Memorial Day Road Trip Eats – Part 2 – Shopping at HealthyU & Down To Earth

by Valerie on June 29, 2010 · 0 comments

Thank you all for the super nice comments, tweets and emails on my first post on dealing with food intolerances anda traveling over Memorial Day. I realize it’s July 4 on Sunday, so high time to wrap up these posts.  

Travel oats

After a delicious breakfast of my travel variation on vegan overnight oats (1/3 cup of gluten-free oats, 1 tablespoon chia, 1 tablespoon raw cacao, mixed with 2/3 cup almond milk and 1/2 a mashed banana – the combination was inspired by Averie and Oh She Glows), our first day in Binghamton included stops at HealthyU and Down to Earth, both natural grocery stores that according to their websites had some prepared food options. I had my hummus and quinoa with pesto which I had brought with me, along with baby spinach and lemons for salads, but wanted to see what other options were out there for our four day stay.  Like I said yesterday, I wished I  could have brought more things with me (like some curried split peas or homemade veggie burgers), but I had depleted my made-at-home freezer stash in May, and had not had a chance to replenish prior to departure.

The first place I wanted to check out was HealthyU:

Icy green smoothie

They had an awesome bulk aisle, just as you enter the store:

Healthyu bulk aisle

The juice bar is on the left side of the store, but I somehow forgot to take a picture.  No green smoothies on the menu, though they kindly whipped up a pineapple spinach smoothie for me (see above picture).  It was a little icy, but not bad at all.  And the smoothie bar was an adorable little counter with stools.

But what really got me terribly excited is that they had South River Miso!! I have never seen it in a store, and always order it directly from South River:

Miso at HealthyU

The other great thing about HealthyU was the tea bulk display (my friend Melita would have loved it):

Tea display at healthyu

And HealthyU had a large gluten-free aisle, which was nice to see, though because gluten-free products usually have eggs and/or dairy, I avoid most of them:

Healthyu glutenfree

While completely lovely, HealthyU did not have many to-go options for me other than smoothies or juices.  All the prepared wraps were wheat-based. I did go back the same afternoon for a fresh juice, since they were going to be closed the next two days on account of Memorial Day weekend:

HealthyU afternoon juice

And later in the same day , husband and I went to check out Down to Earth:

Binghamton Health Food Store

The prepared foods area at Down to Earth was one big fail for me on many levels, but most especially that there was nothing gluten-free and vegan. However, I am still completely in love with the place because they had the biggest selection of Artisana Butters I have seen in a store yet:

Artisana at Down to Earth

I picked up a large (16oz) almond butter, as well as both the pecan and walnut butters:

Artisana at Down to Earth

They also had the Artisana coconut butter, so I  picked up some of that too.  Just as exciting was finding these macaroons. Java Green carried them at one point, and they are delicious.  I have not ordered from etsy, though I kept meaning to.  So it was exciting to just find them at Down to Earth.  I picked up the following:

Macaroon dark cacao

The macaroons were a lovely treat to eat through June.  I need to make some of my own at home.  My favorites were the choco chili and the dark cacao. Down to Earth also had a huge selection of bars, and I saw two new-to-me bar brands that were not too high in sugar, and high in protein and fiber, so I picked those up:

Bar from trip

And a green tea bar:

Sencha Naturals Bar

I tried the Green Tea bar as my afternoon snack that day, and it tasted like eating perfume.  Great texture, but weird perfumey experience.  I tried the cashew caramel a couple of weeks later, and it was honestly kind of a fail. It reminded me of a soft Power Bar and I never liked power bars.  Ultimately I loved checking out both stores and had lots of great treats to take back to Washington, DC with me, but in terms of finding prepared foods, that was kind of a fail.  Still, between all the new-to-me bars I got at those stores and Wegmans and the food I packed, and the juices and smoothies, I got through a large part of the trip.  

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