Introverting at the Grocery Store

Whole30 undoubtedly reinvigorated my love for grocery shopping. I have actually always loved grocery shopping, which is a little strange given my ineptitude for meal planning. I find the art of choosing produce rather relaxing, and I like to take my time wandering the aisles, always stopping for a sample when one is available. And, when it’s 108 degrees outside, I find large air conditioned buildings to be straight up delightful.

Which is why, last Thursday night when we were out of everything from bread to fruit to eggs, I hopped in the car and drove 25 minutes to my favorite grocery store, singing along with a Spotify playlist the entire way.

Sometimes after a long day with the kids, I just need to introvert at the grocery store for an hour, you know?

I walked up and down the wide aisles at a leisurely pace, nobody begging for snacks or whining about sand in their shoes. I took my time reading labels, and even stopped to admire the canned cocktail collection for a bit, settling on the Common Cider blackberry sangria to add to my cart. Two smiling employees asked if I needed help finding anything, but I didn’t.

I knew my way around that store like the back of my hand.

My love affair with Nugget Markets can be traced back to my very first pregnancy. A typical first-time mom, I had read online that deli meats were not recommended for pregnant women, a real tragedy since turkey sandwiches were my number one craving.

I can’t remember who suggested this, but someone told me I should order deli meat from the Nugget deli counter because they cook and carve all their meats in house.

Not one to doddle, I marched my pregnant booty into the grocery store, asked the deli guy about listeria, concluded it was safe, and ordered a turkey sandwich the size of my head with a bag of Cheetos on the side.

It was everything I hoped it would be and more.

I repeated this little trip, if I had to guess, probably close to 90 times throughout my pregnancy. Me and the deli guy? We were on a first-name basis. He knew my sandwich order by heart. In fact, on our way home from the hospital after Everett was born, we stopped at the Nugget for (you guessed it) turkey sandwiches. I remember sitting in the backseat, staring at our four-day-old baby, patiently waiting while Brett ordered our favorite lunch.

The Nugget deli and hot counter became our family tradition twice a week. Every Sunday we’d stop after church and order sandwiches for lunch, and every Tuesday night Brett would pick up tacos (2 for $7, served with rice!) on his way home from work. It was such a simple, ordinary habit, but at a time in our life when everything was changing, I took great joy in the comforting routine of Sunday sandwiches and Tuesday tacos.

Fast forward five years to last Thursday and I was transported right back to that place of familiarity: friendly cashiers, perfectly ripe produce from local farmers, that inexplicable family-owned charm. I exhaled right in the middle of aisle eight with a package of (non Whole30 compliant) organic chocolate chewy banana bites in my hand. 

My husband was at home completing the 24-step bedtime routine while I wandered down the aisles freely. We "divide and conquer" pretty often, but I couldn't help but feel like I got the better end of the deal that night. I mean, as far as chores go, this was practically self-care. 

I think I might make Thursday nights a regular date with myself. A good Spotify playlist for the car + chocolate banana bites as my commission? Yes, please. They even have a coffee bar next to the door! Maybe next time I'll bring a book and sit with a decaf coffee for a few minutes before I shop. 

Introverting at the grocery store -- who knew it could be this good? 

My favorite Whole30 items from Nugget Markets:

Primal Kitchen condiments and dressings. Well, this is embarrassing, but pre-Whole30 I bought a bunch of Primal dressings online (and paid a small fortune for them!). I was super panicked that I wouldn’t be able to find them local, and didn’t want to be stranded on day two with no salad dressing. Imagine my surprise when I went to Nugget a few weeks ago and not only were Primal products showcased on display, they were on sale, too! 

Sugar-free marinara sauces. The pasta aisle at Nugget is my FAVORITE. While you can’t have pasta on Whole30, you can have marinara sauce (we did ground turkey + marinara sauce + zoodles a lot). Nugget has a ton of sugar-free, locally made sauces.

All the vegetables, all the fruits. When it comes to fresh produce, no grocery store compares, in my opinion, to Nugget Markets. I love how they partner with local farms! Their stone fruit right now is SO GOOD. They have every fruit and vegetable imaginable, and all of their organic options are right in the front of the store for easy access. 

All the meat. Finding grass-fed beef and organic meat options at Nugget is a breeze. I also recently found out that you can purchase meat in-store and ask the meat department to marinate it or create a custom rub for you (!). YUM.

All the almond butter. We went through a jar of almond butter every 5-6 days on Whole30, and Nugget has a ton of options, a lot of which are locally made! 

Fresh to Market EVOO. Our go-to cooking oil for Whole30. 

Fresh to Market Apple Sauce. This was my favorite treat on Whole30! Anytime I was really craving something sweet, I fixed myself a little bowl of applesauce topped with cinnamon. I've actually kept this habit up post Whole30, too. It satisfies my sweet tooth, and doesn't make me feel super bloated like ice cream does. 

Fresh to Market eggs. These large brown eggs come from cage-free chickens raised on organic vegetarian feed (and are never given any added hormones, steroids or antibiotics). Breakfast, erryday.

Not on Whole30?

Do yourself a favor and just curl up in their bread and cheese sections. I mean it. Nugget Markets makes all their bread in-house and they stock over 400 varieties of cheese. Yes I said 400. I know. Your mind is blown. You could try a different cheese every day for one year and not run out (!). 

Do you also love introverting at Nugget Markets? What's your favorite item there?

p.s. This concludes alllllllll my posts on Whole30. I promise to go back to regular programming now. Thanks for sticking with me! 

*This post was sponsored by Nugget Markets, a local family-owned grocery store I love. 


Ashlee Gadd

Ashlee Gadd is a wife, mother, writer and photographer from Sacramento, California. When she’s not dancing in the kitchen with her two boys, Ashlee loves curling up with a good book, lounging in the sunshine, and making friends on the Internet. She loves writing about everything from motherhood and marriage to friendship and faith.