One thing I miss a whole lot over here in Okinawa are normal food stores, like Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, HEB and even Safeway -especially the 24 hour ones. Brad and I just walked over to our commissary to get something for dinner and the darn thing was closed. Sure, there are Japanese grocery stores and they do have better produce, but unless you know how to read Japanese you may be guessing a lot of the time on what you're buying.
Back in the states I always tried to eat organic and never shopped at the commissary. Here I just had to come to terms with the fact that the chicken and fish I would be buying were frozen, the produce is crappy, and of course the organic options are slim. But they do exist! You just have to hunt. Here are some of my favorite recent commissary finds:
Lara Bars - fruit and nut bars. Whole foods, simple ingredients. I like the apple pie bar a lot. The ingredients list reads: dates, almonds, apples, walnuts, raisins and cinnamon. That's it! They are gluten free, low carb, free of colorings, additives, and preservatives, raw, and vegan/vegetarian.
Green and Blacks Organic Chocolate - Cocoa one of the most highly sprayed food crops in the world. Green & Black’s chocolate is fair trade, organic and ensures that the ingredients are grown using natural, sustainable farming methods with no pesticides.
FruitSource bars - I am obsessed with these delish 100% fruit and veggie bars. Each bar as 2-3 servings of fruit/veggies!! And fibre, potassium, Vitamin A. The Mango Strawberry bar is my favorite.
Coastal Range Organic Chicken - I was unable to find organic chicken here for a long time. I was so excited to find this! The chicken breasts are still frozen, but they are organic, without steroids, hormones or antibiotics, they are natural, vegetarian fed and free range. It's important to me to know that the chicken are free-range, meaning they have a much better quality of life. The Coastal Range website claims "Our chickens and turkeys live in spacious ranch houses and have access to the outdoors which allows them to get exercise, fresh air, and sunlight."
While the commissary doesn't have a lot of organic fruit and veggie options they do sell the frozen kind. I love making smoothies so the frozen organic strawberries and blueberries are perfect. I love the SteamWorks organic veggies, especially the broccoli. I And they do have some organic salad greens. The commissary recently got a shipment in of Pacific Natural Foods soups. A lot of their soups are organic and all of the ones I tried are delish. My favorite was the cashew carrot ginger. I'm a big fan of the Lipton superfruit green tea. My fav is the goji raspberry, but I've also tried and liked the acai blueberry. I'm so glad that the commissary has organic milk and yogurt. They even have blocks of organic mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. One thing I really wish they would get are organic eggs.
So, I've learned that the commissary isn't all that bad. And on the plus side, I think I spend a lot less on my commissary shopping trips. But, I sure am looking forward to going back to the food stores in the states!