I believe this grocery guide most definitely IS essential for anyone eating gluten-free, or those who may be shopping for someone gluten-free. I cannot wait to share this with my companion, who often does get stuck picking up groceries for us, only to find at least one of his purchases is not going to meet my dietary restrictions.
I am actually in shock that something like this exists. I suppose I knew it existed. But the skeptic in me had already convinced myself that nobody could possibly be as obsessively detailed as myself, and therefore how could there be anything out there which could provide me with much more information than I had already been digging for, and attempting to document. I was wrong. The folks who created this grocery guide have gone to great lengths, and in turn, they have "one upped" my own personal archives of gluten-free food lists in a big way.
This guide is incredibly thorough. And it actually puts into use some key things I love, which I personally find make navigating life and all things signage or information related to be more efficient. Those key things are the use of colors, categories, and symbols.
I have been that person at the grocery store, dumbfounded and overwhelmed. Fast forward a few years being gluten-free, and while I am not that person anymore, I still find myself spending way more time searching, and even sometimes, if something is not clear, I have walked out empty handed almost in tears. It just becomes too much sometimes. In the first 10 minutes of reading through the guide, I had already located three specific items that I had previously been unsure of, and a few that I had been meaning to send emails to specific companies about, inquiring as to the gluten free status of their products.
The information is listed by brand, then product, and then coded in such a way that you can recognize if the product meets your personal standards for what you require in a gluten-free product. If your personal criteria will not tolerate even a possibility of cross contamination, there is a symbol for that. The different levels of "gluten-free" in regards to the practices of the company, the facility the food is processed in, as well as any gluten-free information that has been provided or marked, each have a symbol within the guide. And the entire book is broken down into categories, in the fashion that you would be locating them in the grocery store. And to add an extra appeal for me, each of these are color coded as well.
I am already impressed enough to write this review. And I have even started a new list on my grocery store phone app. I now have a handful of items I can add to my list, that the guide has deemed safe (meeting my personal criteria), which I was uncertain about during my recent shopping trips.
NOTE: This is a GROCERY Guide. It breaks things down that you would buy at the store, specifically referencing certain brands and products. So if you are looking beyond those specific products, keep in mind, you may still need to educate yourself on which ingredients are gluten-free. But in my opinion, if you are gluten-free for health reasons, learning those things should be a way of life, and mandatory for survival. Having the grocery guide is a nice way to seek out brands and products. And if you are ever asking someone else to pick something up FOR you at the store, I feel that having this guide would come in extra handy, so that you aren't placing the responsibility on someone else to read the labels.