Favorite Health Food Stores In Chiang Mai?
140 replies to this topic
Posted 2012-10-25 09:16:08
Can you guys give me your favorite, or top two health food stores in Chiang Mai?
I'm specfically looking for raw nuts, nut butters, and dried fruits and veggies.
Posted 2012-10-25 12:36:39
Aden on Neimanheiman Road and Baan Suan Pac near the President Hotel.
Posted 2012-10-25 14:37:46
Doc, for the items you mentioned you really don't need a "health food store". Rimping Supermarkets (there are about 5 or 6 in the area) handle all of those products including walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, madademia nuts etc. See their website at www.rimping.com
Tops (more expensive) also has most of those items.
Cheapest bet is Makro which has all but nut butters (actually, I've never looked for those; do you mean nut oil?). Veggie prices are very cheap at Makro. You can get a one day membership there to shop and then get a permanent member card (free). Big C also has good veggies but I don't like their layout or their stores much.
Also, for organic veggies, there are various local produce markets (one is near airport just off of Canal Rd) with spinach, very nice romaine lettuce etc. Aside from the organic veggie markets, these in general are cheaper than the stores (except for Makro which I think is even cheaper than the local markets because they buy in bulk).
Edited by TheVicar, 2012-10-25 14:39:18.
Posted 2012-10-25 17:09:40
I'm prodded into a response to TheVicar's post.
Firstly the dried fruits at rimping include many that have added sugar. Some don't, and one needs to ask the person that is responsible for them, but who often is nowhere to be found. I mention this because people into eating healthy food will not want any white sugar entering their body if they can help it.
I think nearly all dried fruits in other markets have sugar added.
Also with regard to the nuts that rimping sell, in particular the shelled almonds, walnuts, and any others which have had their outer 'husks' removed, i'd like to get posters' opinions on this. I know that nuts that are exposed to oxygen and light will at some point get rancid, and i've always assumed that reaching that point doesn't take long, and therefore never buy them. If they have gone rancid my understanding is they're likely to bring more harm than health to those who eat them.
At kasem when it's the season in china, one can buy nice big packets of walnuts with their shells still on, meaning no rancidity issues for sure.
There is also sandy health store on chang moi road as it starts to bend round to the left about half way from the moat to worawot market. But they're not so much about the products mentioned in the OP.
There's also a health shop past the suriwong book store on the same side as one is going towards the moat. That has a lot of products.
Posted 2012-10-25 21:41:26
The Vicar mentioned he did not like the layout of Big "C" stores.Funny I thought it was only me who didn't like it.
Posted 2012-10-26 18:19:01
Good post Femi Fan, I had not considered the problem of rancidity for unshelled walnuts (and other nuts). Here is something I found on the internet that seems pertinent:
"Walnuts are available in the market year around. In the store, you may get to see different forms of nuts are displayed for sale; unshelled, shelled (without the shell), salted, sweetened, or ground, etc. Buy whole “un-shelled” nuts instead of processed ones.
While buying, look at the nuts that should feature bright brown color, compact, uniform in size and feel heavy in hand. They should be free from cracks, mold, and spots and rancid smell.
Un-shelled walnuts can be placed in cool dry place for many months, whereas shelled (without the outer shell) kernels should be placed inside airtight container and kept in the refrigerator to avoid them turn rancid.
Given that info, you are likely right and if you can get nuts in their shells, they likely are better for you.
But there's another two factors worth considering and that is: time on the shelves and cost.
I'm not sure about the stores you've mentioned but Rimpaeng markets do a lively business so they probably have a good turnover on their products. I suspect that is NOT so true of most "health food" stores where the product might have been around a lot longer. And then, there's the question of cost. Makro is the cheapest and has all of these products and probably a quick turnover too. I'd be interested in getting your response because you seem very knowledgable.
I've also found all the stores that I mentioned have nice supplies of healthy yoghurt (no additives). My 2 favorites are "natural yoghurt" about B 22 for 180 grams and even better, Yolinda which is B 55 at Tops and Rimping and B 52 at Makro for the large size. Makro also has a very good muesli from Germany that is much cheaper than the same identical brand sold at the other stores.
With respect to dried fruit, I'ved bought the "Heritage" brand of fruits at Rimpaeng Markets and they claim on the package that nothing is added. I cannot detect any sweetners added but who know? That brand, however, is not inexpensive.
Edited by TheVicar, 2012-10-26 18:28:58.
Posted 2012-10-28 03:28:48
Does anyone know the name and address of a health food store located between the old city and Muang Mai market? It's attached to a vegetarian restaurant that serves lunch, according to the person who told me about it. Maybe on Wichayanon road.
I went around and couldn't find it.
Edited by DocHolliday2006, 2012-10-28 03:38:30.
Posted 2012-10-28 07:37:04
I'm guessing that it is Baan Suan Pac near the President Hotel. The health food store serves food and so does the vegetarian restaurant on the corner of the complex.
Posted 2012-10-28 18:32:07
Information, as ever, is the key! What to believe, what to trust?
The information you have found about nuts concurs with my understanding about them. I've consulted one of my more trusted sources, and it even says one should not store shelled nuts in plastic, because the oils in the nuts combine with the plastic to form plasticides! It also says it is better to not eat nuts at all than eating rancid ones.
If the nuts are 'hulled' (i assume this means shelled), then they should be stored in dark bottles in cold places. This clearly is not the case for shelled nuts sold in rimping and in other stores. I've seen shelled walnuts, brazil nuts, and almonds in health food shops in australia, all exposed to light, and not exactly kept in cold places. The problem seems to be that heat and light speed up oxidation, and i know that's a problem for sure.
For further consideration is that 'poisons and toxins tend to accumulate in all seeds, so it is important to buy organic non-sprayed ones'.
Another thing is that once nuts are shelled they also lose their nutrients, and that this and 'deterioration' begins immediately. This happens to a lesser extent when the nuts have been vacuum packed without oxygen.
With all this information, it becomes a bit of a bore when thinking about eating nuts, something we all instinctively know is a healthy thing to do. Do we accept the information? Is it over-alarmist? I don't know. But i decided quite a while ago to only buy nuts that have their shells on them. The exception is that i buy almonds that have been shelled, but which still have that darkish brown 'skin' on them. That is contrast to the white looking almonds they sell in rimping. I decided the best course of action was to be careful, because i know eating rancid butter for example is not a good idea.
Kasem sell walnuts in their shells imported from china from time to time depending on whether it's the season or not. I bought a pack two weeks ago.
Don't forget thailand's own supplies of cashews. Interestingly thais often roast nuts, and my book suggests this is an excellent way of reducing any rancidity, and of enabling digestion.
The other way of looking at nuts is to just eat them as they come, not worrying about them being shelled, and to just rely upon the tongue to tell you if their rancid. Trouble is for me that i'm not sure i can detect this. Hence my decision to only buy unshelled nuts. I have assumed the almonds i buy have protection, and they certainly are very tasty, which i don't think anything rancid would be!
Posted 2012-10-28 18:35:35
Oh, and it's nearly macadamia season here in chiang mai. I bought some of those in chiang rai the other day, from china. They are well in their shells! Last winter i saw signs on the samoeng loop road advertising macadamia nuts, and this winter i'm out to go buy loads of them!
Posted 2012-10-28 18:46:16
I'm not sure about this 'natural' label for foods. I have bought the goats' milk yoghurt in rimping several times, but feel better about buying the goats' milk yoghurt sold in baan suan pak, because she makes it herself.
The problem with normal cows' milk yoghurt is the actual milk being used. I'm sufficiently convinced it's a bad food to be ingesting and haven't touched it for four years. In america they have many places selling raw cows' milk, which gets around the problems of the milk that comes from mass-farmed cows. (if you're interested in the problems and dangers of modern produced milk, get hold of The China Study. I think they have a copy in baan suan pak you can borrow.)
You mention muesli. Well, can i recommend the chunky monkey brand made right here in chiang mai, sold in baan suan pak and in kasem stores. It's very very tasty, and only uses healthy ingredients, and no wheat. I use this and add my goats yoghurt, along with pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, dried apricot, almonds and/or walnuts, and whatever fruits i've bought. I add oat milk to it which i buy in rimping. Washed down with tea, this is a really tasty breakfast! And as healthy as i can make it.
There are serious issues with foods in our modern world, and if one considers the massive rise in things like diabetes and cancer in america (two in five people nowadays are said to get cancer) which is the vanguard of modern food production, then staying healthy requires a bit more time and consideration on the individual's part.
Posted 2012-10-28 21:08:46
Thanks Femi Fan,
Lots of good thoughts there.
The guidebook, "helpful Hints for Getting Settled in Chiang Mai" mentions a health food store called Imboon Supermarket which "specializes in health foods and vegetarian supplies." They give the address of 188/1-3 Muang Samut Road. I don't know about this because I haven't been but the guidebook in general is good. Any one been there and would like to comment?
I'm not sold on Kasem store, at least the one on Nimmanhemin Road. I went there about 2 weeks ago and I was the only person in the store for the 10 minutes I was there; their supply seemed to be "mom and pop" store stuff, nothing special at all. Three clerks all were talking with each other since they had nothing to do. Not a good sign. Given the likely low turnover, I would be worried about buying from them.
I really think we are lucky in CM to have Rimping; lots of locations, clean stores, prices higher than others (except Tops which seems even pricier) maybe but not outrageously so, nice bakeries, nice service, air con (important for keeping foods fresher) etc. And excellent stock of cheeses, nuts (I went today and they have an enormous collection; I bought walnuts that they put in small plastic bags with just their store name on them. They're fresh and terrific. I like their yoghurts. The other store might have good muesli but wih cereal, you never know if it has sugar in it. The brand from Germany that Rimping, Tops and Makro stocks (I think it is Hahne but I'm not in stock so I'm relying on my memory) is excellent. It gives you a detailed breakdown of what's in the bag--no sugar; the local mix will not likely do that. By the way, the helpful guidebook mentioned above says that if you freeze cereal, flour etc. for 2 days, it will kill any little creatures inside and their eggs. In this climate, that may be necessary.
Edited by TheVicar, 2012-10-28 21:17:08.
Posted 2012-10-28 23:41:44
You need to freeze flour, cereal, pasta, etc. for more than 2 days - I believe it is 4 full days in order to kill the insects and their eggs. Then you need to store them in zip lock bags with bay leaves at the bottom.
Indeed the health food store near President Hotel has a low turnover. I've never seen it busy there. On a recent trip there to pick up a few items, some of the items we got were rancid.
Posted 2012-10-29 00:18:04
What is a health food store? Is organic healthy per se? I was recently in the US and saw all organic stuff were much more expensive. For instance, organic chickens were sold at USB4.99 per lb while ordinary chickens were sold at USD2.49.
I have seen too many people influenced to eat "healthily" but at the end they don't seem to be in better health than people who just eat everything. More important to me is to get enough sleep, don't smoke and don't drink too much, and eat everything but excluding eating too much those which are known not good for you like kha Moo.
My father lived to become 93. He smoked since he was 16 but cut down to 6 a day at 85. He needed that juice to keep that body to fight, so bad cells (cancer) wouldn't develop. He ate everything, many "unhealthy". He passed away not for health problem but for distress that my brother put him in an old people home. To this date, a few years now, I'm not in good term with my brother.
Healthy food is eat everything and never indulge on a few...my philosophy!
Posted 2012-10-29 00:43:17
I like Burger King and in the states Jack in the box. good thing I am only 70 years old. 25 more years before I have to start eating healthy. Longer if I get more exercise.
Edited by hellodolly, 2012-10-29 00:44:39.
Posted 2012-10-29 15:50:15
Now then, to allay your suspicions! The muesli mix i recommended has no transfats, msg, preservatives, processed sugars. All the ingredients are listed. I have planned for a while to actually go see the chap/place that makes the stuff. There are plenty of health-conscious and informed thais in chiang mai, the trick for us is discerning who is who.
I go to the original kasem store off chiang moi road before you come to worawot market. I only buy my muesli and a few other things there. Most of what's sold is not on my radar. But they do have the best bread in chiang mai, and they bake some rather nice cakes and so on, the occasional eating of them being my only weak link for intake of white sugar. They also sell the walnuts when in season. They also have things like chia seeds, and other stuff, and the family that own the place and store are ultra-friendly. Always busy this shop. Oh, i've bought the odd quiche when they've baked it and i've got there before it's all sold. Very good value and very tasty. They really are very good bakers of foods.
Posted 2012-10-29 15:56:58
Could you let us know which items were rancid?
I go to this shop regularly and while the shop is unlikely to have more than about four or five people in it at any one time, it's almost always got someone else at least when i go there. I know there are many regular customers, and many spend time enjoying talking to the lady whose shop it is. She's very knowledgeable and is well worth consulting for many things.
Some things may have a low turnover, but most fresh stuff does not. She also has a really excellent range of products, many of which cannot go off. Her shop and her work is a real boon to the community here, and she deserves full kudos for this. She used to be a pharmacist but when she realised the extent of the poisons she was selling she got out of that business.
Clearly you must like the shop for some reason if you keep going there.
Posted 2012-10-30 07:59:46
Has anyone been to the new health food store that is part of the Bake and Bite cafe across the river? Kai told me that she was opening it, but have not had time to check it out.
Posted 2012-10-30 10:27:09
I don't like their layouts either. I feel that generally they are poorly managed stores, although I still shop there for what I want at times.
Posted 2012-10-30 11:07:49
I think you raise a very valid point. What exactly is a health food store (does it have to be one that proclaims "Health Food Store"?). The branch of the health food store on Nimmanhamin that I mentioned above looked like any "mom and pop" grocery store; no special stock and since no one seems to buy things there, you have to wonder how healthy the food is (especially since I don't remember it being air con).
I think we are really fortunate to have the Rimping stores here: they have a wonderful supply of foods, very large selection; are clean and aircon; have a devoted and helpful staff; and stock lots of products found in "health food" stores. Often at far cheaper prices. And they play Mozart! I'm very hesitant to buy a muesli, for instance, that is put out by a local group because it likely has never been analyzed to see what's in it. The story about the pharmacist getting out of pharmacy and opening a health food store because she finally realized she was selling unhealthy products as a pharmacist made me laugh. You get a lot of schooling to be a pharmacist; why the late awakening in her case? I suspect her change of career had more to do with money that it did with ethics.
You also raise a number of good points about people who shop at "health food stores" and people who do not and seem to live long. I am not sold on the latter; look at the American or Western European population and it is obese, diabetic prone etc. Diet is really, really important as are exercise, and as you point out, sleep. Maybe the Greeks had it right: follow the golden mean.
Edited by TheVicar, 2012-10-30 11:11:05.
Posted 2012-10-30 11:09:50
Agree with your further point about management. It is a Thai management style which is completely different from our own. Sad too because of this that Big C took over from the French chain.
Posted 2012-10-30 14:36:51
A health food shop is one that is supposed to sell produce and products that are free from chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides. Just about everything sold in rimping or any supermarket all over the world these days sells vegetables and fruits which, unless specifically labeled otherwise, were laced with chemicals while being grown. In addition, countries such as the USA, Canada, Argentina sell such produce which has been genetically modified. A health food shop that is what it says it is will not sell such stuff.
Kasem, the store you talk about on this thread, is not a health food shop, nor has it ever claimed to be one. I don't know why you're calling it one. The original one that i mentioned before has loads of customers who clearly rate its worth.
Posted 2012-10-30 14:50:21
Hold on though. Exactly what analysis do you want to subject mueslis that are locally made to? The one i've recommended simply has tossed oats and a mix of seeds, nuts, and dried fruits. They tell you what the ingredients are, and if you don't believe them, it's really quite easy to spot what an almond looks like, what a pumpkin seed looks like and so on!
It gives just as detailed a breakdown as the hahne muesli you buy from germany. How can you trust this german brand any more than the local brand? It's much harder to see what's in it than the chunky monkey mix. In any case, any cereal or muesli that has huge long lists of ingredients is not to be eaten lightly. And if it's got wheat in it, then the chances are it's been genetically modified.
You're being equally suspicious of the lady who runs baan suan pak. Western trained doctors and pharmacists are not told they are dealing with toxic medicines. Once they come to realise this, how many of them cease being doctors or pharmacists? Hardly any because they've sold their soul. This lady, once the full ramifications hit home to her was not prepared to sell her soul, so she got out and used her areas of expertise to open up a health shop. Once you know what toxins are and how they work, it must be quite easy to sell the opposite. I think you're displaying a healthy dosage of typical western cynicism by suggesting she went for the money rather than ethics. You keep saying how these health stores have so few customers in them, while a cursory look at the sheer quantity of pharmacies in chiang mai and customers they get suggests there's much more money in selling pills than healthy products.
I also know from my many chats with her that she won't sell certain items because she believes they're a con. She is most ethical and chiang mai people are most lucky to have her around.
Posted 2012-10-30 14:51:33
Big C is designed for thai customers.
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