Kitchen Matters

Natural Shopping Savvy

Health food stores offer a unique selection of carefully curated products-learn how to get the most from your local "Mom & Pop" shop.

Once upon a time, local grocery stores dotted the American landscape. Then along came progress in the form of “super” markets, and soon the shopping habits of a nation altered forever.

Or did they? Retro is “in,” and everything old is new again, usually with a twist. And I’m happy to report you can once again find a growing proliferation of small local establishments from which to obtain many of your culinary and household needs-only now they’re “Mom & Pop” health food stores, serving up a selection of carefully curated products that exemplify the best of current health trends.

In the past, I tended to use my local health food store as an extra stop, somewhere I could get my vitamins, herbs, and other supplements, maybe a quick loaf of bread, and of course my latest copy of Better Nutrition. But lately I’ve realized that it’s possible to get pretty much everything I need in these service-oriented, nurturing environments.

Need some freshly baked gluten-free muffins? Want some healthy snacks for the kids? Looking for some safe organic baby food, gentle animal-friendly skin lotion, nutritious frozen meals, real whole-grain cereals, or organic soups? It’s all here, right at your fingertips. Some, like my neighborhood “Full O’ Life” store, even have a little café, where you can count on running into your neighbors as you treat yourself to a tasty breakfast dish or a carefully crafted sandwich.

So those are some of the personal reasons to make the shift in your shopping habits to encompass this new and improved version of the good old days. But there are greater benefits here as well, both environmental and social. In supporting local health food stores, we participate in the locavore movement by encouraging sourcing of goods from closer to home; and we put our dollars directly back into the local economy, rather than enriching some faraway conglomerate.

Rethink your grocery list, locate your nearest health food store, and head on over there-everybody wins!