Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Health Food Stores Are Jungles!

Walk the Walk
A walk through any local health-food store gets me thinking. Where's the food? Secondly, where's the knowledge? I don't want to attack anyone for doing what they do. I do intend to make some suggestions. Let me first start by saying, I am aware everyone in Alternative Health don't all agree on the most basic points so we're working against a particular mentality. The store owner is primarily a business owner. The owner is usually the least healthy person in the store. This is just the way it is. We shouldn't really look for consistency here. We won't find it. When we walk into most health-food stores we may see any number of items. Ranging from soap to moisturizer to ever popular "whey powder, protein death-shake!" Or the big selling "health bars." This isn't so different from any other establishment you might walk into. The real difference here is price! Everything seems to be two to three times the regular price. Why? It's organic? Maybe. It's pure & natural? Uh, NO! What's so natural, or better yet healthy about Sodium Laurel Sulfate? Or any of the thousands of chemical additives found in most items at the "health-food store. You'll find more items of interest as you walk through the store. Most of which are processed foods, processed in accordance with the newest diet trends. Whichever foods we demonize at any given time will produce "whatever free" foods. Marketing more crap for people that don't need more crap! We're trying to get rid of the crap! Oh, and way back there, beyond the all natural dish detergent is the produce. Wilted, weak looking, dry, dirty and barely able to convince even the most hard-core health enthusiast, this is worth its price. A note to health food stores TAKE AS MUCH CARE OF THE ACTUAL FOOD AS YOU DO THE MANY POISONOUS ITEMS YOU PASS OFF AS HEALTHY! Just a suggestion.

Organically Yours. . . Sort Of!
We know that organic laws mean very little these days. We also know that we can purchase a lot of "alternative" items in other stores. I'm finding it more and more difficult to justify the cost of shopping in a health-food store. When I was a kid and went into any store and asked anyone a question, it was answered to the best of the person's ability. When in a store that sold audio equipment, you were being answered by someone that may not have been an expert, but knew so much about the product. Why? They loved what they did or sold. Today, the extent of what people "know" about what they are selling is—which items are on sale and which produce the most profit. I promise I will not go into the profit game here. For me, the biggest problem with "health-food" stores is this: I don' t need or want ninety-nine percent if what is sold in these establishments. I know women would disagree. They can get far superior skin-care products at the health-food store. They have to dig and really know their stuff. Most people who sell these products have a working knowledge of what they're selling. Meaning, they get the brochure from the manufacture and maybe read that. They have a cursory knowledge at best. Is it too much to ask that specialty items be sold in stores where the product is fully understood? It feels as if most health-food stores follow the trends of the not-so-alt-market. Whatever magic potion/oat-bran fad is popular is what is most prominently displayed. Flax something or some super Chia seed concoction. Or some oil that can only be extracted from the testicles of a rare mosquito found in the jungles of Surinam! Thank God, they've finally found something that will bring us beauty and longevity—and all this time it was right under our noses! No more wrinkles! Isn't science great!

Now when you have the rare experience and walk into a store where the owners "live the life" and sell what they have learned is best, you feel it immediately. There are a few in the city. Healthfully Yours on East fourth street. I think? Is it fifth? This is an example of how a store selling alternative products should be run. They have the soy and the whey. Unfortunately, that's in demand. How can I stress to everyone that those two products are the antithesis of health? I don't know anyway other than my prior rants to get this message across. I'll try to write a piece on those two products as food and additive and see if I can really put those two to bed for good. Anyway, this particular store has the owners there and ready to assist. They are nice people and happy to help. Of course I would walk through that store and most "health-food" stores pointing out all the unhealthy products being sold. So what! They have to cater somewhat to this aspect of the market and not lose that business. Lets give them that slack on the grounds that they at least are knowledgeable! Unlike some other "Health Nuts" around. Still, they can advise on a great many topics, including additives in their non-food products like skin-care and supplements. Of course I think all supplements are nonsense, unless they're whole-food. This store we are using as an example at least know the difference between the two. Or know that "whole-food" supplements exist!

If I Could Put Health In A Bottle. . .
Health cannot and will never be found at the bottom of a soy-shake! You will never build a healthy life on whey protein. We know the principles of health. As we walk through our local stores searching for healthy foods and products we need to keep in mind, all of the items here are for assistance to the real goal. Eating a diet of whole, plant-based foods and crapping out the equivalent. That is really it in a "nutshell." A non-irradiated, non-genetically modified, preservative free, raw nutshell, that is! While there is no doubt in my mind that there are some fantastic supplemental products in many forms available to assist us on our paths to health. The path is much simpler than we may know. Keeping the tissue clean and having a working digestive system is at the foundation of longevity. Your health will not be made from something in a tube. What's in that tube may help make the journey easier or more pleasant, but can never be the way. Remember, we existed long before most of what is sold in those stores. Our health food store is still "in the woods." It's still your juicer. It will always be in your salad bowl. Providing of course your salad bowl has salad in it and not fried chicken! Health cannot be created in a lab or a test-tube. We certainly can use good quality products to moisten our skin or help our bowels or soothe a sore throat, etc. Still, the road toward independent health is paved in cellulose fiber, fruit sugar and vegetable fat. All of which can kill you if you're not crapping it all out, and then some! Three squares in! Three rounds out! Or should I say MOUNDS!

What's Wrong With Being Wrong?
On our quest for independent health we must remember, we are striving for "independence" so be like my dear friends Jamison and Allyson, READ, learn, teach yourself and learn from all your experiences. This will deepen your knowledge and create a suit of armor when shopping among the "unknowledgeable" clerks and store owners. You will educate them. And why not? This is a community based on expansion of knowledge and health, while reducing illness and dependency on poisons and charlatans. To be "Independently Healthy" you must educate yourself and be willing to be wrong. Being wrong is how I found this truth. Being sick was part of my journey. Of course! There is no other way. Every experience feeds the next. Eat at Popeye's and get sick. You learn to not go back! I'll bet you anything they don't sell a single leaf of SPINACH at Popeye's! Like the great George Carlin said, "when you see the words, "rich chocolate flavor. That means NO EFFING Chocolate." Sorry, couldn't write the real word, my daughter might read this. Besides, I don't want to get and "adult content" rating. So go in peace. Not in soy. Remember, NO WHEY WILL I EAT SOY! Do a search on "harmful ingredients in health products." There are many websites that offer this info for free. Or contact Jamison Scala at Release NYC, through our website. He'll be glad to assist you with any concerns you might have. One last note: just because something says "all natural" on the package doesn't mean it grows or occurs naturally. Ever see a "health bar" tree?
Be well.
Tom DeVito

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Please feel free to comment or ask questions or challenge. All is welcome. All comments will be responded to politely! Be well. Tom DeVito