dried strawberries. The strawberries add a much sweeter flavor to the flakes, and this cereal probably would better meet the breakfast demands of those under 12 years of age. The strawberries melt in your mouth into what feels and tastes like individual grains of sugar. It doesn’t feel natural, but as a substitute for fresh fruit, it suffices nonetheless.


As someone who stuck to the simple, plain cereals growing up, I never particularly fell victim to the vast array of chocolate cereals (e.g., Count Chocula, Cocoa Puffs), but for those who did (or still do), I suspect Erewhon’s Cocoa Crispy Brown rice might be in your future. Natural, organic, and containing few ingredients, this cereal doesn’t blow you away with the taste of sugar or chocolate. Instead it sticks with its crunchy, grainy texture and its ability to make your milk chocolatey, which is always a plus when mugs are the only suitable cereal bowls available in your office (see below). I wonder if anyone’s tried using these to make Rice Krispies Treats? That sounds like a delicious snack, and I’d love for someone to let us know if they’ve experimented with this.


Erewhon sent us free samples of their products to review.

Have any of you tried Erewhon’s products? What did you think of them? Please comment!

Starbucks Petition UPDATE: 2,500 Signatures!

Since Friday, 2,500 people have signed our petition to bring back Starbucks’ gluten-free Orange Cake. We still need 2,500 more signatures before we will forward the petition to Starbucks. Please, if you haven’t already, tell your friends and family to sign! As evidenced by some of the comments below, this pastry was a great help to the gluten-free community, and its presence in thousands of stores nationwide will be sorely missed.

An anonymous signer told us, “I loved to be able to walk into a “normal” restaurant and be able to order the gf cake. I never left with less than two.”

Candace Magruder wrote, “Please support the significant portion of your customers who can’t eat all those other yummy-looking treats.  We love Starbucks now, but we would love you even more if you brought back the cake!”

Another anonymous signer, whose comments were echoed by many of you, wrote,  “It is extremely difficult to find desserts in restaurants that are gluten free. We all know that cakes and desserts in general are not “healthy” for regular consumption. We can get gluten free bars at a health store, and very few of them could even come close to being considered a treat to enjoy with a cup of coffee. Please reconsider your decision to remove this cake from your stores.”

Finally, Jennifer Williams Zwagerman told us how Starbucks only made it into her morning routine because of its gluten-free option. “I’m sad to see the cake disappearing. I’ve actually been going to Starbucks in the morning more often now that the cake was available as it was one of the few breakfast options I had. Without the gluten free cake, there’s no reason for me to now go out of my way to Starbucks instead of one of the other options available to me.

If you haven’t signed our petition to Starbucks already, please consider doing so now. The gluten-free community benefitted greatly from the accessibility and ubiquity of this pastry, and significantly regrets its demise. Tell Starbucks how you feel, sign our petition!

Celiac Skeptics? New Saliva-Based Test Facilitates Diagnosis

Do you remember when The View first did a profile on celiac disease?  If you do, then you probably remember (with horror) the fabulous comic Susie Essman, of Curb Your Enthusiasm fame, saying “I don’t know if I have it [celiac disease], but I know I’m gluten intolerant.”  Okay, maybe that’s not so bad, but then she continued to say “Well, my mother has celiac.”  Fast forward to minute 1, second 35, of the video, then minute 2, second 40, to see for yourself.

I suspect that everyone with celiac disease watching The View at those moments released a collective “arghhhhhhh.”

Susie knew that a) gluten bothers her and b) her mom has celiac disease. All signs point to the fact that she should get tested.  With celiac specialist Dr. Peter Green on national television hinting that she should, I would be surprised if she didn’t get tested eventually.

But we’re not just talking about Susie – people with this attitude abound. We hear from dozens of people every year that have relatives that refuse to get tested for celiac disease – despite the fact that they have a family member with it, or even sometimes despite the fact they themselves have symptoms of celiac disease. And not all of us have the opportunity to have Dr. Green show up to family functions and convince our look-the-other-way family members to get tested.

I’m no psychologist, so I don’t know why people do what they do, but I suspect if testing were easier (no two-month wait to see the doctor) and less invasive (no blood draws or endoscopies), people might be more likely to get tested.

Prometheus Labs has a new saliva-based genetic test for celiac disease called MyCeliacID that may fit the bill. For $329 you can order the test, and the company will send you a special vial to store your spit. This isn’t some slick mouth swab, like we were expecting. You literally must drool into the test tube, mix it with some stabilizing solution, seal it, toss it into a prepaid mailing envelope and send it back. Seven days later, you can access your results online. Quick, painless, and only a little bit icky.

The test itself checks DNA for genetic patterns that are associated with the presence of celiac disease. Positive results, however, don’t automatically equal a celiac diagnosis. They simply mean that there’s  a chance of the subject developing celiac disease. Because of the fickle, unpredictable and largely mysterious nature of autoimmune disorders such as celiac disease, even genetic makeup can’t definitively forecast the presence of illness. But hopefully, those who test positive will get the kick in the pants they need to see the doctor.

So what do you think? Do you think people who are otherwise doctor-phobic might take the test, if it’s presented as a simple “all you have to do is drool” type of chore?

Do you have any tips to share when handling relatives like Susie?

Emeril Lagasse GF Cooking Videos

In case you missed it, the famous TV chef Emeril Lagasse (who my mom adores) put on an all gluten-free episode. Follow the link to watch his videos on how to make gluten-free New Orleans fare. Recipes include stuffed chicken, cornbread, stewed tomatoes and okra, and pecan pie. It all sounds delicious, but when I checked out his recipes, I realized that people with celiac disease should be careful of some if his ingredients. For example, his stuffed chicken recipe calls for “amber beer.” As we all know, beer has to be specifically gluten-free to be safe, and because most GF beer is made with sorghum, it tends to be sweeter than non-gluten-free beer. In the same recipe Emeril also calls for “Creole seasoning,” and “Louisiana hot sauce,” neither of which is certain to be gluten-free. If you’re wondering which brands are safe, you can find gluten-free ingredients in our grocery guide. Emeril does, however, helpfully specify a gluten-free brand of Worcestershire sauce. Need helpIf you exercise your usual caution in purchasing ingredients, these recipes will be a lot of fun. Enjoy!

Starbucks Petition UPDATE: 1,600 Signatures!

The gluten-free community needs your help. So far, over 1,600 people have signed our petition to Starbucks to bring back their gluten-free Orange Cake. Once we reach 5,000 signatures, we will send this petition to Starbucks to show our support for this delicious and most importantly, accessible, pastry. So many of you have told us what a relief it was to have something delicious to eat at a nationwide chain like Starbucks. Let’s join together and tell Starbucks how important it is to the gluten-free community that this pastry remain in stores nationwide.

Click here to sign the petition.