How to Shop for a Happy, Healthy Gluten-Free New Year

grain salad

Does your happy, healthy new year find you eating gluten-free? Here’s some good news for you: there’s a whole world of foods made without gluten! In addition to all the foods which are obviously gluten-free (like vegetables, fruits, and meats) there are an astonishing number of items like breads, pastries, crackers, pizza doughs, bagels, and so much more that you can still enjoy!

That’s great, you might be saying, ’cause I’ve been jonesing for some homemade pizza but how do I find these wonderful products? Well, here’s some more good news: we’ve made it about as easy as possible. Throughout our store, the gluten-free products we carry are located alongside their conventional partners and their shelves are marked by a nifty little orange sign that says “Gluten-Free”. (We’ve also put an orange sign right on the floor in front of the shelves to ensure you won’t miss them, even if you’re looking down.) So if you need cereal, simply go to our cereal aisle and look for the section. Same thing goes for baking mixes, breads, etc.

Excellent start, you say, but what about the days when I’m on my lunch break and I need to find some ready-to-eat meals fast? We’ve figured that one out too. Many of the fabulous dishes prepared by our in-house Café are made without gluten and these are easily identifiable because each one is marked with an orange “Made Without Gluten” sticker. Every product on our grab & go shelves that’s made without gluten- whether it’s soup or pie or muffins or salads- will have this sticker, making it easy to get in and out fast with some delicious foods in hand.

At this point, you savvy readers might be curious about the difference between “gluten-free” and “made without gluten” and your curiosity would be well-founded! There is a difference and it could be an important one, depending on the strictness of your dietary restrictions. Items that are labeled “gluten-free” are produced in a facility which a third party has certified to be completely free of any and all glutinous material: there is zip, zero, zilch gluten around when that product is made so there is zip, zero, zilch gluten in the product. These foods are the best choice if you have a severe allergy or aversion to gluten and could become ill if you consume it.

In order to serve our guests with honesty and integrity, we knew we couldn’t label our in-house food products as “gluten-free” because we only have one kitchen and one bakeshop which make all of our items. So we decided to label our items “made without gluten” which is about as transparent as you can get because while the ingredients in the products might not contain any gluten, we can’t absolutely guarantee there’s no gluten present. Of course, we pay great attention when these products are being made, making sure everyone knows when a cook or baker is preparing something made without gluten and cleaning thoroughly between projects, but because we can’t be certified “gluten-free” we don’t say we are. Our products are a great choice if you don’t have a severe allergy to gluten and are simply trying to reduce or avoid glutinous foods.

Bottom line: look for the orange signs and stickers! Whether your happier, healthier gluten-free lifestyle has you eating certified gluten-free foods or simply foods made without gluten, you’ll be able to find a wonderful variety of foods throughout our store! Of course, once you have all your lovely gluten-free (or made without gluten) ingredients at home, you’ll be needing some tasty ideas to put them all together so make sure to check out our gluten-free recipes!