I’ve come to rely on specific food brands that don’t contain my allergens. So Delicious, Jones Dairy Farm, al fresco, Applegate, Erewhon, just to name a few. That’s why I get a little anxious when we head to our second home on Hilton Head. Up until recently, grocery stores carrying health food and specialty items were lacking on the island, and you paid a premium for allergy-friendly brands. I once paid $6 for a Hail Merry Miracle Tart at a small natural grocers.
In the last few years we’ve gotten a Harris Teeter and a Kroger with gluten-free and allergen-free foods–and this past summer the first Whole Foods Market opened! Yes, An Allergic Foodie did a happy dance!
I was thrilled when it rained the second day we were here so I could skip the beach and make a trip to Whole Foods. That probably doesn’t sound all that odd to those of you with food restrictions. I took a very short grocery list with me–coffee, Just Mayo, hand soap, dog treats.
Wouldn’t you know I couldn’t find the Just Mayo. Every single mayonnaise from Canola to Olive Oil to Safflower had egg and/or soy. I was kicking myself for not bringing the huge jug of Just Mayo I’d left at home in Colorado Springs.
While I was browsing through the gluten-free refrigerator section, my husband shouted. “Amy, I have a surprise for you!”
I rounded the corner and my mouth fell open. There was this lovely lady named Paulette (or maybe Pauletta?) from Hampton Creek giving out samples of pretzels and dip made from . . . you guessed it . . . Just Mayo!
I showed her my grocery list and her mouth fell open. We both laughed and snapped photos.
Turns out Whole Foods requires Just Mayo to be refrigerated. This version is in a glass jar; the one I buy at home from Costco and King Soopers is in a plastic one. So when you are looking for a favorite brand in a new store be sure to ask the clerk for help.
This experience reminded me how grateful I am for the companies that make food I can eat. With food allergies, we often focus on what we can’t eat. When I come to Hilton Head two times a year, I pack up a cooler with a few products I can’t live without and then pray I can find the rest. Sometimes, I order foods through the mail. For many years, I just went without for five weeks. That doesn’t seem all that long, but after five weeks of no Boulder Sausage I’m feeling withdrawal symptoms!
Note: If you have a corn allergy, the modified food start in Just Mayo is corn. It is less than two percent of ingredients, and I have not reacted to it though I’m usually intolerant to corn.