Mega Health With MegaFood

Written by Ashley Douglas, Assistant Wellness Manager

I recently had the pleasure of visiting cozy Manchester, New Hampshire to tour the MegaFood vitamin manufacturing facilities.  Boy, what a treat!  Not only did I get a sneak peek of the autumn foliage, but I was immediately impressed with the MegaFood company itself.  Founded in 1973, MegaFood is a whole food, “farm to tablet,” vitamin manufacturer that has created a Slo-Food process focusing on quality Foodstate Nutrients.  Sleepy New Hampshire makes the ideal home for this perfectly slow paced company.  Although they aren’t out to break any speed records, they are out to do it right and as their company’s slogan implies, they’re in the business of “changing lives.”  Using as many United States sourced ingredients as possible, MegaFood prides itself in its relationship with US farmers and growers.  Under the direction of only their second ever CEO, Robert Craven, the company takes a strong stance in the local community as well as the natural foods industry paving the way for Non-GMO efforts and labeling laws.  Sitting across the table from Robert proved to me that MegaFood as a whole really is approachable and committed to making personal connections.

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As a member of a group of only seven natural food retailer employees, I was able to receive a behind-the-scenes-tour of the MegaFood compound, learning about their patented Slo-Food Process and meeting some of the masterminds behind the company.  Walking through the plant, we started in the chemistry lab and learned where MegaFood’s quality control starts at the beginning.  The chemists test for many things including purity, known allergens and toxicity of all of their ingredients.  One of the things I was most impressed with is the amount of quality control MegaFood puts into their product along every step of the way.  They are a “vertically integrated” company, doing most of the work inhouse.  One of the only things MegaFood sends out for testing is pesticide testing- they want to make sure that the hundreds of pesticides they are testing for are up to date on a regular basis, thank you for that MegaFood!  Our group was able to see the process of fresh frozen oranges being cold-milled and thrown into the vat that removes the oxygen, stabilizes the vitamin, adds the enzymes and sends the final product onto the fancy Refractance Window Dryer (RWD).  The RWD is the meat and potatoes of this process- MegaFood is the only multivitamin company to take advantage of such process.  The RWD is a machine that allows for a gentle, low heat process that the vitamins and herbs that MegaFood extracts from whole food go through to get ready to be assembled into tablet form.   Straying from a heated process throughout production allows for the color and taste of the whole foods to come through, it also allows for a very high retention of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in the final product.  After the dryer, the products are sent through a tableting process that takes up to 72 hours to complete before bottling.  MegaFood is using machinery manufactured in Germany in the 1940s to complete this slow process.  They want to make sure that they do it right, rather than in mass quantities.  Just another thing that I was really impressed with, and noticed with my own MegaFood products, is the fact that they put an extra tablet in each of their bottles, just to make sure the never short their customers!  They really do focus on doing things right and going the extra mile for their customers.

Going in, I had a ton of questions, both from customers in the Wellness Department and myself as a MegaFood consumer.  ?  Luckily, on the trip, I was able to get ALL of my questions and more answered through one-on-one conversations with Mr. Craven, the CEO and one of my favorite meets of the trip, MegaFood’s formulator of fifteen years, Stacy Gillespie.  Here are a few questions the Wellness Staff have received and hopefully will be helpful when shopping MegaFood products:

Why doesn’t MegaFood make products in capsule form?  Stacy explained that MegaFood sticks with tablets for two main reasons; A) the coating that MegaFood uses on their tablets is a quarter of the thickness of a capsule, making it easier on the digestive system and B) one tablets contains three capsules worth of FoodState Nutrients. Capsules can be more “fluffy” than a nutrient dense tablet.

Why does there seem to be less in MegaFood products than other vitamin companies?  MegaFood only presents nutrients as found in nature.  They don’t believe in falsifying potencies not naturally found in foods.  They also are going on the theory that you are receiving nutrients from food sources which should make up the difference, so make sure to get your daily dose of that kale!!  A great example that really hit home for me- the United States has the highest consumption of dairy products in the world, but we also have the highest osteoporosis rates, sometimes less is just more.  Choosing quality food and quality ingredients makes less is more make sense.

How does MegaFood support the little guys, like our Moscow Food Co-op?  MegaFood excels at helping the little guys.  They do cater to retailers both big and small, but have some great programs to help out Co-ops and mom ‘n’ pop shops.  MegaFood offers a purchase program for small retailers, the Co-op included, to allow us to provide our customers with competitive prices.  They have also recently offered free shipping and a 24-hour ship window to all small orders.  If a big order comes in at the same time, can you believe that MegaFood ships out the smaller order first??  Perhaps the biggest, most important iniative that MegaFood has created and stands behind is combating “mass slippage.”  Mr. Craven has created an entire movement around mass slippage.  According to Craven, “mass slippage is when natural products slip from our key categories onto mass grocery and retail shelves.” For more information on this movement, visit www.megafood.com/massslippage.

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Just from whom does MegaFood source their food?  MegaFood works with more and more United States based producers each year, with four new suppliers currently in the works.  Two of their biggest are Uncle Matt’s Organic in Clermont, Florida and Stahlbush Island Farm in our own backyard in Corvallis, Oregon.  Uncle Matt’s supplies MegaFood with loads of citrus and Stahlbush provides a variety of foods including spinach and many other quality ingredients.  MegaFood has very high standards when choosing suppliers- Stahlbush Farms was recently chosen as a partner based on not only their quality, but their negative carbon footprint as a very large producer!  Both Uncle Matt’s orange juice and Stahlbush frozen products can be found on the Co-op’s grocery shelves.

What is in store for MegaFood, being such a small and seeming behind the times company in this fast paced industry? Just in the past three years has MegaFood enlisted a qualified team devoted to marketing.  In the next few months, you will see a new website, updated branding, a strong social media presence and readily available information to you as the consumer.  The new website will include a questionnaire to help you chose the best MegaFood products for your needs.  MegaFood is also working on improved training for retail associates as well as wellness trainings and courses for community members sponsored and backed by the esteemed Dr. Weil.  Watch for announcements on these classes, coming soon to our Co-op community!

 

Warm Your Head, Hands and Heart

It’s time to start thinking about how you’ll bundle up this fall and winter and we want to make sure you’re stylish while you do it. We offer not only beautiful, high quality knits, but fair-trade and sustainably produced knits, to boot.

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Top Row, Ganesh Himal Trading Co.: Founded in 1984 in Nepal, Ganesh Himal Trading Co. set out to create a business that empowered marginalized populations, like women and refugees. 30 years later, they are a part of the Fair Trade Federation, an organization dedicated to promoting respect and fair interaction, at all levels, between producers and consumers. Why will this line of knits make you feel extra cozy? Ric and Denise, the founders of Ganesh Himal Trading Co. say,”We have always felt that for profit businesses can be as good at modeling “fair trade” as non-profit businesses and so have tried to incorporate that diversity in our own model of who we partner with.” Be sure to bundle up with their hats mittens and scarves this season. To learn more about Ganesh Himal Trading Co. click here.
Middle Row, PACT: PACT has set out to not only provide people with beautiful socks, tights and clothing, they are also on an educational mission to inform consumers about the hardworking farmers behind the garments they wear. PACT wants to remind us that just as food doesn’t come from a grocery store, clothing doesn’t come from a department store- the cotton used to make clothing begins in a farmer’s field. They use strictly Non-GMO cotton seed, wind energy and non-toxic water-based dyes that aren’t harmful to the environment. And on top of all the good they do for the planet, the folks who work for them are treated and paid fairly. Slip into their organic cotton socks. Your feet will thank you. For more PACT and their efforts to create sustainable goods click here.
Bottom Row, AndesGifts: AndesGifts has set out to prove that affordable, high quality, handmade products don’t have to come at the price of sacrificing ethically and sustainably sourced goods. They work closely with the women of Bolivia and Peru to create models that are most beneficial to their communities. They abide by the principles of fair trade, giving their hundreds of knitters opportunities for education, better diet and the pride of providing for their families. AndesGifts makes a variety of hats, scarves and legwarmers for both kids and adults. Go ahead and wrap your little monster up in the monster hats and mittens from AndesGifts. To learn more about AndesGifts and their work in South America click here.

Product Spotlight: Veriditas Essential Oils

We’re so proud to now carry Veriditas Botanicals essential oils- a company dedicated to organics and small farming. Their line of oils is pure and unadulterated and is revolutionizing the distilling of organic plants for their essential oils. They’re a natural fit for our co-op because of the pride they take in organic land management, their involvement in and understanding of cooperatives and the standards they uphold in the oils they produce. This is the only pharmaceutical-grade line of essential oils in the store, making some of them ideal for internal consumption, as well as external (They are not all edible, so be sure to ask our Wellness Department which ones are safe).  Did you know that it takes 500 pounds of lavender to make just 32 ounces of lavender essential oil? That’s a lot of land mass, so by supporting Veriditas you are, in turn, supporting organic farming methods on a large scale.

We’ll be bringing you a DIY guide to make your own oil blends that are good for healing a whole host of ailments, but for now, here’s some ideas for how to use the Veriditas Essential Oils for cooking and baking.

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Add a drop of peppermint oil to your mocha or hot chocolate for a nice winter treat.

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Add 10 drops of lavender oil to a jar of honey and make your own “miel de lavande”. It’s especially delicious in tea or drizzled over goat cheese.

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Add a drop of cinnamon bark oil to your cookies to had just a hint of spice.

It’s always best to start with a small amount of oil and add more to taste. Always add essential oil to the end of cooking to ensure that the molecular structure remains in tact and you’re receiving the best flavor possible.

To learn more about Veriditas Botanicals essential oils click here.

Eco-Friendly Lunch Packing

If you’re looking for ways to pack a more eco-friendly lunch, look no further. We have the tools and tricks for you! Over time, lunch bags, sandwich bags and individually wrapped items can add up (both in your bank account and in the landfill). Try some of these environmentally-friendly items, available in our Wellness Department.

EcoFriendlyLunchPacking1. Life Factory silicone-wrapped glass water bottle- $17.99. These bottles are BPA-free and the silicone sleeve helps prevent breaking. We also carry baby bottles and food storage containers.
2. Keep Leaf reusable pouch- $5.99. Send sandwiches in these fabric pouches and you’ll eliminate the need for plastic sandwich bags.
3. Klean Kanteen food canisters- $17.95-$34.99. Made of food-grade stainless steel, these canisters are meant to keep cold food cold and hot food hot. Great for soup!
4. Squooshi reusable pouch- $5.99. Squooshi pouches are BPA-free, Phthalate-free, PVC-free, and Lead-free. You can fill them from the bottom with yogurt, mashed foods or even oatmeal, then wash them a use them over and over.
5. U-Konserve sweat-free ice pack- $9.99. No one likes to open their lunch box to find their food all wet from a sweaty ice pack! These fabric pouches are filled with a non-toxic gel pack made from recycled water bottles and are guaranteed to leave your food cold and dry.
6. Bento Buddies lunch box- $14.99. These lunch containers contain boxes of varying sizes for storing and separating foods. Have a picky eater who hates when their food touches? This was made for them!
7. U-Konserve insulated lunch sac- $17.99. Made from recycled water bottles, like their ice packs, these lunch sacs will keep your food nice and cool.
8. Bambu Kids spork- $5.69. A fork on one side and a spoon on the other, these sporks are made by hand from Chinese bamboo with fair-trade standards.
9. Preserve reusable food container- $3.99. Made from recycled number 5 plastics, Preserve makes food storage containers, toothbrushes, plates and more.
10. Keep Leaf lunch bag- $18.99.  Made from 100% organic cotton canvas, these bags are durable and lightweight.

Facebook Giveaway! Onyx + Green School Supplies

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School is just around the corner! And while you parents are probably busy rejoicing at the fact that your little ones will be occupied all day again, the cost of school supplies can add up. Fret not co-oppers! We’re offering a fantastic giveaway of some of the coolest school supplies around from Onyx + Green- a company dedicated to making the greenest (and best looking) stuff around. To be entered to win a basket full of school supplies head on over to our facebook page and find the post about Onyx + Green. Then you need to like, comment, AND share the status. In the comment section tell us what your favorite school supply of all time is. We’ll then pick a winner on Wednesday, August 13th. Happy facebooking!

What Will You Spend Your Dividend On?

One of the greatest perks about being an owner of the Moscow Food Co-op is the patronage dividend at the end of the year. Each year our Board of Directors votes whether or not to disperse dividends to owners and this year they voted that owners would receive dividends! In order to receive your dividend, please make sure that your address is correct in our system at the customer service desk. You can expect to receive your dividend at the beginning of September and it must be redeemed within 90 days. Not sure what to spend this extra cash on? Here are some ideas!

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1. PACT Socks (Organic Cotton)- $10.00
2. Cards from Good Paper- $4.99
3. The Feel Good Business, Hammered Copper Hoop Earrings (locally made)- $30.99
4. Bequet Caramels- $0.39 each
5. Le Creuset Mug- $14.99
6. Constellation & Co. Cards- $4.69
7. Constellation & Co. Cotton Bag- $4.99
8. Maika Pouch- $11.99
9. Torch Illumination Co. Candles, Sugared Eucalyptus- $9.99