Wholefoods

Wholefoods is a shining beacon of hope for those of us with food allergies. Many of their products contain no preservatives or fortifying ingredients; the additives are usually the ingredients that make a food dangerous.

Not only are the products generally less perilous, but Wholefoods labels very effectively. Certain areas are specifically Gluten free, vegetarian, vegan or dairy free. Also, within the aisles, labels are placed on the shelves to let you know which sections of the aisles are gluten-free, etc.

However, not all Whole Foods Markets are created equal!

My personal favorite Whole Foods is in Tigard, Oregon (surprise surprise, who would have thought that Oregon would have the best Whole Foods, I mean, it isn’t like the area is full of health-conscious, vegetarian, vegan, raw, organic, shower-avoiding, hippies. Oh wait, it is.). They have a very obvious color coded labeling system that not only tells you what is gluten-free, but also what is vegan, dairy free, raw, vegetarian, or a combination of those. This particular Whole Foods has all of my favorite Gluten Free (GF) products: scones, microwave pad thai, cookies, noodles, etc. On top of all that, this Whole Foods is staffed by the most exuberantly happy and helpful people I have ever encountered. Perhaps it is an Oregonian thing; perhaps it is an Organic/Hippie thing; or maybe it is some strange combination of happy-go-lucky organic-hippie-Oregonian thing. Their almost annoying cheery-helpfulness really did help when I first learned I had Celiac. This happy environment mixed with the super organization and well-stocking of the Tigard Whole Foods makes it my very favorite place to shop for food.

However, as I live in Malibu for 9 months out of the year, I had to find a new Whole Foods. I started at the one in Canoga Park. It was pretty sketchy. It wasn’t as clean and bright as you would expect a store to be, and it was not labeled at all. I was very frustrated, and resolved to find a new one. Luckily the Gatherer knew of two in Santa Monica. The closer one near the  3rd street Promenade is tiny. Everyone told me it just wasn’t worth going to, so I didn’t. The other one is much farther away. It was a very nice Whole Foods, but still not as great as the one in Oregon. So the Gatherer and I tried the one off Moorpark in Thousand Oaks.

The Moorpark Whole Foods had everything labeled, was well-lit, and was almost as well stocked as the one in Tigard. On top of that, this Whole Foods had an entire GF section right near the front of the store — one stop shopping! It was pretty easy for me to find (nearly) everything I wanted. The Gatherer on the other hand, was having some difficulty. She wanted crackers, and really, who doesn’t? The problem was that most crackers either have soy, are processed on equipment that also processes soy, or had corn or rice mix in. We spent literally half an hour looking at every single ingredient on every single box of crackers. We probably sounded something like this:

“Oh! Look, no rice, no corn, no soy… oh man, I was wrong. Processed with soy. Never mind.”

“Yes, yes, this one just might… dang. Never mind.”

“I think… no, I was wrong.”

“Please please please… yes, yes, yes… no.”

“Someday, we will find you crackers!”

“Have we checked those?”

“I FOUND ONE!” Celebration dance.

We finally found one, and literally did a victory dance in the aisle. People were walking by, giving us strange looks, but it was worth it.

Our Whole Foods runs do not take nearly as long now, as we have memorized basically every ingredient of every product in the store.

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7 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Whole Foods truly is a mecca. I agree that the one in Canoga Park is a little “sketchy,” but I can’t help picking up something quick from the food bar every once-in-a-while. Overall, Whole Foods really does cater to the locale. My roommate went home to Maui for spring break and returned with stories of the new Whole Foods there. I guess there’s a saimin bar (locals LOVE saimin — it’s basically ramen) and kombucha ON TAP. My only complaint: Expensive!

    Great post; entertaining dialog at the end. It’s easy to relate to because I think everyone has that first-time experience. Whether at a renovated Malibu Ralph’s or making a virgin Chipotle run, everyone is stuck in that awkward “WHERE THE HECK IS EVERYTHING” phase for the first few times.

  2. 4

    keflemin said,

    Sweet! Now I know which Whole Foods to go to! I love Whole Foods and now I feel like I can go to the one you recommended and shop with the authority of validation. =)

  3. 5

    good post, interesting to see the differences in whole foods. but, question, is the “Moorpark Whole Foods” the one in Canoga Park, on the corner of Ventura and Canoga?

  4. 7

    Cecily said,

    Whole Foods is great and the one in Oregon is right next to P. F. Chang’s (your favorite restaurant)! It can’t get much better than that except maybe to be in Salem. I will say that the Lifesource here in Salem although small is very “user-friendly”. I find it easier to find g/f foods there than Whole Foods even. I’ve even found g/f lemon poppy seed scones there. I enjoyed your post. It is helpful and yet still fun.


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