Monday, March 16, 2009

Geneva Dispatch: Lisa Shops at Soup to Nuts

Just a couple of blocks west of historic downtown Geneva, you’ll find Soup to Nuts, a wonderful grocery store that offers a wide variety of tasty choices for those with restricted diets. Shoppers can also enjoy the store’s Sweet Grass Café, serving smoothies, soups, salads, rice cakes and sandwiches.

Last week, I sat down with JR Carmany, proprietor at Soup to Nuts.

It wasn’t until college that JR finally understood why she had felt so bad for so long. Attending a lecture at Rutgers University, her professor pointed out that 80% of people are dairy intolerant. When the professor then listed the symptoms of dairy intolerance, JR wondered if she too was among the more than 12 million Americans with food allergies.

This lecture inspired JR to learn as much as she could about food allergies and how they were affecting her body. Her research ultimately determined that she was lactose intolerant and allergic to corn. After careers in education and the natural foods industry, JR eventually opened Soup to Nuts.

In order to ensure that the food served at her cafe is free of cross contamination, JR and her staff take all the necessary precautions.

Wheat-free tamari is used, for instance, and smoothies are blended with 100% organic fruit and ice. All soups are gluten, dairy and sodium free. What’s more, the café uses fresh wax paper on the work tables so that orders can be prepared without the risk of cross contamination.

JR has some advice for those newly diagnosed with food allergies: “Your body isn’t your enemy.”
We need to listen to the signals our bodies are giving us and learn how to take care of it, said JR. When we change our diets, it’s not the end of the world. In fact, it’s a new beginning, she added.

On April 21st, I will be speaking to members of the local Fox Valley Mothers of Children Having Allergies (MOCHA) support group at Soup to Nuts from 7 to 9 P.M. Please visit my Web site for more details.

Soup to Nuts is located at 716 W. State Street in Geneva, IL. The store can be found on the Web at or call (630) 232-6646 for more information.

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