March 27, 2006

Health Food Stores in Virginia

Update: many of these stores are no longer in existence. I am keeping this post for reference only. 
I stopped at Harvest Moon Natural Foods' new location in Winchester today. I'd say it's actually in Kernstown but that town has been swallowed up by Winchester's sprawl. It's a nice store, more spacious than their old location. I bought some brown rice pancake mix, water buffalo yogurt (yeah, seriously!), and some expensive goat butter. (I have food allergies so I hunt out substitutes for wheat products and cow dairy products. Wheat puts me to sleep and cow milk makes my tummy swell up and hurt.) Another new store location is Whole Foods in Alexandria. It's on Duke Street near the Metro Station and has underground parking. Like the former Annandale location, it features a lovely produce section. The new store is larger, of course, and has some additional items like yummy maple-covered cashews. Not long ago we were in Martinsburg WV so I checked out the Healthway location there. I found a wheat-free cookie mix that I hadn't seen before - you add your own sweetener and flavorings so it's versatile. (Oh, Martinsburg is not in Virginia - well, it was if you go back far enough!) I think I know where all the health food stores are in the northern half of Virginia. (I know where all the Popeye's restaurants are too! If I peel off the skin, I can eat their chicken without getting sick, which I can't say for most fast food. McDonald's, KFC, and Taco Bell have absolutely nothing I can eat. So I'm not an ideal traveling companion.) Harrisonburg has two health food stores, Kate's and Sue's. I don't count vitamin stores like GNC as health food stores; they carry very little food. Kroger's in Harrisonburg has a fair selection of allergy-free foods. For that matter, Ukrop's in Fredericksburg has a nice section of health foods including most of my favorites (goat yogurt, goat milk, wheat substitutes, Rice Dream frozen dessert, wheat-free granola, and the only frozen dinner I've found that doesn't have any of my allergens: Thai chicken with basil and rice. Wal-mart is planning on expanding their natural foods section but I don't know if they will carry my favorites. They already sell goat milk, and some of their stores stock buckwheat flour. You'd think with all my allergies, I'd lose weight but no. Rice and meat keep me well rounded. If anyone cares, here's the list of foods that I don't tolerate: cow milk products including butter, wheat, soy (except soy yogurt), yeast, black pepper, almonds, alcohol and most fermented foods, most fruits, tomato, caffeine, mushrooms, cucumbers, broccoli (unlessed well-cooked), ginger, black tea, and mint. Some other foods I can eat only in small amounts (pecans, walnuts, pork) and there are even a few that I tolerate well in the evening but not for breakfast, such as oats. I don't know why. Some of the foods on my list are due to allergies (ie, they show up on skin testing), and some are just intolerances (ie, I can't digest them).
Link: Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network

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