Shopping for health foods at Tosa's Outpost store

July 23, 2013

I'm sitting down to a dinner of free-range chicken enchiladas. They taste restaurant quality and I didn't even fill up on chips and salsa first.

The Mexican dish — made by Brookfield–based Cocina DeLeon — was part of my purchase during my first time shopping at Outpost Natural Foods. Outpost has been on my list of places I've planned to check out for a long time. An effort to eat healthier finally got me through the doors of the State Street store.

I recently enrolled in a weight management program through Froedtert Hospital. A few years back I had done a similar program through Aurora Health System, which resulted in a loss of 30-plus pounds, inches off my body measurements and, most importantly, bringing my cholesterol into normal levels.

However, the program lost its leader to a job change and other health issues kept me from pursuing further weight loss. Now I'm ready to continue the journey and found a program at Froedtert that could help.

Because I'm close to making my goals and just need a little push toward a healthier lifestyle, the doctor recommended I meet with a Froedtert dietitian to talk about food that will give me the most nutrients and energy and stick with me so I don't snack.

Hits and misses

I was told I could get many of those foods and broaden my food horizons by checking out Outpost. There were a few misses — I wasn't a fan of almond milk or the vegetarian cabbage rolls — but there were many more hits: the aforementioned enchiladas, as well as homemade granola bars, the selection of fruits and vegetables, banana flax bread and chocolate sea salt quinoa clusters.

I have a habit of eating a lot of processed foods that I can cook quickly and eat on the run, so I appreciated the variety and number of prepared items I could buy and warm up or eat cold for an easy meal.

I also found the large section of pour-your-own nuts, granola and grains intriguing and overwhelming. I decided to try some trail mix.

There was one major drawback of my own making. Because many of the foods were fresh such as the naan, an oven-baked flatbread, and pita bread, they had fewer preservatives and therefore a shorter shelf life. As a result, some of it started to get moldy or go bad before I could eat it. I found so many interesting items I overbought.

Supporting a co-op

I know some of the items are available at other grocery stores, but there were a few items that I enjoyed so much that I would make a special trip to Outpost to have those on hand. I also like the business' commitment to sustainability, providing local products and offering products for people with food allergies, are gluten- or dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan. I have many friends and family that fall into those categories.

I also appreciate that Outpost is a food cooperative, a business owned by its customers. While buying in is not a requirement to shop the store, it gives customers a say in the operations as well as discounts and rebates.

Stefanie Scott is a former Wauwatosa NOW reporter who enjoys staying active in the Tosa community. Invite her to your event, group meeting or other activity by sending an email to

reporterstef@gmail.com.

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