Submitted by the Olympia Food Co-op

Here we are in the new year, and I am later than I wanted with this article – this article about wellness. And why am I late? The winter sickness snuck into our backdoor and stayed for a while, visiting each family member in turn. And, as we shake off the dust of our sweaty sheets, I am back at it, even more invigorated to share with you these rejuvenating ideas that might help you through your winter chills.

Olympia Food Coop
Westside Wellness: External Care. Photo courtesy: Olympia Food Coop

A friend of mine, an original Olympian, living here since birth, 70 years ago, has a long-time ritual of January cleansing. Every year he enjoys the richness of holiday celebrations, complete with plates of greasy foods and sugar filled treats, and when January 1st comes round, he dives into his cleansing – with morning teas, fresh citrus juice blends, and healthy meals based on his needs for restoring his body to health. I often wonder how he knows exactly what works, as there are so many options and opinions out there. And, at last! I think I found something! Our Produce Staff Members recently published a personalized cookbook how-to guide. It actually looks fun – like an adventure, ending in a great cookbook with stuff I know all about.

So, that’s about using food for health. Now, for an introduction to that whole other aspect of health care offered at the Co-op – our Wellness Department – packed with great health-promoting items: Vitamins! Salves! Tinctures! Homeopathy! Mushroom everything! Nutritional shakes! Natural based make-up! Sustainable hairbrushes! Fair trade body care! Bath salts! Salt lamps! Do-it-yourself supplies! 

Olympia Food Coop
Eastside Wellness: Bulk Body and Hair Care. Photo courtesy: Olympia Food Coop

There is so much the department has on our shelves – from tiny bottles of magical potions, to large bulk dispensers to fill your own bottles with soaps, lotions and hair care products – that here I will focus only on a few vendors, both Local and Regional, as examples of what we have to offer you.

Also of note before we begin our journey – the Westside and the Eastside locations have different selections – so make sure to inquire if you are not finding what you need. Know you are welcome to place a Special Order, and often you do not need to purchase a large amount to have a product brought in for you.

Yoga Way Of Life

At the Westside a few weeks ago, we were fortunate to have Baharti us from Seattle to demonstrate her fascinating Ayurvedic style skin care products. For several hours, she helped shoppers identify their dosha (body constitution based on Ayurveda), and then chose a cream to help balance their dosha.

Olympia Food Coop
Westside Demo: Yoga Way of Life samples. Photo courtesy: Olympia Food Coop

Bharti works with a team of Ayurvedic doctors in India who help her formulate, train, and manufacture her products. Her journey began when discovering Ayurveda to be the only medicine to help with her hyperthyroidism and its symptoms of dark rough patches on her hands.

The oils and herbs used during her treatment went beyond fixing the patches, to making her skin so beautiful, that in turn, she was inspired to make her own creams. Soon she added scrubs, soaps, and body washes to her product line.

Uncle Harry’s

Olympia Food Coop
Eastside Wellness: Uncle Harry’s products. Photo courtesy: Olympia Food Coop

Another company just north of us, Uncle Harry’s has been an Olympia Food Co-op staple for years. This family-based business has been developing excellent skin, oral, and hair care products for 25 years, and states on their webpage, “every body is unique, and each person’s path to vibrant living may be different”. They also reach beyond external care to internal – their products can be found in both our supplements section as well as throughout the grocery shelves.


An Olympia original – the story is beautiful. A woman goes to Africa. Falls in love. A fair-trade company is born. A company that goes way beyond making quality products, to one that helps thousands of women and children to have access to education, health care, employment, and transportation (bikes!). I wrote a bit on them in our last article and here must be mentioned again – for they are a foundation for skin care in our Wellness Department!

Host Defense

Olympia Food Coop
Eastside Wellness: Host Defense products. Photo courtesy: Olympia Food Coop

Another Olympia original – the story is incredible. A guy goes to school. Learns about mushrooms. Fascinated, experiments and observes as any scientist would. Creates a company. Writes some books. Goes national. And now… saving honey bees!

So, come on in, check it out, try some samples, and let us know how we can help you!

Post Script….

Here at the Olympia Food Co-op, our local buying program began with the first days of business nearly 40 years ago, and has remained at the foundation of our collective – looking always to find the best way to support local producers that are in line with our mission statement  – as well as providing excellent products for our membership. We have two locations, and both are open every day from 8am – 9pm.

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