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Mercer Island Spotlight: New Seasons Market Talk N’ Shop

20161109_095717-01New Seasons Market has been such a nice addition to Mercer Island Town Center. They offer a great shopping experience, a handy place to grab lunch, and they have already been partnering with local non-profits.

A service New Seasons Market offers that you might not be familiar with is access to a store nutritionist. Tran Hoang is the nutritionist on staff at the Mercer Island store. She works full-time at the island location, as it is still the only New Seasons in King County . The shoppers here can benefit from Tran’s expertise full-time! In the Portland area, the store nutritionists share their time between locations.

The New Seasons nutritionists teach classes, provide their store picks each quarter, and host free Talk N’ Taste events. They also will meet with shoppers for one-on-one Talk N’ Shop appointments, where you can explore the store together to learn about what foods might be beneficial for a health concern you may have.

tran2I recently met with Tran for a Talk N’ Shop experience. This service is provided by New Seasons Market for free – you just need to make a reservation with Tran via their online calendar. You can select a preferred topic for your appointment from a drop down menu – I chose an anti-inflammatory diet. After I made my reservation, I received an email confirmation with a 3-day diet journal that I could complete and email to Tran prior to our meeting. The process was very easy!

On my Talk N’ Shop day, I met Tran at the Solutions Counter in the front of the store. We went over to the store’s seating area to talk about my diet, and any concerns I had. Tran shared a bit about her background. She grew up on the East coast and came to the Portland area to attend graduate school. Her nutritionist degree work consisted of 80% of her time in the classroom, and 20% of her time in the kitchen learning ways to prepare food. She shared that if food is healthy but does not taste good, it is hard to get excited about it. Food is meant to be experienced and enjoyed – it’s an important part of life. Tran loves to share her excitement about eating healthy, delicious food and it showed during our time together.

20170118_130718 20170118_130820After asking me some questions about my current diet, Tran explained different aspects of an anti-inflammatory diet that might be beneficial for my health. She had this nifty folder prepared with recipes, shopping lists, pamphlets, rack cards, and a few samples.  She discussed how avoiding foods from the nightshade family – tomatoes, potatoes, chilies (which I eat a lot!) – may help me feel some relief from joint aches I get when my allergies flare up. We covered healthy fats that could be added to my diet, and even discussed ways I could change up my weekly Taco Tuesday meal to avoid using both tomatoes and corn, another food that may cause inflammation.

After the talk portion of our appointment, Tran took me on a tour of the store. She made sure to show me the tortillas New Seasons Market carries that have no corn or wheat in them. I took home the coconut and cassava tortillas to try – and they are delicious! She answered all my questions about the store sections and the products we looked at – and if she did not have an answer available, like the one I asked about the bone broth they carry in the refrigerated section next to the meat counter, she said she could look into it and get back to me. Which she did the next day by email!

If you haven’t had a chance to meet Tran yet, she hosts a Talk N’ Taste at the Mercer Island store each Thursday. She is also teaching a series on Saturdays called January Jumpstart. Stop by and say hello. She is friendly and incredibly knowledgeable. And definitely take advantage of the Talk N’ Shop experience if you have a dietary concern or want to make some lifestyle changes. There is a comprehensive range of topics available to discuss, even eating on a budget and maternal health.  And if the nutrition topic you would like to cover is not on the list, you can choose other and explain what you’d like to discuss.

This is such a cool service New Seasons Market offers its shoppers. The topic of nutrition, and how it applies to our health, is a complex subject. It is so nice know we can stop by to ask Tran a question, or take advantage of a plethora of resources to increase our knowledge in this area. It’s one more reason to be excited to have one of New Seasons’ store locations right here on Mercer Island!


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