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TLDR? There are multiple shops around Laureles that sell healthy, organic groceries.
Medellin sits in a verdant valley shrouded in the mists of the Antioquian highlands. This region has long been treasured for its climate and the fecundity of its soil. These aspects have facilitated a long agricultural history in the region.
So, it should come as no surprise that there is an abundance of fresh, organic produce and other ingredients available in the stores.
On top of produce, Medellin and the rest of Colombia are known for the availability of very high-quality products such as coffee and cacao. The latter is especially valued for its incredible health benefits.
With an abundance of options, sometimes it helps to have a little bit of a finger pointing you in the right direction. Listed below are some places where you can go to find fresh ingredients and products of the highest quality.
The first entry on our list is also perhaps the most fun. Saludpan is a health food store and restaurant located in the heart of the Laureles neighborhood. Laureles is one of Medellin’s most happening neighborhoods, in case you missed the memo.
Saludpan is very popular amongst locals for its delicious and nutritious dining menu. It features all organic ingredients with a menu that is entirely vegan and vegetarian. Most times that I’ve gone to visit I’ve found a line out the door of eager diners looking to chow down.
When I went, I got some imitation chicken breast that genuinely fooled me that it was chicken. This was before I remembered that the restaurant doesn’t serve meat.
The entrée came garnished with a hearty side salad as well as some corn tortillas. I washed it all down with a unique, spritzy beverage that was a combination of watermelon juice and carbonated water.
On top of the delicious fare at the restaurant, Saludpan has a small organic grocery within it. They vend a robust variety of totally organic products and produce. They also seem to stock mostly locally sourced products from Colombia and the rest of South America.
I took off with a gigantic bag of quinoa, amaranth-enhanced granola, and a bag of raw cacao treats at a very reasonable price. Very worth a trip!
Carulla could almost be characterized as sort of a Colombian Whole Foods. With multiple locations across Medellin, mostly centered in Poblado and Laureles.
There are tons of national and international products inside. Most stores come rocking a fully stocked coffee café inside as well. There are also snack bars that have pre-made meals such as pizza and sandwiches.
I’ve found the closest Carulla to me to be a very convenient place to pop in and grab a juice and a sandwich and take off without much hassle or effort. Most locations also have places to sit and enjoy your meals somewhere in the vicinity.
There are numerous locations all over Medellin, with something like seven or eight stores available to shop in. It’s a very convenient place to head to once you start to get to know the layouts of the stores.
I’ve also found that they are not necessarily too expensive compared to even other standard grocery stops in Medellin (and sometimes cheaper). For example, organic orange juice in the Carulla in Laureles was cheaper than the same product that I saw at the local Exito.
Vita Integral is another comprehensive health food store that carries a good number of healthy organic products. They do this at not-too-expensive prices. There are two locations to choose from, one in Poblado and one in Laureles
The layout of the stores is simple enough and intuitive to follow. Vita Integral also allows you to shop online on its website and then go and pick up your bag at the store later or have the food delivered.
There’s a high amount of not only organic fruits and vegetables but also organic beauty and wellness products. This includes face creams, oils, shampoos, and other beauty and wellness staples.
All in all, I find Vita Integral to be a worthy and convenient addition to the Medellin organic supermarket ecosystem. It almost functions as the middle ground in terms of price and convenience between Saludpan and Placeres Carulla.
For those not familiar, the Paleo diet is an up-and-coming dietary lifestyle where you don’t eat complex carbohydrates or other kinds of foods that our distant common ancestors wouldn’t have had. The diet excludes refined sugars and artificial flavors and tries to omit ingredients that are ultimately harmful to our health.
If you’re in Medellin and follow the Paleo diet, then you’ll probably appreciate the Mercado Saludable Paleo Market. They exclusively sell paleo-friendly products. There is also a small dining-in menu available if you would like to eat at the market itself.
Paleo-friendly products oftentimes make substitutions of ingredients. This is true for foods that most of us have become used to eating.
For example, at Mercado Saludable, several kinds of cereal are composed entirely of quinoa or other raw, whole grains. This is done instead of making the products out of refined, sugary corn substances.
The citizens of Medellin are a health-conscious bunch. So, it comes as no surprise that there is an abundance of options to choose from when you’re on the prowl for something that will nourish your body and mind. Hopefully, this guide serves as a helpful assistant in your travels.
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