Every passing year, it gets a little easier to be a vegetarian, vegan, or just a healthy eater. As the world becomes more health conscientious, more and more vegetarian restaurants and organic food stores open their doors. Sure, this is in direct contrast to the mass production of genetically-modified foods, horribly mistreated animals, and increasingly-false marketing by companies. Which is to say that it’s really up to us, the consumers, to find the right products and support businesses that encourage healthy-living.

Diane Shaskin and Mark Craft, a husband and wife duo, bought their first store in 1978, then bought High Level Natural Foods in 1993, and renamed it Terra Natural Food Market. In the 70’s, organic food was considered a “hippy” thing, so Mark and Diane set about making it more appealing to the average consumer. After some years of success, their brand was expanded to two new stores and the original moved to a new location, and the brand was renamed Planet Organic.

By 2004, Planet Organic had expanded to eight stores, including one in Port Credit, Mississauga. As you may well know, the store in Port Credit is still around and thriving, some fourteen years later.

“We are dedicated to providing our Planet People with an experience and culture within our markets with events, seminars and excellent customer service. We’re still the original, and original in every sense, offering a diverse, delicious array of vitamins, supplements and good food that is good for you, and good for the earth.”

That is the mission statement of Planet Organic, and if you’ve ever ventured inside the charming little store, you can see that mantra reflected throughout.

Walking in the door of Planet Organic, you’ll be greeted by some fruit on a stand, to the left is a rack with ready-made salads, Naked Juice Smoothies, butter – not margarine – and more. Dead ahead, you’ll see an enticing deli counter, which has everything from tofu steaks to rotisserie chickens, baked penne pasta to quina, and plenty more. All of which is atop a chequed floor, with wooden boxes across the store containing various items, and green signs and yellow walls throughout – the colour scheme and low-lighting create a warm, welcoming, and natural atmosphere.

From here you’ll find a large produce section with fruit and veg being sprayed with water to keep it fresh – not GMO’s – a nut and seed section with scoops for self-helping, milk and yoghurt at the back wall, which transitions down to frozen foods and ice cream. In the middle of the store there is an organic beauty section, with make-up, shampoo, soap, skin cream, and even some salt lamps. Heading towards the far side of the store, you’ll find everything from cereal to chips, cleaning products to natural cola, and vitamins to organic snacks.

As you can probably tell by this point, Planet Organic has a little bit of everything no matter your purpose. If you’re a vegan, you could most certainly grab all your foods from the store, or maybe you’re just a little health conscientious and want to avoid unnecessarily bad foods like chips and ice cream, and this is where you’ll find healthy alternatives. And, as mentioned, you’ll find some organic cleaning products which are, surprisingly, much stronger than the chemical ones we use everyday.

For example, lemon essential oil is a incredibly powerful cleaning agent, one drop mixed with water is enough to clean the most stubborn stains. I myself would, at one point, have deemed such things to be “hippy-dippy” but I learned that they were so much more than that. For example, some lavender can help to relax your mind, a statement I would have scoffed at not long ago. However, when you really think about it, natural drugs like marijuana or mushrooms can affect the body and mind, so why not some lavender or Himalayan salt.

All of this is to say that organic and natural products are important and vital to living a healthy life. You may not realise it now, but eating healthy and utilising products of the earth like lavender and lemon, can make you feel like a completely different person. This is the kind of lifestyle and the kinds of products that you’ll find at Planet Organic.

You have no obligation to eat healthy or use products that were made in respectable establishments. You also have no obligation to check labels or understand that just because a product says “natural”, “free-range” or “organic”, doesn’t mean that it’s actually any of those things. However, if you decide to live a healthier life, or become more conscious of what products you buy and where they come from, Planet Organic is already here.

The store is located at 170 Lakeshore Road East, right by the Tim Horton’s in Port Credit. It’s a wonderful little store with great products and helpful staff. Whether you’re a healthy eater or not, I recommend you take a visit to Planet Organic and see what you can find. Organic living doesn’t have to taste terrible, be expensive, or be for hippies, and that’s where Planet Organic comes in, bringing just a smidge of that 70’s attitude to 2018.