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Naturally Yours strives to make you more natural

Naturally Yours Grocery is located in Metro Centre at 4700 University St. Photo via Naturally Yours.

Calling all vegans, gluten-free and organic product eaters.

Naturally Yours was first opened in 1988 by a doctor committed to providing healthy and holistic alternatives to the products found in mainstream stores for the wellness of local residents. The store has thrived since then and is the largest health food store in Central Illinois.

“They carry a lot of specialty items that I don’t see other places. You can even request that they start stocking certain items,” said Shannon Alphonso, senior industrial engineering major, who has been a customer of Naturally Yours for the last few years.

Their aisles are stocked with allergy-friendly, vegetarian and vegan options that are difficult or impossible to find at regular grocery stores, along with aisles of supplements and other wellness products free from toxins and chemicals. The store also boasts a bakery full of items like fresh baked goods and juices, with a vegan lunch special on Thursdays.

“Their menu is awesome,” Alphonso said. “You can ask them to juice produce for you. They also encourage you to bring your own containers, and they have student discounts.”

Matt Kowal, general manager of Naturally Yours, has worked at the store for 17 years, and said he has watched as more people become more conscious of what they are putting in and on their bodies.

“It’s this whole movement that’s just exploded,” Kowal said. “It’s good for us and good for … everyone.”

Kowal emphasized that one core aspect of Naturally Yours that sets them apart from other grocery stores is the knowledgeable staff. Staff members personally encompass a wide range of issues and preferences customers may have walking into the store.

“We have people who have tons of knowledge about supplements, people who are activists whether it’s sustainability or recycling, people who are vegetarians, vegans, people with food sensitivities,” Kowal said. “You have all these people under one roof … you can’t say that when you go to another store. We know what we’re talking about because we live the lifestyle.”

As health trends rise and fall, Kowal said he sees the popularity of certain products follow.

“We had [Cannabidoil] five years ago, but we would hardly sell any of it because nobody knew anything about it … now we sell massive amounts of it constantly,” Kowal said.

One product exclusive to Naturally Yours is 309 Cultures, a line of fermented, raw and organic foods made directly in Peoria by an employee of the store, even fermented in-store. The sauerkraut and kimchi can be bought in jars or added at a small extra charge to store-prepped meals.

Another unique offering is their koba drink, a popular beverage among South Pacific Islanders, and known for its ability to boost mental clarity.

Kowal hopes that more Bradley students become aware of these and other hard-to-find helpful products close to campus.

Naturally Yours is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. every Monday through Saturday. It’s located in Peoria’s Metro Centre, at 4700 N. University St.

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