Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Shopping at Organic Food Depot (OFD)

The Organic Food Depot—I call it OFD—is a wonderful organic and natural food co-op. It has a number of store/pick-up locations in Hampton Roads. You can go online and sign up to be a member. It's FREE! Once you become a member, you can order products online (orders close on Tuesdays at 10 a.m.) and pick them up in-store on Fridays after 5 p.m. The OFD carries a lot of products in stock, but even more products are available through them online. You can split cases of items with other members, buy items in bulk to get a better price, or simply buy individual items as well.

Listed here are some of the products they carry that are in line with eating according to the Maker’s Diet.


OFD carries a variety of organic produce, much of which is local—everything from grapes, kiwi, oranges, apples, pears berries, bananas, lemons, avocados, onions, potatoes lettuce, mushrooms, bell peppers, spinach, and number of other things. The organic produce I usually purchase from OFD includes
- green bell peppers (the price is better than other places depending on the season)
- baby bella mushrooms
- fresh heads of lettuce (the best prices I’ve found around)
- pears
- red potatoes
- tomatoes
- grapefruit
- grapes
- oranges

One of the most valuable resources for me concerning produce has been the Food News page on This website lists the pesticide levels present in a variety of fruits and vegetables. The things at the top of the list I always buy organic. The things on the bottom of the list I don’t bother to buy organic. This has helped me to balance my budget and make more informed choices. For instance, bananas hardly absorb any pesticides, so I continue to buy regular bananas at the grocery store.


- JUICE: Unfiltered organic juice, with pulp to get the most living enzymes (Golden Acres apple juice is really good. It's local and a decent price, though it isn’t organic. You can get it through the online catalogue if you're looking for this type of “whole” juice.)

- RAW HONEY: Really Raw Honey is the one of the only raw, unheated, unfiltered brands of honey on the market. It is delicious! It comes in a variety of sizes and is in it's natural solid, unheated state. This ensures that the living enzymes contained in raw honey straight from the comb are still active and alive. Another local alternative is Golden Angels Apiary. Their honey is also very good, but very few of their honeys are raw and many of them are slightly heated. However, the latter is less expensive. Choose what works best for you depending on your budget. I use raw, unheated honey in cooking and on cereal, in tea, etc. (When baking, if something calls for 1 cup of sugar, I use about ½-¾ cup of honey—so it’s not a one-to-one ratio. However, when substituting honey for sugar in baked goods, reduce the amount of liquid by ¼ cup for each cup of honey used; add ½ teaspoon of baking soda for each up of honey used; reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees to prevent overbrowning.)

- DRIED/CANNED FRUIT, NUTS & SEEDS: organic raisins, a variety of organic dried fruit, organic unsweetened shredded coconut, organic canned fruit, organic peanuts and other nuts, organic seeds—sunflowers seed, sesame seeds and others

- PASTA: Food for Life offers wonderful organic sprouted grain pasta. Vita Spelt offers organic spelt pasta. Bionature offers organic spelt and whole wheat pasta. Tinkyada offers brown rice pasta (brown rice pasta is what I prefer by because it tastes more like white pasta but is so much healthier for you). OFD also carries quinoa pasta.

- SAUCES: Muir Glen Pasta sauces are good and well priced. OFD offers other pasta sauce brands as well. Muir Glens offers a wonderful pizza sauce too. (See recipe blog for Spelt Pizza Crust recipe – coming soon.)

- SPROUTED CEREAL: Food for Life offers sprouted cereals—they are not sweetened, so they are best when eaten them with a little raw honey or fruit. Although the Maker’s Diet prohibits eating any cereal but sprouted grain, OFD does carry a good alternative to Rice Crispies if you have a hard time giving up regular cereal—it’s Brown Rice cereal by Erewhon/US Mills. Technically this is not your best choice as it is processed and no longer a living food.

- MAPLE SYRUP – OFD carries many brands. Some are better priced than others. Just make sure it has no added sugars or corn syrup. It should be pure maple syrup. I usually just look for the best price or try to split a case with other members (See recipe blog for the Healthy Pie recipe – coming soon. This pie recipe uses maple syrup and/or apple juice to sweeten the filling. It’s delicious.) Also, Costco sells Pure Maple Syrup in bulk for a little better price. It isn’t organic, but still very healthy, no sugar or corn syrup.

- OILS: Organic Flax Seed Oil (in the refrigerator at OFD and available online of course); Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil - Nutiva is the brand that seems to be the best priced, but look at the other brands for sales; Organic Olive Oil – Spectrum or Newman’s Own both are well-priced (make sure it’s cold-pressed and unrefined); Rapunzel Pure Organics carries an Unrefined Spanish Olive Oil that looks really good—I haven’t tried it yet. (All of the Rapunzel products are great, their unsweetened cocoa for baking is wonderful.)

- FLOUR: I buy Spelt Flour from OFD in bulk (25 lbs. at a time). So far it seems to me to be the best flour for baking when doing substitutions in recipes. I haven’t yet gotten the hang of baking with Amaranth flour (which you have to leaven with yogurt or kefir, I’m still experimenting with that). Brown rice flour (has no gluten in it, so won’t rise without yogurt or unless blended with spelt flour)—brown rice flour is very flaky and I haven’t really liked it when used in baking. It is very good in pancakes though. Kamut flour is good, but you have to blend it with spelt or it too is too flakey (it also needs yogurt to rise well). I’ve make cookies, breads and muffins, etc. all with spelt flour, using honey instead of sugar and adding nuts or grain-sweetened chocolate chips

- GRAIN SWEETENED CHOCOLATE CHIPS: Sunspire is the only brand that makes these. They are sweetened with malted barely and corn. Technically, the Maker’s Diet doesn’t recommend malted sweeteners because they are hard to digest, but I break the rule once in a while and enjoy some grain-sweetened chocolate because at least it doesn’t have sugar in it. These chocolate chips aren’t as sweet as regular sugary chocolate chips, but I’ve gotten used to them and they’re just as good in cookies.

- OTHER BAKING PRODUCTS: baking soda, baking powders, corn starch, etc. all available through OFD

- TEA/COFFEE: OFD carries a variety of organic teas and organic coffee beans.

- SNACKS/FIG BARS: I know they’re not sprouted, but sometimes it’s hard to find filling snacks you can grab on the go. We sometimes snack on gluten-free, sugar-free fig bars by Barbar’s Bakery. (Although lately, I’ve fallen in love more with organic dried figs available in the organic bulk section at Farm Fresh on Kempsville and Volvo.)

- SNACK/CRACKERS: Midel makes molasses-sweetened Honey Graham Crackers. They're all natural (not organic) sweetened with molasses and honey, no sugar. OFD also sells other crackers online, like Dr. Kracker. I haven’t found very many that don’t use safflower/sunflower oil (not exactly on the Maker’s Diet kosher list), but a number of the crackers have other healthy ingredients like flax seeds. (See Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions book for recipes on making your own healthy crackers.)

- SEASONINGS: OFD carries all sorts of organic seasonings and seasoning packets: fajitas, tacos, alfredo pasta, chili, basil pesto, dips, soup mixes, etc.: But really look at the ingredients on some. Some contain corn syrup or sugar, etc.

- SALSA: OFD has tons of salsas to choose from. Our favorite is by Walnut Acres – Fiesta Cilantro. We buy it by the case.

- SOUP: OFD offers tons of canned soups and broths. But again look at the ingredient to make sure there’s no sugar. OFD carries Amy’s canned mushroom soup – best price I’ve found on this so far. Again, it is also preferable to make your own stock and soup, but sometimes it is difficult to find the time. (Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions has tons of recipes on soups.)

- PICKLES & VINEGAR: OFD carries a variety of organic pickles online and some in the store, I believe, as well as a variety of organic vinegars and pickled/fermented vegetables.

- SALAD DRESSING: OFD has lots of dressing available, but again, check the ingredients. (See recipe blog for a vinaigrette dressing that is delicious – coming soon.)

- CONDIMENTS: OFD offers fruit-sweetened ketchup, as well as organic mustards and horseradishes. OFD also carries the Maker’s Diet-recommended mayonnaise by Spectrum: Omega-3 with Flax Seed Oil.

- SPROUTED BREADS: Food For Life – sprouted English Muffins (delicious!); Food For Life Ezekiel Bread (the bread’s ok, a little dry. Makes really good toast though!); Burger Buns (very good); sprouted Taco/Burrito Shells. In addition, Alvarado Street Bakery is a brand that offers sprouted Taco/Burrito Shells (these don’t break as easily as Food For Life’s), sprouted Bagels, sprouted Hot Dog and Hamburger Buns.

- OTHER BREADS: OFD has bread available from a local bakery called The Real Bread Shop (located on Kempsville at Fairfield Shopping Plaza). Their breads are fantastic, and you save a few cents by ordering the bread through OFD rather than at the store itself. They grind all their own whole organic flour and they sell “Bible Bread,” their version of Ezekiel bread (however their Bible Bread is not sprouted), and many different kinds of organic Spelt Bread. They also make a great Whole Wheat Sourdough. And all their breads use organic flour and only honey and molasses for sweetening. They’re big slices and they’re not dry as some natural bread brands can get. Make sure you stick with the Spelt Bread, the Bible bread, or the Whole Wheat Sourdough – their other breads use regular wheat and unsprouted grains, which are not as healthy or as easy to digest.

- PEANUT BUTTER: Maranatha is personally my favorite brand. (However, although OFD carries it, it is more expensive at OFD than Farm Fresh on Kempsville and Volvo in the organic section). OFD carries other brands of organic peanut butter as well. When shopping for peanut, make sure it is ALWAYS ORGANIC (do this for your raw, loose peanut as well). Commercial peanuts have very high levels of pesticides. Harris Teeter also carries its own Naturals brand of organic peanut butter that is very decently priced.

- CHIPS: Sami’s Bakery - Millet & Flax Pita Chips. In The Maker’s Diet, Jordan Rubin cautions against chips fried in oils, etc. since it changes the molecular structure of the oil, which is not healthy. OFD sells the most delicious alternative to regular chips … these are Millet and Flax Pita Chips. Both the plain and the garlic ones are safe on the Maker’s Diet. Very good, hearty and filling.

- BEANS: OFD sells organic canned beans and also organic dry beans (uncooked) which you can soak overnight for hearty soups. Much healthier to soak things and let them sprout, releasing the nutrients.


- EGGS: (Pete and Jerry’s – good price for organic, cage free eggs) – Wal-Mart also has organic eggs now (less expensive than other places) but they’re aren’t cage free … depends on what you’re willing to spend—at least if they’re organic, then it’s healthier than being commercially raised.

- CREAMS: Nancy’s cultured sour cream, cottage cheese, and cream cheese – lots of living healthy bacteria

- MILK: Natural by Nature Organic Grass Fed Cow’s Milk – I believe this is one of the few places this brand is available in the area.

- YOGURT: Seven Stars Dairy, organic yogurt – Maple or Plain. Both of these flavors have no sugar in them. The Maple flavor is only sweetened with maple syrup. You can also just get plain yogurt and make your own yogurt by blending the plain yogurt with fruit in the blender and adding some honey. Redwood Hill Farms also offers a wonderful organic goat’s milk yogurt with a wonderful honey-sweetened blueberry version. (Goat’s milk digests in 20 minutes rather than 4 hours as with cow’s milk! So, it is a healthy option when doing a cleanse or if you are sensitive to dairy.)

- BUTTER: Organic cow’s butter and/or Ghee if you prefer (both available)

- CHEESE: Morningland Dairy raw cow’s milk cheese is a local dairy that sells cheese through OFD. They offer cheddar, sharp cheddar and Colby cheese. Very good! If you don’t have time to shred your raw cheese, OFD carries many different kinds of organic shredded cheese, but they are not raw.

- BEEF OR CHICKEN HOT DOGS: Applegate Farms – their organic beef or chicken hot dogs have no nitrates added and are organic. The beef ones are particularly tasty.

- TURKEY BACON: Applegate Farms – Organic or all natural turkey bacon (no nitrates added)

- SANDWICH MEAT: Applegate Farms: organic and nitrate-free turkey (offered in a variety of roasting styles including maple and honey, smoked, etc.), chicken, beef.

- FROZEN FRUIT: OFD has a variety of brands.

- LOCAL GRASS-FED BEEF: Gryffon's Aerie – this local company provides a variety of good grass fed meats.

- KOMBUCHA: an organic, raw, fermented Chinese tea drink containting 1 billion probiotic organisms and lots of antioxidants. It is carbonated, sweetened with fruit juice and a delicious substitute to soda and other drinks. It is fantastic for the digestive system.


- OFD all of the Garden of Life supplements mentioned in The Maker’s Diet. My favorite supplements include

o Ultra Primal Defense (“Ultra” is the latest version of Primal Defense, even better than the regular Primal Defense because it has a time release factor and even more probiotic organisms … and even though the instructions on the bottle say to take three a day, once you do a good cleanse you only need to take one or two a day). The Ultra Primal Defense through OFD is the cheapest that I’ve found anywhere, even compared to other online stores. By buying Ultra Primal Defense at OFD you will save at least $5 compared to The Vitamin Shop (but only if you order from OFD via online to get the 15% discount for members).

o The Living Multi Vitamins are good too. They now have them specifically for men and women

o Super Seed – the living fiber powder recommended in The Maker’s Diet.

o Perfect Food (original or green label). This is wonderful stuff too, comes in powder or capsules.
The thing to remember when trying to figure out what supplements you can afford is what will make the most difference for you. For me personally, I take Ultra Primal Defense and Perfect Food every day. I would like to take the Women’s Living Multi but we just can’t afford to do everything. So, I take a regular vitamin and then take the two supplements I just mentioned.


- OFD also offers tons personal care products: natural and organic beauty products and toiletries. I’ve done a lot of research on this subject, especially through Skin Deep on Go to this website to get a better education on what ingredients commercial personal care products have in them and their harmful effects.

You can get just about anything from OFD. If there’s something specific you’re looking for that you can’t find or are wondering if it’s a decent price compared to other stores, just post a question in my comments section, and IF I know the answer I’ll let you know. If I don’t know the answer, go ahead and do some of your own research, price comparing and let me know what you find. Even though OFD offers a lot, there are still items that I can get for a lower price at Wal-Mart or Harris Teeter, and sometimes Farm Fresh.