Health food. The idea that food and health are connected is an ancient notion. From the Egyptians feeding their slaves garlic to boost their strength and immunity to the Greeks tweaking their diets to find balance and internal harmony among the body’s four “humors”—black bile, yellow bile, phlegm and blood—health and eating are and have been linked for centuries.
Today, health food stores typically specializes is organic foods, local produce, nutritional supplements, vegan products, raw foods, gluten free options and whole foods.
The term health food (as we currently understand it) is said to have been used since the 1920s to refer to specific foods claimed to be especially beneficial to human health. Sometimes that means macrobiotics, vegan, whole grain foods, organics, or otherwise “natural” products.
The presence of health food products were brought about by efforts from early health pioneers such as Paul Bragg, Sylvester Graham and Ellen White among others. As early as the 1920s and 1930s health food stores started opening in the United States and the United Kingdom selling products such as blackstrap molasses and brewer’s yeast.
Health food stores became more common in the 1960s in connection to the then newly emerging ecology movement. Groups of people teamed together to form coops and increase their buying power. An interest in non-conventional, fresh, organically farmed produce and whole foods became more popular in the face of decades of canned and frozen foods in the United States. Bob Gerner was part of the movement of people linking together to find better food sources. Just ask him or some of the folks who have been shopping with us for 30 years and they will tell you stories about their old food co-ops.
Today, we (The Natural Grocery Company) are linked to hundreds of natural food retailers throughout the country via an organization called INFRA (http://www.naturalfoodretailers.net/what-we-do). Together we focus on buying organic, Non-GMO, wholesome foods and making them available to our community for the best possible prices.