S.O.S. {Shoppers on Site}, “Free” Edition, 4/1/17

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By Candace Byington and Chris Watson

This week we take a look at 5 great markets that offer alternatives to mega-marts usual fair.  Although we sink in with Mellenie Fellman’s personal take on gluten and dairy free, these markets also offer a wide selection of cleaner food selections, including gluten free, non-GMO, certified organic, fair trade, and a host of eat well and feel good shopping options that are available.  Don’t know about these terms?  Just ask a staff member!  Every one of these markets has folks that are more than happy to walk you through the certifications and label claims.  This week we look at regular favorite Walt Churchill’s Market plus Fresh Thyme.  We give our first overview of Health Foods by Claudia and add in links to our favorites Fresh Market and Bassett’s Health Foods.  There has never been a better time to make healthy choices!

Walt Churchill’s Market

Many have found that they need to change their diets and eat gluten free foods like pasta. Shopping for these items outside of a food co-op or fully organic grocery has become easier due to increased demand for gluten free cereals, snacks and other food items in recent years. Walt Churchill’s Market in Perrysburg features an assortment of snacks from crackers to nacho chips in the gluten free variety. You will find many tasty options for snack bars as well. Breakfast cereals and a few pancake and crepe options can be easily found. If you crave quinoa, you will never go hungry nor get bored as the store carries many flavors of the ancient grain ranging from bacon to sundried tomato. Pasta lovers will find black bean spaghetti, egg noodleas well as vast array of risotto available in gluten free. There are two varieties of spaghetti sauce in gluten free. No need to skip dessert! There are gluten free cookies available too and they are chocolate.

Health Foods by Claudia

Located on Secor just past Sylvania, this unassuming store has the effect of being the Tardis from Dr. Who…bigger on the inside than on the outside.  One you go in you feel like you are in a full service Health market, complete with spices, a frozen section, a produce section, and of course an excellent selection of health support and holistic health items.  What is interesting is that they have a respectable dry and canned goods section as well, something that is usually thin from this type of store.  Plus a great staff who puts up with overly chatty shoppers like Chris.

Fresh Thyme

Let’s not be deterred by their national footprint, this is a store that is trying to cultivate local community on a national level.  When it comes to eating clean no one is more in your face and evident about eating clean, with clear shelf labeling to help guide you.  Plus, like any full service market, they carry an excellent selection of staple items allowing the home cook to experiment with cooking at home.  For anyone getting into the clean eating groove Fresh Thyme should be on your regular shopping journey.

Bassett’s Health Foods

Longstanding area favorite Bassett’s is another excellent choice for shopping and eating clean.  Locations on Heatherdowns in South Toledo and Secor and Central.

Fresh Market

Not as broad of a selection as others on our list but still enough choices to make an honorable mention when it comes to shopping clean.  Plus their meat counter is very  good for seeking out cleaner protien selections.