Food Allergy Shopping: Whole Foods

This is the final post in the food allergy shopping series!  Phew, are you glad? Truly, I hope it has been helpful to you, especially to those who are new to the food allergy life.  The purpose in this series is to show you that you don’t have to shop at high-priced specialty shops to find healthy and allergy-friendly foods.  But when you do, there are frugal ways to shop at the specialty stores as well.

This week we will focus on Whole Foods Market.  Whole Foods has cornered the market on healthy grocery shopping — they sell just about everything you could want that is organic or natural or earth-friendly, etc.  But their prices can reflect this as well.  They do have decent prices on some items, especially sale prices, and they accept coupons, both their own coupons and manufacturer.  But if you’re not on a strict budget, WF is a great place for food allergy shopping.

To be honest with you, I don’t shop at Whole Foods all that much.  But I do have a growing interest in them (and my shopping frequency is increasing up to about the level of my shopping at Trader Joe’s).  I like the occasional Friday “One Day Only” Deal.  I also like some of their non-food items.

Here is my Whole Foods grocery list:

  • Vitamins: This has been #1 on my WF list since the beginning of the year.  My husband and I both take vitamins for various reasons (I will have a couple of posts in the future on vitamin supplements.), but have you ever looked at the ingredients?  Junk!  Seriously, there is no need for all that “stuff” in vitamins, primarily corn starch.  Since my husband has a corn allergy, we do not buy any of the “powdery” vitamins in bulk (from Costco, Sam’s Club).  I have also seen soy, milk and aspartame in vitamins.  When I discovered this, I started buying our vitamins from Amazon.  The price seemed right, but in order to get the vitamins without forbidden ingredients, I had to buy through the specialty shops and thus had to pay shipping.  I thought I would try out Whole Foods vitamins and was pleased to see the variety and the prices were comparable to Amazon.  Furthermore, they have a vitamin card where you get one bottle free after buying 10 (of their name brand).  This can easily be accomplished in a year’s time.  At a recent trip to pick up a bottle of vitamins, they had a $1 off coupon in their quarterly “Whole Deals” in-store coupon book.  So, thank you Whole Foods for selling vitamins that are affordable and have no “junk” ingredients.  Ok, sorry for that rant…

Vitamins are actually the only thing on my “must have” list for Whole Foods.  However, when I am there, I sometimes pick up the following:

  • Soy Yogurt
  • Steel Cut Oats (bulk bin)
  • Honey Nut Cheerios (Whole Foods brand)
  • Buckwheat
  • Jasmine Brown Rice (bulk bin — my Aldi quit selling brown rice)
  • Facial Toner (for me — has nothing to do with allergies but contains natural ingredients)
  • Back to Nature Gluten-Free Crackers: My husband loves these crackers, but they come with a hefty price tag for what you get.  I buy them if I find them on sale.  They currently have a $1 off coupon in the “Whole Deals” book.
  • I found the most delicious Black Bean Humus there last week.
  • The “One Day Only” Friday sales (examples: $1.99/1 lb. organic strawberries, $10.99/2 lbs. shrimp, $1.??/lb. for organic free-range whole chicken, $1 organic avocados)

My recent Whole Foods purchases*

So, why my growing interest?

  • I enjoy their blog and various website pages: Whole Story, Recipes, WFM Home
  • While I’m not an environmentalist-type, I think their business model is why the company is seeing such success — that natural approaches to taking care of our bodies and our environment are better for both.
  • I like some of the things I have read about the Founder and CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey.  I’ve read some of his OpEds and I like what he has to say.  I’ll let you read his OpEds for yourself…I don’t want to go all political on here.  But, it makes it easier to spend a little more for something if it goes to a company that carries some similar values.

So, that’s all I have to say about Whole Foods.

What about you? Do you shop at Whole Foods on a regular basis, occasionally, or not at all? Why or why not? If you do shop there, what is on your grocery list?

(*In the picture above of my recent purchases at WF, you see a box of Horizon 1% Milk — from a cow.  As I have mentioned previously, we do not have cow’s milk in our house.  My oldest daughter really loves cow’s milk though, so I have decided to let her take a carton to school in her lunch.  I figure since I shell out the big dollars for the rice and almond milk, I can spend a little on her to get the calcium and nutrition that comes for a carton of milk.  Just thought I should I explain.)

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