Sunday, January 10, 2010

Why I Heart Trader Joe's

As (so-missed) Tim Russert scribbled "Florida, Florida, Florida" on election night 2000, I declare, "prices, prices, prices."

I visit my local farm every week for produce and some vegan products, but for almost everything else, I hit Trader Joe's.

A staple in many vegan refrigerators: tofu. These are the best prices I've seen, especially for organic. Make everything from tofu scrambles to chocolate mousse.

Love or hate them, mock meats are a humane alternative to the real deal.

In the mood for Southern-inspired fare? Try the chicken-less pulled chicken in barbeque sauce (in the refrigerated section) on a bun with their organic sweet corn (in the freezer aisle) and organic lemonade. The beef-less strips are great for stir-fry's.

Try the chicken-less strips in casseroles (add noodles, a can of mushroom gravy and can of peas and carrots). Their chicken-less stuffed cutlet goes well with rice pilaf and a green salad. They have soy chorizo for just $1.99 if you're looking to make Alicia Silverstone's chorizo tacos. My favorite tacos: bean or guacamole. Simple!

Being of Swiss heritage, my family loves our strudel! Oh, we love all dessert, really. Vegan apple strudel, $2.99, for a package of two.

These vegan cafe twists will be making an appearance at an upcoming clothing swap at work. Perfect for your next coffee break. Don't forget their soy creamer, just $1.49 for a pint.

There's always food sampling in the back at their Westwood, NJ location. At last, a vegetarian one!

Beans are one of the healthiest and least expensive protein sources for vegetarians and omnivores alike, in my humble opinion. Nuts are another great protein source, either sprinkled on salads or eaten just by the handful. Find a large selection here.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for (soy) ice cream. I love their cherry chocolate chip and chocolate varieties the most. You can make 'milk'-shakes with non-dairy 'milk'. Other flavors: vanilla and mango vanilla. For vegan and organic, $3.29-$3.69 for a quart is a terrific deal. I see small containers for $5+ at Whole Foods. Avoiding soy? Go for sorbet.

This lavender scented detergent has a built-in fabric softener, so I only have to buy one product. They have lavender dryer bags, but thanks to Project Laundry List, I've abandoned my dryer for good, hanging drying everything on a drying rack in the bathroom. Saved: $1.50 per load.

Their recycled paper toilet tissue got Greenpeace's approval. For a 12-pack, $3.99.

Look your best, for less. With fair skin, a daily moisturizer with an SPF is a must for me. This one is a steal at $3.99. I used to use a seaweed one from The Body Shop, $18, which I liked, but switched when I ran out to save money.

Cruelty-free toothpaste for just $1.99! Yes, please! The Tom's of Maine brand next to it is $3.99.

Don't want to spend $10 on shampoo? Me neither. This one is just $2.29.

I save a small fortune by getting haircuts at Supercuts, just $15, and for every eight cuts, the ninth one is free. With clothes, haircuts, beauty products, and food, I no longer foolishly think I am "treating myself" to something because the cost of it is high. We shouldn't equate the "best" with being the most expensive. That's thinking drilled into our heads by marketers, and sadly, perpetuated by many women who encourage other women to waste their money on costly products when you could be living the good life, for less.

Get your bargains on at Trader Joe's. Check out their vegan list for quick reference.

Want to contact Trader Joe's to expand soy cheese offerings (their soy cheese contains non-vegan casein), bring back the roasted vegetable pizza (so cruel to discontinue it!) or have other suggestions? Let them know.

Check out PETA's Caring Consumer site to find cruelty-free (non-animal tested and no animal ingredients) companies.

Happy humane and budget-friendly shopping!

1 comment:

The New Vegan said...

Hi! I love Trader Joe's too. I wish we had one here in Orlando! I keep filling out the location request on the website... but no luck :(