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Gluten-free store in Riverton brings back unique salad bar

Jul 30, 2015 By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

The dishes are mostly vegetarian and also corn-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soy-free, egg-free, peanut-free and gluten-free.

For the gluten-free, Graham's Gluten-Free Foods in downtown Riverton is a popular stop.

The business offers a salad bar every day with a variety of options: corn-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soy-free, egg-free, peanut-free and, of course, gluten-free.

The business primarily sells foods that don't contain gluten, genetically modified organisms or allergens. From breads, donuts and cheeses to grass-fed beef and organic produce the small store offers products not usually seen at the local grocery store.

Graham's also sells supplements, vitamins, personal products, biodegradable home products and organic pet products.

Salad bar

Store owner and licensed nutritionist Sheila Graham said the salad bar opened about five years ago, but she closed it because she didn't have anyone to help her in the kitchen while her father recovered from an injury.

Graham said she got back into the kitchen about three months ago and reopened the salad bar.

The bar offers up to six hot dishes and about 10 cold dishes. Customers help themselves, Graham said, and they can sit and eat or take their food to go. Graham said she also takes orders ahead of time for big groups.

"The dishes are prepared 99.9 percent of the time by me," Graham said.

Some stations on the bar require little preparation, like the organic beets and watermelon, which she said are popular and delicious.

Other dishes are made with ingredients such as lentils, garbanzo beans, zucchini, cilantro, carrots, squash, coconut cream, quinoa, garlic, red potatoes, celery, onions, rhubarb and pecans.

The potato salad is a favorite, as is the apple pie, she said. Local vegetarians also have several options at this salad bar, Graham said.

"Most of it is vegetarian, (and) a lot of it is raw," Graham said. "Usually, there's one meat-based container."

Different drinks also are available and include tea and instant organic coffee. Graham's also mixes juices in the morning.

Chips and crackers are offered as well.

"The prices are so stinking cheap it's crazy," Graham said.

Graham purchases her organic produce in Thermopolis every week from a vendor who offers cases of food at low prices, she said.

Food education

The items sold at Graham's often are needed by people with medical problems -- they may be recovering from a sickness or an injury or have cancer, or they may be pursuing a healthier diet, Graham said. Many people are allergic to certain foods and seek special products.

"My goal is, if you have cancer, you're safe," Graham said about her salad bar.

Graham said she works a lot with cancer patients, educating them on the nutrients they need and teaching them how to cook certain foods.

"People that are in last stages, they come in and we go over a protocol that will help them," she said. "We get them supplements, safe foods ... they don't need any poisons."

She also finds opportunities to educate others about the harmful effects of some foods, even for people with no medical concerns.

"I constantly grab one person and teach them," she said. "Sometimes people don't want to hear it."

If a customer comes in and tells her what they want to change or improve with their health, she most likely has the product that can help, she said.

"I have such a passion to teach," she said.

Graham said she would like to install a large TV screen in the store that displays nutritional information along with tips to improve health.

The store is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.

The salad bar is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information, call the store at 857-6155.

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