Picking favorite grocery stores is very personal and based on many different criteria and individual preferences. What's important to me might not be important to you, but when it comes to healthy food, we can agree on one thing - there has to be some natural eats and drinks at a grocery store to qualify it for a health food store. All 11 that I reviewed and rated have some good options, but they are far from equal.
Health stores strive to offer organic produce, fresh squeezed juice, wild caught fish, and sell products that are responsively harvested with environment in mind. If you have ever found yourself in an expensive and hip looking grocery store with paper bags and friendly people, you have probably visited a healthy food store.
Some of such stores are well-known national brands, but there are plenty of smaller local stores that don't have many locations. This is what I think are the most worthy of our attention healthy food grocery stores:
This store has only one location in Solem, Oregon and the town is lucky. It's on the top of the list because places like these are hard to find. The store has been around for over 25 years and is celebrated around for its support of local farmers and abundant choices of all organic produce, natural products, supplements, beauty items, and most importantly, information for anybody who wants to live better and healthier lives. This type of personal touch is not available at major national chains.
Every time you step into one of their stores, you can feel transported back in time with cozy atmosphere and nice selection of local foods and artisan roasted, baked, and brewed delicacies. The company has 5 stores in Philadelphia and every one of them strives for greatness, as many organic choices as possible, and promotes biodynamic farming. Everything in the stores celebrates healthy choices and supports community.
This market is based in Chicago and is more than just a market. Customers love butcher's shop with all kinds of sustainable all-animal meats, a cafe with seasonal offerings, workshops, and even cooking classes. The store is beloved for its local breads, meats, cheeses, and much more.
With only two locations in San Francisco, the company practices transparency and social and environmental responsibility to the highest standards. The grocer focuses on local produce and sustainable meats. They constantly monitor the impact their practices have on employees, environment, and shoppers.
This healthy food market has only one location - Pewaukee, Wisconsin, but their impact is very significant in the community. They are so passionate about human footprint, that the entire store is built from recycled materials and is very much energy-efficient. They use only renewable energy and never had any plastic bags, before it was a popular practice.
The list like this wouldn't be complete without healthy food giant Whole Foods. They sell natural and organic food on national scale and offers more than just products. The store has always been about values and mindset, so expect only best fish, meat, produce, wine, snacks, and ready-to-eat hot food. The prices are known to be on an expensive side.
This health store wants to make organic food affordable for all, so expect great prices on human and planet friendly offers. You won't often find a place that will ban 125 harmful ingredients on its organic and non-organic offers. Even European Union might not be that strict. And all of that for affordable prices!
This store has been around since 1933 and has seen significant growth for almost 100 years in Manhattan, New Jersey, Brooklyn, Long Island, and Stamford, Connecticut. It has recently filed for bankruptcy, but has no plans to close down. It operates 15 grocery stores and 4 wine and spirits locations. Every one of them sells organic food and offers natural choices, so definitely visit their stores if you find one.
Sadly, this is not a national chain, but people in New Jersey and Pennsylvania should rejoice. The food retailer's goal is to bring natural and organic food for less. Shoppers will find discounts every day and will always have a huge choice of vitamins, supplements, herbs, and essential oils. All produce is 100% organic, so you won't have to question their offers and read descriptions.
This supermarket chain can be found in most states and claim to be healthy for less. Organic Sprouts Brand products all have money back guarantee and the company claims to be socially and environmentally responsible. My experience with them is somewhat different - I find fruit and veggies to not be the best quality, but I love their health and nut sections.
Not everything there is organic or natural, but many things are. Add unique offers from around the world and affordable prices, and you will understand why Trader Joe's has quite a following. About 80% of all products are signature TJ's brand and thus are GMO-free. You should read the labels, but chances are that most items at the store will make healthy food lover happy.
Scientists agree and popular opinion follows that organic way of life is good for you. Putting organic food in your body and using more natural cleaning and personal care products can't be bad for humanity and for environment - we can all agree with that. However, those of us who desire to try this organic living are often met with countless obstacles. First, it's expensive and very different than what we are used to. Second, not everybody has easy access to organic and natural groceries and products; you need not only money, but specialty stores for that. And finally, thinking about it, searching, and wanting to change things for you and your family can be downright tiring.
This is why we recommend taking it easy and starting slowly, instead of going cold turkey on your previous life and starting over from scratch. We believe that taking baby steps will condition you for changes better and allow some time to grow slowly. Changing one thing and seeing benefits will encourage you to keep going instead of looking back and thinking about quitting.
Take a look at some small steps and strategies for incorporating more organic aspects into your life, slowly:
We believe that buying organic staples can be an excellent first step. It's neither very hard, nor very expensive to buy organic milk, eggs, some meat, produce, and cold pressed oils. Start with that and see how it feels. Planting some vegetables by the house and cooking as a family is also a great way to get everybody involved and caring about their health.
While the price might be just a little bit higher, in addition to feeling good, you will save on health care - treat it as a long term investment.
Buying local goes beyond just your own table - you are helping your national, regional, and local economies. First of all, you support the environment by reducing the need to import food from around the world and thus reducing the greenhouse gas emissions. You are also helping to keep money in the state economy and provide funds for local farmers who can survive and feed their families.
The biggest benefit for you is fresh produce and organic choices.
Always seek farmers markets in your area if you only can. You can find out about their growing practices and how to best enjoy all the in-season veggies and fruit. If none are available, look for organic produce delivery service, which will bring you boxes of fresh stuff and will encourage you to look for new healthy recipes.
Eating out is great from time to time, but there not so many organic restaurants. When you spend money on fresh natural vegetables, make sure to use them and make healthy meals at home. It’s cheaper that way too! Try bakingshop.com and organics.org for healthy organic recipes.
Traditional soaps, shower gels, creams, shaving lotions, and hair care contain all kinds of chemicals that can cause irritation, hormonal problems, and even some types of cancer. The same goes for dental care - organic tooth paste doesn't have harsh chemicals, glycerin, dies, and sugars. Use charcoal toothbrush to fight bacteria and for whiter teeth.
Switching to organic products can help alleviate all kinds of issues or just make you feel good about what you put on your skin.
If you care about natural foods and beauty needs, do the same with cleaning supplies. Typical ones contain bleach and ammonia, so look for brands that make organic wipes and sprays. You can even make your own with vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda.
Living organically goes hand in hand with taking care of the environment. Conserve energy, use less AC and heating, take public transportation, bike, walk - all of those things help and save money.
They are for reading, so read them and you might be very surprised. Take some time and read the ingredient and nutritional list before putting something in your shopping cart. Avoid things that have years of shelf life, fat-free foods, and the ones laden with tons of sugar. The less processed foods you will eat, the better. Some things you will find on the labels can be totally new to you, in that case think if your grandma would know them - if yes, it might be fine, if not, put them back.
We mean avoid center isles with all their cookies, juices, and pasta, but walk around the store and shop bakery, fish, meat, diary, and produce sections.
Plant something and watch it change how you eat. You might not have space for veggies boxes, but you surely have a windowsill or a small balcony for herbs or cherry tomato pot. Even if you don't cook, munching on tomatoes or a leaf of basil is the best way to get vitamins.
Don't become too rigid and lose the joy of life. It's fine not to get everything organic and it is fine to take baby steps. The most important thing is to be comfortable with your choices and to enjoy your life.