Grocery Stores CAN do Gluten-free!

“You’re allergic to gluten? You mean sugar, right??” <sigh> Remember the days when no one knew what gluten was and you couldn’t even go to your local grocery store to shop for “special food”? Fortunately, gluten-free living has come a long way in recent years and there is a lot more out there for all those with Celiac Disease or gluten-intolerance.

Having been on a gluten-free diet myself for the past seven years, I know firsthand the difficulties of trying to find gluten-free places to eat and shop that are close to home. The increasing awareness of Celiac Disease and wheat/gluten allergies has prompted many stores- both specialty and big chain- to step up and start carrying more gluten-free products.

I was at Loblaws in Richmond Hill last week and was thrilled to see expanding shelves of gluten-free products. Sure, I was still super happy to find my favourites there- Glutino wafer cookies, Mrs. Leeper’s corn pasta, Good Karma Rice Divine rice cream, Nature’s Path mesa sunrise corn flakes, Enjoy Life cocoa loco bars, and Lundberg risotto (to name a few)- but finding new gluten-free things close to home is as exciting as it gets for me.

I was so energized after my visit to Loblaws that I decided to check out some other local chain stores that I had previously dismissed for lack of a GF selection, and wouldn’t you know, they’re all Celiac-friendly now: Metro, Highland Farms, Wal-Mart, even Costco has some GF products! New baking products, pasta/rice, snacks, frozen meals (for you GF-ers on-the-go), etc. I even found GF barbeque sauce! That’s right, Organicville makes barbeque sauce! (Sidebar: delicious on chicken wings and homemade chicken burgers.) If you’ve given up on big chain grocery stores it’s time to give them another chance. I will say though that the selection is not as extensive as Ambrosia or the Big Carrot or Nut’n Gluten, but it sure has come a long way and I can’t wait to see what they carry next! Now we just have to work on the pricing!

For a list of some gluten-free grocery and specialty stores in the Greater Toronto Area, view our GF City Guides. Happy GF hunting!

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