5 Great Finds from the Health Food Store


Next time you’re in a health food store, ask the clerk to tell you his or her five favorite items.  Not what sells the best or what might help you with a particular problem—though you may ask about those as well—but which items have they tried that exceeded all expectations.  I did this several months ago and found several new items that  have resolved problems I didn’t even realize had become problems.

Here are my new favs that I recommend to you, either at your favorite local health food store or discount store or ordered online.

1. Elations liquid and powder supplements for healthier joints, containing 1500mg of Glucosamine and 1200mg of Chondroitin  (product review)

Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have bought this had I seen any commercials or advertising for it.  When I mentioned my find to my favorite college student, she made a face and said, “But that’s for old people, isn’t it?”  The commercials and website certainly do seem to market it to people 10 to 20 years my senior, so I guess it’s a good thing it was recommended to me without consideration for the primary market. I wish I’d had this in my early 20’s!

I’ve had several joint injuries in my life, the first when I was 18 and fell on my right wrist, damaging it too badly to play piano at a recital later that day.  It pained me throughout my college years and was excruciating when I was 28 and trying to haul my baby around and had no choice but to rely on my right wrist.  My doctor diagnosed the pain as osteo-arthritis, thanks to tripping over a block of cement that was buried not quite below the surface of the college cafeteria’s lawn.

“But don’t worry,” Dr. Terry Payne promised, “because by the time you’re, say, 45 and it’s really bothering you, they’ll have found a cure for arthritis.”

A few years later, I took up foil fencing and managed to injure my knees enough that I eventually had to undergo physical therapy.  I’m now on an exercise regimen that keeps my legs super-strong and in good shape, but my knees do occasionally bother me, especially if I don’t stay on top of the exercise due to my work schedule.  I stay very active but that doesn’t mean I’m staying active with the correct leg exercises if something blows up at work and I have to forgo gym time. At the time of my diagnosis, my then-physician, Dr. Matthew Dorman, was open-minded enough to recommend glucosamine, based on studies he’d read.

The health food store employee told me that I should feel the effects of one package of 30-calorie bottles in a week’s time, and to my surprise, she was right.  I’ve tried glucosamine “horse pills” and chewables over the years, but felt only minor improvement after a couple of months of steady use.  Elations—perhaps because the liquid is more absorbable—was a drastic improvement that I noticed within a week.

I normally drink one of the 8-ounce bottles a day, every day.  It tastes to me like very strong Hawaiian punch, even thought the several flavors of Elations vary somewhat. It’s definitely better for me than drinking a soft drink, at least a hundred calories less, and costs about the same.

I’ve also tried the powder version where you mix a packet of Elations powder with a 20-ounce bottle of water, but to me, it tastes a little less appealing.

On a recommendation from the older man who does house repairs for me, I’ve also tried their competitor, Joint Juice, but was less impressed with the results.

2. The Fiber35 Diet Sprinkle Fiber by Renew Life  (product review)

When I was 25, one of my best friends taught me the value of fiber, particularly for weight management.  Not that I paid much attention.  Most of the stuff she recommended was hideous.  No matter how good for me something might be, if it tastes like a cereal box, I’m probably not going to eat it.

When the health food store’s employee pulled a tall, narrow canister of Sprinkle Fiber off the shelf, I turned up my nose at it.  That’s when she explained what she liked about it.  She not only got her daily quota of fiber from it, but she got it easily, with no mess and no taste.  I took her recommendation and now this canister stays on my kitchen table, right beside the salt and pepper.  It mixes with any soft food, dissolving completely without any taste or grit.

3. Organic Essential Detox by Renew Life (product review)

My health food store was obviously a fan of the Renew Life product line and initially suggested several detoxes like their Heavy Metal Cleanse.  Their employee raved about the product but since it’s only in pill form and I have trouble swallowing pills, she recommended her favorite liquid cleanse, the Organic Essential Detox.

Though many of my fitness-minded friends do cleanses, or detoxes, several times a year, I’d always rejected the idea.  Frankly, I was afraid I would have to excuse myself too frequently from too many meetings to run to the bathroom—and that’s the main reason I refused to try them.

This one is supposed to be extremely gentle, and after a lengthy discussion with the employee, I decided to give it a try.  I measured out an amount just less than a capful and made a brew of green tea at least twice a day, sometimes three times.  Initially, I thought the tea tasted god-awful but I got used to it after about a week.  I drank the tea about 30 minutes before my meals and made sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Problems?  None.  None of the gastric fears.

The perks?  Well, me. I got downright perky.  In a few days’ time, I began to feel sooooo much more energetic.   This was the only dietary change I made during this time, so I can safely attribute the perks to the product.  My thinking became clearer, my body less fatiqued, and I had a surge of energy.  Instead of coming home from a grueling day of work and wanting to nap for a couple of hours, I wanted to hop on the treadmill or jump into home repair projects.  The bottle lasted approximately 2 weeks, and the difference in energy was substantial.

4. Source of Life Liquid Vitamins by Nature’s Plus.

My favorite of these is the Mixed Berry “Red” version. Vitamins have always been a problem for me because they’ve generally come in pill form, which are hard for me to swallow.  Even as a child, I would ask the doctor if I could take a shot instead of having to swallow a pill or liquid with the consistency and taste of swamp water. Most chewable vitamins lack everything I need, so when the health food store employee recommended liquid vitamins, I was intrigued.  I decided I liked the ingredients and flavor of the Red version of the product better.

I’m still not crazy about the taste. Yes, it’s a 2-tablespoon dose (roughly one shot) but to cut the taste, I generally mix it with a glass of grape or pomegranate juice.  I’m getting used to it, but initially it was not the best tasting liquid.  However, it does really work for me.  Again, maybe it’s because the liquid has a better absorption rate, but I did get a huge surge of energy soon after my first dose, as the product promises.

5. DanActive Probiotic Dairy Drink by Dannon.

If you have frequent yeast/bacterial infections, here-to-forth referred to as “girl problems,” acidophilus pills and a daily helping of yogurt are well-known prevention strategies.  My problem is, I hate most of the yogurts that come in the plastic tubs. I don’t mind the taste, but I can’t abide the gloopy texture.

DanActive is basically a yogurt drink, and I personally find it quite tasty.  The bottles are tiny—not enough for a meal but perfect for either a dessert or to take other vitamins or medicines with.  Vanilla’s my fav, followed by strawberry.  One a day for me keeps girl-problems away!

One of my co-workers swears by DanActive but for different reasons.  Her digestive system is at its best on a daily bottle of DanActive, and she claims it’s the only thing that keeps her from feeling bloated.

So there you have it.  Five new products to give a whirl!