Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated March 24, 2012.
Update February 25, 2021: The shop’s website is no longer in service, I suspect Integral Yoga Natural Foods no longer exists.
Original blog post:
In Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, on West 13th Street, you’ll find one of the most interesting stores in the city (for vegans, anyway): a small (mostly) organic, 100% vegetarian grocery store. I’d read about it in The Vegan Guide to New York City and just had to seek it out. It’s the only vegetarian grocery store I’m aware of, there just aren’t that many around. I think we don’t have a single one in all of Austria, where I’m from.
Integral Yoga Natural Foods is a for-profit store owned and operated by the non-profit Integral Yoga Institute next door. They also operate a bookshop at the Yoga Institute, and the Natural Apothecary across the street, where all products are “suitable for a vegetarian lifestyle.”
I especially like the philosophy behind their Natural Foods store: they support local businesses, organic farmers, small businesses owners, and businesses owned by women. The Natural Apothecary won’t sell products that have been tested on animals and only carries products that are cruelty free. All those things are very important to me, and there aren’t many businesses that adhere to such a strict philosophy. It’s all connected to the spiritual teachings of Yoga, of course, but you don’t have to be religious or a spiritual person to care about the environment. I’m a die-hard atheist, and the least spiritual person you’ll ever meet, but living a cruelty-free life is still very important to me.
The grocery store sells a full range of products. You could do your weekly shopping at this store and not have to go anywhere else. In the back of the store there’s a hot-and-cold salad bar, where you can also buy freshly prepared organic fruit smoothies and juices. They have a small selection of vegan soups, raw snacks, pies and entrees. I bought a vegan burrito and a few vegan gummy bears, and sat down on the wooden bench in front of the store for an al fresco lunch. West 13th street is very peaceful: there are trees and there’s little traffic – very unusual for Manhattan. It was perfect.
There aren’t any major sights nearby, so as a tourist you probably won’t just stumble across the store. You’ll have to seek it out. But it’s right in the middle of Greenwich Village, which I think is one of the most interesting neighborhoods in Manhattan anyway and a tourist attraction in its own right.
Address: 229 West 13th Street, 10011 NYC. The Yoga Institute is next door, and the Natural Apothecary is across the street.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM; Saturday open until 8:30 PM; Sunday 9:00 AM to 8:30 PM
Website: no longer in service