Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 15, 2007

By Maggie Blackwell
for the Salisbury Post
yoti Friedland is the chef and co-owner of Talley’s Green Grocery in Charlotte, a privately owned health grocery store known and revered by many in the area.
Talley’s offers organic produce and meat products, natural health and beauty products, baked goods and dairy products. Its Caf Verd offers entrees, side dishes and desserts to eat in or take out, with specialty diet items among its offerings daily. Such items include vegetarian (no meat), vegan (no meat, eggs, or other animal products) and gluten-free (no wheat, barley or oat products) รณ all in addition to regular fare.
Friedland was born in the Philippines and moved to the U.S. with her husband, Marc Friedland, 21 years ago. They decided to open their own health-based grocery store when they realized they visited one every day.
Talley’s has quickly become an institution for those with special needs, as well as those who just want to eat healthier.
What is the biggest misconception about healthy foods? “That they are tasteless,” says Friedland. “That they are for sick people. People think healthy foods are bland, that they have no flavor.”
That is not the case, she says. “You just have to season it correctly; it can be fantastic. Fortunately, it’s catching on now. There are many cookbooks out now about cooking healthily. There used to be just a few, Moosewood and a few others. Now the stores are full of them.”
One of today’s biggest trends is gluten-free food, says Friedland, because of the increasing number of people who cannot tolerate wheat products.
Dr. Kathleen Russo, a board-certified pediatrician at Salisbury Pediatrics, says that one person in every 250 suffers from Celiac disease. Russo is participating in a two-year fellowship for integrative medicine at the University of Arizona School of Medicine, along with her colleague, Dr. Christopher Magryta. The program is headed by the well-known physician and author, Dr. Andrew Weil. This program combines traditional medicine and alternative medicine methods.
Celiac disease is an immune reaction to wheat and causes such symptoms as bloating, abdominal pain, bowel dysfunction and general reduced quality of life. In children, it can also cause a failure to thrive. Those who suffer these symptoms should consult a physician, as they can indicate other conditions, including lactose intolerance.
Those who must follow a gluten-free diet should know that it doesn’t have to be a bland diet, says Friedland. With the use of herbs, spices and plenty of fresh ingredients, a gluten-free diet can easily be attained.
Russo agrees. “We all have several foods we normally eat. Through the process of eliminating some foods and adding others, people can, over time, develop a new repertoire of foods.”
In the absence of enriched flour, enriched wheat flour, wheat, oats and barley, people can begin to include other healthy grains such as brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, and amaranth. These grains are gluten-free and provide a good amount of protein. At one time these products were available only in health food stores, but consumer grocery stores are beginning to offer them as well.
Some other foods to look out for on labels include modified food starch, textured vegetable protein (TVP) and malt, as they, too, include gluten.
By simply changing their diets, most who suffer from Celiac disease can once again achieve the quality of life they once enjoyed.
Friedland teaches a series of five healthy cooking classes at Talley’s Green Grocery at 1408 East Boulevard in Charlotte. The classes are held in the evening, and each class is priced individually so that those who are interested can attend any or all classes.
For more information, call 704-334-9200 or visit
Freelance writer Maggie Blackwell lives in Salisbury.