One of the biggest challenges that I have found when it came to clean eating was working out where to shop.
I still don't quite have it sorted but I thought I would share the places I frequent and maybe that will help you find something similar in your local area. Starting off I used to just hang out at woolies or coles - fruit, vege, meat, dairy and the "natural" aisle. It's a good place to begin and I still shop there at least once a week.
On the Gold Coast we are spoilt for choice really with all the markets we have available. You can check them all out here They have the locations and times for all over Australia. I haven't been to the Turf Club ones in years but it's on my hit list in the next few weekends. There is also this group of markets which covers Gold Coast and Brisbane. These are the ones I go to regularly - either Nerang on Sunday or Sharks on Saturday. Here is the list from the Gold Coast City Council which includes the craft markets that are on too.
A little further afield but totally worth the drive if you want to do more than "just food shop", is Mount Tambourine of course, but my absolute favourite is Bangalow. I have Richard pencilled in for driving me down there not this Sunday next. He is thrilled of course - loves the markets :) I usually go with some other friends but they are heading overseas. It's only on once a month but it's not to be missed.
Health Food Stores
I have found some of my local ones quite honestly to be a little dodgy and one has staff who really can't answer any questions (I often go armed with some LOL). I really do think you have to shop around a bit to find the ones you like.
I have two favourites - One in Southport - Bliss Foods . They have an awesome range of stuff in bulk, things like almond meal, oat bran and spelt flours etc. So you can buy a little or a lot. The staff there are lovely and very helpful. They don't have fresh fruit and vege but they do stock some nice breads. They also have a good range of things like Agave syrup, maple syrup, and coconut oils- and some yummy protein balls that sit on the counter begging you to buy them when you checkout. - Just saying.
All the way down at Palm Beach ( I go armed with a shopping list ) is Wray Organic. They do have a closer store at Broadbeach in the Oasis centre which I haven't visited yet. I chose the Palm Beach store because they have a cafe there with all manner of goodies. It's just like a "traditional" supermarket with fruit and vege, bread, a huge range of organic dairy products, frozen bits and bobs too, including some meat. They have big tubs of flours, seeds and nuts which are very good value. I had been on the lookout for coconut flour which I found at Wray. They have it branded and packaged which is $19.95 a kilo but in the tubs it's only $9.95 (that's the organic one). On the whole I have found buying from tubs to be the best value for the things I use alot of.
We are lucky in that there is one just close to home at Parkwood- GJ Organics. I have only been once. I bought some nitrate free silverside which I cooked in the crockpot - It was so good. The nicest silverside I have ever had. In our freezer is some grass feed beef sausages which are preservative free. Apart from that I'm sticking to chicken which I get from our local butcher at Pacific Pines or fish from the fish shop at Helensvale Westfield or Tidal Seafood at Harbourside Markets. I'm yet to do much research into the whole meat side of things. It's on my to do list. I have seen some meat and fish available at the fresh food markets too but I am yet to try them out.
Harbourside and Ferry Rd Markets
These are the other two places I go to each week. Ferry Rd because it's near where I have treatments/ drs appointments or if not, then Harbourside is closer. They have a lovely range of goodies in their deli and also the girls really enjoy choosing "different" fruit and vege from their beautiful displays. It's not cheap but you can get some nice things. I often buy fresh ricotta there which usually works out to be just a few dollars for the amount I need for whatever recipe I am making.
There is a fruit shop at Harbourtown - at the front near the Asian Grocers which is always packed. Like crazy packed. I used to walk past it then a friend Mel told me that's where she gets her bubbies vege from so once I started to get serious about juicing I needed a supply. Its so cheap and they have a huge range. This is where I get bulk things like carrots apples oranges etc from. Inside is also really well priced nuts, honey and coconut milk. As well, they stock a very good range of organic dairy products so this is where I can get my yogurt, sour cream and feta cheese from.
Hmm I guess when I write it all out it sounds like a lot but really it's not. The health food stores I only hit when supplies are running low in my containers and at a push I can always grab from woolies or coles.
The one thing that I haven't quite got sorted yet is spices. I have never been one to cook with many spices other than what's in my recipes but now I am doing my own thing I'm thinking I need to add in some bits. I did notice this weekend a lovely spice place where you buy gram amounts at Nerang markets. Harbourside has a great range too but they are eeeeek so expensive.
I'd love some advice on what to get spice wise and any other ideas of local places to try that I haven't yet found.