What should I buy?
Where do I buy it?
These were some of the first questions I asked when we began focusing on a healthier lifestyle, and some of the most common questions we’re asked at Whole Intentions. I’ve listed some of our favorite shopping sites and the items commonly seen on our grocery list to help you get started.
Before we begin, I just want to say: don’t be discouraged if you can’t buy everything locally grown or organic. It’s expensive – we know! We buy what we can, choosing what we feel is most important, and try to make wise and careful decisions about the rest. Sometimes we buy organic, and sometimes it’s the good ol’ grocery store produce section. Do what you can, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t.
Whole food buying sources
Azure Standard – This is our #1 go-to source. They have a HUGE inventory and are expanding all the time. They deliver to 26 states (last I checked) and a quick phone call (541-467-2230) will let you know if they deliver to your area.
Amazon.com – The thing I love about Amazon is that they have both good and bad reviews from ‘the people’. I like knowing what others have liked or disliked about a product or company before I buy. You can find just about anything and their Prime Membership and Subscribe & Save options come in handy too.
Bulk Herb Store – Herbs, herbs, and more herbs. I fell in love when I was introduced to their tea, Mama’s Red Raspberry Brew which made an enormous difference in my last labor and continues to astound me with how positively it affects my monthly cycle.
Cultures for Health – my fermenting ‘go-to’ site for starters: yogurt (this is where I get the easiest yogurt on planet earth), kefir, sourdough, kombucha, and so much more. I’ve never been unsatisfied with their products.
iHerb.com – This is one of our most used sources too. I’ve been able to find good quality foods items for excellent prices and I’ve never been unsatisfied. They offer free shipping on U.S. orders over $20. And if you’re a first time customer, enter the code “FEV319” to get $5 off your first order. 🙂
Just Almonds.com – This is my absolute favorite place to buy almonds. Their almonds are PPO free, GMO free, and they use steam pasteurization on all their products. Use coupon code ‘whole’ to get 10% off your entire order!
Tropical Traditions – anything and everything coconut!
Wilderness Family Naturals – These guys have great prices anyway, but if you can sign up to be a part of their buying club, you get wholesale prices. This makes us hop, skip, and dance when we order organic cacao.
Weiss Woods – pure maple syrup – delicious! And yes, hands down the best prices we’ve found anywhere – even with shipping. 🙂
What to look for when buying whole foods
If you can, purchase as much of your meat, eggs, produce, and such through local farmers. If you don’t how to find farmers in your area, ask around or check some of these sites below. You can type in your zip code or state and find farmers through their databases.
MEATS – for the best meats, look for pasture fed beef. Organic is good, but unfortunately it’s not always the best. For example, that could mean the cattle are being fed organic soy, and soy is something you want to stay away from whether it’s organic or not. Looking for a local farmer that has a good reputation. Browse the links above to find farmers in your area.
If you can’t find a farmer, at least go to a local meat market or your grocery store’s meat counter rather than the prepackaged/frozen meats from big name companies. Their meat is pretty much guaranteed to have a ton of antibiotics, growth hormones, and who knows what else injected into them.
NUTS & BEANS – here, organic is definitely best.
- nuts – almonds are the nut of choice around here. Adrienne over at Whole New Mom wrote an excellent article about almonds and engine fuel. Yeah. You gotta read it. We soak and dehydrate them for snacks as well as making almond butter. Shy away from pistachios, peanuts, and cashews as they are susceptible to mold growth.
- beans – beans and rice, rice and beans! 🙂 Limit your bean intake if you have candida (too much starch and carbs), and when you do eat them, don’t forget to soak them first.
- milk – raw milk is one of the items we’ve come to deem very important. It’s getting harder and harder to find so if you can’t find it locally, your next best option is organic. This is actually more expensive than raw milk in some areas though. If nothing else, try to buy milk that isn’t homogenized or doesn’t have RsBT or growth hormones.
- yogurt, sour cream, and cream cheese – Make sour cream and cream cheese from your homemade yogurt. Three for the price of one! Yogurt is also an acidic medium used in soaking and sprouting grains, nuts, and beans – and nothing beats a cold bowl sprinkled with homemade granola!
- kefir – teaming with beneficial probiotics, kefir boosts your immune system by promoting healthy bacteria in your gut, gives you better digestion, and is an absolute must if you’ve had to take antibiotics. Kefir can also be used for soaking grains and beans.
- butter – grass-fed is best of course, followed by organic. If you’ve got a mixer, try making your own from cream.
- cheese – limit cheeses somewhat due to both candida and molds. Look for blocks of cheese instead of shredded since the shredded has added ingredients (wheat or starches) to keep the pieces from sticking to each other.
- coconut oil – I can’t even tell you how much I love, love, love coconut oil. The health benefits and metabolism boosting secrets of this oil have made this my absolute favorite food. Buy expeller pressed if you don’t want the strong coconut flavor in everything you cook. Have I mentioned how much I love it? Please excuse me while I go hug my pail. 🙂
- butter – Look for organic, grass-fed if at all possible. One of our favorite butter-using recipes is Candida Diet, Sugar-Free Ice Cream.
- coconut flour – a great grain-free alternative for baking with all the health benefits of coconut. What more could a girl ask for?
- millet, buckwheat, amaranth, and quinoa – all make good grains (don’t forget to soak them first). You can also mill these and use them in gluten-free baking.
- stevia – there’s not much I can say about this wonderful, naturally sweet, I’m-totally-hooked-on herb except that it’s safe on a candida diet, about 300 times sweeter than sugar, and has been used for centuries as a sweetener. You can read more about my thoughts on stevia and its safety here.
- honey (raw) – if you can, try to buy your honey locally. Some say local honey can help cure seasonal allergies. Honey’s an immune booster. It’s been used for thousands of years and was revered for it’s medicinal qualities. Be careful if you’re one of many battling candida though. Honey is still sugar to your body, whether the local bees made it or not, and you’ll want to avoid it.
- 100% pure maple syrup – Store-bought syrups are LOADED with high fructose corn syrup – that’s pretty much all they are really. Pure maple sugar is still a sugar, yes, so it should be limited. But if you do use syrup, please look for pure maple syrup rather than eating the harmful effects of HFCS. We love the taste (and price!) of Weiss Woods.
- cane sugar – sugar is sugar; it should all be very limited. But for those occasions that call for sugar and no other substitutes will work, we use organic cane sugar which is not nearly as processed as white sugar.
Just remember, there’s really only a few simple guidelines.
- Buy unprocessed foods as much as possible.
- Buy organic as much as possible.
- Try preparing dressings and condiments from scratch.
- The fewer ingredients listed on the container, the better.
- You are what you eat. The healthier you eat. . .
Don’t be too overwhelmed. Take it a step at a time. Get familiar with one process or one change and then add another.
Where are your favorite places to shop?