The Tantalizing Allure of Trader Joe’s

Shop your way to good health.

The other day after I made myself try out the Core class (decently hard but only 15 minutes versus the hour I anticipated) at my gym, I decided to reward myself by going shopping at Trader Joe’s. I wanted some of their superb coffee for my new French press and I told myself I could pick out some fun healthy goodies while I was there. I gave myself a $25 budget and reminded myself not to go overboard.

Then I walked in. Gosh, how did I forget how fantastic Trader Joe’s is,  I thought immediately upon spotting all the gluten-free bread and bakery. I didn’t need any of that, however, so I steered clear, well, with a few lingering glances and made my way to the fruits and veggies. I decided that once there I would get the ingredients I needed for a salmon artichoke quiche I was wanting to try. The budget now had to be bumped up to $50, because I was doing one-stop shopping, so that was allowed. 

As I tried to be simple in the produce aisle, I kept hearing my inner voice chime in that I definitely needed an avocado, and a pear, and an onion, and a lemon, and a lime, and a pomegranate and fresh artichoke instead of canned, and why buy singles of all this produce, when clearly bags were only a little bit more and I would get all that extra. Oh, and tomatoes and sweet potatoes and edamame! And as I looked down I realized I could possibly be going overboard already. I sternly reminded myself again, do not go overboard

But then I laughed to myself looking at all the beautifully colored produce and thought, how could I possibly go overboard on health? 

So I made my way to the coffee where I picked out the exact canister I had my heart set on, touting Strong and Rich, which reminds me of my mom because she always says, “I like my coffee like I like my men: strong and rich!” 

After grinding my strong and rich coffee and savoring the smell, I placed it in my shopping cart. Then I happened to notice I was in the peanut butter aisle! Of course I need more almond butter and I have gotten over the fact that it costs $7. I put some in the cart. 

I added the smoked salmon I needed, the goat cheese, fresh herbs—because they were a heck of a deal—some coconut covered cashews which were a tad on the pricey side, but that’s to be expected of nuts right? I was paying for my preparation in being a new health warrior. If I didn’t buy this bag of $7 cashews and found myself ravenous one day after the gym, who’s to say I wouldn’t make a weakened decision in my moment of hunger and buy a McChicken? No, the cashews were entirely worth it. 

But then I spotted the wine aisle. I mean, I had heard numerous studies and doctor’s say a glass of red wine is conducive to good heart health. If you can’t enjoy a glass of red wine from time to time then what’s it all about folks? Why are we even bothering? The French and Dr. Oz would so agree with me. Red wine in the cart. For my health of course!

I also added a dark chocolate bar, over 72 percent dark, because we were allowed that at the Ranch and taught by the nutritionist, one fabulous Rachel Beller, that dark chocolate over 70 percent has really great health properties. I can’t honestly remember what they were as I was just so delirious over hearing I was allowed to savor one small piece of dark chocolate a day with my coffee. 

I made my way to checkout and by this point was actually getting quite hungry. I had packed myself a string cheese and orange for after the gym and had eaten the string cheese already but the orange was in the car. On the way to the front I passed the bakery section again and spotted small powdered doughnut holes. My stomach started to growl and I picked them up and inspected them. They looked so enticing.

Wait! The package said they were made with sour cream and wheat flour. So it was like they were trying to be healthy too! I wavered. Then I flipped over the package and checked out the stats on the nutrition label, which I always do now. 220 calories for four donut holes. There had to be at least 12 in there, so I would end up eating all of them and wasting 660 calories on a snack, a sugary donut snack.

And back on the shelf they went and I sped to the checkout line without looking back. 

Total spent: $75

Oops. I went overboard.

Thank God it was Trader Joe’s I had stopped at though and not Whole Foods, otherwise I would have been in a world of trouble. 

Ah well, it was in the name of health and what could be wrong with that I thought as I happily munched on my coconut cashews on the drive home.  

– Cassandra

Photo by Cassandra Sturos