A recent trend in grocery and natural stores is having an in-house dietitian to help customers navigate a healthier diet and lifestyle. One store we love is The Markets, with three locations in Washington state, which carry Kelapo Coconut Oil in jars and baking sticks. Alex Borsuk, MS, RD, was kind enough to answer a few questions about what she does and why her job is a growing trend.
1. Why is having a dietitian in a store important for customers?
The supermarket is a place where people are faced with many decisions about what to feed themselves and their families. This can be overwhelming because on average, supermarkets carry about 39,000 products in store — that can mean 39,000 potential decisions a consumer must face when buying food! In-store dietitians are there to help consumers shop wisely by helping them to understand nutrition labels, find healthy foods that fit their budget, and introduce them to new foods they may have never thought to try. In-store dietitians can also help individuals shop for special diets, manage allergies, and even teach people how to cook by providing them with recipes, ideas, and tips.
2. How can customers take advantage of in-store dietitians and nutritionists where they live?
Check with your local stores! Lately, more supermarkets across the country are understanding the importance of having dietitians in their stores. I encourage customers to connect with your local supermarket dietitian to tap in to the wonderful nutrition services she or he provides to your community. Most supermarket RDs teach nutrition classes, do cooking demos, conduct store tours, and demo healthy products or recipes for customers to try in their stores. Some even offer individual counseling and personal shopping assistance. These resources are invaluable towards helping consumers lead a healthier lifestyle – after all, most food decisions happen right here IN the supermarket!
3. What is your favorite way to use coconut oil?
That’s a tough question – I use coconut oil in many ways. In regards to using coconut oil for cooking, I make a great cilantro lime rice with it! I start first by sautéing brown rice in coconut oil before steaming it. The coconut oil gives the rice a very pleasant nutty flavor which goes really well with lime juice, fresh cilantro, diced jalapeno, and salt. Toss some black beans and chopped raw veggies, like shredded carrots and beets, over the rice and you have a delicious and easy meal. In regards to using coconut oil for other reasons, I love using it as a face mask before bed. It makes my skin so soft and smells yummy too!
4. Why do you believe in coconut oil?
There is recent evidence that coconut oil has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. As a rock climber and runner myself, I often have sore muscles from training. I like adding products to my diet that may have anti-inflammatory effects to improve recovery. Also, the medium-chain-fatty acids that are present in virgin coconut oil have been shown to be both anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, which is why I love using it as a moisturizer and a facial mask both at home and on the road during my climbing trips in the mountains.
5. What makes The Markets unique?
The store is located in the beautiful Pacific Northwest in Bellingham, WA. A few unique things about our store – an extensive bulk section, with over 120 varieties of grains and legumes; our Silk Road spice department – spices from around the world that we grind and package IN store so they are very fresh; a very large all-natural supplement and body care department; full-time dietitian on staff that teaches nutrition classes, conducts store tours, does cooking and product demos, & offers individual counseling.
So be sure to stop by The Markets if you’re in the area, or stop by your local store and talk with the dietitian.
Cheers to a healthier you!