My local health food store always seemed like a magical place to me.
That didn’t make much sense years ago, when I had to descend to a dimly lit basement that smelled like medicinal herbs. The packaging was uninviting and the products were limited to brown rise, tofu, and misshapen organic apples.
Yet for some reason, I thought that if I could only unlock the secrets to the healthiest foods and supplements, I would live a long and vibrant life.
Luckily, health food stores have changed radically, and many are now amazing places to shop.
And you know what? All those years of shopping there has paid off. While many friends and family members in my age group take multiple medications and suffer from chronic aches and pains, my beloved health food store provides the ingredients I need to stay healthy, energized and medication-free.
“You are what you eat, so don't be fast, easy, cheap or fake." -Unknown
Here are 10 changes I’ve witnessed over the years, and why I love health food stores more than ever!
1. Healthy organic produce – yeah! In the old days, organic onions, potatoes, celery and apples were the fodder for the day. Today I’m delighted to see organic black kale, juicy blackberries, spicy kimchee, and snowy white cauliflower. Health food stores with a produce section are likely to have more variety and often better prices, because that’s what they specialize in.
2. Glam cosmetics & skin care – hurray! For years I searched for skin care products without toxic ingredients. The pickings for soaps and body lotions were slim. Forget alluring cosmetics – they didn’t exist. Now, I revel in the gorgeous pallets of eye shadows and lipsticks, without worrying about rubbing Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid on my skin.
3. Personal guidance – thanks! I’m fortunate that my local health food store is staffed with experts such as naturopaths and homeopaths. When I’m not sure which supplement to buy, I can ask for guidance about ingredients, dosages, and which brand works best for what
4. Baby products – yahoo! The wee ones in our lives are the most sensitive to toxins in everything from food to lotions and toothpaste. I’m delighted to see healthy, innovate snacks, and baby care products that not only look adorable, but are as safe as they are cute.
5. Superfoods –to the rescue! Choose your health elixir. It’s all here, from Spirulina and Chlorella to exotic black sesame seeds and golden berries. You can choose one superfood or many to mix into your morning smoothie. Or stock up on local superfoods such as wild blueberries or the humble onion.
6.Coffee, chocolate, almond butter –yum! I love getting organic, fair trade coffee to kick-start my morning. Ditto dark chocolate with every flavor from cassis to red chili peppers. Then there’s almond butter, cashew butter, sunflower butter, and an increasing selection of delicious spreads, dips, salsas, and tasty treats. Hurray for natural products that support my health and the planet.
7. Food fairs – can’t get enough! The store where I shop frequently has samples of new green drinks, almond and cashew clusters to chew on, and new lotions to sniff and smooth on your skin. For a health junkie like me, it’s a pleasurable way to spend the afternoon.
8. Beauty demos – love them! I had the best “make-over” ever from a makeup artist gone rogue. She used to work for a big cosmetics company, and now uses only natural brands. I bought the products she suggested because if natural can look this good…I’m in!
9. Educational events-I’m all over them! Bring in the health experts, alternative health authors and organic chefs. I’ve seen rooms packed with eager health aficionados, and people starting their journey towards healing. I always learn something valuable at these in-house presentations.
10. Take-home food – easy! Two health food stores in my area provide fresh, organic, ready-made food. Sometimes I just don’t have time to cook, so I pick up a few salads and side dishes. I feel so much better knowing the food is organic and Non-GMO. This makes it a huge benefit for me over buying take-out food anywhere else.
If you have a local health food store that you haven’t visited lately, check it out. You might be surprised and delighted at what you find there. After all, your health food store is your partner in health!
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