The whole-foods market seems to be exploding in popularity. I know it is organic and better for us, but it can be really expensive. What are your thoughts on shopping at organic food stores? - Denise
Thanks for posing a mouthwatering question - your observation is right on. While natural or organic food markets are not in every city, they are growing by leaps and bounds. They are cropping up in pharmacy aisles, farmer's markets or wherever they can plant themselves. But with grocery budgets being stretched to the limit, should we be shopping there? The answer is yes, but only if you know what foods you should buy and what foods you should leave behind.
On the whole, they will get a thumbs-up from me because having alternatives and having a bountiful choice will always be a plus for the consumer. Health-conscious shoppers who are interested in foods that are free of preservatives, growth hormones, antibiotics and trans-fats will undoubtedly have a large selection, which is a nutritional step in the right direction.
But the natural-food industry is like every other industry. The buyer must beware that every item sold in a natural-food store is not necessarily healthy. They employ savvy marketing teams who make a living by tempting you to fill your cart not only with the healthiest foods but also with those with the greatest profit margin. Here's how to be a smart shopper in natural/organic food markets.