Categorized | Social Entrepreneur

A New Recipe For Life: Celiebo Launches on Behalf of the Celiac and the Gluten-Free Community

Tinsley Meloy

What is the name and cause of your Social Venture?

Celiebo is an advocacy group for the celiac and gluten-intolerant community, which I founded in 2010. The organization certifies restaurants as compliant with regulations that make them safe establishments for gluten-restricted diners.

What was the genesis of Celiebo?

For more than twenty years, I suffered from a condition that doctors could not diagnose accurately. I was fatigued, suffered from short-term memory loss, had muscle soreness, severe stomach pains and a very weak immune system. No matter what tests were administered to me, my doctors and I could never determine what caused my symptoms. It turns out the foods I was eating (foods containing gluten) were the cause.

One day, I saw a segment on The View featuring Elisabeth Hasselbeck discussing her new book, “The G-Free Diet” and “celiac disease.” In the segment, she detailed many of the same symptoms I struggled with my entire life. Immediately, I started reading blogs, websites and medical journals trying to learn as much as possible about celiac disease. I made an appointment with my doctor to get the determining blood test. After two of the longest weeks of my life and my doctor trying to convince me that I did not have celiac disease, I learned that I tested positive.

Once my relief from finally being properly diagnosed subsided, I felt like I’d just been handed a death sentence because some of my favorite foods were ripped away from me. But rather than be depressed or angry, I decided to help others suffering with celiac disease. So I set out to become the “gluten-free guru” and help increase awareness about the disease. For the first time in my life, food doesn’t rule me and I am working to increase the dining options available for the celiac and gluten-free community.

How does Celiebo certify restaurants?

In order to receive the Celiebo Gluten-Free Restaurant Certification™ brand, our team works with restaurant staffs to instruct them on how to safely serve a gluten-free patron in every phase of the dining process. We facilitate the training necessary in a concise, three-day program that allows all staff to learn gluten-free compliance. After the training is complete, the restaurant is certified for one year. The restaurant can re-certify with Celiebo after we follow up with an inspection to ensure proper quality controls.

How many people in the U.S. have celiac disease?

Two percent of the American population or roughly three million Americans have celiac disease, Additionally, one in seven Americans, or 25 million, will experience gluten intolerance or sensitivity to gluten in their lifetime. Obviously, gluten-intolerance can limit where you can safely eat.

Since founding Celiebo, what was the biggest transition you had to make?

Trying to have a balanced lifestyle. Before Celiebo, I was an actor, so I had time to be very spontaneous. Thankfully, I still have time to pursue my life passions, but after Celiebo, I prioritize and schedule everything weeks in advance. Also I had to learn how to be balanced in work – the perfect blend of pleasant and pushy, the delicate mixing of hubris and humility, and strike the cord between confidence and cowardliness. Have I achieved balance yet? No, but I’m really working on it!

What can you tell other entrepreneurs who are deciding to make a difference?

It takes a lot of work to make a difference. I thought it would be easy to build Celiebo, and because I was helping people, I thought it would be simpler. But there have been plenty of pitfalls, tough days, and sleepless nights. You need to be prepared for the bad times. Shift your focus to your end goals and take time to appreciate that your work can help a lot of people. That is what makes all of the hard work worth it.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I got was from someone I met only once, but it sticks with me everyday. He told me to never let anyone look down on my youth. I have always been weary of doing things that I “didn’t think I was ready for” because of my age or lack of experience. Hearing that statement built confidence in my own abilities and my goals.

What is the one thing you did right?

I have gained more patience. My personality is full speed ahead, but when you are making important decisions that affect a lot of people (especially when it come to health) you don’t get a second chance. If I had been working solo on Celiebo, I would have made some grave mistakes, but fortunately I’ve had some good people working with me.

What Free Tools Do You Use?

Well, the obvious tools are Twitter and Facebook. They have been huge in helping me brand Celiebo. I also am addicted to the Evernote application on my iPad and use it all the time. It’s a way to keep everything organized and always at your fingertips. And as any entrepreneur will tell you, organization is key because time, money, and help aren’t always as abounding as we’d like it to be in the beginning.

What book have you read that others should read?

Two words: Crush It, by Gary Vaynerchuck.

Where can people reach you and any final words?

I can be reached at, where you have the option to like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter. I also have a daily video blog that you can view and comment on. Thank you so much for the opportunity to reach your audience. As we grow, I am so enthusiastic about sharing my life, our work and helping others through Celiebo.

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One Response to “A New Recipe For Life: Celiebo Launches on Behalf of the Celiac and the Gluten-Free Community”


  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by John Rarrick, Damiano DeMonte. Damiano DeMonte said: RT @ShoeStringBook A New Recipe For Life: @Celiebo Launches on Behalf of the #Celiac and the #GlutenFree Community #gf [...]

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