Miami's Oldest Health Food Store: Life Natural Foods

You can find almost any health food item your tree hugging heart desires at Life Natural Foods --- in theory, at least. You may have to dig deep through stacks of bagged herbs, protein powders, bee pollen, detox teas, powdered goat milk, organic juices, and probiotic supplements, but somewhere in this dense den of herbal remedies lies your healthy holy grail.

Owner Dorothy Glauser, 74, has been selling health for 41 years, making her shop unofficially the oldest health food store in Miami. It's been at its current address for 27 years; prior to that, she and her husband peddled their healthy wares from a store called The Health Hut on 71st Street and Collins Avenue in North Beach. They closed the Hut down in 1984.

"My husband was a bodybuilder," says Glauser in a low gentle voice, explaining how she came into the business. "We wanted to do something we believed in. We didn't want to open a bar or anything. And I enjoy it, most of the time. I like to help people."

​She says clients range from the Aventura set to local Haitians looking for specific herbs or essential oils. Her prices are competitive, and her main source of advertisement is good old- fashioned word of mouth. "We've got everything people need that we have room for," Glauser says. "Something for every dietary need and lifestyle choice."

Glauser seems a little self conscious about the tightly packed shelves of products, but she assures us that this is how natural foods stores used to be, back in the day. "They were more like general stores," she explains.

After four decades in the business, Glauser can deliver background information on almost any product on the shelf --- and that's saying a lot.

"That gives you a lot of energy. A lot of dancers take that," she says of the royal jelly supplements. "That's a good source of iron and calcium," she says, pointing out the blackstrap molasses. "People mix a teaspoon with hot water and drink it instead of coffee or tea. It doesn't have the caffeine, but it has a mild laxative effect."

Seems like the decades of healthy living have paid off for the owners; at 76 years old, her husband is still hitting the gym like a champ, Glauser tells us.

Life Natural Foods
12501 NE Eighth Ave., North Miami

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