No need to read labels

Hitting the grocery store for gluten-free foods can be an exercise in frustration for families with dietary restrictions. But the recent opening of Gluten-Free Grocery in Westchester makes shopping easier.

The store’s more than 500 products are entirely gluten-free."If gluten-free is your only allergy, you can shop without reading a label,” says store owner Cindy Erwin. Erwin, who has celiac disease, opened the store after spending hours trying to shop to accommodate her illness. Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grains and food items made from those grains.

Since anecdotal evidence shows that a gluten-free diet can, in some cases, alleviate symptoms of autism, Erwin has seen many families affected by autism at her store. To accommodate families, many products are geared towards children, including macaroni and cheese mixes, chicken nuggets and cake and cookie mixes.

Erwin acknowledges that gluten-free products can be pricey, but she plans sales and specials. Frequent shopper program members can designate 3 percent of their purchases for either celiac or autism research.

Gluten-free Grocery is located at 1922 Mannheim Road in Westchester. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday; closed Sundays and daily from 11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. For information, check online at www.gfgrocery.com or call (708) 483-8785.

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