5 Must Buy Health Food Store Items

With my recent move back to the country, my wife Leah and I are still working through what foods we should make the effort to continue to buy from the health food store.  The irony of this is the same conversation came up when we lived in the city.  So recently I took pause to ask, which items should I always buy from the health food store.  These are the items that I am unlikely to find at chain stores, but rather specialty stores.  I felt it necessary to share this list to help streamline your shopping trips.

I have family coming to visit this weekend.  They asked if they could bring us anything from the health food store since they were coming out.  The food items that I am giving you below came exactly from that list.  This is what Dr. Hill and family requested and what we normally pick up on our trips.

Now before I start sharing this list, you should know that I still grow what I can, purchase from the farms market when available, and then use the health food store for fruits and vegetables.  The items that I am sharing here are not the ones you typically find at the farms market.

The Health Food Store is the Best Source of . . .

Nut Butters – Creamy or smooth?  You choose.  For whatever reason, even as other retail locations have tried to bring in healthier foods, they simply have not been able to keep up with the selection of nut butters offered at most health food stores.  Peanut butter remains the staple.  Even if you are a peanut butter fan, buyer beware of what is added.  The ingredient on a peanut butter jar should simply say peanuts.  Instead it is followed by a list of ingredients like hydrogenated oils that leaves one wondering why they are included.

Besides, who doesn’t like a little variety.  Cashew, almond, hazelnut, macadamia and sunflower are all nut / seed butters that are excellent.  They taste great and pair wonderfully with the occasional sliced apple or banana.  Even better, these options are mostly organic.  If you are like me, the problem you will have is not figuring out which one to buy, but which one to leave on the shelf.

Health Food Stores Have This Wrapped Up

It is not secret, I am not a fan of wheat and corn.  As staple crops in the United States, they are sprayed with poisonous chemicals.  Chemicals that if you have any hope of avoiding, you must avoid tortillas.  As I have found when requesting patients to discontinue eating tortillas, it is a very emotional response.  They don’t want to give them up.  It is not just food, it is a cultural and comfort item.

I understand this connection to food.  It is essential.  Yet, you should not have to compromise good health to enjoy your comfort food.  Here is where the health food store can be a true ally.  Instead of the wheat and corn tortilla, several other options that exist.  Many are concerned that they will not taste the same, have the right texture or stay together.  Frankly, I have been more than impressed lately with the coconut, cassava and almond flour options.  You will not even notice the difference.  More importantly you will be eating chemical free.

Olive Oil and Beyond

There finally appears to be a reduction in the fat phobic trend, although now is appears we have shifted to being afraid of carbohydrates.  (More on that some other time.)  Since we are starting to eat fats again as a society, the conversation now needs to shift to eating the right fats.  Olive oil comes to mind as a good fat.  You are not going to go wrong adding olive oil to your diet.  After all, it is an oil spoken of fondly in the Bible.  But there are a few considerations.  Here is where the health food store can help you out.

Your olive oil should be at a minimum extra virgin and cold pressed.  But don’t stop their.  If you can find an organic source, especially a USDA organic source, all the better.  There are several producers of olives now in United States like Texas and California.  Buy from a single source if you can.  I even see this at the farmers market sometimes from local suppliers.

Don’t just stop at olive oil though.  Again diversity is the key.  So in the interest of not eating the same thing repetitively, take note of the other oils available.  Walnut and hazelnut oils are among some of my personal favorites as they provide a mild nutty flavor.  Other oils that I use because of their excellent fat composition include macadamia, pecan and flax.  If you are unfamiliar with how to use these, simply try adding them to your next smoothie or protein drink.  If you eat salads, they can be used as salad dressing.

Organic Brew Anyone?

Last time I walked into a typical retail location looking for organic coffee, there were literally no options.  Now I am not a coffee snob, so I was okay continuing my search elsewhere.  But if I am going to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning, it is going to be organic.  Compromising on conventional food sources where chemicals have been used it not an option for me.

In contrast to my experience of finding no organic coffees, the options at the health food store are nearly all organic.  This is not a time for a coffee debate, especially since everyone’s taste differs.  For my personally though I will say that organic coffee does seems to be better.  This could have something to do with using an old school percolator.  Bottom line, don’t buy coffee at the chain stores.

Gooble, Gooble

Turkey is probably the most difficult food to find a clean source of routinely.  The name brands in the chain stores are not clean.  Yes they say natural, but that does not mean anything.  It’s just good marketing.  I have only been able to find pasture raised turkeys from 2 sources.  The first was the health food store and the second was US Wellness Meats.  Be prepared.  If you are accustomed to turkey breasts and individual cuts of meat, this is not how you are likely to find organic, pasture raised turkeys.  Most of the time you will get the whole turkey.  You will pay a little more for a whole turkey, but you still come out ahead since you get several meals from it.

Don’t feel like you need to buy everything from the health food store.  Vegetables, fruits and meats from the farmer’s market or that you grow should be your first choice.  But for those items that you will not find at the farmer’s market and cannot grow, use the health food store.

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