10 Healthy Finds at Costco

IMG_6248Costco has always been such a great option for families or individuals who look to shop on a budget.  Buying in bulk helps to bring down the cost per item – not to mention it lowers the number of trips to the grocery store every month.  Since moving to California, shopping at Costco has again become part of my regular routine – it was previously a common practice growing up in Utah.  Since I didn’t utilize it as much during the years I lived in New York City, I was pleasantly surprised to return to Costco and discover just how much the company had stepped up its game in terms of offering higher quality products.  Curious to know which 10 items impressed me the most and which I’d fully recommend to you to give a try?

1. Culturelle’s Daily Digestive Health Probiotics

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Here’s the skinny I’ve got for you regarding probiotics – I’ve tried them all.  No, seriously. Even before my Hashimoto’s diagnosis 5 years ago, I’ve been dabbling with the benefits of supplementing probiotics.  I have tried a multitude of brands and blends – ranging in monthly costs from $16-$125 – each promising only the best results.  Hard truth…most of those brands I never noticed any difference or improvement while supplementing – and especially when considering the higher priced brands, that fact was simply unacceptable.

Enter Culturelle –I decided to get very specific about the autoimmune symptoms I wanted my probiotic to tackle, and found the brand after doing a deep dive on a variety of cultures, bacteria, and fungal cells. I gave Culturelle a go with a one month supply through Amazon for $16.

Supplements can be tricky – people expect immediate results when in reality it can take a month or even more to actually build up in your system and take effect. Despite this, I swear I felt the benefits from this particular brand within the first week.  I knew very quickly that this was the probiotic I’d be sticking with, so imagine my utter delight when I found Culturelle at Costco – 80 doses for just about $20.  If you’re in the market for a new probiotic – I highly recommend giving this one a go.  As always – please be sure to check with your primary health care provider prior to starting any new supplement or medication.

2. Natural Deodorant

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I about shrieked when I saw Schmidt’s Natural deodorant on display in Costco.  I don’t think you could possibly understand – back when I was first diagnosed with my autoimmune condition and was working to cut out as many environmental/topical toxins as possible, I had to weed through a terrible assortment of hippie-dippie natural deodorants.  Even upon finding the godsend that is Schmidt’s, the process of acquiring the product was nothing short of a Lord of the Rings journey. I had to venture via 3 subway lines to a small, specialty market that had only one location in lower Manhattan. Furthermore, at that point in time, Schmidt’s was only available in jar form – meaning you had to use a small spatula device to scoop out some product, warm it with your hands, before schmearing it into the skin of your armpit. While I was thrilled to be providing my body with a natural deodorant that actually worked, the application process left much to be desired.

Nowadays – really, you kids have it so easy. Not only does Costco have a great deal on two amazing scents from the line, but they now come in stick form! Consider my mind freaking blown. Since cooling down my Hashimoto’s symptoms, I haven’t been using natural deodorant as consistently; however, I now fully intend to switch back.  Hooray for everyone keeping healthy (aluminum free) pits!

3. Collagen

This recommendation may have more than a few of you scratching your temples. You may find yourself thinking, “What the eff is collagen, and what would one even do with it?”

Collagen is an ingredient most commonly boasted in topical skincare products; however, when taken orally, collagen can have even better effects.  It helps improve your skin’s tone and texture, increases your metabolism/energy levels, and even aids in the lubrication and health of your joints.  So why take collagen as a powder vs a pill supplement?  Well, in this particular instance, because of the brand. Costco provides Collagen Peptides from Vital Proteins.

Vital Proteins is a trustworthy brand that always sources their products from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows.  Any product I have tried from Vital Proteins over the years has always been topnotch.  A 35oz container is currently priced at $44.99, and while that may sound like a hefty investment initially, 35oz of powder collagen is bound to last you a very long time.

Curious what to do with the supplement once you have it?  Sky is the limit – add it to your bulletproof coffee, morning protein shake, or even follow my friend Minna’s suggestion and make yourself a Collagen Infused Matcha Latte.  I went through a phase where I was making her exact recipe every day, and I can tell you that my hair, skin, and nails have never looked better…come to think of it I should go through that phase again.  Brb – off to make myself some matcha 😉

4. Kirkland Protein Bars

If you’re a fan of Quest Bars, then this Costco find is for you. With an ingredient list nearly identical to Quest’s, Kirkland Brand’s Protein Bars are to die for.  They come in a variety of flavors depending on your region, and honestly, the flavors I’ve tried have all beat out any of my favorite flavors from Quest.

If your aim is to stay away from dairy, these bars will not be for you as the primary protein source comes from whey.  Still, if you’re curious about giving them a go, a box of 20 is priced at $17.99, making each bar cost less than $1 (considering the average cost of a single Questbar is $3 – the financial savings are MASSIVE).

When I boasted this find on my Instagram page, I had a number of people reach out to inform me that there is a solid chance Kirkland is purchasing the product from Quest and then providing their own label to save on cost.  If this happens to be true – what an even bigger bonus! Same great product, but at a fraction of the cost 😉  I’m all in – I say go for it!

5. RXBar

Dairy and your digestion not a good mix? Finding a good protein bar that refrains from using whey can be tricky – trust me…I’ve been there. I’ve eaten more mounds of dirt cleverly disguised as paleo or vegan protein bars than I care to admit. However, that’s not the case when it comes to RXbars.

RXbars are the kind of brand so simple that they could list their ingredients on the front of the product…and they do…all 3-4 of them. The bars don’t pack nearly the protein punch another containing whey could, but 12g is pretty remarkable considering the natural ingredients. Priced at $16.99 for 12 bars – you food sensitive biddies have a great snack option available.

6. Yellowfin Tuna

If you’re someone who doesn’t typically enjoy eating canned fish, do me a favor and wait just a moment before skipping over this recommendation. I ask this very specific favor of you, because I am one who previously gagged over canned fish.  In fact, I still scrunch up my nose to the thought of albacore tuna packed in water.  Aside from laughing at Jessica Simpson attempting to break down the meaning behind “Chicken of the Sea,” I have no fond memories of eating tuna from a can….until now.

I’m not much of a seafood eater – I’m incredibly picky and 9 times out of 10, I’d rather eat the steak or chicken option anyway.  That said, I am fully aware of just how important the consumption of fish is in a person’s daily diet. In terms of autoimmunity and Hashimoto’s, getting a healthy dose of Omega 3s every week is of utmost importance, and exclusively supplementing with Fish Oil just doesn’t cut it (sorry, but it doesn’t).

Enter in Yellowfin Tuna packed in Olive Oil *insert singing choir* You guys, I can’t begin to tell you what a difference packing the fish in olive oil vs water makes. The flavor profile becomes completely different. Add just a touch of mayo, some Italian seasoning and your tuna fish sandwich will magically transport you directly to Milan, Italy (or at least that’s how I imagine it). Priced at approximately $14 for 6 cans, this tuna is no doubt a little pricier than other available packaging, but is still an awesome deal.  Give it a try just once, and I’ll bet the extra taste benefits will well outweigh the small additional cost. What are you waiting for – go get those Omega 3s!

7. Primal Kitchen Mayo

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I’m not exaggerating – my jaw dropped when I saw this product at Costco.  Another prime example of “back in my day” (as explored earlier re: the subject of natural deodorants).

Consider the first couple years of the paleo movement – if you wanted mayo for something…you either paid the exorbitant shipping costs when ordering directly from the independent, online manufacturer, or you made your own (a tedious process that produced a gelatinous product. One that could only survive a maximum of 3 days in the fridge before separating into a heavy, olive oil scented mess).

Ergo, it was a heavenly day when we cavemen and women started seeing these products in natural markets. And now? To simply stroll in and find it at Costco…in BULK?! Someone call a medic, my heart has seriously stopped.

The beauty of Primal Kitchen Mayo is that is utilizes Avocado Oil and other such natural ingredients that the product remains Whole30 compliant.  It is indeed pricier than the other mayos you’ll find on the aisle; however, priced at $7.99 for 24oz, it is still a serious bargain considering the overall convenience and quality of product.

8. Organic Marinara Sauce

Here’s a challenge for ya – go to your local supermarket and aim to find a marinara sauce that doesn’t include sugar as an ingredient.  Go on, I’ll wait…

Harder than you expected, am I right? Adding sugar to pasta sauces is something I’ll never fully understand.  Most sauces are made with tomatoes…which, despite a fury of debates, are still classified as fruit…ergo, they have natural sugar content – why add more? That is a rhetorical question – I know exactly why the food industry adds excess salt and sugar to various products. It doesn’t make it any less frustrating when your exact aim is to stay away from such inflammatory ingredients.

Enter in Kirkland Brand’s Organic Marinara Sauce.  You guessed it – no added sugars, and no extra ingredients that you can’t even begin to pronounce.  Priced at less than $10 for 3 massive jars…what are you waiting for?  Ignite your inner Strega Nona and boil up some yummy, yummy pasta!

9. Autumn’s Gold Grain Free Granola

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 I happily stumbled upon this product during a recent trip to Costco.  I of course was pulled in by the packaging, but upon reading the list of ingredients – I just couldn’t help myself.  I had to give it a try.

I’m so thrilled I did – this grain-free granola has become such versatile ingredient in my kitchen.  I’ll top my greek yogurt with it in order to add a little crunch, or I’ll pack it to work as an afternoon snack prior to Jiu Jitsu. It is an absolute treat without tasting to sugary/sweet as so many granolas tend to nowadays.

Similar to RxBars – where the ingredient list is so simple it’s listed on the front of the bag, I could not be more thrilled with this find.  Priced at $14.99 for a 1.25lbs bag, it is definitely the most expensive granola you’ll find at Costco.  Still, the ingredients speak for themselves, and truly, a little goes a long way.  With the natural fat content from the nuts and coconut, a small amount is incredibly filling. One bag easily lasted me more than 2 months – and stayed deliciously crunchy until the very last bite while being stored in my pantry.  If you’re looking for a less inflammatory option during a quick morning meal or afternoon snack – I highly recommend giving Autumn’s Gold a try 🙂

10. Pasture Raised Eggs

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I promise not to get super food political on this last recommendation, but it does bear mentioning – the happier the animal is kept while living, the higher the quality of food ultimately is for us…not to mention more sustainable, better for the environment, the support of local produce and farming… Okay, sorry…I did promise not to go too deep on this…

Still, I hope shopping locally is as important to you as it is to me – not only for the care of yourself and what you decide to put into your body, but also for the health and wellbeing of the animal that will ultimately be giving it’s life for your meal. (I know…tough subject matter that a lot of us would rather not focus on…but here we are).

My biggest challenge with always shopping locally is budget – the extra care put into small, independent farming ultimately brings up the cost at market.  That’s why finding products such as the pasture raised eggs at Costco is such a blessing.  “Pasture raised” ensures the animals were not confined to the torture of small spaces or cages.  They are able to roam freely before producing their eggs for sale.  At $7.50, you can get 24 of these amazing quality eggs – a fraction of the cost at your local supermarket.  Small finds such as this help me to balance the additional cost of grass-fed meat or wild-caught fish which I ultimately purchase from my local farmers’ markets.

So there you have it folks – my Top 10 Healthy finds at Costco.  Are you an avid Costco shopper as well?  Do you feel you have another healthy find that should have been included on the list?  Be sure to comment below with your recommendation!  I’m always on the lookout for new products to test and try out!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time!

xoxo,
Talia

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