This may be the most useful list I put out for you, my fellow fresh sabras. As much as the health and food industry has grown here in our tiny country, there’s just so much comfort in finding the products we are used to from back home. Certain things that I really have not seen here, and are just necessary to buy abroad.
iHerb has made things so simple recently. I order essentials under $75 (to avoid being taxed) and pay a small shipping fee (I think it’s about $10-$15 depending on the package) and get my order within 3-5 days usually. It’s pretty amazing if you think about it. Everything used to be such a headache. But recently convenience has been making its way into our world here in Israel.
Enough chit-chat, let’s dive right into the essentials:
- Hemp seeds: I honestly don’t think Israelis even know what this wonder seed is. Hemp seeds are little seeds, similar to chia seeds that load in a crazy amount of nutrients including high amounts of essential fatty acids, (even more than chia or flaxseeds), a great source of iron, potassium and magnesium, all great things to be getting into the body post workout by the way! And the best part is that 3 tbsp of these bad boys pack in 10 grams of protein. YES I SAID TEN! it’s really an amazing addition to yogurts, smoothies salads, and gives you that extra plant based protein boost that we are all generally lacking. I get Manitoba Harvest. It has a hechsher, lasts me a good few months, and really not too pricey.
- Lara Bars: These are one of my favorite snacks, and have’t found a worthy equivalent here in Israel. What I like about Lara bars is that they are usually only 3-4 ingredients, no crap, and just pure energy. I like the peanut butter chocolate chip flavor the best, and as an added perk so do my kids! it’s just a nice snack to have on hand when you are busy and running out the door. I like to have them around so I don’t resort to eating the wrong food and entering into a cycle of snacking on non-fueling food the rest of the day. Actually plan to share my own recipe recreation one of these days, so be sure to sign up for my newsletter so that you get an update when the recipe is live.
- Dried Blueberries: I think us anglos just have a minor obsession with blueberries that Israeli’s will never get. The blueberry availability has been rising over the years, but having some non-sugar added dried blueberries on hand to add to yogurts, baked goods or even just to snack on, is a real treat. Thanks iherb! Here’s the brand I like: nothing but freeze dried blueberries. Yum.
- Tea: I know we have a nice amount to choose from here, but nothing beats pukka tea. Wholesome and real ingredients. These people really know how to make tea. And while you can find pukka around stores in Israel, iherb sells in bulk and at a more decent price. Some of my favorite flavors include cinnamon licorice, vanilla chai, three cinnamon and gorgeous earl grey. In addition to pukka, Celestial Seasonings is another great brand. I particularly love getting their cold brew teas in the summer. Here’s a great one that is actually used in my Tropical Iced Tea Lemonade recipe. I’ve also been told that for Brits, Barry’s Tea is a must for plain black tea 🙂
- Vanilla extract: this can obviously be purchased in Israel, but the real deal is pretty hard to come across in regular grocery stores, and the ones sold in health food stores can get a bit pricey. I like to wait for sales on iherb and often stock up on this brand.
- Spices: don’t you all miss onion powder and Italian seasoning for your cooking?! Well now you don’t have to! Simply Organic sells an array of spices that are not readily available here in Israel.
- Smoothie boosters: This really deserves its own article, but here are a few of my favorite boosters that I like to have on hand to add some extra nourishment to my smoothies and yogurts:
- Camu camu, comes in a powder form and loads in a massive amount of vitamin C, antioxidants, known to help with inflammation and to regulate blood sugar levels as well as metabolism. Really a true smoothie booster through and through. Definitely give this one a try.
- Matcha: this is one of those superfoods that I feel is super trending in America but somehow hasn’t made itself known in Israel. I’ve seen a few brands here and there around Israel, but all pretty expensive. Matcha is known to have superfood powers: tons of antioxidants, a natural caffeine booster, but with a special compound known as L-Theanine, which is a non-essential amino acid that does wonders for our central nervous system and the BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor). Another perk of the L-theanine is actually its energy effect. While caffeine found in coffee usually wears out mid-day and leaves us feeling quite sluggish, the L-theanine in matcha provides a more steady release of caffeine to allow for a gradual release of energy over the course of the day. Matcha has been said to improve quality of life and longevity when used daily. Here’s one I like.
- Seeds: any of your basic seeds like flaxseed and chia seeds are sold in bulk over iherb, so sometimes worth looking out for sales to see if you can save a bit. Just a little fresh sabra tip for you all 🙂
House and Self-Care Products
- Mrs. Meyers products: I just love this brand because everything is environmentally safe, dye and chemical free, but also smells so darn good. Also super gentle on the skin. I love their soaps, both hand and dish soaps, multi-purpose sprays, and even their scented candles. They often have sales, and products can be bought in bulk.I bought a large box of their hand soap 2 years back when we moved into our house, and still have a cupboard fully stocked of ’em. Worth a look!
- Vitamins: Great stuff here for the whole family. Solgar makes all and everything, so worth taking a look at their products.
- Essential oils: this is a great one for anyone working in the various therapies, and for the yogis and yoga teachers amongst us.They can get quite pricey in our local health food stores. Here’s my fave brand.
- Skin Care: I’m not expert in this field, so can’t hurt to do some more research and browse around. But I have been educated by a few friends who are experts and have been told that there are two important ingredients to look out for in face wash/toners: 1) Hyaluronic Acid: helps reduce the visibility of wrinkles and activates increased skin cell production. Aids in retaining moisture to the skin to create plumper and smoother looking skin. 2) AHA and BHA exfoliants: these usually come in the form of leave on exfoliants and majorly contribute to healthy looking skin. Besides having acne-fighting properties, AHAs and BHAs also minimize the appearance of wrinkles, unclog pores, smooth rough and bumpy skin, even out skin tone and increase skin hydration. Some products that have these components that are available on iherb include Some by Mi’s Miracle Toner, and their Cleansing Bar. Other toners I like is this Cosrx AHA/BHA toner, and Derma E’s Hyaluronic Acid toner.
- Kids: the two main things I like to get are a) zinc sunscreen because it is said to create a really effective skin barrier for even the most sensitive of skins. I like Badger’s unscented sunscreen for my kids and Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen for my babies, which fun fact is actually the #1 pediatrician recommended sunscreen. b) Tom’s toothpaste because it is all natural and they have toothpastes suitable for babies younger than a year. Just feel like kids love to eat their toothpaste so this should be one of those things that ingredients should matter for! They also have a lot of dye and chemical free products that I love, so worth taking a look around!
I can probably keep going with this list. The options are really endless. It’s definitely worth getting the iherb app and staying up to date on sales. iherb has really made navigating healthy eating and living in Israel a pleasure for me, and hope it can do the same for all of you 🙂
As always, here to answer any questions, so don’t hesitates to reach out! Happy shopping fresh sabras!