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 Why Shop at a Natural Food Store?

By Larry Cook

Approach: Healthier & More Earth-Friendly
Most products that you can find in supermarkets are not carried in natural food stores. That's because the growing and manufacturing methods of typical supermarket products have often been shown to cause health problems in humans, as well as environmental damage. By contrast, most products found in natural food stores, have been produced in environmentally friendly and socially just ways. Natural food store products are safer and more healthful for you, the animals and the environment.

Food: Healthful & Delicious
Natural food products, whether fresh or packaged, are often organic (grown without toxic chemicals such as pesticides), minimally processed, additive- or preservative-free and/or free of animal products. Eating this type of food insures that you are consuming a minimum of poisons (chemicals) and a maximum of nutrients. You'll experience better health as a result.

Body Products: Natural & Cruelty-Free
Body care products such as soap, deodorant, toothpaste and shampoo are usually cruelty-free (not tested on animals), animal-free and chemical-free. Green manufacturers believe that the use of Mother Nature's aids, such as herbs and other natural substances, produce better results without the toxic side affects of artificial chemicals. Using these products prevents unnecessary cruelty to animals and promotes vibrant health.

Household Items: Earth-Friendly
Household products such as paper towels, garbage bags and cleaning supplies tend to be recycled and/or non-toxic. These items are designed to be just as effective, if not more so, than conventional products. They reduce our need for precious natural resources and are safer for you, animals and the environment.

Food Supplements: Energizing & Healing
Most foods, even if organically grown, may no longer contain enough nutrients for optimum health. You can enhance your diet with a variety of food supplements that increase energy levels and well-being. Some types of supplements include: whole-food concentrates (to build overall nutrition), minerals, vitamins, enzymes (to improve digestion), Acidophilus (to assist the immune system) and nutritive herbs. Natural food stores usually stock these very high quality food supplements for a better, healthier you.

Natural Healing Remedies: Gentle & Effective
Doctors are essential in emergencies. However, during times of non-life-threatening illness, many people opt to use natural remedies such as herbs, flower essences, minerals and vitamins to help their own immune system speed recovery. Homeopathic remedies, which are non-toxic and produce no side effects, are also used by many people to facilitate natural healing. With just a little research on your part, you'll know some common natural remedies that will speed your recovery when you find yourself ill.

Will I Pay More?
Most items are similar in price to products found at the conventional grocery store. Organic foods generally cost a little more. You'll want to buy at a natural food store because in the long run, you'll save many times the amount of your initial investment. You may spend a little more at first, but it will come back to you immeasurably in lower healthcare costs. If you're like most natural food shoppers, you'll also feel more energy and a greater sense of well-being. Shopping naturally also is an excellent contribution to a better environment, something that benefits us all.

Is There Really A Difference?
Consider this-a supermarket tortilla: enriched bleached wheat flour, water, vegetable shortening (partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oils), 2% or less of margarine (also partially hydrogenated), salt, mono and diglycerides, lecithin, sodium benzoate, citric acid, artificial color and flavor, vitamin A palmitate, leavening (including sodium aluminum sulfate), cornstarch, monocalcium phosphate and/or sodium acid phosphate, calcium phosphate, yeast, molasses, dough conditioners (fumaric acid and sodium metabisulfite), calcium propionate, phosphoric acid and banzoic acid (to preserve freshness). Now, the natural food store's brand: 100% organic whole wheat flour, water, oat fiber, baking powder & sea salt!

Our Toxic Products
Toxicity should concern us all. By the time the typical American child is five, s/he will have consumed more than 7.5 pounds of food additives in the form of preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, emulsifiers, flour enhancers, and synthetic sweeteners, among others.1 As adults, we don't do much better. Most of us manage to down 9 to 10 pounds of additives and pesticides every year!2 Approximately 4.8 million children in the U.S. have asthma, a significant increase that makes it the most common chronic illness in children. Numerous scientific studies have linked this disease to pesticide exposure.3 Dr. Candace Pert, a leader in the field of psychoneuroim-munology, states unequivocably that, "There is overwhelming scientific evidence that most cancer is caused by environmental toxins." She cites environmental estrogens as a major factor in the increasingly common early onset of puberty. Though they may be developing faster, young bodies are not necessarily healthier. Most modern farming methods deplete the soil and nutritional content has been steadily declining. In 1948, spinach had as much as 158 milligrams of iron per 100 grams. By 1965, that 100 grams contained only 27 milligrams of iron. By 1973, it held only 2.2 milligrams, meaning that you would have to eat 75 bowls of spinach to get the same amount of iron that one bowl afforded you in 1948!4

1 The Bread and Circus Whole Food Bible, pg. 4
2 The Goldbecksi Guide to Good Food, p. 18
3 http//www.igc.org/cpr/exec_sum.htm ­ Californians for pesticide reform
4 August Celebration, A Molecule of Hope for a Changing World, p. 33