Good To Know

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I made my weekly shopping trip to Trader Joe’s on Friday. You might be wondering why I’m posting about grocery shopping…so mundane, I know.

Keep in mind that (1.) I live in a city of about 500,000 people and Trader Joe’s just moved in a few months ago and (2.) I have been stuck buying overpriced and not so healthy looking organic vegetables at two local grocery stores. And let me tell you, when you leave a grocery store with organic vegetables that are priced triple, sometimes quadruple what “regular” vegetables are priced and they last less than a few days in the fridge because they are already old when you buy them…you’d be excited about high quality, low priced organic foods too!

This is about a weeks worth of organic vegetables for my husband and I, minus a couple of items that I had forgotten, like parsley, mushrooms, and kale. Hold onto your hat because you’re going to be blown away when I tell you that this table full of organic vegetables only cost us………..

$40.23

I once had to pay $7.99 a pound for organic bell peppers at our local “health” food grocer. That works out to about $3.99 per pepper. I bought SIX fresh, organic, bell peppers yesterday at Trader Joe’s for $7.00 total. If you live in my area, or if you have a Trader Joe’s in your area and you are looking to get as many pesticides and deadly yuck out of your food as possible, it’s worth a little trip to Trader Joe’s to check out their organic produce.

Plus, they have all kinds of other interesting items. Like, Two Buck Chuck that I wrinkled my nose at and then come to find out…is actually a decent table wine. There are a lot of different opinions on this wine. According to one of Trader Joe’s employees, Charles Shaw purchases excess grapes from local vineyards at an extremely low price and produces and sells the wine. So not low quality grapes, just excess grapes. I haven’t tried all of them, but I will. I love wine and am not such a wine snob that I’m not willing to try different types at different price levels.

Trader Joe’s is right above the kind of trendy and one of the more affluent areas in our town. I am a weird grocery shopper and love to see what’s in other people’s carts and what different “types” of people are buying. So far, each time I’ve shopped up there it’s not the young people on tight budgets, lonely old men and women, raging alcoholics, or vagrants looking for a good deal like you sometimes see with Mad Dog 20/20 or Old English 800 in their carts…it’s well dressed “south hillies” as I like to call them. And, much to critics surprise, Mr. Shaw’s Two Buck Chuck has been going pretty strong for 10 years. There must be something good about it besides just it’s inexpensive price, but I’ll let you decide.

Last time I was up there I also ran across their new Falafel chips! So far I’ve had them plain, with spicy jalapeno hummus, and made gluten-free, dairy-free nachos with them. They are so good and quite addictive!

Did you know that they also have a SIX page list of 100% gluten-free items that they sell that are listed by aisle? (By 100% I mean that the list does not include gluten-free items that are manufactured on equipment with other allergens. Their list is serious business. So if you are not bothered by gluten-free items that are manufactured on equipment that also make allergen items, this means there are even more gluten-free foods you can buy at Trader Joe’s that are not on the list, just read labels carefully.) You can download a general list from their website, or the next time you’re in Trader Joe’s, just ask for one and they will kindly grab one for you that is tailored more toward your store.

I was impressed by the young man in the produce section that overhead me talking to my mom and asked me if I would like him to get me the list… and he was up to his elbows in veggies. He dropped everything, ran to get me the list, then added that everything (besides the obvious) in Trader Joe’s that is gluten-free has an “g” printed on it somewhere on the front of the item either on the lower right corner or the lower left.

Easy AND awesome!

Also found this huge bar of dark, Belgian chocolate (dairy free), which is significantly less expensive than the two types of dark chocolate I typically buy and they aren’t Belgian either.

 If you have food allergies, it pays to shop around in more ways than one. Don’t settle for a boring diet because you think “there’s nothing you can eat”. You couldn’t be more wrong. Take a Saturday or lazy Sunday and hit several different grocery stores and see what there is to see. You’ll be surprised when you start reading labels and doing a little investigating. Your goal is to make your diet healthier by eliminating allergens and exchanging them for equally exciting and palatable things.

Also, if you are trying to heal your body by living allergen free, it only makes sense that your next step would be to try to purchase healthy, pesticide and hormone free, vegetables and meats as much as possible. If I can buy it organic, I do. If I can’t, I try not to fret too much about it. So don’t get all freaked out about it. Every little bit helps. Do your homework, and if you have a couple of different grocery store choices, find out which one has the freshest and most logically priced pesticide and hormone free items and go for it. You’ll be thankful you did.

A healthy body requires the full package and all the love you can give it.

Hope everyone has a great week! Today I am working on adapting Cooking Light’s Dinner Rolls recipe. The first go around didn’t go.

This is what they looked like going into the oven (so pretty, I was really hoping they would do what they were supposed to!)

And…this is what they looked like coming out of the oven. No color and a horrible, dense and crumbly texture. Ick!

We’ll have to wait and see what the next tweaked batch brings. If it doesn’t work out…back to the drawing board and on to the gluten-free graham crackers I have planned for later today.

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3 thoughts on “Good To Know

  1. What a ringing endorsement! I’d no idea that Trader Joe’s had so many gluten-free items. Things really have change for the better for people living a gluten-free lifestyle. That is some load of organic vegetables on your table and their cost is incredible! Looks to me like there’ll be some great veggie dishes in your place this week.

  2. Thanks for this thorough description today, I hadn’t ever been to Trader Joe’s but have been reading about it everywhere online. Now I get it.. and.. I’m afraid “I don’t get it” because we don’t have one here:( I wish we did, you are so lucky!! What incredible selection they have and excellent customer service!

  3. Woohoo!!! I share your love for Trader Joe’s – I am constantly surprised at my total price when checking out, but I never ever complain about it ;-) And yes, Two Buck Chuck is really super fantastic. When I asked them why it’s so good, they told me the grapes they purchase for their chardonnay is from Castoro Cellars, which just happens to be one of my favorite California Central Coast wineries – you can’t beat that!!!

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