Angela on Aldi…

Jun 9, 2011 | Health and Beauty | 37 comments

This is a font size test run – is it too big? I just went to my website via Google Chrome and the font was so small it was giving me a headache… I swear one of you emailed me about it recently…

The reaction over the “Is it Just Me” post is still rocking my world! The comments just keep coming in and BOY are they doozies!


So, a lot was said/asked/commented about Aldi and I thought it would be fun to run with it. Laura’s comment especially intrigued me and I just had to respond… 
For YEARS I would not shop at Aldi – to be frank, I was being a snob. 
The Aldi in our town is, how shall I say this…
 
Icky.
 
I could regale you with stories of greasy haired, screaming mothers hollering at their children about the day of their birth… or this horrible woman I saw belittling her poor, elderly husband… oh my gosh, it was awful. You’ve seen that website “People of Walmart” – well, that’s what my Aldi is like + all the drama.
 
Look, we are a single income home and I am married to a blue collar baby and a few years ago our faux finish/painting business came to a SCREECHING halt! We were struggling BIG TIME and did for about two years until hubby was blessed with a job. I was pregnant with Amélie during this time, it was Thanksgiving and I wanted to make my 3 person family dinner so badly but had no money for a special meal… for the first time I went to Aldi and bought everything I needed to make Thanksgiving dinner for $27.00 (A client had given us a turkey.) For the next many, many months I shopped at Aldi because my beloved Trader Joe’s, even with their fabulous prices was a total luxury. For all of the obvious reasons it was a horrible, stressful time for us (that I wrote about on P.F.). We are still a single income household (by firm, convicted choice) and not out of the woods (who is in this dumpy economy!) but we are blessed to be able to shop at Trader Joe’s, Costco and local again….
 
I have probably corrupted myself with too much information but over the years have learned SO MUCH about how we our KILLING ourselves with the “food” and products we consume on a daily basis so let me just touch on three food categories…
Here’s my “beef” with Aldi and any supermarket that does not offer organic food… 
 
Their PRODUCE…
If you are eating produce that is not organic you really don’t know what you are eating. MANY fruits and veggies are genetically modified and they are repeatedly sprayed with chemicals that you would NEVER consume if they were presented in a shot glass in front of you. The soil they are grown in is abused by these methods and thus completely depleted of it’s nutrients, leaving your fruits and veggies with very little nutrition as compared to the same item grown a hundred years ago.
To save this from being a forty page post here are a TON of articles from one of my favorite websites:
 
Their MEAT/DAIRY/EGGS
I recently was talking to a family member who has cut out wheat, corn, sugar, etc out of her diet but she is still eating LOTS of meat each week… from Aldi. Now, to me, it makes no sense to cut out GMO grains from your diet and then to still eat meat that is fed this harmful diet. No. Sense. Animals that are not from free range, organic farms (even better yet, local farms) are kept in deplorable conditions (and I say this, not even being a “big animal person”), shot up with hormones, antibiotics, growth stimulators and fed a diet of GMO grains. Grains are NOT a cows natural choice of food. The slaughter houses where they are processed are an E-coli nightmare and the “meat” you are eating can be “glued” together with meat glue… even creating a deceivingly choice cut of steak. Hamburger meat is created with “fillers”… Gross.
Dairy products sold there are from cows given growth hormones with cracked, infected, puss ridden, udders…PUSS!!!, injected with rBGH/rBST… I swear the reason little 8 year old girls get their periods these days…
Chickens don’t come from places like “Happy Farms” or “Sunny Valley” – they come from disgusting, over-crowed chicken houses… they have been altered to grow so fast with so much breast meat that they can’t even walk upright…
And just cause it’s “turkey bacon”... well… you get where I am going…

 
Their PROCESSED FOODS
OK, I shouldn’t have to say anything here. It’s 2011, girls. The information is out there. Time to stop feeding our families “food” (read: crap) from a box. Fruit snacks, goldfish crackers, cereal, cookies, fruit bars, brownie mix,… pop! I don’t care if you have a coupon for it or not. It’s not food.
 
So, it’s nothing against Aldi personally. Their business plan and structure is genius which is why they are such a success and they were a blessing to us many times as I imagine they are to many people right now. But at the same time, I rarely, if ever buy the “we can’t afford to eat organic” statement. There are tons of things people spend money on each month that would put enough extra money in their pocket to make up the difference… cell phone extras like texting, cable, store bought shampoo, conditioner, cleaning products and laundry detergent (I make all my own for pennies)… trips to Starbucks, trips to Redbox and Blockbuster…new clothes you can live without and all that extra “Made in China” crap you throw in your cart when you’re at Target… 
Let’s get down to brass tacks.
This is the body God gave you – you don’t have to be a Cancer stat’ someday, your kids don’t have to act like monkeys hopped up on high fructose corn syrup and breakfast can be a much more wonderful experience than Kellogs can ever offer!
 
For more of my “crazy” opinions on health check out this old post…


Santé!

37 Comments

  1. Mandy

    it was me who wrote about the font, i swear i’m just getting old:D do share your shampoo/conditioner recipe. i already make my own laundry soap:)
    confession…we consume many a fishy cracker. i make 90% from scratch though. do you have a safeway near you? ours offers no hormone beef,chicken etc., and they have amazing sales every couple weeks. i also buy a big brand milk that states no added hormones or Rbst. and none of it organic, and costs just the same as the alternative…

    Reply
  2. Mary

    I love you for this, among other reasons. It is so, so easy to be drawn in by cheap prices – but saving a few dollars at Aldi’s means I’ll be spending lots more dollars at the hospital in a few years! You are so right, once you cut out the junk, organic veggies and fruits are so much more affordable. We don’t eat much meat or dairy in our house at all, so that also cuts down on the expense.

    We are also very lucky because our neighborhood Whole Foods store also runs a CSA from the first week of July until the last week of September. It is $30/week and we get 25 lbs of 8-10 different vegetables and 3-5 different fruits a week, all organic and all locally grown! I love planning our meals by what the farmers give the CSA – living and eating with the seasons is truly the only way to live. Thank you for being a champion for organics!

    Reply
  3. Kate

    You know you’re my hero on this topic, right? 🙂

    I had never heard of meat glue, and after watching the video about it I about threw up. How horrible is that! This is exactly why this winter we’ll be picking our 1/4 cow from a local grass fed organic farm up from a local butcher… I like to know where my meat comes from. So much so that even when buying grass fed beef at the store I look into the farm that sells it.

    I could really rant on and on here, but basically I also don’t buy into the excuse that it’s too expensive. We’re a single income military family. All of our meat and dairy products are carefully chosen. Our veggies and fruit are almost all organic, local if possible. Does it get expensive? Not as much as you would think.

    My husband is itching for the day that we can have bees (to pollinate the food we grow ourselves) and chickens that will truly be free range on the grass (in a safe coop of course).

    I think Aldi’s has been extremely helpful for those with a very tight budget. But I also see many people headed there because it’s cheap and they choose to spend their money elsewhere. I’m sorry, but I’m a material girl like the rest of us, but I choose my health over fancy things any day.

    Reply
  4. Kate

    Oh, and Angela, could you discuss soy products? So many people I know give me blank stares when I am trying to explain why they should only be eating fermented soy products. Or when I am trying to explain why soy milk can be really bad for them…and then they ask about almond milk where I try to explain that’s something entirely different (and can be made at home and has been around for centuries).

    My rule of thumb has begun to be, “If it contains ingredients that are modified in such a way that it doesn’t resemble anything God created, then you probably shouldn’t be eating it.”

    Reply
  5. kerrie of sea cottage

    We don’t have Aldi’s here so I don’t know what it is but I am guessing a cheapo grocery market. I have said for years that I believe the hormone injected milk is causing girls to develop earlier. Have you seen how 12 yr olds look like women? It is really terrible what all the crap in our food does to our bodies. So many more diseases. I have raised my children on organic, homegrown, made from scratch, home cooked meals and snacks. But when they reached their teens they rebelled and wanted to eat all the crap that their peers were eating. So in came the chips, soda, frozen pizza, corndogs, fastfood. Now my two oldest have returned to the healthy eating habits they were raised on and I know my younger two will too. Organic is more expensive but actually now that there is more of a demand for it the prices have become more reasonable. Our local grocery market is family owned and carries a huge selection of organic produce and now beef, chicken, and even canned soups, fruits, etc. It is really nice…and affordable. It really is worth it…and saves you tons of money just by staying healthy(no doctor bills or money spent on meds).

    Reply
  6. kerrie of sea cottage

    P.S You will make it on one income. We chose to live on my hubby’s income so I could remain home when I was pregnant with our first born. It definetly has been tough at times but so worth it. It has been almost 23 years of living on one income but God has been good and always provided.

    Reply
  7. Ann at eightacresofeden

    I can’t believe your Aldi does not have organic produce. Is this the same across the States or just in your area? You need to come to Australia and shop at my Aldi Ang! They have quite a range now – I buy beautiful Australian organic honey, raisins, tinned tomatoes, muesli, excellent pasta sauce and recently Aldi here announced they would not stock any grocery item with artificial colours. First supermarket in Australia to do so. They have little organic fresh produce which is a shame but I grow my own veggies or buy them from the farmer’s markets and luxury items such as unsulphured dried apricots and coconut oil at the wholefoods store. Aldi here has free range chicken and for a time did have an organic meat range but I must have been the only person buying it because it disappeared with the exception of organic beef mince. The only time I really hate Aldi is Thursday which is specials day and that coincides with benefit day which is when the pensioners are lined up with trolleys at the door and are quite prepared to run you over in their race for the specials! You just about need to wear protective clothing and therefore, having been abused by a grumpy granny who thought I was going to take her place in the queue, I avoid Thursdays at all costs and go Saturday mornings 8am when I can whip round in 20 minutes. It has transformed my shopping experience and drastically reduced my food bill.
    I agree with everything you said about food.. I’m reading ‘Health for Godly Generations’ at the moment which arrived in the mail from the States just the other day together with…. you guessed it ‘Romantic Prairie Style’. Loving it – and those familiar images of your home and kitchen look even more gorgeous on its pages.

    Reply
  8. Carissa

    Awesome! I could not agree more! I just took a home cooked meal to a family in need from our church. They looked at me like “You made this from scratch???” I don’t say that to toot my own whistle (hardly the case) I’m saying this just because I shake my head at what people are putting in their bodies… It could be different for them! We are a one income family, things are tightly budgeted, but I am NOT going to buy the .59 of Kraft Mac and Cheese just because it is affordable!!!

    Reply
  9. Hopelessly Romantic Art Studio

    wow, your post does give one plenty to think about. I am an out of work home eduction mother of twenty-five years and until recently our family lived on one income, under 40,000 a year. We never went with out, we had a fine life I wouldn’t trade for anything. Money doesn’t equal hapiness. Yes our kids went to college, three have graduated, yes, the are well balanced and function in society well. All this to say, keep up your good work with your family, stay bold in your convictions,because it is worth it!
    Hugs, gerri

    Reply
  10. Genuine Lustre

    Our Aldi’s are icky too, but sometimes I dash in for the cheap European chocolate and wine. And don’t miss the LaCura night cream – it’s TO. DIE. FOR. Ranked right up there with LeMer for $3.47 a jar. (shhhhhhhh)

    Reply
  11. Tamra

    AMEN SISTA’!!

    It’s a shame that in this country the most affordable food is the processed, chemical laden crap that’s not fit to feed even animals.

    Hang in there, you’re doing it all right, saving where you can and making as much as possible for youself to save. Not to mention what a gift you are giving your children. In this day and age where most 18-20 year olds have no clue how to cook, clean or truly provide for themselves, you kids are getting an education that’s priceless.

    Reply
  12. Sammi@stormyhen.com

    First of all…our Aldi is not icky. But I seldom shop there EXCEPT (as Genuine Lustre said)the European chocolate and the LaCura face creams….best CHEAP stuff ever. Being in NY, ours cannot sell wine. 🙁 With that said….we don’t have a Trader Joe or Whole Foods…and the organic section in our other stores leaves a LOT to be desired…as in, often I would throw stuff that looks like that in my compost bin! So I do the best I can when shopping… It was SO much easier when we lived in NC (oh how I miss Harris-Teeter!). I am a label reader and I’m always on the look out for the least of the evil! BTW, I love your rants.

    Reply
  13. Priscilla

    Keep up the good work. You are informing and entertaining at the same time. I’m hoping you reach more and more young women with your sensible advise.

    Reply
  14. cityfarmer

    I JUST discovered La Cura … love love love it

    I will say, in their defense though that they have d.o.c.g. wines and their Toca Malbec is rocking my wine world right now. Binny’s, I’m done.

    …. also” fit and active” ground turkey and turkey Italian sausage with n.o.t.h.i.n.g in it but turkey is my new red meat of choice!

    Their “fit and active” raspberry icream bars are a cajillion times cheaper than anywhere!

    AND where can you find a beautiful bunch of fresh roses for 3.99?

    I will be pick-y and chose-y there forever now for those few things AND I dont have to go to Randall Road

    Reply
  15. Boho Farm and Home

    Hello there!
    Could you share your recipe for laundry soap? I have tried it before but I didn’t like the way it cleaned so I went back to 7th Generation but would LOVE to find one that works!
    Thanks!
    xo
    Caroline

    Reply
  16. Catholic

    I enjoyed your post….I am still having a difficult time buying everything organic because a Doc. said that even organics are incredibly vitamin deficient . So, to that end, we are trying to grow our own and buy local from small scale growers who can’t afford to spray their crops most of the time (plus give the produce stand owners a hand 🙂 . I am incredibly interested in your recipes for detergent etc… (I use shampoo soap made by an incredibly talented friend) but the conditioner has eluded me. Right now I just use coconut oil with rosemary extract, a bit greasy during humid weather.

    Reply
  17. Catholic

    I enjoyed your post….I am still having a difficult time buying everything organic because a Doc. said that even organics are incredibly vitamin deficient . So, to that end, we are trying to grow our own and buy local from small scale growers who can’t afford to spray their crops most of the time (plus give the produce stand owners a hand 🙂 . I am incredibly interested in your recipes for detergent etc… (I use shampoo soap made by an incredibly talented friend) but the conditioner has eluded me. Right now I just use coconut oil with rosemary extract, a bit greasy during humid weather.

    Reply
  18. Carolyne

    Blessings on you!….and *all* your precious littles!

    After nearly 36 years of keeping a “one income” home and raising *very hungry boys* to healthy adulthood by gardening and cooking everything “from scratch” I can only encourage you to continue with your convictions.

    One thing that concerns me is reality shows like ‘Extreme Couponing’ which deceptively nudges innocents into thinking the items that are available for purchase with most coupons are nutrition of any kind.
    -I guess the bath and beauty products smell good, but are they healthy for your skin and hair?
    -I can see the colorful packaging that lures the buyer into thinking that the contents are *real food*. (I use that term very loosely) How much of the original nutrition is retained?

    It all ends up being like the “Emperor’s New Clothes” after seeing children need to take prescription drugs to counteract the abuse of their immune systems for 8 or 10 years. Or worse yet, adults diagnosed with neurological and metabolic diseases after years of believing they were living a (deceptively) ‘Healthy Lifestyle’.

    To put is bluntly: There’s a reason large corporations are willing to give something away for free to get you hooked.

    Keep up the good work, Angela. You are an awesome inspiration.

    Reply
  19. claudia b

    Hey, you need to share some of those shampoo/cleaner recipes!

    ITA. Honestly, the crap that we just accept along with our food is so revolting. Every time I see a tray of chicken at the supermarket I tell myself “there’s a layer of feces on that” – the more I read the more disgusted I am with agribusiness!!!

    Reply
  20. Heather Bea

    Well, I’ll be the opposition here. I LOVE shopping at Aldi! I lived in New Zealand for two years where absolutely EVERTYTHING is organic. In my opinion, the quality of the produce was poor but extremely expensive. Milk is up to $12/gallon. My weekly grocery bill was $350 for a family of three and we weren’t eating lobster – we were lucky to have spaghetti! All organic living has brought the quality of life in New Zealand to a very poor standard. So when you say that you don’t buy the excuse that people can’t afford organic…well, maybe you haven’t really taken a good look around.

    When I got back to the US and discovered Aldi, I nearly fell to my knees and cried. Aldi provides a great service to folks who are trying to feed their families a descent homecooked meal instead of turning to a McDonalds or Wendy’s.

    OK, rant over. Cheers!

    Reply
  21. Heather B

    Would you consider posting a weekly menu plan you are thinking of for your family? Especially since I know that you use up every bit of food, and probably in different ways.

    Reply
  22. Laura

    I have a much better understanding and appreciation now for what you meant, Angela, regarding your decision not to shop at Aldi. And, as I suspected, had I been more familiar with you and your blog I probably wouldn’t have even wanted to ask. Thanks for the reply! Actually, I find myself in agreement with just about everything you say. Aldi has for awhile been my “middle ground”. I spend as much as I can locally when I know the farmer/producer and Aldi ends up being where I purchase sugar, oats, olive oil, some spices…no fruit snacks though in spite of all the pleading from the shopping cart, and yes, I can admit it-butter! I do go through a guilt struggle since I can be pretty sure that at best the products are comparable to store brands and likely have a shady past having mixed with GMO’s and the sort ;-). But really, I already exceed our spending allotment and perhaps just haven’t honed my skills enough to meet the standard of rarely making the bar for “we just can’t afford organic”- hence Aldi as a place to purchase items that allow for food on the table and groceries not on a credit card. My convictions to feed our family in the healthiest most informed manner are newly formed/forming…which is why my first question about Aldi might have seemed uninformed and we’re still trying to move closer and closer to the model you support and live. The mini farm I identified in my initial comment should yield eggs, meat, and I hope veggies for the year to come. And until then I’ll keep moving ever slowly forward toward the goal of preparing and serving nutrient dense, organic, and appealing food. I’m having lots of fun learning from and about you!

    Reply
  23. Laura

    Oh, yes, please post formulas for your homemade products. There’s all kinds out there, but what’s tried and true for you?
    And I don’t think the font is too big-for those using google chrome, it’s much better!

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  24. Joannah

    No Aldi’s here, and it sounds like that’s a good thing! I’ve always been a bit of a grocery store snob. Before our local Vons got a makeover, it was a huge draw for all the down-and-out welfare recipients in the ‘hood. I only went in there when I was desperate – between the clientele and the mediocre offerings, it just wasn’t my scene.

    Thanks for bringing these issues up. I think I usually make good choices when it comes to produce and meat, but I will be even more mindful now.

    Reply
  25. Alice

    I was forced into an Aldi’s once by a friend and will never go back. But I do wish we had a grocery store in our little town that carried fresh produce.

    Thanks so much for the great informaion!

    Reply
  26. Mari

    I’m confused. I shop TJ’s (over 10 years), no Aldi’s nearby. But doesn’t Aldi’s technically OWN TJ’s? OK OK – Technically a “Family trust started by one of the original owners of Aldi.” (Same difference to me…)

    http://money.cnn.com/2010/08/20/news/companies/inside_trader_joes_full_version.fortune/index.htm#joe

    Not saying they are one in the same but still…makes you wonder. Nevertheless, I’m first on line for my multi-allergy toddler daughter’s organic rice milk – which I’m fairly certain is Rice Dream with a different label. Can’t beat the price anywhere else by a long shot.

    In the meantime, just for kicks, here’s a fun post on some educated guesses are in regards to the actual sources of TJ’s brand foods are. (If the person in comments is right and TJ’s chili is really Hormel though, I might just die….)

    http://www.chow.com/food-news/54340/who-makes-trader-joes-food/

    Reply
  27. Christina

    Totally agree. I would never shop at Aldi’s I buy all my fruit organic. Trader Joe’s is awesome but we have a place here in Tacoma called H&L produce that has good prices. We too cut out extras like cell phone internet, dvd’s etc, and my hubby is in the Army. So if we can afford organic meat, organic, milk, organic fruits and veggies, with 7 kids, 4 still at home, then anyone can. I always love when you hear people say “well the FDA says their is a safe amount of pesticides in our food, only a trace amount.” I always ask “If I spray my floor with a squirt of pesticide and let it dry would you let your kids lick it?,” Well that’s a trace amount.

    Reply
  28. cityfarmer

    a “worker”/buyer in the aisle at Aldi clarified the TJ ownership misconception … the two CEO’s are brothers, but have nothing to do with each others’ venue … hard to believe tho …

    I swear the frozen petite green beans at Aldi for 1.99 are the exact petite green beans at TJ’s for 2.69 … same cut, same size, same green, etc.

    brothers, eh?

    Reply
  29. My Casa Bella

    Angela you crack me up! I laugh because we sound alike. Yes, places like Aldi’s is great for so many that struggle, I’ve had to shop there a couple of times myself, but like you I shop organic, because I HAVE to with my stomach issues and I’m learning on how to spread my money wisely, but yes, I CAN’T stand to hear some they can’t afford it, when they eat fast foods all the time, are constantly texting or getting stupid stuff with their money, I know several like that personally and it drives me crazy! I guess we just need to worry about our own health and our immediate family.
    MCB

    Reply
  30. Victoria

    I DON’T disagree with you about mass-produced veggies and meat (and soy products count because they’re chock full of harmful hormones, too) – but to claim that everyone can eat organic is to ignore the issue of TIME…

    I work full time and have baby care at home.. When am I going to garden all the veggies we need?

    And, in order to BUY organic, I must visit several dif’t stores and farmers’ markets. When is there the time for that? Gas ain’t cheap, either..

    I think you’re giving those of us in this position a guilt trip! We’re doing the best we can…

    Reply
  31. Victoria

    Oh.. and just to push your buttons I will add… having your own full organic home garden not only takes time, but MONEY as well. You know everything in there didn’t just spring from 20 cent seed packets!
    Am I wrong? It’s a big investment if you DIY.

    Ok.. that’s it. =) love you!

    Reply
  32. Tina Leigh

    I also wrote about the font…still have trouble seeing it on any computer I use.
    Hormones…chicken….you should have laid eyes on the birds my husband brought home this weekened….BIRDS ON ROIDS!! Yeh well, long story…but sometimes you just really dont get what you pay for and bless my sweet husbands heart for trying to help with the groceries.

    Reply
  33. Kitty Lara

    Bon jour!

    I just read your post and realized that the last comment was from about five years ago. I am a regular shopper at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Aldi.

    You should know, Aldi has recently taken great measures to provide organic options in their markets! This includes milk and cheese from cows without hormones, free-range grass fed beef and chicken, organic cereal, nuts and produce.

    I can’t get everything I need here, as the inventory can sometimes be low. However, supplementing my organic addiction with organic options from Aldi has made it much easier on my budget.

    If you haven’t been in an Aldis lately, give it another shot! They’ve taken lots of initiative in the last three years to provide their consumers with cleaner foods.

    Reply

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