This is the thread in which I share the odd things I find in supermarkets, with the occasional Is It Primal?! subtext.

I went to Whole Foods for the first time today. Yeah, no TJ's with a couple hundred miles, and I was itchin to find some stuff. I do, by the way, have good luck finding odd primal stuff on the food racks at Marshalls and TJMaxx (got a huge bag of Himalayan pink salt there for $5), but the selection is limited and overrun by agave. But back to Whole Foods:

What is coconut sugar? I looked at the nutrition facts, and it looks the same as regular sugar. 15 cal per serving, all sugar cals. Maybe it is less bleached/processed/stuffed full of carcinogens than regular white sugar. But why pay a lot more for something which is simply not-bad? Who thought extracting sugar out of coconuts was worthwhile anyways? And when every other coconut product is white, why is this one brown?

In the butter section, sitting next the Earth Balance Buttery Spread, was "Coconut spread." I did not inspect the package, but I am assuming that it's placement says that it is intended as a butter alternative. I know Whole Foods caters to vegans and etc., but is this stuff supposed to go on toast? Really?

The meat section, I made a nice find of beef chuck steaks at 3.99/lb, rated as 4 on the humane scale (I guess this is good?) and marked as "Pasture Centered." I could be wrong, but I don't think this means that my steer lived in the center of his pasture. Is this another word for grain-finished? Or occasional supplemental grain? When I got home I got thinking, if "Pasture Centered" means any good at all, I could buy these steaks and buy a meat grinder, and save between $3-$6/lb on the grass-fed ground beef I've been buying (er, not buying enough of, because of price). I have no idea how much a meat grinder costs or how to work one, so this idea might get chucked.


Other supermarket imponderables:

I was at my mostly-worthless Winn-Dixie and grabbed a package of Baby Bella shrooms. Had to look close though, because nearly the entire label was covered with "Contains 100% Daily Vitamin D!" Really? I eat mushrooms a couple times a week to get Michael Pollan's "moon calories" (or so I think with a smile every time I cook them, but hey, he could be right). How can moon calories contain such a large dose of Vitamin D? I can understand getting Vitamin D from animals, since animals can produce it. But what's fungi doing with hormones? Is there something kinky going on underground?

Also at my worthless Winn-Dixie was a little tub of chicken livers. $1.59/lb. for Sanderson Farm chicken livers. Cafo, but the Nutrition Facts still listed a pretty high amount of Vit. A, so it got me thinking whether CAFO is sorta okay when it comes to chicken, nutritionally speaking. Conventional chicken has no hormones or steroids by law, so it beats conventional beef there. But given that my ability to acquire grass-fed livers (at 4x the price) is spotty, how worried should I be about eating this liver, other than the ethics?

In the same vein, my still largely worthless Winn Dixie had calf liver in the freezer. I remember reading in Omnivore's Dilemna that calves meant to be hamburger are still largely born and raised as nature intended before they get stuffed into the feed lot. But I am not sure if a calf meant for a short life would follow the same (but shorter) trajectory or just skip most of the feedlot experience. Or is "calf liver" just another term for "veal liver" and suffer the same problems as CAFO veal (and its ethics)?


Assorted imponderables:

What's the point to organic, pastured milk if they're just going to ultra-pasteurize it?

After they ultra-pasteurize it, why bother with the expense of keeping it chilled?

"4-grain eggs" are actually four grains and soy. For once soy is not counted as a grain, as it is in nearly everything with the label "multi-grain".

Does feeding soy to hens effect their hen-laying?

Why is it nearly impossible to find plain rooiboos tea in America? It's not escargot.

Why is the "imported cheese" section filled with the crappiest, hardest, and most bitter European cheeses? Is it because they just send us all the leftovers they don't want? Since they also send us their blandest beer is it simply a case of passive-aggression?


These are the sorts of things I think about while shopping. It is generally frustrating, since it seems that the more I know the more the world looks confusing.