A New Way to Shop


Shopping for delicious food that doesn’t get in the way of good sugar readings is always a challenge for me. In some ways, the more the variety,  the more temptations. For example, it’s easy to be walking around in a market (I’m looking at  you, Trader Joe’s) and to quickly realize that so-called health food stores aren’t always quite so healthy. Sure, they offer whole grain breads and flax seed, fresh fruit and Greek yogurt. But, perched right next to the “good for you” snacks lurk chocolate covered dried cherries, frozen mousse cakes, and Triple Gingersnap Lemon Ice Cream (agh!) that despite my spartan grocery list, often accompany me out the door.

When I point out this inconsistency to the cashiers, they nod, only a bit sheepish and not at all surprised.  They’re willing to  admit that’s how the chain makes money — good food next to your basic crap masquerading as healthy treats.

Which brings me to the latest entry in our  Elkins Park neighborhood — the Creekside Co-op. At coffee with Jess and Mike a week ago in Philadelphia, I mentioned the Co-op, which was four years in the planning and currently involves over 400 families in our small suburban community. Jess was immediately intrigued. The idea of having a store where you get to control the content is intriguing, and enpowering. And true to the founding vision, a recent visit shows that indeed the community has spoken — the store is filled with local fruits and vegetables, organic meats and fish, deli, fresh breads, and surprisingly little junk. The sight of such freshness is inspiring and lends me to believe that I might be able to make it home from shopping without so much buyer’s remorse.

To be honest, the prices at the Co-op aren’t cheap. But the idea of a market where you get to be the boss, complete with tasting nights where shareholders can decide which new products will be granted shelf space, is a bit intoxicating. So much so that I may be closing my eyes to the few cents more here and there and replacing some of my frequent Trader Joe runs with trips to the Co-op.

What are we paying for when we pay for food, anyway?

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Deborah Kanter
10 years ago

I do shop at Trader Joe’s without succumbing to carby temptations. Now my “treats” there include jars of roasted red peppers, nuts, cheese, and seaweed snacks.
I love my co-op. The co-op offer great options for my diabetes, permitting to try a wide range of healthier whole grain options (wheat berries, farro, soy beans). Also I can buy small portions of things I might need for the occasional recipe or guests (honey, maple syrup). That said, the co-op has its own siren-song array of “healthy” junk food.

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