Friday, February 4, 2011

The Indian Grocery Store aka My New Target!!

My haul from the swagat foods indian grocery store
Move over Targét, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe's! The Indian grocery store, Swagat foods in Oak Forest, IL in particular, has become one of my new favorite stores. You can find anything from exotic spices and produce to traditional Indian beauty treatments to delicious healthy prepared meals at extremely affordable prices. As you can see above, I picked up a few goodies :-) 

I picked up two different brands of henna powder. The Jamila brand is the one I used the first time I hennaed. This time I also picked up the Hesh brand which I've heard some good things about online. I think I might do a second henna treatment this weekend. Between this trip, my last one, and the one I sent my mother on, I've pretty much cleaned them out of the quality henna brands. Lol!! I hope they plan to restock soon! 

I picked up several bottles of Rose Water for $1.99 each. This stuff usually costs about $8 or more at the health food store. I love this stuff. It smells divine (like roses of course). I usually put it in a spray bottle and use it to dampen my hair before styling or detangling if I don't feel like wetting it completely. I also love to use it on my face as a toner, after cleansing, to soothe and balance my combination skin. Besides the obvious aromatherapy aspects, rose water is said to have antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties, yet it is completely gentle. Click here to read more interesting facts about rose water.

I have always seen Tiger Balm in my house growing up. It was preferred over Ben Gay, Aspercreme, Icy Hot, or anything like it. But $10 for this tiny jar at your local drugstore is a bit expensive. Imagine my surprise when I saw this jar for $2.99! I got 4! It definitely comes in handy after those strenuous workouts in the morning. 
Another essential item that I discovered at the Indian grocery store...Vatika oil!! I've seen this little bottle before at Walgreen's, but never paid it much attention. At about $7 a bottle, I'm glad I held out! I found this bottle at Swagat for $3.99! Vatika oil is an enriched coconut oil. In addition to the coconut oil it contains 8 other hair strengthening ayurvedic (traditional Indian medicine) herbs. 

"Vatika is a premium coconut hair oil enriched with Henna, Amla, Lemon and six unique natural formulation ensure deeper oil, penetration to give your hair and scalp complete nourishment for complete free healthy hair. Henna, along with other herbs, coats your hair, protects it from oxidation, maintaining its natural colour. Amla, strengthens the roots of your hair to help maintain their health and natural thickness. The astringent action of Lemon control sebum grow"

I already have a love affair with coconut oil. You will ALWAYS find a jar at my house. But this "enriched" oil makes my hair super shiny, soft, and strong. This is great for scalp massages!! I love the smell too (which some hate). It's a very lemony smell, and that's just fine by me. I usually use Vatika oil on my ends and scalp everyday and apply a couple times a week to my entire head. I don't necessarily follow the usual directions by using as an overnight treatment, washing out the next day. But my hair does get washed eventually, so that counts right? 

Next on my list...
Regular coconut oil of course! I don't think this is "pure unrefined virgin coconut oil" like I usually buy at Whole Foods for about $10 a jar. I know this because it doesn't have the extremely strong, fresh out of the coconut scent that I'm used to. But unless you are taking coconut oil as a dietary supplement, I really don't think it matters much . This one works just fine for keeping my face and body soft and moisturized. (I usually use regular coconut oil on my hair, but the Vatika has replaced that purpose) And for $3.99 for a 16oz. jar, I'm not complaining. 

Wandering through the grocery aisles, I found some jewels ;-)

Jeera Rice, flavored with Cumin. Not only is this ready-to-eat rice delicious, but it is 100% natural with no preservatives, artificial colors, or flavors. Score! $1.99
Gondalia Red Chili Pickle. It's not what you think. It has no pickle in it. Indian "pickle" is made from a variety of finely chopped vegetables and fruits. It's cooked in oil (this one contains cotton seed oil...that's a first for me I think) with a plethora of traditional Indian spices like turmeric, fenugreek, and red chili powder. This was one of my more expensive purchases at $3.50 but soooo worth it!
Check out the dinner I made using my finds at Swagat!!

Roasted turkey wing (marinated in the red chili pickle) with Jeera rice and mixed vegetables. It was spectacular!! Fresh, different, and healthy! I'll definitely be picking up these items again. 

Honorable mentions: A huuuuge bag of turmeric spice for about $2 and a half-dozen yummy pitas for $.99!! 

Think you'll be swinging by the Indian grocer anytime soon? 
I know I'll be back!! 


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