August 24, 2011

Health Matters: The City Centre Stop

It came to my attention earlier this week when I was listing places that stock allergy friendly crackerbread that I haven’t written a word about Health Matters! It’s not one of my regular health food stops but I do pop in up and down, mainly for snacks! In fact, one could hardly resist ‘popping in’ with such a central location! Health Matters health store is located smack dab in the middle of the thoroughfare: 8 Grafton Street, Dublin 2. What a location!? And much to my repeated surprise it is not overflowing with hefty price tags in order to meet its rent, for as we locals know, Grafton Street does not usually come cheap.

As a food allergy shopper the main pull of Health Matters, apart from its location is the snack department. The store is not massive and tries it’s best to pack everything in but supplements and beauty products seem to come before health foods... Snacks, however, are a different story with a good range of ‘healthy’ snacks for it’s size with a nice variety of choices for anybody with food allergies it is a great place if you need a little quick and tasty sustenance that meets your tough dietary needs.

Overall I personally have a mixed opinion of Health Matters. Sometimes I have a wonderful experience and sometimes I have a less than average experience. It seems to me that the staff can sometimes come across as cold and even abrupt (with exception to the superior manager/owner (?), who is always SO friendly, helpful and knowledgable but sadly rarely there!) but I don’t think that this is an accurate portrayal. Things can be a bit stand-offish at the counter but it seems that if you ask for advice then the spell is broken and the staff prove to be very helpful, friendly and knowledgable and best of all, honest! Unfortunately I almost always have to ask to receive this service so please don’t be put off and just jump in!

The other illusion is in the size of the shop. Like I said earlier, Health Matters seem to put their focus on food supplements, beauty products and sports nutrition but again, don’t be put off: the shelves are high and there are health foods and food allergy alternatives hidden away. I have found that here again it is hugely beneficial to ask if you can’t find something because your product of choice can often be tucked away behind another product and the staff are totally on-top of what they have in stock... so again, do ask!

But to draw this confusing review to a close I would like to mention that Health Matters have three locations: Grafton Street (Dublin 2), Bray (co. Wicklow) and Crumlin (Dublin 12) and they also run an online shop which ships free to anywhere in Ireland! (regular postage prices apply elsewhere in Europe and beyond). I actually think that the online store is a wonderful resource. You can search generally by product or brand name but the cream comes in the overall set-up which is divided into topics:

- Beauty (sub-headings: natural deodorants, bodycare, oral health, cosmetics, etc)
- Food Supplements (sub-headings: multi vitamins, anti-aging, superfoods, antioxidants, etc)
- Female Health
- Male Health
- Weight Loss
- Sports Nutrition
- Herbal Remedies (sub-headings: full potency herbs, tinctures, herbal complexes)
- Stress
- Mother & Baby
- Homeopathy
- Sun Protection
- Other (sub-headings: digestion, food, aromatherapy, detox, household, flower remedies, etc)

Although you might find Health Matters lacking in the food allergy friendly products that you dream of, their real draw is in supplements... and if you are shy of staring aimlessly at a wall of bottles then do some home research on their website before heading in! (note: they also welcome emails!)

Health Matters

8 Grafton Street
Dublin 2
Tel: 01 671 0166

25 Main Street
Co. Wicklow
Tel: 01 276 2669

Unit 14
Ashleaf Shopping Centre
Crumlin Cross
Dublin 12
Tel: 01 455 0323

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