Did you know that Mama Jean’s Natural Market has been open for over 15 years? I’ve shopped there almost since the day the doors opened on South Campbell, so thankful to have a local organic grocery store in Springfield!  Diana Hicks and Susie Farbin, the owners, kind of did it all back then. They were almost always there to greet us when we did our Saturday morning shopping. That’s how I got to know them, especially Diana.

(Please note: my love for Mama Jean’s is 100% real but this is also a sponsored post and part of partnership with Mama Jean’s Natural Market.)

The selection was smaller in the narrow hallway of a store. My eating habits and shopping patterns were different too. I was still figuring out what worked best for my body and I had yet to start coaching others. Mama Jean’s was for “the special stuff” they didn’t have at Price Cutter back then, like tofu and unsweetened banana chips.

Over the last decade my eating habits have evolved. My appreciation for the great taste of simple real food has grown. My life has changed too, going from a corporate gig with days at a desk to owning a small business and working an unusual and often hectic schedule. We also travel more than we did 15 years ago, appreciating home now more than ever. And Mama Jean’s Natural Market, with three full service grocery stores and as well as MJ’s Deli, has grown and evolved right along with me.

Running my own business has given me a new perspective on time management as well as respect for the challenges running a small local business. It’s not easy competing with a chain’s big marketing budget and resources. But the chain stores that everyone clamors for would never know me by name like they do at Mama Jean’s. I can get tofu pretty much anywhere but most places wouldn’t bother to go to the back and bag up baby spinach just for me. The wouldn’t send me home with supplement samples before I buy a whole bottle. Like me, Mama Jean’s loves having a “customer family”.

We’ve had some grand adventures traveling the globe. I love checking out shops we don’t have and farmers markets, sometimes loading up with new treats for the flight or drive back. Even trips to Kansas City call for a little comparison shopping. While I used to come home with a trunk load of food, I realize now that what I need is in my own backyard and often at the same (or better) price. (Except for tea. NOTHING can beat the price of tea in China…sorry.)

What I’ve learned about myself over the last 15 years is that I value good food, good community and good people.

This is why no matter what new store pops up in Springfield I am and always will be solidly team #IAmMamaJeans.

Do your grocery shopping habits align with your fit life values?

Mama Jeans stands for real food to fuel a happier healthier and often hectic life. They get me and my schedule. They are a part of the community and make giving back a priority in ways that align with my values. I see the same smiling faces week after week, saying hello and making sure I can find what I need.

Mama Jean’s helps me live my values and spread the local love that is so important to me. Mama Jean’s Natural Market touches every part of my gloriously busy week.

It’s been well documented that I eat the same breakfast every morning: eggs with greens and oatmeal. That oatmeal is made with rolled oats, chia seeds and cinnamon from Mama Jean’s bulk bin and the herb & spice section. You won’t find a more economical and tastier bowl of oatmeal out there. (Unless you add some Chocolate Amazing Grass Super Greens, but they have that at Mama Jean’s too.) The eggs also come from Mama Jean’s when my local farmer friend’s chickens stop laying for the season.

I’m only home four nights a week but I do love to cook when I am home. Most of our favorite dishes depend on Mama Jean’s Natural Market. They supply the sweet potatoes for homemade sweet potato fries to go with black bean burgers for Movie Night and the chickpeas to make falafel bowls. It’s the only place I can find Tomato Cayenne Chao Creamery Vegan Cheese for an amazing vegan grilled cheese sandwich.

Even when I delegate dinner to Bri, the tempeh tacos start with basics from Mama Jean’s. The blend of TVP and tempeh in these tacos might even fool your carnivore friends, especially when topped with my favorite mango habanero salsa from The Grove Salsa Company. Did you know that the lowest price in town on The Grove salsa is at Mama Jean’s? Important to know when you go through as much salsa as we do.

Then there’s snack time. As much as I believe in sitting down to dinner, three nights a week it’s a quick bite between clients. I eat an apple and an RXBar between training sessions. Unless apples are in season and at the farmers market you can bet I’m going to Mama Jean’s for our supply of apples. I’m a firm believer in going organic for the Dirty Dozen. Apples and spinach, another house favorite, are in the top 5.  To make it easier for you to find what kind of produce you value – organic, local or both – all the produce at Mama Jean’s is clearly labeled local or organic. You’ll find nothing else.

My top travel snacks also come from Mama Jean’s: dry roasted edamame in single serving packs, raw almonds from the bulk section and Primal Strips Vegan jerky. All of them go in my backpack for the plane and airport because you just never know.

Do I do all of my grocery shopping at Mama Jean’s? No, I do not. I love getting seasonal produce at Farmers Market of the Ozarks. I try to go every Saturday morning during the summer and fall. But I know that if I can’t make it to market I can find some of the market vendors at Mama Jean’s. When coming back from a trip is grocery delivery easier? Yes, but I’m just as likely to stop at Mama Jean’s for spinach and apples on the way home from the airport. I will make a monthly Aldi run because Bri likes their coffee and I live off their frozen Brussels sprouts.

But week after week you’ll find me at a Mama Jean’s. It might be at the E. Sunshine store as I stop to finish my weekly grocery shopping after the farmers market. It’s quiet then and the staff are just as friendly as my farmers market friends. Or it might be the S. Campbell store when I need to shop on Friday to pick up a few fresh ingredients for dinner. The bulk of our grocery dollars are spent supporting another local woman-owned business.

If you haven’t been in a Mama Jean’s Natural Market in awhile I’m going to challenge you to go in and take a look around. Go without a list or agenda and just explore. See what’s changed and what speaks to your desire to eat better and live healthier.

If you see me on my Saturday shopping trip say hello. If I’m at MJ’s deli having Sunday Brunch with my mom or enjoying an Ava Garden salad while I read, stop for a moment. I love connecting with others who love to shop local and eat real just as much as I do. Share your Mama Jean’s moments with me on Instagram or Facebook using the #IAmMamaJeans hashtag and I’ll share mine too.

My life and routine have changed dramatically since we ventured in to the tiny new local organic grocery store in Springfield 15 years ago. I know the value of supporting your small local business, the importance of community and the goodness of real simple food. I want to challenge you to shop and eat in line with your values too. We don’t need to clamor for those big out of town chains. Forget the Facebook campaigns that say otherwise. I want you to show me and the world how much we love local and how proud we are to say #IAmMamaJeans.

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