Gluten-Free Resources in Central Pennsylvania
Aug 31, 2011 10:28AM
By Beth Davis
Perhaps the most challenging aspects of eating without gluten are learning which foods are acceptable and discovering where to find them. Gluten-free options are continually on the rise, but they can be tricky to navigate. The following four local resources provide a plethora of gluten-free selections, as well as the information needed to use them properly.
A dedicated gluten-free section can be found in the Nature’s Marketplace department at Wegmans, in Mechanisburg. Here, customers can find prepackaged foods, baking ingredients, cookbooks and knowledgeable staff, like Nature’s Marketplace Team Leader, Carolyn Moyer, to answer questions about living without gluten.
Dedicated to providing as much variety as possible, Wegmans also stocks gluten-free items in the store’s general aisles. To make items easier to spot, Moyer says the Gluten Free Wellness Key—a bright orange dot—identifies Wegmans’ products that are free of gluten. Hundreds of products with gluten-free formulas—such as pasta sauces, salad dressings, culinary stocks, breakfast cereals, ice cream and snack foods—are available throughout the store.
Before shopping, customers can even go online and build their gluten-free shopping list by viewing product descriptions, nutrition facts labels, ingredient statements and customer ratings.
Wildtree Herbs, Inc.
More than 80 percent of Wildtree Herbs’ products are gluten-free, and all products are free of MSG, high fructose corn syrup, dyes, preservatives and hydrogenated oils. Just last month, the direct-sales company—whose all-natural, gourmet culinary blends, infused grapeseed oils, dressings and sauces are sold through home tasting parties—introduced six new gluten-free products just for baking, including cake, brownie and pizza dough mix. The entire gluten-free line contains ancient grains such millet, sorghum, amaranth and quinoa.
Elizabeth Givler, an independent representative with Wildtree, first became involved with the company because of the many diets her family was following, including gluten-free. “I know from experience how difficult it is to find products that are not only healthy, but are also easy to prepare, affordable and good-tasting,” says Givler. “Wildtree is all of those things.”
The Healthy Grocer
The Healthy Grocer features a shelf labeling system that identifies items throughout the store for Special Diet Needs. A dedicated, gluten-free department features 575 gluten-free foods such as bread, chips, snacks, cereal, cookies and candy.
Marketing Coordinator Susan Kiskis says that many people are unaware how many products actually contain gluten; having a dedicated section makes it much more convenient for customers to identify what is available to them.
She says part of the store’s focus and vision is to give customers with food sensitivities as much information as possible. “We offer a packet of information, as well as a variety of workshops, that go into specific detail about what it means to be gluten-free, gluten-free cooking and understanding celiac disease,” Kiskis notes.
GIANT Food Stores
At the GIANT Super Food Store on Linglestown Road, in Harrisburg, gluten-free products are scattered throughout the store and also represented in a large, dedicated section. Shoppers can find gluten-free grain products like rice, pasta, fresh and frozen breads, pizza crust mix, cookies, granola, pancake mix and tortillas.
The real challenge, however, isn’t always finding the products, but knowing which ones taste best. In-store Nutritionist Sarah Glunz leads tours of the store that are tailored to specific health concerns. “If someone is eating gluten-free, for instance, I show them which products are gluten-free, and even give my recommendations,” she explains. “If people want to try it for themselves, I will open up the package and give them a taste.”
Because going gluten-free can be overwhelming, she and fellow health and wellness team members offer a variety of classes and seminars as well as private consultations geared toward helping people live a healthier life.
For more information on GIANT Food Stores, visit GiantFoodStores.com. Visit The Healthy Grocer at TheHealthyGrocer.com, and Wegmans at Wegmans.com. Contact Elizabeth Givler about Wildtree Herbs, Inc., at MyWildtree.com/EGWildtree.
Local Gluten-Free Dining Options
As anyone with gluten-sensitivities can attest, dining out comes with much trepidation as the ingestion of any amount of gluten from a restaurant with less than stringent protocols in dealing with food allergies can really ruin the pleasure of eating out.
The following are a few of many restaurants in the Central Pennsylvania area that offer gluten-free dining with the management,
servers, and kitchen staff trained in the details of providing safe and true gluten-free dining.
Look for an expanded list of gluten-free, healthy, and organic dining options coming out in our new Healthy Dining Guide section in the months ahead.
215 N. 2nd St., Harrisburg
Arepa Latin Eatery
316 N 2nd St., Harrisburg
6416 Carlisle Pike, Mechanicsburg
Locations in Harrisburg, Mechanicsburg and York
Outlets at Hershey