Ever since I’ve become obsessed with everything organic, I felt more and more desperate over finding good organic products in this country. My options are severely limited. There’s A’Kin and Organic Pharmacy in Essenses, Juice Beauty in Beauty Bar and Lavera in Marionnaud. Most of them are out of the way and it’s depressing to find that these local stores don’t sell the good stuff that you find in their respective websites. To make matters worse, most of the credible online stores that have them don’t even ship internationally.
Abi Mapua, a colleague, told me that I should go to Healthy Options if I wanted to find organic products. Took me three weeks before I could actually schedule a visit to the Healthy Options branch in Rockwell. Goodness! The moment I entered it, I felt like a kid in a candy store! I went straight to the back and read every ingredient in nearly every bath and body care line. This healthy grocery store offers many things from vitamin supplements to cereals to health beverages to chips (I no longer buy popcorn and iced tea for movies but instead pick up Kettle potato chips and a can of ginger ale every time) to bath products to lip balm. The list is endless.
Here’s the thing, though. There are some products on the shelves that would claim to be certified organic — some even listing as many as three third party certifiers — but when you look at the back, you’ll see parabens, sulfates, PEGs etc. Some would say that they’re paraben free, but you’d see sulfates. Some would say they’re paraben and sulfate free but then you’d see propylene glycol. Apparently, many “organic” companies actually just mean that some of their ingredients are certified organic, but the rest of their listing are synthetic chemicals. It’s nuts. And it’s deceiving. (Here, Snow White! Have an organic apple. It doesn’t matter that I coated it with poison since the apple itself is certified organic!)
There are, however, brands that differentiate between “natural” and “organic” and would not haphazardly use one term in reference to the other. One such brand is Jason. I also found some other interesting goodies that I had long been looking for, like rose-milled soap and that Kettle potato chips that my former student Hazel recommended. You can even pick up really bizarre products like Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap. I couldn’t see the ingredients listing immediately because the bottle label was peppered with passages from the Bible, the Koran, and even Shakespeare’s plays.
What I like best about Healthy Options? Their loyalty card. You get it with a minimum purchase of PhP1,000 and you get a point for every PhP10 you spend. (SM Advantage people, are you reading this?) Accumulating a total of 1,500 points (PhP15,000) in three months nets you a discount card that opens the door to many more benefits. That’s still a far cry from SM’s measly PhP120 reward for the PhP24,000 you spent. What’s more, they handed me a Healthy Options rebate voucher that gives me a PhP50 discount for every PhP1,000 single receipt payment. Since I spent PhP2,000, they’re giving me a hundred peso discount on my next visit.
Lastly, I was automatically subscribed to their newsletter. The recent one gave me a lot of insight as to why my body has started reacting negatively to certain food and bath products. There were even diet recommendations for different behavioral problems like ADHD, which I suspect I am afflicted with. Seeing the list of food to avoid made me decide to live with ADHD, though. Heh.
I’ve definitely decided to be a regular Healthy Options visitor. I love the ambience, the variety and the overall atmosphere. Anyone who puts value on his health should, too.