San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Bio-Land: Homegrown Alternatives

A healthy lifestyle, no matter what your social class, begins on the farm. It encompasses both humans and the natural world, food and health products.

In a day and age when supermarket shelves are stacked with goods that have been produced at the fastest rate for the largest quantity and at the lowest cost, sustainability is often left behind. Preserved canned goods take the place of fresh vegetables. Creams and shampoos are injected with artificial extracts.

Fortunately, for consumers looking to eat healthy and stay conscious of the environment at the same time, Bio-Land offers an alternative.

The Costa Rican food and body-care products company was founded in 1982, and its health- and environment conscious wares can be found in supermarkets and health and macrobiotic stores around the country.

Macrobiótica Natural Medical in Paseo de las Flores mall in Heredia, north of San José, for example, carries a good selection of Bio-Land products.

Inside the small shop is an array of snacks, shampoos, skin creams, even soy milk and protein supplements, all organically grown and produced and packaged with their natural aromas.

Snacks range in price, but, for a 100-gram bag, expect to pay about ¢500 to ¢600 ($0.90 to $1.10). One snack, Rosquitas Naturales, looks like Funyuns, but doesn’t come with the salty mess or the aggravating heartburn after devouring an entire bag.

These are whole-grain rings made with certified organic corn and olive oil. The tasty treat doesn’t contain a single industrial fat, artificial colorant or antioxidant and is completely free of trans fat and cholesterol. It does, however, contain up to 12 percent of your daily dose of certain vitamins. One bag is perfect for a bus ride to the beach.

For something you can get a little more creative with, pick up a bag of Bio-Land’s low-fat, multigrain rice cakes for about ¢1,500 ($2.70). With 12 organic patties per package, these round delights are perfect for a variety of spreads.

For a little extra protein, top the crackers with tuna, salmon or eggs. To add some color, drop on a few vegetables or avocado, or make a light, healthy pizza with tomato sauce and cheese. This snack also goes well with the natural food company’s coffee, made with certified organic products.

The group’s environmental conscience extends beyond its low-agrochemical farms. Its Web site features a handful of programs the company participates in, including recycling, tree-planting and water protection initiatives. Some of its goods are produced with biodegradable material and labels printed with quickly decomposing soy ink. Take a walk around the neighborhood and you will likely see a budding tree along the sidewalk, planted by Bio-Land and protected by a plastic Bio-Land container.

As far as beauty products, Bio-Land runs the gamut. Shampoos and conditioners are made without any synthetics or volume-enhancing chemicals. Skin creams and lotions are made without acids or animal products.

Though many of the large supermarkets carry Bio-Land products, for the best selection with the latest merchandise, visit small health shops such as Macrobiótica Natural Medical, Bio Salud stores (at Multiplaza Escazú, west of San José, and Multiplaza del Este, on the east side of town) and others.

Check out Bio-Land’s products and read about the company’s history at

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