- Dawn Shay,
Naturally Yours employee
|Teas, food bars, books and granola are among the items in the Naturally Yours Grocery raw foods section. (Photo by Courtney Cardenas / Staff Photographer)|
NORMAL– The raw food diet is beginning to grow in popularity, and Naturally Yours Grocery is responding to the rising demand.
The concept behind raw food dieting is simple: by cooking foods, nutrition is lost. Therefore, according to followers of the diet, by eating foods that have not been cooked, processed, or tampered with in any way, a consumer will be receiving the most possible nutrition out of every meal.This diet, naturally, calls for all organic ingredients without any preservatives or anything additional, and with consumers trusting non-organic and processed foods less and less, the raw food diet is seeing more and more people adopting it.
This new idea for dieting most recently saw prominence when actress Gwyneth Paltrow attempted to save her father from throat cancer by converting his eating habits. Tragically, her father still died, but the actress learned a lot of what she believes to be healthy and satisfying new ways to eat food. She even wrote a cookbook describing many ways to eat raw and organically entitled My Father’s Daughter.
So, with this growing demand, how are grocery stores answering? Can raw food products be affordable, or will they suffer the fate of most organic products and be more expensive than their processed counterparts? Do raw foods even taste good? Is this diet really that beneficial?
Naturally Yours Grocery on College Avenue west of Veteran’s Parkway would answer, “Yes,” to any of those questions. Naturally Yours Grocery is a two-year-old locally-owned business in Normal that stands as the largest site for all things organic and natural in the Twin Cities area. The market has had raw foods since it opened, but, according to Michelle Stipp, the store’s manager, customers have been demanding a larger selection recently.
According to Stipp, the raw food craze has even surpassed gluten-free foods, a cornerstone of the store, in popularity. Gluten-free foods were originally meant for people with celiac disease, a condition that does not allow the digestion of gluten, a product typically found in foods with wheat. However, once it was discovered that gluten could be bad for you and cause weight gain, more and more people without celiac disease switched over to the diet.
The store has an entire section dedicated to gluten-free foods because of this, and raw foods just recently saw the same treatment. What is even more intriguing about raw foods is that they, too, are implicitly gluten-free, dairy-free and meat-free, drawing consumers from all diets to what a raw diet offers.
Their raw food section is modest, compared to other sections, but still represents the changing attitudes of the store’s customers. The products mostly consist of bars and trail mixes, but all of them are relatively inexpensive and assuredly very tasty.
Dawn Shay, an employee at Naturally Yours since its opening, sees the benefits of raw foods.
“I like it because I eat gluten-free and dairy-free,” Shay said. “I don’t need to read through all of the ingredients on the back to see if it’s okay for me to eat.”