Where I Buy Ingredients…and Information on Coconut Oil

I have often received emails with questions on where I buy my ingredients. Hopefully this post will help answer those questions. I love sales, especially the clearance racks and watch for food items to go on sale. I don’t like to spend a lot of money on things. When we switched to Paleo, it almost killed me to pay $8.00 for a pound of coconut flour and some exorbitant amount for a small jar of coconut oil. I absolutely refused to even try almond flour as it was well over $10 a pound. And then there is raw honey–which is another not-so-cheap ingredient in unrefined baking. It was clear I was going to have to do something different than buying all these things at the health food store.

To begin with, we belong to a co-op called Azure Standard. I am not positive, but I think that they deliver all over the country. There are requirements for how much is ordered in the group (around $500) and individually you need to spend $50 or more in order for them to send the shipment. They sell a lot of items in bulk and their prices are typically fantastic. These are some of the things I order from Azure Standard and the approximate price I pay (but prices change all the time).

Azure Standard Products

-Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour ($22.00 for a 5 pound bag = $4.40/lb.)
-Coconut Secret Coconut Flour ($24.00 for a 5 pound bag =$4.80/lb.)
-Organic, Unsweetened Shredded Coconut ($15.00 for a 5 pound bag = $3.00/lb.)
-Thai Organic Coconut Milk (canned) ($27.50 for 12 – 14 oz. cans = $2.29/can)
-Coconut Secret Raw, Organic Coconut Aminos (I use this as a soy sauce substitute) ($4.50 for 8 oz.)
-Earth Circle Organics Raw Cacao Powder (raw cacao is much more beneficial to you than cocoa) ($12.00/lb.)
-Cashews, Raw, Small Pieces (in most of my cooking I chop them up so this works for me) ($20 for a 5 pound bag = $4.00/lb.)
-Cashews, Raw, Whole ($40.00  for a 5 pound bag = $8.00/lb.)
-Sunflower Seeds, Raw, Organic ($10 for a 5 pound bag = $2.00/lb.)

I also buy a lot of things at Costco. If you have one of those close to you, you might be surprised how much they carry that you can eat. There is a yearly membership fee like Sam’s Club, but we find for our family it is definitely worth it. Costco product selection varies from store to store, so no guarantees your store will carry these things.

Costco Products
-
Almonds (unsalted, unroasted) ($10 for a 3 pound bag = $3.33/lb.)
-Sunmaid Organic Raisins ($8.00 for 2 pounds = $4.00/lb.)
-Walnuts (unsalted, unroasted) ($15.00 for 5 pounds = $3.00/lb.)
-Organic Fuji Apples (price changes depending on the season but is usually around $1.50/lb.)
-Organic Baby Spinach (couple bucks for a big, 1 pound container)
-Bananas (price varies, but cheaper than our grocery stores)
-Vanilla (16 ounces for appr. $6.00)
-Maranatha Roasted Almond Butter, Smooth (26 ounce jar for appr. $6.00)
-Butter (currently $8.00 for 4 pounds = $2.00/lb. — pastured, organic butter would be much better for you though)
-Eggs (currently $8.00 for 5 dozen = $1.60/dozen — again, farm fresh organic would be better for you)
-Kirkland Maple Syrup (pure, Grade A) (32 ounces for appr. $14.00)

Coconut Oil Info
Most of the ingredients I buy come from one of the two places mentioned above. Coconut oil, however, has been an interesting research project and trial. I first started with a small jar that was really expensive from our local grocery store. Then, I went in with a few other ladies on a 5 gallon bucket from some company that we split (but was inconvenient for the lady who received it to try and divide it evenly). Then, I ordered 1 gallon from a company that Azure Standard sells. It didn’t have a lot of information on it, but said it was raw, cold-pressed and organic so I thought it must be good. At this time I started to learn about what to look for in a coconut oil. This [lengthy] article on coconut oil by Dr. Mercola states the things you should look for when choosing a coconut oil. In a nutshell, these are the things to look for:

1. USDA Certified
2. Unrefined
3. No chemicals added
4. Unbleached
5. Undeodorized
6. Not hydrogenated
7. Not GMO (genetically modified) or hybrid coconuts
8. Made from FRESH coconuts, not dried coconuts (used in cheap coconut oils)
9. Not processed with heat

Mercola’s website sells a good brand for $65.45 a gallon (currently the sale price), Tropical Traditions also has a good coconut oil for $65.00 a gallon (currently, through March 15th), and then there is the brand that I use: Nutiva–which is currently selling their organic, extra-virgin coconut oil at $59.99 a gallon (this also is on sale). Since I ordered my first gallon of Organic, Extra-Virgin Nutiva Coconut Oil, the price has increased slightly, but the “one-gallon price” has always been on sale. That is not to say that it will always be on sale, but I liked that it wasn’t just a “one-week deal” or anything.

Nutiva also offers FREE shipping on orders over $30.00, so if you like to buy in bulk like me, that just tops off the cake! I became an affiliate of their company soon afterwards because I love their coconut oil and love their prices! Their coconut oil meets Dr. Mercola’s standards and their price is even cheaper than Azure Standard sells Nutiva Coconut Oil for (surprisingly!) So, if you do decide to order from Nutiva, I’d love it if you wanted to go through my link. I do get a small compensation from Nutiva if you do decide to order through my link.

Just a little more on coconut oil…when I mentioned before that I had bought a brand of coconut oil that was raw, cold-pressed and organic…it was, but I found out after calling the company that it came from dried copra instead of fresh coconuts. The next coconut oil I ordered was Nutiva. When I received it, I could actually smell a difference between the two. The Nutiva brand smelled fresher to me! (Granted, I do have a super-strong nose…and it is even more sensitive being pregnant…)

Raw Honey
It is very beneficial to your health if you can find local, raw honey. I have heard that it helps with allergies other things if you can buy locally. This may take some research for you to find. If you do find a good supplier though, it is well-worth it. Raw honey can range anywhere from $2.00 a pound (the cheapest I’ve ever seen it) up to $5.00 a pound (and probably higher)! I buy honey in one gallon containers to save money.

Grass-Fed Beef
Grass-Fed Beef is a great thing to find locally. We found someone who raises his beef grass-fed and doesn’t use hormones or antibiotics on them. It is basically organic without being “certified” which costs farmers an arm and a leg to do so. If you can afford to buy 1/2 beef, that is probably going to be your best price. We split a half-beef between 3 families…and I don’t think it will last our family too long…

Other Products
I buy produce when it is on sale at our grocery store or at Costco. Our Costco carries a lot of organic produce which is fantastic! And I actually buy sweet potatoes and yams )non-organic) at Wal-Mart…they are almost half of the price of our grocery stores.  I buy Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Chips at Wal-Mart as well.

Hopefully this information has been helpful to you. If you don’t have a Costco or something similar nearby that you can buy in bulk from, check around to see what is close to you. I’ve heard that “Whole Foods” is a great store to buy organic products, but we do not have one here. Let me know if you have further questions or suggestions to other places that you buy your ingredients!

This post contains affiliate links for which I may receive compensation. Thanks you for your support!
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