Health food shops are mushrooming all over the world. But how much of what is available in these shops is good for health? Things sold in these shops are generally more healthful (or less harmful) than what is available in regular shops. Though not ideal foods, they are useful as transition food.
Most people are used to eating a particular way all their lives, and suddenly, something happens. They want to get healthier, change their way of eating. They drop all the unhealthy foods. But out of past habit, they have cravings. They miss the foods eg milk, cheese, ice-cream, deep-fried chips, sweets, chocolates, etc. The temptation to have "just one bite" of these unhealthy foods is too strong to be overcome. It creates a lot of mental tension too and effort to stay away.
The health food shops provide an easier way out. By offering non-dairy milk (soy milk, for example), tofu (instead of cheese), roasted chips, sweets without sugar, healthy snacks etc these shops provide healthier alternatives that still satisfy the cravings. These foods thus can be used as "transition foods" until you can do away with them altogether and go to the truly healthy foods i.e. plant-based whole foods.
Of course, these shops have plenty of things in cans, bottles, jars and packets (which are termed as processed food), which are to be avoided. The only saving grace is that they are likely to be without preservatives, colourings, flavourings etc.
Organic produce (grown without fertilizers, chemical pesticides etc) is usually available in health food stores. Items prepared from organic ingredients are also available. Organic generally means more expensive though…
Unfortunately, there are rows and rows of bottles of vitamins, minerals and supplements in health food stores. These things are best consumed in their natural raw form in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Stay away from these bottles. The only exception is for Vitamin B12 /Vitamin D supplements or anything else prescribed by your doctor- eg Folic Acid supplements for pregnant women.
Health food shops are also good places to meet with other people with similar interests, interact with them and make new friends. There is usually a bulletin board with info about events, courses, seminars, workshops etc and this is quite useful.
Health food shops are a good place to go to once in a while. Don’t spend a fortune there, however. Its perfectly possible to do without most of the things sold in these shops. Buy what you need, when you need it, and only as much as you need. Leave out the rest.