I dont know much, but one thing I do know is high quality health care products, and what is not available in Tainan. My mom was a health nut extremist who always shopped in health food stores, I used to work in one when I was an undergrad (then came Whole Foods who put us out of business), my dear friend worked at Vitamin Cottage and this knowledge has just accumulated over the years.
Now Foods brand products are available here but not all. There is acidopholis but no Gabba. I dont know maybe they have it at the Taiwan distributor, but I dont see it on the shelves and their website is all in Mandarin. Now Foods definately has some nice clays (just add water) for the face which would be a toxic free alternative to the masks available here. There is omega fish oils, but not the best brand for it. There is Burt's Bee's (thank God). Once Cosmed carried Dr. Bonners for like 6 months and then poof no more.
If I could supply the local health food stores in Tainan, or have my own, this is a list of essentials based on what I have on my own shelves in my home which I managed to stuff in my suitcase. :
1. Gluten-free products. A gluten-free lifsetyle is not really possible here, which is a shame. Well it is in theory, you can eat brown rice or millet everyday and soba noodles (read the labels the buckwheat is often mixed with wheat flour), but doesnt sound fun to me. I miss having brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, rye flour, amaranth flakes, quinoa italien noodles, sorgum flour and just the dirth of grain variety that is available at home. The grocery store in Mitzikoshi does sell some Bob's Redmill hot cereal products, but thats about it. I would definately import a variety of gluten free flours and bake to my hearts content. The grocery store at Mitzokoshi used to sell German black rye bread, but not lately.
2. Dr. Bonners. I cant imagine a world without this, whether camping or traveling, such a versatile, good for the earth product.
3. The crystal body deodorant. Toxic free and effective. The rock lasts years, and they have a spray one too.
4. Aruvedic medicine and Himalayan Herbals. I discovered this on my travels in India and when I returned to the States to give birth, I noticed the health food stores were starting to carry miniscule amounts of their selection. Add to this, Chyawanprash and Dabur products, Auromere products and the magical plant Neem, neem oil, neem toothpaste, shampoo, it can also be taken internally.
5. Teas. Seems redundant, Taiwan being an Oolong drinking culture. But women here (as anywhere) are suckers for weight loss products and thats why I bought a 2 pound bag of pure South American Yerba Mate. Sure it tastes like crap, its extremely bitter, but I noticed Carrefore starting to carry Yerba Mate blends (cut the bitterness with some sweetness.) Again seems redundant as Oolong also helps metabolize fat and alkalize the blood, but Im a sucker for purity. Pure BrazilianYerba Mate from Nativa Herbs. Zhena's Gypsy Teas need to be here because they come in cool, colorful tins and other than being organic and a fair trade product have some tasty blends. Black teas. There is not alot to choose from in Taiwan, Yellow Label, yuck, lots of tea from Sri Lanka (which is not bad I just am an Assam girl). From my recent Borneo holiday I discovered Sabah Tea, and my all time preference is Taylors of Harrogate Yorkshire Gold.
6. Minerals like Colloidal Silver, Dead Sea Mineral products, and the wonderful Ionic Tonic.
7. It would be great to offer the people of Tainan, Colonics and Mayan Uterine Massage. My Taiwanese friend told me it was near impossible to find enemas here, so maybe start out with providing home enema products before the full on Colonics.
8. Yoga classes, real, unadulturated yoga classes, with real ujaii breathing, w/o balls, tai chi, pilates, starting out with sun salutations, followed by 2 legged, then 1 legged poses, floor poses and a coherent closing sequence. (This subjectdeserves its own post).
I could sit here and write about this all day, but got to get back to making breakfast, maybe a bike ride w/Z.
- Kathy (杜 言 艷)
- Yilan, Taiwan
- I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.