As you move toward a healthier way of preparing your foods and purchasing them, it might be helpful to learn from others’ experience on how to shop for that best quality, best price. There is no easy answer to this question. Its going to mean you shop at 2 to 4 stores to get all your items best for least.
I start with my favorite: Whole Foods. This store gives you a good feeling just walking through the isles! I am not kidding! There have been many a time I drove up in the parking lot of Whole Foods feeling really tired, not so good and like it was an effort to get there to shop. When I get into the store, the air even seems to explode with oxygen! There are bright colors all around you. They have the most wonderful displays. I always start in the produce section and work my way up and down the isles to the end.
I am cost concious. Do not be afraid of going to Whole Foods. Yes, it has some high end priced items, but you do not have to choose those. Go there to get the items that are priced well yet have the best quality and likely you cannot find those items anywhere else! Whole Foods is a uniquely operated store. Here are items I look for at Whole Foods that many times beat the prices of other “discount” conventional stores, but the “discount” stores would not be organically grown without pesticides and on naturally fertilized soil without any genetic engineering. So, here are some items I would go to Whole Foods to get: 1. Meats – if you want a beef product that does not have growth hormones in the meat, this is the place to go. Prices for there average cuts of meat are within the normal range and sometimes even less! I remember looking at some ground beef at Walmart @$4.00 and something per pound. I could get an all natural with no hormones variety from Whole Foods for less! Chicken. There chicken is free range, not caged and is not doctored with growth hormones. The prices are very near what the conventional grocers are, sometimes even less! You will find these Whole Food chickens not so stuffed with fat so that you are getting more for your money. Also, Whole Foods has some all natural, no chemicals, hand made sausages that you can grill that are in a variety of tastes and either pork, chicken or beef sausages. There meats are just fantastic. Also, if you want something different, a la “duck” or “buffalo’ , Whole Foods is the place to go. They usually have tasting displays when you shop on Saturdays.
2. Cheeses – if you like on occasion to have something other than the standard packaged Kraft or other hard cheeses, Whole Foods has a variety of cheeses from around the world and are reasonably priced. You can treat yourself to some Australian Cheddar now and them, for example.
3. Bread – there is a wonderful bakery in Whole Foods where you can get all kinds of different breads baked with all kinds of grains, including low carb grains such as spelt, barley, whole wheat, rye. They also carry organic bread vendor’s foods which are good. The vendor breads are a little pricey. The fresh deli baked and bagged are fairly inexpensive. I like the Whole Food brand sandwich honey wheat bread for daily use.
4. Fruits- Whole Foods has an outstanding produce department. While there are some items in there that are exotic or rare to see with high price tags, there are plenty of others items in the organic category that are not so pricey. If you go to the store at least once per month, you will see organic apples on sale or regularly at good prices. I have purchased organic apples at almost half the cost of regular store bought apples from conventional grocers. i.e. $1.69 to $1.99 is a very good price for organic apples. Its important to me to purchase the organic apples because apples are heavily sprayed with pesticides as a rule. Organic has no such pesticides and are not waxed. Their organic bananas are slightly more than regular, if not the same. Sometimes I find deals on strawberries that beat Sam’s prices on fresh strawberries, and they are top brands. I like to buy their organic peaches. Even if they are a little more than some other conventional peach, the taste is so outstanding and organically grown. You can have confidence you are putting something whole into your body and enjoy it!
5. Veges – I like to buy their Celery because its fat and juicy and organic. Its hard to find organic celery and even harder to find juicy wide pieces of celery. Also, I buy their beautiful radishes! Bright red, almost orangy red radishes about 4 times the size of any conventional radish and the cost is probably less or comparable to conventional pricing. I especially like to buy Whole Foods onions and potatoes. They are the only ones I have found I can get these items organically grown. The taste is great. Its important when buying potatoes that you get ones grown in naturally fertilized soil rather than chemically fertilized. The potato being a root will be full of chemicals from that soil otherwise. I like everyone of their choices of these and they are very economically priced.
6. Snacks – I like to have some all natural, no chemical, no chemically made sugar drinks. Whole Foods has a great variety of their brand of natural sodas without phophates, without high fructose corn syrup or any other type of chemical. They are imitations of Dr. Pepper, Coke, Root Beer, Ginger Ayle and fruit sodas made with real fruit juice! They have an excellent line of chemical free sugar free sodas also made with Stevia, no calories and great taste! No guilt sodas! I like their baked cheese twists, all of their cookies – although I now bake my own cookies.
7. They have a great assortment of organic juices. If you use things like unsweetened Cranberry juice for your health, this is where to go and get these for best pricing and quality. My family loves the all natural lemonade they have at less than $3.00 per half gallon. Also, I buy their organic apple juice. All of these are great for your health.
8. Cosmetics – they have all natural cosmetics, but I usually do not buy these, I buy some of their Shea Butter lotion, Vitamin E cream, Aloe Vera hand soap and sometimes a little treat for the bath, bath salts. There is everything from toothpaste to deodorant, shampoos, etc. I buy their “no Sodium Laural Sulfate” shampoo products.
9. Supplements – I usually order my supplements online, but there are times I purchase these from Whole Foods when I need something quick. Prices are good. I buy Whole Foods sugar free Vanilla Whey Powder monthly to make our favorite smoothies!
10. Flowers and other unusual items – on occasion I might purchase something as a gift for a friend or just for myself – I like their hand made soaps!
11. Mayo, Olive Oil and Canola Oil, all organic
12. Whole Wheat, Unbleached White, Spelt, Rye and other Flours for baking, non-aluminum baking powder, all natural organic dark chocolate chips, and there are numerous things in their bulk “help yourself” isle such as an assortment of dried fruits, fresh ground peanut butter that you grind yourself! Their orgnanic sugars, xylitol, raw honey.
13. Milks- unsweetened coconut milk, unsweetened almond milk, 365 brand non-fat yogurt, greek yogurt, Brown Cow yogurt
14. Frozen veges on occasion.
16. Packaged foods for quick meals, like oatmeal, potatoes all organic and cheap!
17. Novelty sugar free jellies!
18. No preservative turkey bacon or regular pork bacon.
At this store I buy some of their hydroponically grown lettuce, their lemons, limes, Tyson Chicken bag of frozen chicken breasts (great price and lasts enough for probably 30 meals for $20.00 or so), oranges, all natural low carb protein bars (Ozone) sugar free, spices, toiletries and paper goods, on occasion they have all natural laundry soaps with no coloring, fresh catfish, hard cheeses, raw nuts (walnuts, almonds), their bags of Royal long grain rice (aromatic), various things.
When I am unable to get to one of the other stores, this one is close and they do have some good options. I would get some nice looking tomatoes – on the vine, lettuce, and any of the items we use daily. Also, they have good all natural ranch yogurt dressing, some organic substitute milks, all natural butters, all natural deli meats for sandwiches (Oscar Myer has this option with no chemicals to preserve) and organic or cage free eggs, conventional pickles, applesauce, sometimes purchase pork chops and ground beef – never chicken.
HEB or Central Market – I like their produce department, their bakery is similar to what is offered at Whole Foods but less expensive, they have some good organic apples, not too expensive and other deals on fruits and veges from time to time. Their milks are less costly than Whole Foods. Their eggs are more costly than Whole Foods. Their yogurt is about the same price. Their cheeses are more costly and not as good variety as Whole Foods.
Tips on washing veges and fruits: I learned about 15 years ago that its not always possible to get our foods organic. Whether you buy organic or conventional, this tip works well for both. Wash you veges and fruits in sink full of water with 15 drops or more of Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) by Nutribiotics. If you buy 1 bottle of this it will last you a couple of years! All you have to do is set it out on the shelf, its does not go bad. It cuts the pesticides and kills bacteria off your fresh produce. Lay them out and let air dry then wrap up in a very clean towel and put in plastic bag securely closed and it will last you a couple of weeks! (refrigerated). You can get Nutribiotics from Vitamin Shoppe and other online stores like that. I wash all of my produce the minute I get home with it, lay it all over the kitchen on towels to dry and then put in bags ready to use for 2 weeks! This is the secret to having fresh meals with salads and veges.
More to come on future posts! Stay tuned on our journey toward good health and better habits!