Primally Yours: Paleo Encounters at Whole Foods

May 7, 2012

(Photo by lowjumpingfrog)

Funny shopping experience at Whole Foods the other day. Whole Foods has been out of Avalon Organic Whipping Cream for ages. So I inquired. Guy said Avalon’s having problems sourcing it. Then he suggested the frozen whipping cream. Huh? He led me to the frozen food aisle and proceeded to hand me a tub of Cool Whip (or whatever the Whole Foods equivalent is). Uhm, no thanks. Meanwhile, a lady unable to find low-fat milk had followed us over. As if the Cool Whip suggestion wasn’t offensive enough, the guy then suggested I buy soy milk. “Never.” What about almond or rice milk? “No Way”. Why would you suggest milk substitutes to someone looking for heavy cream? Perhaps he was vegan and that was what made sense to him.

Anyway, low-fat milk lady must’ve been even more puzzled by my insistence on full-fat dairy, because she asked me why I didn’t want low-fat like hers. Oh boy. I don’t usually preach about the paleo diet, but if people ask, they’ll get answers. So I told her that fat is healthy. I got a look of disbelief. It turned into a nice intro to paleo conversation, with a boatload of question (e.g. Is that how you stay so skinny? What do you eat for breakfast? Lunch? Snacks? But I thought brown rice was a health food?). She seemed more interested in losing weight than the health aspects – which isn’t unusual I guess.

I suppose that since other than on this blog I generally just keep the paleo diet to myself unless asked, I was somewhat amused by the experience. And being the owner of a primal/paleo blog, I felt the need to drop what I was doing to be a good ambassador of the paleo diet. I hope she found the info helpful. Worried about causing harm though, or giving paleo a bad rep if she ends up gaining weight, I concluded with warning to not  continue eating high carb along with high fat – not a good combination. She had heard of the paleo diet before, so perhaps our conversation will prompt her to look into it more. Who knows. But just like I never run into paleo people out in the real world, I usually also don’t come across people who are genuinely interested in the lifestyle. I guess that’s what the paleosphere is for :)

How about you? Do you run into paleo people or those interested in the lifestyle when you’re out and about?

Cancel reply

Leave a Comment


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenny May 8, 2012 at 8:48 AM

I’ve had a similar experience! When loading my pastured butter and local free-range eggs onto the checkout conveyor alongside some full-fat milk (for making homemade yogurt), the woman behind me told me I would be fat in no time. Unfortunately, this was someone who was more interested in preaching than listening (unlike the person you bumped into)… In any case, seeing as I’m actually underweight (ugh), I was just going, “Mm-hmm, whatever you say, Miss Buyer-of-Skinny-Cow products”. (<– I didn't know people actually bought those things. I knew they must have customers somewhere to stay a profitable segment for Nestlé, but still…)

I hope you're right and that she did go home and look more into the paleo lifestyle (or, at the very least, the paleo diet)! Changing the world, one person at a time, are you? :)


[email protected] May 8, 2012 at 10:16 PM

That’s funny – telling you that you’ll be fat in no time, meanwhile you’re actually underweight. :P “I wish!”

I can relate to your “people actually buy those things?!” thought. Obviously people must be buying them, but it defies logic, so I find myself newly surprised every time I see junk in someone’s cart.

Which pastured butter are you buying?


Jenny May 9, 2012 at 9:33 AM

Yeah I lean more towards the Stephan Guyenet or Chris Kresser approach where I still DO include a significant amount of carbs (starchy tubers, traditionally prepared non-gluten grains) – because I find it hard to keep weight on if I eat too “paleo”. I should’ve said that actually – “I wish!”. Would have made for a much better quip in response.

I like the Island Farms butter – it’s not certified organic, but it is pastured. (I checked with the company!) Or, if I see it, I’ll get Avalon – I use that brand for the milk! (They’ve assured me over the phone that their products are all from pastured cows, so I hope you haven’t found otherwise!) I have a pound of Organic Meadow butter in my fridge at the moment, actually; I will buy that brand during the summer months, when the cows are (hopefully) more likely to be grazing on the pastures. The Fraser Valley butter is supposedly pastured, but I haven’t investigated. (It does come from a from in the Valley, but the originating farm’s website doesn’t specify whether the cows are pastured.)

If I’m buying cheese, I go with L’Ancêtre… I know it’s not local, but it’s the only unpasteurised cheese from pastured cows I’ve found thus far! For eggs – same as you, apparently – Maple Hills, although I was disappointed to learn recently that they keep the chicken feed vegetarian, even though they’re free-range chickens.

Ahh! This comment makes me want to laugh at myself. Oh the research I’ll do and the lengths I’ll go to for the sake of getting quality products… (Same goes for many of us interested in our well-being, I think?!)

Jenny May 9, 2012 at 9:34 AM

Ack! Typo: The Fraser Valley butter… does come from a *FARM* in the Valley, not “from a from”, yikes.

Aaron May 8, 2012 at 3:36 PM

I’ve not yet run into a person already into Paleo (in 3-D at least). I do, however, get inquiries into my lifestyle because people view me as a very healthy guy (Geez, good sleep, sound nutrition, low stress and efficient exercise can do wonders! )

When I do expound into my world a little, I stay with the basics and oftentimes give out Sissons and Wolfs websites. People appear interested in the concept, but I can tell it’s just the first step of planting the seed. In other words, I’ve yet to meet the person who has that ‘this totally makes sense’ moment. Most people have to start by coming to grips with the fact that the low fat, whole grains, calories in calories out shtick is nonsense. And that usually takes time.


[email protected] May 8, 2012 at 10:12 PM

It does indeed take time. Hopefully every such encounter though is a step in the right direction. At the very least it opens people’s minds to a different way of living, one that’s contrary to useless conventional wisdom.


[email protected] May 9, 2012 at 10:09 PM

Since you mention butter, I assume you get a lot of fat in to help with the weight gain?

That’s great that you found Canadian butter that’s pastured – it seems like from your research, a lot of the brands actually are? I’m surprised, skeptical, but hopeful. Honestly, I haven’t really looked into it – I typically just buy Kerrygold because nothing I’ve come across up here has ever compared. I recently bought Organic Meadows because I had run out of Kerrygold, and the colour difference was huge (not to mention the flavour).

Interestingly, you can buy Kerrygold cheese up here. My favourite is the Dubliner. Tastes amazing. I’m pretty sure it’s pasteurized though, which is unfortunate.

Yah, it’s amazing the lengths we have to go to get real food when “food” is so abundant at the supermarket.


Jenny May 10, 2012 at 9:18 AM

Quite in line with many personal anecdotes of people who lose weight on *very* Paleo diets (whatever the heck I mean by that – no grains, I guess), I lost more weight trying to go grain-free. I didn’t really think I’d lose fat eating fat at first – even though I understood the science and had done all the reading, I guess conventional wisdom is so hard to dislodge that at a subconscious level I kept thinking that eating more fat would help me gain weight… Not so much! I eat the fat for the nutrients that get better absorbed alongside it – the grains make the weight gain easier. :P (I do keep away from gluten… It seems well-established that it’s like the harbinger of ill health.)

Honestly? All of the Canadian pastured butters pale in comparison to Kerrygold. You can’t buy Kerrygold butter here though, right? I always buy two or three pounds of it when I visit the States, but I’m usually buying too much free range beef and other stuff to bring too much back. I haven’t had great experiences with Organic Meadows butter – hence only buying it in the warmer months, when I hope the animals aren’t cooped up in the barn eating organic “feed” (apparently a combination of wheat, corn, barley, and soybeans… yummmm) but are actually out on this supposed “meadow”.

I have seen the Kerrygold cheeses at Costco! I think they are pasteurised, like you said, but I’ll pick one up the next time I’m downtown. I’m usually hesitant to buy big blocks of cheese types that I haven’t tried before, but if the butter says anything about the quality of the company’s products, it must be good.

Your last comment made me laugh in remembering the Shopper’s Drug Mart brand: “Simply Food”. Uhh, really? Considering that probably 99% of the things with that label are in some sort colourful box with lengthy ingredient lists…


[email protected] May 10, 2012 at 7:21 PM

Well, it’s good that you’re eating lots of fat, even though you’re not trying to lose weight – great source of calories too..

No, can’t get Kerrygold in Canada, unfortunately.. as for the cheese, I’ve seen it both in Urban Fare and Safeway – in regular sized portions.. there’s the dubliner plus a gouda and a cheddar.. again, i highly recommend the dubliner, although they’re all really good..


Previous post:

Next post: