Whole Foods Market. I know they sell food that is healthy -- free of chemicals, fake stuff, antibiotics, etc. Whole Foods was definitely on the short list for grocery stores full of things she could potentially eat.
We were lucky enough to have a personalized tour a couple Saturdays ago with Dusty, who works in the Whole Body section. Dusty is a wonderfully warm, energetic, informative woman who also happens to cope with her own set of food allergies. Dusty danced us through the store and showed us item after item that Jane could successfully add to her diet. She did it with enthusiasm, humor and a big dose of information.
Some of the surprises -- there's a sour cream that meets the allergy requirements! There are 2 dairy-free cheeses that don't have yeast as an ingredient! Rice milk chocolate tastes REALLY good!
I had sent over a list of Jane's food allergies prior to our tour, and Dusty did her best to accommodate them all. Because Jane is allergic to citrus, as well as yeast, that means that vinegar is out, as well as the common vinegar substitute -- lemon juice. She showed us some wonderful flavored olive oils that could be used as a salad dressing without vinegar.
We all appreciated the honest evaluation of products that Dusty showed us. If something may require an acquired taste, she let Jane know. She also encouraged her to add coconut to her diet to help build up her potassium levels, since she is allergic to bananas. She showed us her favorite coconut milk (in the refrigerated section) and also shared that there are other options that are shelf-stable.
While the prices of specialty foods are higher, they are available at Whole Foods and many can't be found elsewhere. I know people often lament that the store is expensive, but if you purchase items from their 365 brand, they are comparable to other stores. They have a wonderful produce section, and the prices for in-season fruits and vegetables are comparable and sometimes even less.
Once again, I was blown away by the friendliness of staff. The store is such an inviting place to visit, and everyone is eager to help.
In the car later, we both said that we could have wandered around the store for 2 hours and never found 1/2 the products that Dusty pointed out. Jane left feeling more encouraged and a little less overwhelmed than when we walked in. So, I count the visit as a success!! I offer many, many thanks to Dusty and all those at Whole Foods that helped make it possible.
I will share reviews of different products in the coming weeks, as I'm sure you're all eager to find out what she's tried!