14 Jan Adventures With Ami: New Year Grocery Expedition
Bright and early – after running at the gym with my new running companion - Zombies, Run! app – I decided to go on an exploratory expedition to Whole Foods Market. I like to do this early in the morning, before the crowds arrive, so I have room to mosey around at my own pace, label reading and photographing items for purposes such as this blog – I also do this so I remember to look things up later that I won’t remember otherwise by the end of the day. I do this at the regular grocery store from time to time as well – as with any market, new products arrive all the time.
Some new and notable items were spotted, along with some products I thought I would point out. I was thinking about what I was shopping for last year in January as my husband and I were about two weeks new to Engine 2 in January 2012. We have come a long way since then. Over 100 pounds lost between us, feeling great, low cholesterol and blood pressure and we’ve both become athletes of sorts – he an amateur boxer and me a runner. It’s been an incredible year for both of us! Below are some great items that you might want to seek out, or at least use as models for ideas that you want to implement. Whole Foods Markets are great, but don’t fret if you don’t have one near you. Most of the products you can find just about any where – except for Engine 2 products – which are found exclusively at Whole Foods.
Following the photos from left to right from the top:
Satsuma Mandarines – whether you are picking up these or a crate of Cuties (clementines) – winter is a great time for citrus fruit. Not only do they make great snacks, but these also make great additions to dressings, salads, and flavorings for things like rice and quinoa. I love trying new-to-me varieties of fruits and vegetables – these amazing little bundles of sweetness did not disappoint!
Lentils – Black, Red and Green – Each type/color of lentil has a different texture and shape. Experiment with the different varieties and sometimes pair a few of them together for an interesting texture in recipes such as my veggie lentil crumbles. I am still in love with the black lentils, sometimes known as caviar lentils, due to their robust little round shape. These are best in salads and as fillings or side dishes compared to the red lentils which are better for dahls or thickener in soups. The brown and the green are pretty versatile as well. Bottom line… there are hundreds of uses and thousands of recipes featuring these amazing beauties! Try some today.
Red Teas – Red Tea or rooibos tea is a South African herb that is naturally caffeine free that grows only in the Cedarburg mountain region. This tea comes in a variety of flavor options like vanilla, cinnamon orange, caramel apple, ginger peach, and almond coconut macaroon. Rooibos teas are available from a variety of brands. The tea pictured here is from The Republic of Tea. If you are trying to kick the caffeine to the curb by giving up coffee, try a nice red tea instead.
Organic Girl Greens – This brand in particular showcases a variety of types of greens which I really like. One of my favorites is the Fresh Herbs and Greens that contains: baby bok choy leaves, baby chard, tango, baby arugula, mizuna, cilantro, sweet italian parsley. I like the combos and flavors of these blends. If you can’t find this brand, look for others and don’t be afraid to try new types of greens. They are all good for you!
Engine 2 Food Line – Exclusively at Whole Foods Markets – As our products continue to debut at Whole Foods Markets across the country, be sure to pick up a few things to take home. We are really enjoying the E2 salsa and the new almond milk shown here. Different products are available across the country. If you don’t see them at your store, stop by customer service and ask to speak with the grocery buyer about the possibility of ordering them. Also remember at Whole Foods Market – you can receive a discount of 10% by ordering a case of any product they carry.
Christmas Lima Beans – The bulk department of your local grocery as well as the one at Whole Foods Markets – have an array of products to try. Often the selection varies, not only from store to store, but also seasonally. Take time to look for new items and give them a try. I tried some of these Christmas Lima Beans last fall when I brought them home from the Lamar store in Austin, TX and just loved them! Now I can get them right here in Kansas at the Overland Park 91st & Metcalf location. Try a new bean this week if you can!
Spicy Kamut with Grilled vegetables – I found this Health Starts Here salad on the prepared foods bar at the end of my expedition through the aisles of Whole Foods. I had never tried kamut before and really enjoyed it’s hearty texture. Kamut is an ancient relative of durum wheat. Slightly buttery in flavor – they make the base for a great salad or side dish. This salad contained: kamut, onion, bell pepper, pineapple, tomato, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, lime, cilantro, garlic and kale. Try a new grain this week, like kamut or farro for using in a salad recipe.
Amaranth – Amaranth has been cultivated for over 8,000 years. This staple of the Aztec diet is a great choice for the base of a hot breakfast cereal. The tiny granules, look like a mini quinoa. Here is a recipe to try, just sub your choice of non-dairy milks:
Hibiscus tea – For those of you transitioning from the standard American diet to a plant-strong way of life – learning to love drinking water can be tough. From sugary sodas to coffee, our taste buds have come to expect some flavor. Try a hibiscus tea – brewed hot and served over ice for a cool refreshing caffeine free, calorie free drink. Many varieties exist from a host of brands. Again, I am partial to The Republic of Tea – for the many fun and interesting flavors that they offer. http://www.republicoftea.com/
I hope you enjoyed the New Year grocery expedition as much as I did. Take the time to look around at the grocery store next time you are there. The items that end up in your cart matter. Shopping for food should be as important as any other major purchase in your life, as ultimately the quality of the ingredients that go home with you are the building blocks for the healthy new you!