Food allergies or sensitivity are a big deal to many people, as well as to their pets. Knowing what to eat, how to prepare it, and where to buy it can sometimes be diffi cult. Luckily, the Clear Lake/League City area has a resource for both people and their pets at Natural Living Organic Food Co-Op.
Owner Lisa Piper started developing awareness of how to deal with food allergies because of the needs in her family, and this grew to her starting Natural Living seven years ago. Her vision for the store is to be a source of information and education, as well as a resource for whole and organic foods, with a strong emphasis on allergen free foods.
The focus at Natural Living is on whole foods–ingredients that have no or minimal processing. People with allergies respond much better to whole foods. They also sell only organic produce that is either sourced locally or from certified organic farms. They focus on local people making local products. In addition, instead of selling supplements, they sell the natural herbs that would have been a processed part of the supplement, since more benefi t is obtained from consuming the whole food.
Listed as a Non-GMO Verifi ed Site, Natural Living is committed to 100% GMO-free food. Genetically modifi ed food often triggers allergies that were previously absent, or makes existing allergies worse. It also causes gut permeability (known as leaky gut syndrome), which impedes digestion and assimilation of food. This is even more of a problem for people with allergies because these issues are already present and therefore further exacerbated. Pets are also often adversely affected by GMO products.
At Natural Living, they take extra precautions to prevent cross contamination. Unlike other stores where customers serve themselves from the bulk food bins, dramatically increasing the chance of accidentally mixing products in even a small amount, the staff at Natural Living measure and weigh the bulk products. They also use glass containers instead of plastic, to keep the food cleaner and fresher. In their commercial kitchen, all equipment is used only with gluten free products.
From classes, to nutrition or sustainability film screenings, to private nutritional counseling, Natural Living helps people become comfortable with healthier eating. “Many people find us because their doctor just told them they must change their way of eating,” Lisa says. “Mostly they are feeling panic or anger, believing they have to now eat unpleasant food and can never again eat what they really love.
Lisa and her staff help reframe the focus. Without pressure or judgement, they let the person know that it’s okay try new things, and they provide a wealth of ideas for ways of eating that nourishing to the body. They help the person think in terms of what they can eat, and suggest delicious replacements old but unhealthy favorites. They emphasize that changing the way of eating is a process, and one which they will support through encouragement, healthy food options, recipes, and classes.
So what else makes Natural Living unique?
Anyone can shop at Natural Living, either in the store or at the Open Market on Friday night and Saturday. Sign up for the weekly e-newsletter to stay informed of available foods, menu, recipes and classes. For more information, visit ShopNaturalLiving. com, email email@example.com or call 832-632-2937. Location: 219 N. Michigan Avenue in League City. See CRG on page 30 in our online issue.