The Daily Beet

11 Mar Plant-Strong at Walmart!

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Engine 2 intern, Katherine headed to Walmart to discover all of the plant-strong possibilities!


I know it sounds a little crazy, but grocery shopping is one of the highlights of my week.  I’m always thrilled when I am able to shop at Whole Foods, which is hands-down, my favorite store.  They have everything you could possibly need for all of your plant-strong staples, and quite a bit more.  But, like many of you, the closest Whole Foods is an hour away from where I live.  This begs the question: can you be plant-strong without living near a Whole Foods?

Absolutely!  You don’t need a fancy health food store to eat delicious and healthy food.  In fact, you can find nearly everything you need at a very common store—Walmart.  Not only are they located almost everywhere, Walmart stores are known for being budget-friendly.  Shopping on a budget is beneficial for everyone, especially college students looking to save a bit of money.

Every time I shop at Walmart, I am amazed with how many plant-strong foods they offer.  It’s all about what you choose to buy.  Last week, I took my camera into the store and I was actually quite surprised with what I found!

The produce section was well stocked with greens of all kinds, tons of vegetables, and plenty of fruit.

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My store carries the reduced sodium varieties of great northern beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans.

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Walmart’s Great Value brand is only $0.68!

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I found a huge variety of vinegars to suit everyone’s tastes.

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I was surprised with the amount of no salt added tomato products! *E2 note, according to Walmart, their tomato cans are BPA free.

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I was impressed when I discovered Great Value Whole Wheat Pasta for just $1.00!

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So many varieties of brown rice to choose from:

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 Two varieties of quinoa, whole-wheat flour, and flaxseed

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I was probably most surprised with the selection of dried beans—they had some I’ve never even heard of before!

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Walmart carries all of the varieties of Mrs. Dash salt free blends plus many other spices that can be used to add flavor to recipes.

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This local salsa is one of the lowest in sodium I’ve spotted.  If you live in Ohio, make sure to give it a try, it’s fantastic.

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Shredded Wheat cereal and Old Fashioned Oats are musts for “Rip’s Big Bowl”

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My favorite brand of unsweetened almond milk—refrigerated and shelf stable

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Frozen fruits and vegetables are extremely convenient and they taste just as good, if not better than their fresh counterparts.  This is because they are picked and frozen when they are at their peak.  Plus, if something you love is out of season, you can probably find it in the frozen section.

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What can be more convenient than frozen brown rice?

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In my opinion, the Ziploc Zip ‘n Steam bags are a staple.  I use these bags nearly every day because they make for a super quick meal!  All you have to do is throw in some frozen vegetables, pop it in the microwave and in only a few minutes, you have perfectly steamed veggies.  The bags aren’t just limited to frozen foods, they can be used for fresh vegetables, potatoes, squash—the possibilities are endless!

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Everyone seems to be looking for ways to make things convenient.  Cost isn’t everything, convenience is important too.  Whether you’re a college student or a working professional, we all lead busy lives.  Healthy plant-strong food can easily be made into quick and simple meals.  I highly recommend Jeff Novick’s Fast Food DVD’s for some super quick and delicious meal ideas.  Everything that you need for these recipes can be found at your local grocery store!

Volume 1-The Basics: http://jeffnovick.com/RD/Fast_Food_Vol_1.html

Volume 2-Burgers & Fries: http://jeffnovick.com/RD/Fast_Food_Vol_2.html

Volume 3-Shopping School: http://jeffnovick.com/RD/Fast_Food_Vol_3.html

One of the most common misconceptions about eating plant-strong is that it is too expensive.  So the next time someone says, “it’s too expensive to eat that way!” you know what you can say!


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Engine 2 Team
Engine 2 Team

The Engine 2 Team is dedicated to helping you become plant-strong! Each of us are on the plant-strong journey right along side of you!

  • Joan
    Posted at 10:47h, 11 March

    Thank you Katherine! I’m a single mom of 3 and I do ALL my shopping at Walmart, I don’t have another choice in the town I live. I love this post. I feel like Walmart gets a bad name, but they have so much good stuff, and most of my town is employed by them! This is very helpful!

  • Mandy
    Posted at 10:48h, 11 March

    Thank goodness! I love that this is posted on E2 who works with Whole Foods. Not everyone (including myself) can shop at Whole Foods. I get so much crap from people when I say I shop at Walmart, but I really have to in order to save money and the closest Whole Foods is about 45 minutes away. If people can shop healthy at Walmart we’d have a much healthier country.

  • Mike
    Posted at 10:54h, 11 March

    Thank you Katherine! I am a college student and I live for Walmart! It’s the ONLY place to shop in my town. It is really good to know I can be plant-strong and shop there, I hate thinking I need to shop at a speciality store to be p-s.

  • nonyabizzz
    Posted at 10:54h, 11 March

    Hmmm… when you say ‘convenient’, walmart doesn’t usually occur. However, they do have good prices. And yes, wally gets a bad rap in precisely the way they get those low prices…

  • Veronica Lamb
    Posted at 10:55h, 11 March

    Thank you for the great blog. I never think about walmart when it comes to food shopping.

  • Daniel
    Posted at 10:56h, 11 March

    Thanks Rip and Katherine! This is most valuable and delightful to know! Outstanding! Thank you for sharing! You have eased my mind for my next shopping trip. Cheers! 🙂

  • Shelly
    Posted at 10:59h, 11 March

    This is great. I’m so tired of thinking I can’t be plant-strong because I am low income. I can’t afford organic everything or to shop at whole foods. I am on a fixed income. I live in a very small apartment. I hate when I read comments or articles that basically say if I can’t eat organic and gmo free I might as well give up. It has been really discouraging to me. This actually gives practical advice for the way most people in our country have to live. Not everyone can shop at organic farmers markets and spent a lot on food. I have about 35 dollars a week to spend on food, so Walmart and the dollar store are where I shop. I also have had a lot of success, even with my walmart and dollar store food diet. lol.

  • margaret dolit
    Posted at 11:15h, 11 March

    Walmart will “price match” veggie prices if you take the lower price ad into Walmart and present it at check out. .

  • Beth
    Posted at 11:19h, 11 March

    I’m so glad that I came to THIS comment section and didn’t stop on your facebook comments. People are so judgmental and don’t understand that most of us shop at Walmart because we don’t really have another choice. I’m also a single mom, and guess what? I work at Walmart! It’s the largest employer in the country. So if we are going to have a healthier country, everyone needs to realize that people will need to shop healthy at walmart. Not all of us can afford expensive food luxuries, but our health changes just like yours.

  • QT
    Posted at 11:22h, 11 March

    Sorry – but I disagree!!! What on this article is organic, no plastic, no canned foods, non-gmo? Best to start educating yourself regarding chemicals if you want to try and be healthy. Walmart supports Monsanto which is killing all of us!

    • Beth
      Posted at 11:27h, 11 March

      This is the problem with people who have never been in the situation to HAVE to shop at WAlmart, not everyone is so privileged. I’m so tired of this argument with people.

      • QT
        Posted at 11:53h, 11 March

        I am jobless but put my priorities in ORDER!!! Give up some of the BAD things like phones/TV/restaurants/drinks/etc… and stick with the HEALTHY options like I state above. Have you ever considered that?

        • Niftyfifty
          Posted at 12:03h, 11 March

          Get a job, then you can make decisions other than what you’ve stated. Your job, if you choose to except it, is to spend 8 hours a day looking for employment. This should be your priority if you are jobless. Everything else comes after that. First, be self supporting, then worry about all the rest. And FYI, I am very educated on all the chemicals, etc, eat a WFPB diet, and Walmart is one of the options available to me, that I use happily.

          • QT
            Posted at 14:32h, 11 March

            Sorry but I did NOT state that I am forever jobless – I stated that I am currently jobless and find other ways to reduce expenses other than my health. Again, educated yourselves and get tough as the truth will set you free!!! I have attended Rip’s events in Austin and he promotes education, effort, the facts, and most importantly a healthy lifestyle.

        • Beth
          Posted at 13:10h, 11 March

          Wow how hurtful and mean of you. How do you know what I buy? How do you know that I haven’t given up all of that to support my family? You just made me well up with tears, I don’t believe people are so cruel to not think through what they say. I hope that people never treat you the way you just treated me.

          • Tracy
            Posted at 13:15h, 11 March

            Ignore people like this Beth, they will pop up in life only to hurt others. You are doing a great job supporting your family! People like QT won’t understand that they have hurt someone, but know the rest of us think you are great and think it’s just fine to shop at Walmart! 🙂

        • Matt
          Posted at 13:11h, 11 March

          How do you afford GMO/Organic groceries if you have no job? I’m very curious on NO INCOME how you make it work.

  • Yolanda
    Posted at 11:32h, 11 March

    I also work at Walmart, I actually like my job a lot. We have a big group at my store doing a 28 day challenge. We are doing just fine shopping at walmart and our supervisors are very supportive, they want us to be healthy. My town has a walmart and another small grocery store, most people work at walmart here, unless people grown their own food, they don’t have much more choices. Too many people have not lived in small towns and have not had budget worries, it makes them lose site and be very mean spirited and judgmental.

  • Linda K
    Posted at 11:39h, 11 March

    As someone who has celiac, has a low income, and lives in a rural area this is sort of a big DUH to me. Now, I can see in these pics that there are more option at your bigger store than there are here. I hate walmart from an ethical standpoint, but it is my week to week option. I drive into a larger town once a month to stock up on many things. I try to get organic when it isn’t triple the price of the regular item. While some think it has to all be all or nothing, many of us have to start somewhere and work within our means. That is just reality.

  • Jen
    Posted at 11:40h, 11 March

    Guess what? I only shop at Walmart. In the last year I lost 75lbs, I’m off all my meds for blood pressure and diabetes, type 2. People can get healthy shopping at Walmart. People need to realize there are situations that they don’t know anything about. Would I like to concern myself with only eating gmo free/organic food? Maybe one day, but myhealth is getting so much better and I don’t worry about that stuff right now, I worry about the important stuff. I think Dr. McDougall is the one who said that no one is getting obese, diabetes or heart disease from non organic food. Priorities for a lot of people need to be adjusted.

  • Judy
    Posted at 12:27h, 11 March

    Excellent post and most important is the message. Plant strong can be had by anyone. Walmart is my stand by grocery as it provides all the things a normal plant based person would need for ingredients. Every once in a while I like to try something unique, however my goal is a plant based, unprocessed meal within 30 minutes. Whole Foods is a fun trip no doubt, and when I go I buy Engine 2 hummus and their crackers, otherwise I make Engine 2 hummus from Rip’s recipe and the ingredients from Walmart. Thank you for this post.

  • Schari Baker Bibb
    Posted at 12:28h, 11 March

    I’ve also noticed Walmart is watching the plant strong trend and stocking accordingly. They often place the Uncle Sam’s Original Cereal, shredded wheat, grape nuts together in the cereal isle and i’m pretty sure it is because of Rip’s Big Bowl! My Walmart is starting to stock and label “local” produce too. They carry Kale and packaged greens now. I’ve even started seeing boxed tomato sauce products. They didn’t grow into a super giant company by being ignorant of consumer desires. The more people trend to plant strong lifestyles and demand the products, the more Walmart will carry!

  • Kelly
    Posted at 12:35h, 11 March

    I get GMO/Organic food at Walmart, maybe not everywhere and it’s not all I buy, but it is there. Thanks for this COMMON SENSE article!!!

  • Molly
    Posted at 12:55h, 11 March

    thank goodness people don’t just judge plant-srong based on your facebook commenters. Everyone is starting somewhere, wish everyone would show compassion and love rather than being argumentative and judgemental. You are great Katherine and Engine 2!!

  • Patti
    Posted at 13:06h, 11 March

    Another Walmart worker! It’s funny to read what the public thinks goes on at Walmart. I have a great store, I get paid well, I get pretty good benefits. I have a great team that I love, I’ve been working there for 11 years. When my son was sick my store kept our kitchen stocked round the clock with plant-strong food! A lot of my co-workers are trying to eat healthy now. Don’t judge a book by its cover or by the media. Yes, there are some problems, but I’m thankful and thankful I can shop their and get healthy food for me and my son.

  • Eileen
    Posted at 13:37h, 11 March

    I believe in shopping with my dollar. I would never step foot into a walmart because of their business practices. As the saying goes ‘killing Main Street one Walmart at a time’. I do go out of my way to purchase a lot of my produce from a farmers market because that is what I wish to support. I also buy a lot of produce as well as canned beans, dried beans and grains from Whole Foods bulk section and I get it for less then what Walmart sells it for. I don’t purchase luxury food items or packaged goods.
    I understand that Walmart is one of the largest employers in the country and they are also the wealthiest, so until they pay a liveable wage to the majority of their employees instead of forcing them to live on Government assistance, I will steer clear of them.

  • Bill
    Posted at 13:43h, 11 March

    Your are micorwaving in PLASTIC while trying to stay healthy!

  • Kelly
    Posted at 13:44h, 11 March

    I can’t believe all the judgment toward people who shop at Walmart. It’s really sad to me. I also shop there, I live in a city with a Whole Foods, I just really can’t afford it. It’s sad to me that people judge me because of where I shop.

    • cheryl
      Posted at 14:34h, 11 March

      Why is it when a person voices their opinion that differs from others it is judging? It’s simply an opinion. If certain individuals have the ability to influence others than it needs to be done from both sides of the coin. There’s always a choice. You choose to shop at Walmart and I choose not to and I have very valid reasons for not wanting to as do others. When this information came up on my wall I wanted to make it clear to my Facebook friends that I don’t feel it is an option and why.

  • Cheryl
    Posted at 14:14h, 11 March

    I am whole plant and rarely shop at Wal-Mart. Would it be more convenient? Absolutely! I live in the mountains of Colorado! But the point in eating plant is eating clean. The food in Walmart is full of GMO’s and pesticides which are just as hazardous to our health as animal products and chemical preservatives. So what to do?…I buy bulk organic items at Cosco, grow a vegetable garden, can and freeze, buy bulk grains etc online and have it shipped to you. I am not wealthy but I make it work. Furthermore, I shop at Natural Grocers from time to time. All of their produce is organic. I thought Wal-Mart’s avocados might be cheaper and they were more! I cannot in good conscious support a store that supports animal cruelty or evil corporations like Mosanto.

  • mikecrosby
    Posted at 14:22h, 11 March

    I stopped by Walmart on my way to Costco last week. After getting my veggies, I didn’t need to go to Costco. Very impressed with their selection. I also wrote Walmart to thank them. And thank you for posting this, you gave me great ideas. I actually had given up looking for low salt beans, and you show me Walmart has it.

  • sandia
    Posted at 17:53h, 11 March

    I agree – love the frozen berries and whole wheat pasta. My Wal-Mart also has two different types of peanut butter that do not contain salt (just peanuts) for about $3 a jar. I go to my grocery store for the Kroger bags of frozen vegetables for $1 a pound and their produce on sale is usually less expensive than Walmart.

  • Lisa Harlow
    Posted at 20:02h, 11 March

    Katherine, Walmart is not just the low price leader-they are the low wage leader. Grocery store jobs were historically middle class union jobs that paid wages high enough that employees could live a middle class life, own a home, send their kids to college, and of course buy groceries. Walmart drove down wages in the grocery industry, and has been a key leader in keeping wages low throughout the service industry. In July of this year, Walmart decided not to build 3 stores in DC because the DC Council raised the minimum wage to $12.30 (a poverty level wage, given the cost of living in D.C.). Please don’t shill for increased business for Walmart. This company should not be financially rewarded for impoverishing 1.4 million workers. There are many other places to buy low priced groceries, like dollar stores and farmer’s markets.

  • Jill Swainson
    Posted at 22:27h, 11 March

    Wow! I wish prices were this low in the UK!! We pay a LOT LOT more for our food over here, it really pisses me off and makes being healthy really difficult.

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