March 15, 2012

clifton natural foods

photo by steve metz                                                                                                                         sunshine/clifton natural foods

hormone free milk at CNF
     I've been paying attention.  It started out with a documentary called Food Inc.  Next, there was a serious illness in my immediately family, in someone whom I love dearly.  Lastly, there are the commercials.  The flippin' commercials.   Lately, I've been paying attention to what I put in my body and to how I'm TOLD to feed my body in contemporary American culture.  For instance, the mass marketing for conventional, homogenized milk, procured using artificial bovine growth hormones, would have you believe that if you are not purchasing their product and pouring it directly from the bottle into your child's mouth, by the gallon, that you are, ostensibly, committing an act of child abuse...that your child will not grow up to be big and strong.  In fact, quite the opposite is true.  They don't bother to tell you about the girls who have entered puberty a year or two early from consuming hormone laden milk.

hopefully, you already recognize this as broccoli

     I could prattle, ad nauseum, about how incredibly broken our food supply chain is: about soils, laced with toxic heavy metals and chemical contaminants, which have been depleted of almost all of their nutritive value, about water taken from municipal water sources and then marketed and sold as "spring water" or "purified water," about the deplorable practices of corporate animal farming.  But, I don't want to spend too much time talking about what's wrong.  Instead, I prefer to tell you about something that's right, because, really, as long as you have a solution, the problem can go away on its own.

photo by steve metz                                                                                                                             heather/clifton natural foods
     There is a remedy.  You have a choice.  You are lucky enough to live in a town which even offers  a locally owned option.  Clifton Natural Foods has been in business for about 30 years, and if you'd like to get in touch with treating your body well by way of feeding it well, I'd suggest a visit.  I had a chance to visit the store recently, to make some photos and have a chat with my pal, Sunshine and even her co-worker Heather. Either of them, or any of the other laid back, kind, and helpful employees at CNF will be happy to get you on the way to understanding the basics of food, nutrition, and even medicinal herbs.  It's a cool place.  Some have even called it "super chill."  I'm not saying who it is, but her name rhymes with funshine.  

steel cut oats!  in a cool can!
 Clifton Natural Foods, started out on Ludlow Ave., in Clifton, way back in the eighties.  If you've ever eaten at Amol India, you've been in the building.  One day, while a young woman named Aline was working in the store, a customer walked in.  His name was Bob.  It's funny how the biggest moments of our lives begin from nothing.  Bob didn't know it at the time, but Aline, the young woman behind the counter, would become his wife and the two of them, together, would purchase the store from the owners at the time.    
     Bob and Aline, moved the business from the Gaslight to Corryville, but they kept the fundamentals consistent: provide products which are good for people's health, along with a lot of useful information.  The culture of the store is grassroots, through and through, imparted in the lifestyle and dedication of its owners to the happy employees.  "We don't have a fax machine.  We don't have a computer," Sunshine told me.  "If growers or suppliers want to talk to us, they pretty much have to come here." CNF is an intimate, laid back place, with a personable and friendly atmosphere, that will make you feel like you're at an old-timey grocery.  It's a pretty wonderful experience shopping there, and it must be an equally wonderful place to work, because, according to Sunshine, no one ever leaves.  


     There is an axiom which says something like don't eat anything that your grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.  It's my wish that each of us visit one of the countless, generic convenience stores or supermarkets littering the horizons of our communities, and to have a walk through using our grandmother's eyes.  What would she discount after reading a label?  What would she discount based upon appearance alone?

     The fact that we've been brainwashed (let's call it what it is) by corporations into believing things about their products and how they will impact our bodies and our long term health, would be really overwhelming if the answer weren't so ridiculously easy.  You have the information at your fingertips and you have an alternative.  You just need to make a little time in your life for it.  You need to sacrifice a little bit of convenience.  So what?  

photo by steve metz                                                                                                                           sunshine/clifton natural foods
     That person I mentioned earlier...the one whom I love so dearly...she told me that food is our own gift to ourselves.  The more I read, the more I study, the more I think for myself, the more I realize that she is right.  Bob, Aline, Heather, Sunshine, and all of the other good people who make Clifton Natural Foods such a special place...they've known this for decades.  They are there to help us with this paradigm shift.  So, the next time you're headed out to the place that sounds like ogre or the place that sounds like united larry charmers to get your food, go ahead and fuel up your car with their gasoline, but maybe think twice about fueling up your body there.  Instead take a little trip to the old-timey grocery with the good food and the super nice people.

Clifton Natural Foods, Facebook


  1. Like it! Michael recommended I read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and it was good. It also ruined me from meat. But it wasn't just meat. It got me thinking about a lot of the food I put in my body. Doesn't mean I eat all good stuff, but I've definitely made a lot of changes. Especially with milk - what a scam!

    I definitely recommend Eating Animals. I have a review of it at but you don't have to read that. Just read the book.

    1. Steve - I can lend the book to you if you would like?