Half of our family is vegan, gluten free, corn free, and about half of our meals are raw. Our two teenagers are gluten and dairy free. Michael is a garbage disposal who eats as much as the rest of us combined. Considering our health concerns and allergies, it is of vital importance that one of us set a good example for the two babies and that one is usually me especially since I am still pumping breast milk. Our family of 6 has a difficult time getting food that we can eat from food banks or WIC. WIC does not provide anything that our family can eat except for beans and a small amount of produce. Our two baby boys’ require a little over $300 in formula per month. They require many other special foods to get proper nutritional balance. We can’t chance anything fortified due to much of it being derived from corn which both boys are severely allergic to. Everyone asks us what we eat. This is just a quick run down of the packaged stuff that we like to buy. Our preference and staple foods are fresh or frozen fruits, and fresh or frozen vegetables with rice or quinoa along with beans that we sprout, hemp, blue green algae, sprouted nuts, seeds and brewer’s yeast. We also like cage free eggs and potatoes every now and then. Barrett and I eat coconut yogurt with raw powdered maca, acai berry, pomegranate and blue green algae with chia seeds, hemp hearts and msm. Darby gets everything except the yogurt which he will not touch. He is super particular about the texture and consistency of his foods. His older brother, Joey is the same way. We have to add most stuff that Bear and I eat in yogurt to Darby’s bottles and the chia and hemp hearts get sprinkled over his broccoli and quinoa or rice with Bragg Liquid Aminos and Nutritional Yeast.
Broccoli is his favorite food, he loves it!
WF is Whole Foods
FM is Fred Meyer’s
NS is New Seasons
BEANFIELDS BEAN & RICE CHIPS– We love the Pico De Gallo and the Black Pepper flavors. These are free of top 8 allergens and anything else that we can not eat. They are addictive and way better than Doritos. I wish that the beans were sprouted and that they were raw and still tasted as good.
HEMP HEARTS– Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts Raw Shelled Hemp Hearts
manitobaharvest.com WF, NS
BABY’S ONLY ORGANIC SOY TODDLER FORMULA– it is not just for toddlers, Darby has used it since he was 2 months old as his primary source of nutrition which was approved by his pediatrician due to his severe corn allergy.
naturesone.com NS, or online
COCO HYDRO– Coco Hydro Coconut Water Electrolytes Pomegranate Raspberry, the other flavors might have corn
MAMA’S ALMOND BLEND– Mama’s Almond Blend All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
KINNI KRITTERS ANIMAL COOKIES– Only the light blue box of regular since the other’s have possible corn ingredients
HARVEST BAY COCONUT WATER– Harvest Bay All-Natural Coconut Water Original
CALIFIA FARMS ALMONDMILK– This is so very good and so very expensive, I like the vanilla and the kids like creamy. It uses raw almonds which gives it a much more enjoyable flavor than other brands. It also appears to not have the form of vitamin E that is from petrochemicals unlike most other brands which have the dl in front of the tocopherols. I just emailed the company to verify. I hope that they offer an organic version soon.
GURZI’S WHEAT & GLUTEN-FREE PIZZA DOUGH– You can find it buried behind other stuff on the bottom shelf in the gluten-free frozen food section, VERY HARD TO FIND
SUNSHINE BURGERS– Organic Sunshine Burgers, Barbecue does not have corn and tastes good
sunshineburger.com WF, NS
VAN’S WHEAT GLUTEN FREE WAFFLES– We especially love the flax or blueberry. We put them in the oven and then spread coconut oil over them with a tiny pinch of sea salt with agave or coconut nectar or a sprinkle of coconut sugar.
vansfoods.com WF, FM, NS
FOOD FOR LIFE BROWN RICE TORTILLAS– Best if you warm them on the stove top in a bit of olive oil, then melt Follow Your Heart Cheese Alternative on it and add other veggies or meat if you like.
foodforlife.com NS, WF
FOLLOW YOUR HEART VEGAN GOURMET CHEESE ALTERNATIVE– We love all of the flavors, especially mozzarella. This is the only cheese substitute that I know of that does not have casein (which is dairy and worse than lactose), corn or any other gross stuff. I gave a presentation about being vegan at Full Sail and served mini gluten free vegan pizzas made with Follow Your Heart Mozzarella and the entire class was impressed with how good it tastes.
followyourheart.com WF, FM, NS
ARTISANA COCONUT OIL- Please see SUPER SUPPLEMENTS for some of the medicinal uses for Coconut Oil.
ARTISANA COCONUT BUTTER
ARTISANA CACAO BLISS SQUEEZE PACKS– these comes in small ketchup style packages and are great “pick me up” in the middle of the day to keep in your backpack, they have other flavors in small pouches that are nice to have on you for emergencies also.
artisanafoods.com WF, NS
ANDEAN DREAM QUINOA COOKIES– Chocolate Chip flavor is so very good. They are not super sweet and don’t wire Darby even if he eats tons of them. They are individually wrapped and so good for you that they cause no guilt.
ETERNAL NATURALLY ALKALINE SPRING WATER– Alkaline water is wetter than other water and a nice treat every now and then or if you need an extra boost
LARABAR– Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Chip Cherry and Coconut Cream Pie are our favorites, if they would add chocolate chips to the coconut cream pie, we would be extra happy, especially if it were raw cacao
larabar.com WF, FM, NS
SIMPLE TRUTH ORGANIC BABY KALE– Any organic kale is good. It is the best leafy green for you, way better than spinach FM
ORGANIC VILLE KETCHUP– Made with agave nectar and gluten-free
organicvillefoods.com WF, FM, NS
DASH ‘O FLAX– Premium Gold Dash O’ Flax Golden Omega Flax, it is a great way to just sprinkle goodness on your food. Pease see SUPER SUPPLEMENTS concerning the additional health benefits recieved by eating flax.
PARMA!– Sister River Foods Parma! Vegan Parmasan is raw, healthy, dairy free.
VEGENAISE– Follow Your Heart Grapeseed Oil Vegenaise Better Than Mayo is super yummy and vegan. Darby calls it white ketchup.
followyourheart.com WF, FM, NS
SYNERGY CHERRY CHIA– G T’s Kombucha. Pease see SUPER SUPPLEMENTS to learn more about kombucha.
gtskombucha.com WF, FM, NS
SO DELICIOUS CULTURED COCONUT MILK– We use the vanilla flavor in place of yogurt. Barrett does not go one day without half a container of it mixed with fresh fruit, hemp hearts and chia seeds which we run through the ninja.
sodeliciousdairy.com WF, NS
HAIL MERRY MIRACLE TART– We use these for all special occasions requiring cake for myself or the babies. We make up special events just to devour them. Super Healthy!
PETER RABBITS ORGANICS FRUIT SNACKS– Preserved with lemon juice instead of citric acid
peterrabbitorganics.com WF, NS
PLUM KIDS ORGANIC MASHUPS– Fruit and Veggie Smoothie Blueberry Blitz is the only flavor we can use from this line.
NAVITAS GOJI BERRIES– Way better than raisins for Darby and Barrett.
navitasnaturals.com NS, WF
365 ORGANIC RAISINS WF
BRAGG LIQUID AMINOS– We use this in place of soy sauce which usually has wheat in it.
bragg.com WF, FM, NS
CELTIC SEA SALT WF, NS
HIMALANIA PINK SALT or any HIMALAYAN SALT– brandstorminc.com WF
NUTRITIONAL YEAST– Don’t like to buy from bulk due to cross contamination issues. Whole Foods has an affordable can in grocery section.
BOB’s RED MILL TAPIOCA FLOUR- We use this to thicken sauces and to put in shoes and on diaper area or Daddy’s occasional heat rash
bobsredmill.com WF, FM, NS
365 VEGAN CHOCOLATE CHIPS– wholefoodmarket.com WF
HAIL MERRY MACAROONS– Super good and better for you than regular macs.
RAW COCONUT FLOUR– Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Flour
GO RAW SUPER COOKIES– We like all the flavors, They are best if you let them melt in your mouth for a few moments before chewing
SESMARK GLUTEN FREE RICE THINS- We usually get sesame seed flavor
UDI’s GLUTEN FREE PLAIN TORTILLAS– Darby, Barrett and I don’t use these due to possible corn from xanthan gum.
We also use rice pasta which is cheapest at Trader Joe’s, sadly, there is little reason otherwise for us to go there.
We find frozen veggies are cheapest at Whole Foods and Fred Meyer’s
Fresh produce is cheapest at Fred Meyer’s
Fresh Fruits are cheapest at Whole Foods or Fred Meyer’s depending on sales
We like going to Whole Foods best. I never have to worry about trying something new, they stand by their products with a great return policy, For the products that we need, they are priced better than other stores almost always. Some things are super expensive, we just don’t buy those items. WF’s has the best variety of gluten-free, corn-free, dairy-free products out of any store that I have been to. The produce section will slice something open if you want to taste it. My kids don’t get scurvy thanx to their kid’s club. They love to pick out an organic orange each time that we go shopping. One time, somebody called the police and complained that we had been shopping with the babies for 3 hours. We were outside eating lunch when they arived. It was insane. I had been helping a friend shop who was trying to lose weight and shop affordably. The kids both were having a great time and not being disruptive in any way. I don’t believe that we had been there as long as was claimed, though it shouldn’t matter anyways. I am still in shock that the police would come out when someone makes a claim like that. Sadly, I will never know what kind of nut called and said such nonesense. I made sure to go more often than ever directly after, just to make sure that whoever it was knows that they did not achieve anything.
The manager at the Lombard New Seasons told us that we had to do all returns through him which was quite difficult since his schedule did not always match ours. I felt like we were being discriminated against. I like to try new things and sometimes I am in a hurry, so if I need to buy something, get home and realize that it has something that we can’t have in it, we would return it. Sometimes our teenagers would go for us and get the wrong items. The last return that we made was a package of FOLLOW YOUR HEART CHEESE ALTERNATIVE that only days after purchasing, it became moldy. We had to go several places before the return, so it was no longer cold when we got to NS’s. The person helping us made a comment about it not being cold. I tried to explain, to no avail. The next time that we came in, we were pulled aside by an assistant and warned that we could no longer make returns to anyone except the manager with no reason given for the demand. We buy some of our formula there since it is the only place that carries it in Portland. We get most of it from online. Otherwise, we buy as little as possible from them considering their pompous policy against us.
Fred Meyers is quite pleasant. One time, I had a cashier become quite rude to my husband and a security guard came up and insisted that I leave when I was trying to explain what our issue was. I was holding a carton of eggs that had a broken egg which we were trying to exchange since we had just gone through line and it was packed at FM’s that day, so we did not want to go to customer service since we had both babies and they were cranky and wanted to go home. Well, I got so upset with the cashier and her security guard Romeo that thought he was going to impress her by throwing me out while I was carrying my son who had just gotten out of the hospital in his snuggly- I started arguing with them and unknowingly started shaking my right arm with my finger pointed which was still holding the carton of eggs and the rest of them broke and started to splatter on them. I will be the first to admit that it was not acceptable and I did feel bad for not having realized before I started getting so angry that I was still holding the eggs and that they might make a mess. The manager came over and asked what was going on. I explained that the cahier was rude to my husband when he asked her if he could exchange the eggs, and how I did not realize that I was holding the eggs. He let us exchange them and that was it. Considering that we go to Fred Meyers 2-3 times a week, I think that it is great that this is the only incident that we have had while shopping there.
I have to add that I think that it is a shame that many people who work at stores seem to lack the people skills to know that sometimes a family has been to a doctor’s appointment, meaning that there is probably something at home preventing the parents from getting much sleep, then the need to go to a different store prior to that because it’s the only one who carries their formula and the max train rides which can be stressful with little one’s and a husband with severe social anxiety. Sometimes, the last thing that anyone wants to do or even has the strength to do is to wait in line for another 20 minutes just to exchange a carton of eggs that should have been packed better anyways. We have to go to stores more often than we would like due to not having a car, poor planning, and needing to get items on sale at different places. We plan our meals based on necessity and sales. Each month, I start out with great plans to create a shopping list that will allow for us to only have to go shopping twice a week. I don’t know how we would get it all home on the max, it would be wonderful though. If you ever see a title for a page called The Mega Shopping List, you will know that I have been successful! If anyone out there wants to brave such a list, I would appreciate it. Our monthly food allowance is $750 for all 6 of us and has to cover the $300 in formula also unless Grandpa sends some which is always a welcome gift. I can only offer a tremendous amount of praise and maybe a song written in your honor if you could pull together such a feat. Game On!