On my recent trip to the almighty Ranch Market 99 (click the link to find a location nearest you) off of I-10 and Blalock Rd. I found a few more reasons why this place is f*ckin' awesome. Let me now begin to share those reasons with you...
1). They're produce is cheap, fresh, and seasonal. They really don't supply their store with fruits and vegetables that are out of season. It's winter time, so you can expect winter produce along with the produce that is good year round. Why do we buy fruits and vegetables that are in season? Well because they're cheaper, fresher and more nutrient dense when they're growing naturally within their appropriate time of the year. If you're curious about what fruits and vegetables are actually in season and which ones are good year round, check out my old post Eat ya greens. Also if you want depth on why you should stop paying 9$ a lb for pesticide-infused strawberries go here: Five reasons to go seasonal by Whole9
Check out the fresh shipment of Gold Kiwifruits. If you enjoy Kiwifruit then you will literally kill a man for these Gold Kiwis. They're that awesome and guess what...they're in season. I just picked up about 30-35 today for 16$, oh no you didn't Ranch99...yes they did.
2). They have top-quality eggs. They carry USDA certified organic and certified humane eggs. Yes you are reading that correctly, two certified labels in one. Remember, farms must go out of their way to pay the money to have their poultry and egg processes certified under USDA or Humane Farm Animal Care in order to allow these stamps to be placed upon their product, so these certifications are meaningful! Being certified organic means these chickens are fed an all-vegetarian diet, free of animal byproducts, antibiotics and pesticides. Also these animals organic foods can't be grown using any synthetic fertilizers, chemicals, or sewage sludge, cannot be genetically modified, and cannot be irradiated. Certified humane is in conjunction with a program called Humane Farm Animal Care. These chickens are cage-free and must be able to perform their natural behaviors such as nesting, perching and dust-bathing. Forced molting through starvation is prohibited as well.
The combination of the two makes for some happy hens and some damn good eggs. Quality is pivotal when we're concerned with food consumption. We must understand that the way these animals are both treated and fed has a complete affect on our bodies well-being. Essentially we're eating these animals or products of these animals, so the better lives they live, the better lives we live.
Fortunately for us (@ West Houston) we have access to top-quality eggs with the delivery of Yonder Way Farms every 4th Thursday of the month. So, for future reference stock your fridge with quality eggs because healthy eggs last a long time.
For more information regarding eggs or clarification and validity of my crazy talk, see Whole9's post on eggs here: The Conscientious Omnivore: Eggs.
3). They have top-quality coconut products. If you haven't read Tricia's post on coconuts and the benefits of coconuts over at the CFWH nutrition blog I suggest you do so...right...now---> (The truth about coconuts). She hits the nail on the head. What's not to like about coconuts? Honestly? They're sweet, deliciously hydrating and you can damn near eat and drink every aspect of the coconut itself (except the shell). Coconuts contain a high concentration of saturated fat and contrary to the belief that "fat makes you fat" or "fat makes you unhealthy" this type of saturated fat does not. It actually makes you, well...healthy. Most of the saturated fat is a type of fat called lauric acid. This type of fat has no affect on cholesterol levels whatsoever and can actually strengthen your immune system as well as help to reverse the process of "leaky gut syndrome" A malfunction of our gastrointestinal system due to tiny micro perforations within our intestinal lining after a repeated consumption of anti-nutrient proteins found in grains, legumes and dairy (lectins and gluten).
Not to mention it is an excellent source of energy. Cocounut products like other good sources of dietary fat have no effect on insulin and glucagon, 2 main hormonal players in the storage and mobilization process of food digestion after consumption. In simplistic terms, without all the chronic carbohydrates, our bodies can be trained to use both this dietary fat and body fat stores as fuel. This can allow us to really tap into an "unlimited" source of energy.
Coconut milk is one of the most popular sources of coconut now-a-days. Be sure to read the label before purchasing. We want to try and keep the ingredient list short, preferably to one. Here is my favorite brand found at Ranch 99, notice the ingredients on the left...100% coconut milk. Sweet language, but even sweeter price. 3$ for about a quart of pure decadence. Get some healthy medium chain triglycerides in ya system!
Coconut water or young coconut juice seems to be another popular trend amongst athletes and weekday warriors everywhere. Loaded with an incredible potassium, mineral and electrolyte content, in one serving this potent liquid is said to have more electrolytes than your typical sports drink and more potassium than a full banana. So, take this with you to the gym for post workout re-hydration or drink it instead of your typical weekend martini, guarantee this won't go straight to your ass. They're running a special right now, two 18 oz cans for three bucks. I no lie.
Again, notice the singular ingredient on the left...