TaoBao Basics: Food Links!!!

As requested – here are some of my most often used food links.  Prices are subject to change and I’ve included search info for some items in case some of these links die eventually.  



block of parm 200g for 24rmb  (or search 帕马森芝士)

block of kerrygold cheddar 500g for 38rmb (NOTE: you can comment in your order whether you want white白色 or red红色 cheddar ALSO this is repackaged from the giant blocks so it will not come in Kerrygold packaging but I’ve ordered from this seller for years and the cheese is always great)

emmental swiss cheese 500g for 38rmb

kroon gouda cheese 500g for 43rmb 

feta cheese 500g for 17rmb

fresh produce

real seedless limes 1.5kg for 27rmb (or search 无籽青柠檬)

shanghai based veggie seller with hard to find items like kale, brussels sprouts, and asparagus for a bargain

tomato products

tomato puree 500g for 7rmb

tomato paste 400g for 15rmb (freeze flat in a ziploc bag and break off portions as needed)

pizza sauce 240g for 14rmb

dry goods

stone ground whole wheat flour 500g for 4rmb 

roasted sesame seeds 500g for 10rmb

pepitas 500g for 17rmb 

sunflower seeds 500g for 10rmb 

red lentils 1kg for 20rmb (or search 红扁豆)

pecans 908g for 123rmb

frozen foods

waffle fries 2.26kg for 45rmb

chicken nuggets (just like McDonald’s) 500g for 16rmb 


tortillas 4 packs of 12 for 38rmb  (available from tons of sellers in various sizes, search KFC 墨西哥卷饼

deli ham “ends” 500g for 20rmb (this is the end of hams that have been used for sliced deli meat, good to chop into cubes and add to soups, salads, baked potatoes, or casseroles – this store has various types of deli meat sold this way)

smoked chicken breasts 1kg for 40rmb  (or search weiss烟熏鸡胸)

whole ham for slicing deli meat 1.4kg for 140rmb 

dried apple bits 500g for 20rmb (this usually comes as 2 – 250g bags just FYI and the seller has a variety of dried fruits at good prices)

coconut milk (no additives) 1L for 15rmb

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TaoBao Basics: How to Save Your Favorite Items and Stores

Now that you know how to actually find stuff on TaoBao, you’ll probably want to save some of those treasures to easily access again in the future.  So let’s talk about saving and managing your favorite items.

How to save a “favorite”

On every product page, you should see a small star under the product photo, like this.

When you click the star, you will either get a message saying that the item has been collected into your favorites, or a confirmation message asking if you’re sure you want to save it.

The confirmation message looks like this…

And this one says the item has been successfully collected.

how to see your “favorites”

Great!  Now you know how to save an item, but where did it go?  How do I enter this magical land of TaoBao treasures perfectly curated by me? 

At the top of every TaoBao page (home page, search results, products pages, etc), you should have a header that looks like this…

See that familiar little star?  That’s where your favorites are hiding!

I’ve added a few helpful headings.  You’ll notice at the top, you have the choice between favorite items and favorite stores (I’ll show you how to save a store as a favorite in a minute).  This screen is showing favorite items, and yes, I have over 1,400.  Which is why I have a separate post about organizing these bad boys into manageable categories.

In the screen shot above, you’ll also see the following: All Items, On Sale, Unavailable, Organize By Category, and Search Your Favorites.  Let’s break those down…

All Items: Pretty obvious, but we’re going to come back to this because you can hover over this link to access the categories we’ll about to learn how to make in another post.

On Sale: Isn’t that nice?  TaoBao keeps tabs on whether or not the price has dropped since you saved an item!  This is especially helpful during the many, many special sale periods in China.  So if it’s 11/11 or 12/12/ or 5/12 or 6/18 or any other famous sale date  – you can quickly check to see if which of your favorites are being offered at a steal.

Unavailable: Oh boo!  This means that the item you saved is no longer being sold by the seller you saved it from.  The good news is that someone else is almost certainly still selling it somewhere else.  Find a new seller and save it again.

Organize By Category:  I’ll outline the steps in another post, but this is where you can group items together and create your own categories so that you’re not forced to sift through all 1,400 favorites to find that one Lego set you saved for your kiddos birthday. 

Search Your Favorites: Recently my ayi wanted more information about our oven because our western ways have swayed her to its usefulness.  I bought it on taobao and I know that an oven is a 烤箱 in chinese, so the fastest way for me to find the link was to search for it in my favorites! (I have a tendency to search and save an assortment of kitchen appliances before making a decision and settling on one, so I knew it was in there.)

How to save a store in your “Favorites”

Sometimes, you want to remember an entire store for future purchases, rather than an individual item.  Let’s look at two examples…

This leather backpack is beautiful, but the whole store is full of beautiful leather goods.  I wanted to remember it in the future in case I was looking for a manly gift for my husband.  

The circled area is the store info.  It shows me various ratings but at the bottom there are two buttons.  I underlined the button that will collect this store to your favorites – sorry, there’s no helpful little star this time.  The other button says “enter store” and will take you to the shop’s homepage.  

Unfortunately, the layout of each store and each product page can vary a little.  So let’s look at a second example…

I fell in love with the pottery and kitchen wares from lototo.  But you can see that on the right side of the page, there’s no store info.  Instead there are other items from the seller.  This time I had to hover over the store name at the top of the page.  That opened this window with ratings and again – two buttons at the bottom.  But this time, our helpful little star is back!  

But wait!  That says TMall and I thought we were learning about TaoBao?!  

No worries.  TMall and TaoBao live under the same umbrella.  When you save something from TMall, you’ll still see it in your TaoBao favorites.  Got it? Great, now let’s organize these babies

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TaoBao Basics: How to Manage & Organize Your “Favorites”

how to manage your “favorites”

When you click on the box that we identified as “Organize By Category” in the photo above, you’ll see the new options below. You’ll also notice that all of your items also have a grey checkmark in the corner. 

Note – When you’re finished organizing your items, you may want to turn off this organization feature. Remember the button that you clicked to open it (“Organize By Category”)? When it opened the new features, it changed into a “Cancel Organization” button.  If you click the same box several times, you’ll see the feature set toggle on and off.

You can select several items (notice that the checkmarks turn orange on the selected items) at once.  Then click on the plus sign in the middle of the new options circled above.  This will open your categories.  Simply click the category where the items belong and they will be added.

To make a new category, click the plus sign at the bottom (as seen in the photo above).  It will turn into a text field for you to name your new category.  Note – it will not allow you to use spaces in the names, hence my categories like “kidschristmas”.  Click the orange button and your new category will be added to the list above.  

Now when you go to your Favorites page, you can hover over “All Items”, and you’ll be able to access all of your neat tidy categories…

The top row contains the default categories that TaoBao creates for you.  The bottom row contains the categories that you have created.  

Deleting Favorites and finding similar items

Just a couple more tips that will help keep your favorites under control and help you find exactly what you’re looking for on TaoBao…

When I hover over an item, three new buttons appear: a trash can, 加入购物车, and 照相似.  

Trash Can: Click the trash can if you want to delete an item from your favorites.  Maybe you found a better price or a style you liked better.  Sometimes deleting unnecessary favorites just feels good.

加入购物车: Add to cart.  Yep, you can add the item right into your shopping cart without even leaving your favorites page.

照相似: Looking for something similar.  Now this is where the magic happens.  It’s also where you start getting lost down endless TaoBao rabbit trails so tread with caution.  Here’s what happened when I clicked  照相似 on a game called Sequence in my favorites…

This can be especially helpful when you’re looking for something with a particular style but you can’t find the right chinese words to describe it.  If you can just find a single item that comes close to what you’re looking for, 照相似 can help you find loads more.  For example, when I stumbled across these adorable mason jar shaped chalkboards, I was curious what other kitschy chalkboards TaoBao had to offer!

So now you’re an expert in TaoBao Favorites!  Search, save, and organize!  TaoBao is about to become your new BFF.



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5 ways to fail your Whole 30

Five Ways to FAIL your Whole 30 - great tips for anyone considering the Whole 30 - a must read!
So you’re thinking about trying the Whole 30? 
I say “Go for it!” But not without a little prep work first.  And I don’t just mean an all out Pinterest worthy meal prep session – although that wouldn’t hurt… 
Read on for the 5 most crucial tips to not failing your Whole 30.  And then, onward to a healthier you!

Mistake #1 Not reading the book

The list of restrictions for a Whole 30 is widely available on the internet for free.  Just skip dairy, sugar, grains, legumes, and alcohol for a full month.  Simple, right?  Not so much…  If the only thing you did was avoid those five things, you could still totally miss the point (and the benefits) of doing a Whole 30. 
The science behind why you’re eliminating those foods is fascinating.  And, especially if you’re dealing with chronic health issues, it’s incredibly motivating to understand how much your diet impacts the way your body functions well beyond the digestive system.
Also, as I’ll expand on below, it’s totally possible to eat 100% compliant foods and do it in entirely the wrong way.  The books helps you understand why you’re eating these foods and what proportions they should be consumed in.  Don’t be fooled, Pinterest is full of recipes that are “Whole 30 compliant” but are specifically mentioned in the book as recipes to avoid during your Whole 30.  As they say “a pancake is a pancake.” (Spoiler alert: pancakes are not Whole 30 compliant.)

Mistake #2 T-minus 29 days and counting…

This piggybacks onto the first mistake.  Whole 30 isn’t meant to be a random 30 day test of discipline or weight loss trick that you try after all your Facebook friends have posted about it.  It’s so much more than that!  It’s a way to commit one month to giving your body a rest from all of the things that might be adversely affecting you, then slowly reintroducing them one by one to evaluate whether or not each food should be a part of your long term diet. 
If you enter in to Day 1 simply counting down until your next binge, you’re missing the point.  It’s a chance to retrain your taste buds, retrain your brain, and form new habits.  It’s a really well thought out plan for finding the healthiest long term diet for you.  Including changing your perspective on “treats”.  I won’t ruin the surprise (since I know you’re going to read the book now) but I promise that the new perspective is NOT all treats are evil.  🙂

Mistake #3 Failing to plan

I imagine that a lot of people get a few days into their Whole 30 and think “this is just too much work!”  It certainly can require a lot more prep work and cooking time than you might be used to.  But I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage, “failing to plan is planning to fail.”  Truer words have never been spoken. 
Sure, sometimes you’ll enjoy spending time in your kitchen chopping and peeling and stirring and sauteeing and roasting, but sometimes you’ll just need food asap with little to no effort.  If you haven’t planned ahead for these moments, you’re setting yourself up to fail. 
You have to rethink convenience foods, since the vast majority of prepackaged foods aren’t compliant.  Some of my new favorites were fritatta slices and spaghetti squash with a hearty meat sauce.  Both were easy to prep a large batch of and package in single servings to pull out of the fridge and pop into the microwave when needed.  I also kept a stash of leftover roasted veggies that I could quickly crisp up in a pan with some coconut oil or ghee. 

Mistake #4 Being afraid of fat

If you are 30 or older, you probably grew up with a not-so-healthy fear of fat.  After saturated fat was linked to high cholesterol and heart disease, grocery store shelves filled up with “fat-free” and “reduced fat” options of your favorite foods.  Today, there is plenty of science debunking that theory, but the effects on our perspective remains. 
Back to Mistake #1 – read the book.  Learn which fats are good for you and why.  And study the “meal map” section to learn how much of them you need to be eating.  If you skimp on the fat, you will be miserable and spend hours daydreaming of brownies and french fries and everything you can’t have.  Your body needs this fat.  My most difficult days during Whole 30 were when I stopped thinking about this and absent mindedly ate too many low fat meals without taking care to add in a good dose of healthy fat.  

Mistake #5 Overloading on nuts and fruits

Nuts and fruits are both perfectly compliant, however, they are meant to be consumed in smaller portions than your meat and veggies.   There are plenty of recipes for “Whole 30 granola” made with nuts and coconut flakes, but they need to be used with discretion.  A small bowl of grain free granola with coconut milk along with a hearty plate of eggs and veggies sounds great.  But if the granola and non-dairy milk is your whole breakfast, that’s not really a Whole 30 meal.  (Why not? Read the book…)

The same thing goes for faux baked goods made with compliant ingredients.  Even though these are specifically listed as non-compliant in the book – it’s not hard to see that many of these recipes contain a much higher level of fruits and nuts than recommended. 

And that’s it!  As my husband would say, you can do anything for 30 days.  And I promise you’ll be glad you did!


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