Update: I have power! It came back on sometime during the afternoon on Tuesday. Thank you for all your well wishes + concern. xo
I can’t remember the last time I wrote about food! Sunday’s last minute trip to Giant (aka Stop & Shop for all my New Englanders) inspired me and explained something I had been struggling to properly answer for a long time.
At the time when I wrote this (Sunday night), my power was still out. So was Whole Foods’. For those who know me, this is practically a tragedy in and of itself. I did a big haul at Wegmans on Saturday but only bought non-perishables (lara bars, trail mix, canned beans, tomatoes, etc). Since ended up having access to a fridge and a blender (yay!), I figured I’d pick up some green smoothie + salad ingredients for around $10.
My grocery list:
- romaine hearts
- 1 avocado
- yogi detox tea (coupon)
- non-dairy milk (coupon)
Given that Trader’s was at least a half hour away from the cousins’, I figured I would suck it up and head to the Giant that is right up the road. I figured the prices wouldn’t be that bad and since the beau had given me some extra $ to shop with (since, you know, I had no power and we assumed I’d be eating out a bit), I figured it wouldn’t matter if it cost a bit more.
I bought everything on that list plus a box of Anna’s Chocolate Thin Mint cookies (accidentally vegan and only $2.49). I used $2 worth of coupons and the total came to…$20.20.
$14 of that was the produce. Yes $14 for organic romaine hearts, organic spinach, organic celery hearts, and one lonely avocado. I was shocked. Then angry. Then it all clicked.
Now I understand why people think eating healthy is so expensive! Add “organic” or “veg” into the mix and BOOM! It makes sense…if you shop at a place like Giant. The vegan cookies were all at least $4 a box. The nondairy milk was at least $0.75 more than I can purchase it for at Wegmans or Target or Walmart. I can see why I hear, “Well isn’t that expensive?” equally as often as, “Where do you get your protein?”
Fact of the matter is, “conventional” grocery stores are set up for “conventional eaters” (aka those on the Standard American Diet).
And we all know I am far from a conventional eater. I like whole foods. I like plant-based foods. I like artificial-crap-free junk food. I love foods made with only the necessary ingredients (like water, yeast, and flour for bread). Etc. Whole Foods and Traders and Wegmans are my meccas (true story: to cheer myself up after bidding the beau farewell, I went to Wegmans…I have no shame admitting this). Until Sunday, though, I didn’t realize why these places mean so much to me: they are geared towards me and my tribe. They “get” us unconventional eaters. And because all of the products in the store are geared towards us, the prices are lower (because the product moves more quickly).
Wegmans, the closest of my three meccas to a regular grocery store, has a saying: “Food shopping will never be the same.” And it hasn’t been because they’ve found a way to draw in, to appeal to, both conventional and unconventional eaters while keeping prices competitive. Unlike Giant…or Stop & Shop…or Big Y. Or anywhere else really.
Now I know…the next time someone asks me, “How I do it?” or “Isn’t that so expensive?” I’ll let them know…not if you go to the right places.