I Heart WinCo


If you think that switching to wheat or white sugar free foods means that your stuck shopping at expensive chains like Whole Foods, think again. I’m discovering the wide variety of products available at large, inexpensive chains, like WinCo.

Now before you get up in arms about WinCo being a large grocery chain, or about how unattractive their store is (which I totally agree – no $$ put into decorating, that is for sure!), let’s consider a few things:

  • Not everybody has the $$ to shop at places like Whole Foods or Wild Oats or local health food stores
  • It is more realistic to find the healthy gems of a big chain store and point them out, than to live idealistically and expect everybody to shop farmers markets. That is just reality.
  • Not every town is equipped with a local health food store.

So, here are just a few of my favorite gems, all coming from WinCo, all at good prices:

  • Almond milk Blue Diamond Almond Milk – Sometimes I can even find unsweetened

  • Anney’s Organic Dressings
  • Quinoa – check the bulk section. Better yet, its in the pour out type of bin, versus the kind that you dip your hands in to scoop stuff out…..
  • Spelt flour – bulk section. Sometimes in the pour out section
  • ready-cut collard and mustard greens – near the pre-bagged salads
  • Bulk almond butter: so much cheaper than the jar, and you can buy just what you want. This is especially nice if you are just trying almond butter for the first time and don’t want to invest $7 for a jar.

I am not a big fan of WinCo produce because it looks a little picked over and old, and the organic options for produce are pretty slim. However, I can save so much money on the dry goods and bulk foods, that it is worth a trip, about 1x/month.

My husband and I also go to Winco to buy snacks for mountaineering/snowshoeing or travel because they have some unique options, and we can get everything we need.
In a typical pre-travel grocery trip, we get the following:

  • Flax chips (bulk)
  • raw almonds (bulk)
  • some trail mix w/less thant 10g of sugar (bulk)
  • rice cakes (WAY cheaper than any other store, except Trader Joes)
  • Think Thin bars and/or Luna bars for climbing/mountaineering/snowshoeing
  • Peanut butter (Smart balance) or sometimes Almond butter in bulk! WAAAYYYY cheaper than buying it in a jar

Observations from a palapa

Yesterday I had many opportunities to observe a thing or two about human nature while sunning myself under a palapa……yes, I know, a hard life 🙂

Now keep in mind, the focus of this blog is about sutainable nutrition, so my obervations are going to be focused in that direction. If you would like to learn more about the social habits of the Americans in general, I suggest you visit the blog “Stuff White People Like”, it is HILARIOUS (bring your sense of humor, please).

One thing I seem to notice is the social permission we give each other to overconsume simply because we are on vacation. Last night I found myself dipping into the chips and salsa for the umteenth time simply becuase “I’m on vacation”. No wonder we come back 5-10 lbs heavier after a vacation. The dialogue in my head went something like this:

“Okay, the food is coming, so I don’t really need chips. I’ve eaten them every day and frankly, I don’t like how I feel afterward”


“Well, maybe just 1 or two. This salsa mexicana is awesome”


“Now, I should really stop. I’m starting to fill up and the food isn’t here. Darn that waiter, why is the food taking so long”


“Okay, no more. I’m done!”


“Almost done……”


“Okay, tomorrow – NO CHIPS”


“Hey Hon (to my husband), do you think I’ve gained weight on this trip? I mean, I feel like we are always eating”. CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH. “I know we are very active, but I just think we are eating too much. We should stop”. CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH

STOP THE INSANITY! Luckily, I walked away feeling okay about my meal. I did stop eating when full, but I did sacrifice eating some of the local flavor for a bunch of chips and salsa – what a cheap thrill!

I’m not suggesting we deny ourselves local flavors when traveling. To me, that is the essence of travel, it is part of getting away to a new place. What I’m suggesting is that we check our motivations for consuming. Do we really taste that extra 3 pieces of whatever, after we are already full? Why is it culturally acceptable to gorge on a meal, keep eating just because it is in front of us and then complain our travel partners that we are unhappy with our weight and wish we would not have eaten so much? And yet we expect the food to be plentiful when we arrive. We are such odd creatures!

Some of my travel conversations with my compadres, as well as looking around at the habits of my fellow tourists brought me to belive that many of us are a real paradox when it comes to travel and food. We go beyond the point of enjoyment and then spend precious energy complaining about our choices, yet the very next day we are first in line at the buffet for breakfast. Hmm……

I’ve even had serveral people tease me about not eating enough or being “too healthy” because I won’t partake in over-indulgence. I know what is behind that feeling – we don’t want to over-indulge alone. It makes us feel bad. I know, I’ve been there. Sometimes I feel the need to eat just because others around me are doing the same. Like when I’m sunning myself and suddenly I see the table next to me order a second round of nachos and guacalmole….suddenly I feel hungry.

I’d love to know what others think or experience when they travel. I don’t always feel this way. Truthfully, it is just when I spend a lot of time with my fellow American travelers in an American-style resort where food rules. I know we expect it to be this way, but why? Why is it all about the food?

Now, I must get going. They’re serving free guacamole and chips…I’ve got to get in line to be first 🙂 (Just kidding…)