Love Your Food Community

Food Community


Deep-rooted impressions about your kitchen environment, perceived cooking skills, and food shopping experience can either support or hijack your wellness goals. Say what? Now think about where you currently shop for groceries and how it makes you feel. Do you feel connected to your food and community, or do you loathe the task while wandering through a super-sized store?

Just as there’s no one-size nutrition plan, there’s no one grocery shopping experience for everyone. This is where the benefits of mindfulness surface yet again. Feeling connected to your preferences can help create a shopping and meal planning process that works with your needs, rather than against them.

Not everyone feels overjoyed at a quaint farmers’ market like I do. Some shoppers feel giddy in a warehouse store, while others feel stressed over crowds and bulk sizes. Building a more positive and meaningful relationship with food and your surroundings takes awareness and a little time. Start listening to your inner voice when thinking about food choices, making shopping lists, and planning meals.

It’s no secret what grocery store I most enjoy for over 20 years. Even my toddler son had me figured out when he began saying each morning, “Mama, we go Rader Joe’s now?” After his home birth, he made his public debut at the Temecula Trader Joe’s while we re-stocked foods post Christmas feast. 

When we lived in Washington State, my son anticipated an unsweetened coffee-creamer sample rather than a lollipop during each Trader Joe’s stop. During one morning visit to the Silverdale store, Raul asked him to scan all of our groceries in his tiny cart. 4 years old at the time, he was beyond excited for that opportunity.

Aside from the amazing selection of organic and gourmet foods at discount prices, Trader Joe’s (called “TJ’s” by die-hard fans) delivers an unparalleled experience.  Most TJ’s stores boast friendly and helpful crew members who seem to like being there. Our local Temecula TJ’s is lucky to have many of the crew members we came to know 10 years ago. It feels like visiting family now, and I’m happy that I don’t have to make the weekly trek to Alexandria or Annapolis like I did when we lived in Southern Maryland.

Now, full disclaimer, I don’t have any financial ties to TJ’s. I simply like what I buy and how I feel when shopping there.

I’ve had pleasant experiences at other amazing stores, like our local Organic Roots with fresh organic produce and a top-notch smoothie bar. I loved Central Market in Poulsbo, Washington, where you can find any apple variety you can imagine and eat from a fabulous soup bar.  In mainland Japan, I was thrilled to shop in town for unique food items like “onigiri” rice balls. In Waldorf, Maryland, Mom’s Organic Market packs a lot of great organic foods in a small space, with big coffee samples and foods to try like TJ’s.

Now it’s time to find your chosen food-buying experience. What’s your favorite store and why?

Author: Laura Farnsworth, MS, CNS, CN, Integrative & Functional Nutritionist at


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