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Old 07-19-2011, 05:43 PM   #1
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Default Finding Good Food

I got off work a little early today so I thought I'd stop at a grocery store on the way home. I usually shop at Trader Joe's but today I thought I'd save some gas and shop at the big box supermarket closest to home (FoodCo). I got a bit of an education. I won't buy any item that contains high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, or unnecessary amounts of sugar. Given this I couldn't find any peanut butter I could buy -- they didn't have any unsweetened ice tea (a staple in 100 degree Fresno) -- all their jam had HFCS ...

I left the store with just fruit and a gallon of milk (in fairness these were reasonably priced and the fruit was good quality). Ironically the processed items loaded with sugar, HFCS, and trans-fats cost more at this so called discount supermarket than good alternatives cost at Trader Joe's (or even Whole Foods). For example: peanut butter laced with sugar and partially hydrogenated oil cost 60 cents more than natural unadulterated peanut butter at Trader Joe's (10 cents more than the Whole Foods house brand).

So my question is why are people buying this crap when there are better alternatives available that don't cost any more?
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Old 07-19-2011, 06:28 PM   #2
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People like getting what they're used to...and maybe just personal preference and/or not knowing there's other things out there, or the difference among different products.

Your post reminds me of a situation my half-sister is coming across as she is getting older. She's very allergic to corn, and thus can't have anything with anything related to corn in it. People sometimes ask her how she manages to put up with not having so many certain things...but she's never had them before, so she doesn't really know what she's missing out on/doesn't "know" the difference.
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Old 07-19-2011, 06:39 PM   #3
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I am seriously envious of anyone who has access to BOTH Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. Here in sunny Oklahoma the nearest Whole Foods is in Dallas ... and HFCS is considered one of the major food groups.
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Old 07-19-2011, 06:46 PM   #4
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I know your point is larger than peanut butter, but I have yet to find a single grocery store that doesn't carry Teddie. Next time peek around and see if they have it.

http://www.teddie.com/nutrition.html
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Old 07-19-2011, 08:37 PM   #5
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I got off work a little early today so I thought I'd stop at a grocery store on the way home. I usually shop at Trader Joe's but today I thought I'd save some gas and shop at the big box supermarket closest to home (FoodCo). I got a bit of an education. I won't buy any item that contains high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, or unnecessary amounts of sugar. Given this I couldn't find any peanut butter I could buy -- they didn't have any unsweetened ice tea (a staple in 100 degree Fresno) -- all their jam had HFCS ...

I left the store with just fruit and a gallon of milk (in fairness these were reasonably priced and the fruit was good quality). Ironically the processed items loaded with sugar, HFCS, and trans-fats cost more at this so called discount supermarket than good alternatives cost at Trader Joe's (or even Whole Foods). For example: peanut butter laced with sugar and partially hydrogenated oil cost 60 cents more than natural unadulterated peanut butter at Trader Joe's (10 cents more than the Whole Foods house brand).

So my question is why are people buying this crap when there are better alternatives available that don't cost any more?

wow.a store that actually charges MORE for the less healthy stuff? mind=blown.it's usually the other way around
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Old 07-19-2011, 08:52 PM   #6
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So my question is why are people buying this crap when there are better alternatives available that don't cost any more?
We don't have either of those stores here, and the places that do specialise in that type of food are much more expensive than at the supermarket. My budget doesn't stretch that far.
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Old 07-19-2011, 10:04 PM   #7
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"why are people buying this crap when there are better alternatives available that don't cost any more?"

I live in a state with no Trader Joe's, however there are plenty of Whole Foods and even my local Publix has tons of organic and natural products. When I lived in New York I had that plus TJ's, produce shops, and multiple independent organic stores. BUT many people do not have these choices.

There is a documentary called Bodega Down Bronx that touches on this problem, by looking at the offerings at local bodegas and the effect on that community. An example they look at is bananas, which are generally considered cheap fruit, except if at your local bodega not only is it more expensive, but low quality, and in short supply, you aren't going to buy it. Additionally if profit margins on chips, candy, and whatever else is higher and has a longer shelf life than fresh produce, AND there are no big box supermarkets to compete for customers, there is no incentive for bodega owners to carry more fresh produce.

Simply put, many people just do not have the access you do. Being able to drive to the market of your choice is a privilege many don't have, likewise for living in a community where there are varied grocery stores. For many it's a crappy cycle, they don't have the money, when they have the money there is no good food available on which to spend it, if they make time to go find it, that's time away from earning enough money...and so forth.

Let's face it, despite it's price point, even Trader Joe's usually opens near affluent neighborhoods, in nyc that may be blocks away but in many places its 20+ miles. And in many "bad" neighborhoods big box chain supermarkets also refuse to open stores.

There is also a quality issue. Often the same store that may be, clean, reasonably priced, and carry high quality merchandise in one neighborhood, may be dim, dirty, expensive, and low quality in another. Usually this is no accident. Retailers have a captive audience/consumer in less upwardly mobile communities, so they prey on them. While logic would dictate the wealthier the community the higher an item would cost, it turns out the opposite is true, because the poor often don't have the luxury of time or transportation to shop around.

Even when there are healthier, cheaper alternatives available there is still the issue of nutritional education, which again unfortunately, is often a class issue. If you don't know about hfcs and hydrogenated oils, you don't know to look for peanut butter without it.

Most people probably make the best choices they can given their circumstance and knowledge.
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Old 07-19-2011, 10:38 PM   #8
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Up here in Alaska, we lack both Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, so I'm SOL in that regard. We have a natural foods store that has a great supplement section, a pretty good bulk section, and awesome kefir. However, the canned and boxed stuff is super expensive so I buy it rarely; every once in awhile I can get some stuff on sale like Tasty Bites Indian food which is perfect for my lunches, Kashi cereal for less than $6 a box, and canned organic sauces or boxed rice or quinoa sides.

I refuse to eat peanut butter that sugar or HFCS and so we buy Adams' peanut butter, crunchy. I love it. It takes a little bit to mix in the oil at first, but then it's great. They even have organic which I can sometimes find.

I get most of my natural foods either at Safeway or Fred Meyer, both of which have pretty good natural food selections and an organic store brand. It's occasionally a little more expensive, but other than meat it's not too bad. I've even found organic chicken and ground beef at Costco (SCORE!!!) and stocked up. My bottom line is that, other than eating out, we eat only organic and free range chicken and beef, and usually get fish and moose and caribou from our friends who hunt and fish. I buy "happy" eggs from my friend who has happy hens that are free range, antibiotic free, and organically fed. Butter is always organic. Milk is always organic. I make yogurt from organic milk. Cheese is tough, and I'm not successful getting organic cheese regularly.

The worst part about living here are vegetables and fruit. Very little grows up here so everything is shipped up and it's all expensive. Organic is even moreso, and often just looks thrashed by the time it gets here. So I hit farmer's markets for the stuff that grows here -- onions, peas, zucchini, kale, cabbage, carrots, lettuce -- and search for decent produce. Hell, I'll even pay a lot for it if it's decent! I sometimes am stuck with frozen veggies because I just can't find anything fresh that's remotely edible.

But why don't others take these steps to eat healthily? I think for some, it's ignorance. I'm always amazed when my moms tell me they eat a healthy diet and I ask them, "What does that mean to you?" and they mention Subway, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell. YIKES! So lots of ignorance, and also it takes a lot of thought. There are times in my life when I've been too busy and haven't been as strict as I wanted to be. No doubt for those who know what's best, they can sometimes lack the time or support to make that extra effort.
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Old 07-20-2011, 03:02 PM   #9
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I am seriously envious of anyone who has access to BOTH Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. Here in sunny Oklahoma the nearest Whole Foods is in Dallas ... and HFCS is considered one of the major food groups.
I think Whole Foods is coming to OKC!
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Old 07-20-2011, 03:02 PM   #10
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I know your point is larger than peanut butter, but I have yet to find a single grocery store that doesn't carry Teddie. Next time peek around and see if they have it.

http://www.teddie.com/nutrition.html
I can't find that in Texas. I wonder if it's a regional thing?
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Old 07-24-2011, 01:32 PM   #11
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I have some skippy natural in my pantry that I've yet to open. It doesn't have HFC and I found it at walmart!

I happen to try this today: http://www.google.com/products/catal...ed=0CGgQ8gIwBA

It's powered peanut butter and it's yummy with less carbs, fat and calories. You mix it into stuff or you can mix it with water for a real peanut butter experience!

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Old 10-30-2011, 10:05 PM   #12
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Default Good Food

Looking for good quality food in Texas and need help in the same.
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Old 10-31-2011, 03:10 AM   #13
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" Looking for good quality food in Texas and need help in the same "

What part of the state are you in?
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Old 10-31-2011, 11:25 AM   #14
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I got off work a little early today so I thought I'd stop at a grocery store on the way home. I usually shop at Trader Joe's but today I thought I'd save some gas and shop at the big box supermarket closest to home (FoodCo). I got a bit of an education. I won't buy any item that contains high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, or unnecessary amounts of sugar. Given this I couldn't find any peanut butter I could buy -- they didn't have any unsweetened ice tea (a staple in 100 degree Fresno) -- all their jam had HFCS ...

I left the store with just fruit and a gallon of milk (in fairness these were reasonably priced and the fruit was good quality). Ironically the processed items loaded with sugar, HFCS, and trans-fats cost more at this so called discount supermarket than good alternatives cost at Trader Joe's (or even Whole Foods). For example: peanut butter laced with sugar and partially hydrogenated oil cost 60 cents more than natural unadulterated peanut butter at Trader Joe's (10 cents more than the Whole Foods house brand).

So my question is why are people buying this crap when there are better alternatives available that don't cost any more?
I'm not as conscientious as you are about healthy alternatives, since I do buy regular peanut butter and don't pay a lot of attention to labels. But I do make an effort to buy lots of fresh fruits and veggies, lean cuts of meat, and to minimize the starches. I hide the sugary items since my mother is diabetic (and lives with me). I shop at SuperTarget for the most part, but go to Whole Foods (or Byerly's) for fruit and veggies. I have to say, I'm surprised that you report their healthy alternatives are cheaper than big box store items. In my experience, Whole Foods and Byerly's cost a lot ... a LOT LOT LOT more than Target or other discount food chains, and that is everything from fresh produce right down to boxes of Kraft Mac 'n Cheese (yeah, I'm a real gouramand). I can see TJ's being a great alternative, and reasonably priced ... but Whole Foods? Really? I hate going to two grocery stores for one shopping trip, and I constantly price compare. I wouldn't even mind paying a little extra. But groceries for the number of people I have to feed in my home ... the difference between SuperTarget and Whole Foods can be as much as $50-$100 for the same exact items. As it is, SuperTarget is probably a good 20% higher than a discount chain, but I will pay that much extra for the convenience of having my items bagged for me ... not to mention, being able to sip on a latte while shopping.
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Old 10-31-2011, 02:39 PM   #15
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I have to say, I'm surprised that you report their healthy alternatives are cheaper than big box store items. In my experience, Whole Foods and Byerly's cost a lot ... a LOT LOT LOT more than Target or other discount food chains.
I wonder if this may be due to bigmac's living in southern California, where so much of this country's produce is grown? If Whole Foods and Byerly's buy locally, they may escape shipping charges that the chains otherwise pay to move their produce cross-country(and presumably spread over all their stores).
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Old 11-01-2011, 06:22 AM   #16
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In the late 90s my wife and I started making efforts to eat healthier. I'd say it is still an evolving process. We are both educated, well read, with good access to information.....but it still takes time.

Part is education--what should you be avoiding? What should you be looking for? For me at least, I can only integrate so much new information at once, so this has taken many steps.

Part is evolving your taste buds--getting used to less sweet and salt in your flavors and coming to embrace a larger variety of flavors.

Part is changing habits. Things that you've grown up doing or done for years seem so normal that it can take time to even question them. Like buying a particular brand of breakfast cereal that is not sugar coated and is advertised as whole wheat....took years before I read the ingredients and realized how high sodium it was, and that at some point they'd changed to using corn syrup (used to have some maltose, still a sugar, but one I'd consider prefereable to high fructose corn syrup).

Part is knowing where to find things. This varies from knowing where your local supermarket hides certain offerings to investigating various stores and markets and finding out what they each offer, and at what sort of price. Or finding out that one place air chills their meat while another water chills it, and the former doesn't have some of its weight made up of extra water that will quickly cook out.

Part is figuring our priorities. Is organic important to you? Is local? Or are you more concerned that it be low fat--and if you do, do you care about which kind of fats are in it? Is some high fructose corn syrup OK if the overall sugar content is low and the salt level is good? How much does flavor matter to you? How much does cost matter to you?

Part is improving cooking skills. If you can take raw spices and quickly make a curry mix, or can make soups from scratch, for example, you just really broadened your options and reduced the incentive to buy packaged ingredients.

Part is accumulating recipes, be they your own discoveries or recipes from others. I never looked twice at squash, although at this time of year they are abundant and cheap around here. Then my wife found an awesome recipe for butternut squash curry. Now we buy them fairly regularly, and that makes for a fairly cheap meal, making it easier to pay for the good quality meat from a local butcher.

I'm sure in another decade we'll look back on what we do now, and shake our heads and wonder aloud at how we thought this or that was sensible, and how silly we were.

So yah, just saying, even with a willingness to change, and access to information and stores, with a reasonable income and mobility.....it still takes time. If you are missing any of those things, it is going to be a whole lot harder and probably a lot slower.
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Old 11-01-2011, 08:49 AM   #17
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I wonder if this may be due to bigmac's living in southern California, where so much of this country's produce is grown? If Whole Foods and Byerly's buy locally, they may escape shipping charges that the chains otherwise pay to move their produce cross-country(and presumably spread over all their stores).
When I visit my family in Illinois I'm often surprised by the difference in prices, so this is probably part of it. Or maybe Whole Foods isn't a "niche" or upscale store in California (since I'm betting there is a lot of competition in that area). Here in Minnesota, it's ridiculously pricy for the exact same staples/basics you can get in a chain grocery store. But Whole Foods also has an amazing variety of fresh fruits/veggies/convenience items and @ the selection of gourmet cheeses and at the bakery and the generous free samples. I wish I could shop there for everything, but the difference in price really matters to our budget.
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Old 11-05-2011, 08:28 AM   #18
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We're paying attention to what we're eating, with emphasis on fruits and vegetables and staying away from the same bogeys bigmac mentioned. This means we're essentially keeping four shopping lists, one for Trader Joe's (cheeses, vegetables, unusual goodies and treats, amazingly inexpensive for the quality), WinCo (sodas, fruits, some meats, cans, etc.), Whole Foods (just opened here, huge, rather expensive, but wonderful stuff), and CostCo (juice, cat litter, cereal, some bulk items). It's basically juggling price, distance, what we like, ingredients, and also figuring out what's just fads and what's actually, provenly conducive to good health and nutrition.

Sometimes I wonder how it came to be that we developed this routine of having a definite preference for one of those stores for certain items but not for others, whether it makes sense in the larger scheme of things, what the real costs are when you include transportation, and what effect the psychology of it all has (each of these four stores is totally unique and different).
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Old 11-05-2011, 10:05 PM   #19
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When I visit my family in Illinois I'm often surprised by the difference in prices, so this is probably part of it. Or maybe Whole Foods isn't a "niche" or upscale store in California (since I'm betting there is a lot of competition in that area). Here in Minnesota, it's ridiculously pricy for the exact same staples/basics you can get in a chain grocery store. But Whole Foods also has an amazing variety of fresh fruits/veggies/convenience items and @ the selection of gourmet cheeses and at the bakery and the generous free samples. I wish I could shop there for everything, but the difference in price really matters to our budget.
Whole Foods is crazy expensive here in California too. I almost never shop there, just because I get like 1/8 the items for the same price. We have another chain called Sprouts that I like a whole lot better. Not only does it lack the self-righteous bourgieness that invades most Whole Foods stores (at least in my area), but it's way cheaper for the same kinds of natural vegetables, fruits, and meats. Plus a lot of it is locally grown. (But it's only in CA, AZ, TX and CO at this point...)
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Old 11-11-2011, 03:19 AM   #20
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I'mnot very good at sticking to it but I found it really helpful to grow fresh salad,the intresting kind not just lettuce leaves. If I rember to keep about 4 pots on the go i can have greens with every meal and it makes a huge difference. Supermarkets over in the uk started selling lettuce trays to. some guy in london did a nutrition test on really fresh lettuce and its got a lot more nutrition than 3 day old lettuce.

Its difficult to stick to only eatting good food unless you can cook a lot from raw ingediants but BBC good food http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/content/recipes/ is slowly teaching me how to cook.

I don't knowhow the prices compare over here but its easy to find fresh fruit and veg. Nuts seem to be priced a lot like meat and cheese.

I found out that if i eat a good quality diet i eat a lot less food
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Old 11-13-2011, 09:46 PM   #21
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very useful links.
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Old 11-14-2011, 09:02 AM   #22
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... Not only does it lack the self-righteous bourgieness that invades most Whole Foods stores ...
There is a bit of that. It's interesting how some people feel very self-important over the foods they eat and how superior they think it makes them.
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Old 11-14-2011, 09:16 AM   #23
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There isn't a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's in my city either. And the "healthy" type foods at places like Meijers or Kroger can be more expensive, but you just have to know how to shop, and maybe make compromises on what you buy to stay within your budget.

I shopped at farmers markets for the first time this summer, and will be doing it every summer from now on. I was able to get good, local produce, sometimes organic for the same price or less than the regular stuff in the store.

And I really liked Tad's post on this thread!
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Old 11-03-2015, 07:25 PM   #24
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Costco is a great resource for healthy organic food. I buy all my frozen organic berries. Coconut oil, organic veggies and fruits..chia seeds..they have it all at great prices.
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Old 11-03-2015, 08:31 PM   #25
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I live in an area that is a mecca for the whole/natural/organic movement... but no Whole Foods, Trader Joe's etc. We have Guido's and the local co-op.

$$$$$$$

My town is populated by wealthy, New york, 2nd home owners Prices for EVERYTHING are quite a bit higher than the rest of my county.

Hooray for bigmac, he can afford better foods than Big Macs.
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