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Meet Doug Rutti at Heinen's in Shaker Heights!

How long have you been with Heinen's?
Since March 2002, just about 12 and a half years ago. Before working at Heinen’s I ran my own store for 18 years, so I’ve been in the business for 30 years!

That’s a long time—what brought you here?
That’s not so long! I’ve had over 30 years’ experience working in the wellness area. I owned a health food store in Shaker Square. It closed when the Square was being renovated—that’s when I saw that Heinen’s was searching for a wellness consultant. With my interest in health foods, it was the right progression. Now, here at our Shaker Heights Heinen’s store, I’m still working with some of my customers from 30 years ago.

So when did your interest in wellness start?
I can tell you that exactly. I was 14 years old when I walked into my first health food store. It was because I was involved in junior high sports. I was a wrestler and a football player; I started lifting weights. I wanted to do everything right so I’d be in the best shape possible. I’m still at it. I walked five miles both Saturday and Sunday of this weekend and five miles on Thursday. And here’s something I can tell you: I don’t consider my work in wellness a job. It’s what I believe in.

Do you cook?
I’ve been cooking for myself for 30 years and the meals are good! Here’s my rule: the food should not only be good for you, it must taste good, too. Name some ingredients we’d always find in your kitchen. My background is Mediterranean so you’re going to see that influence. Not very much meat and lots of fresh ingredients.
  • Extra virgin olive oil, always—I’m an olive oil snob.
  • Fresh garlic, always
  • Oregano and other Italian spices
  • Honey, always
  • Lots of fresh onions, green and red peppers and mushrooms

And what won’t we find in your kitchen?
No salt, no sugar bowl, and no butter or margarine. I create the taste I need without all of that stuff. The deeper you get into healthy foods, the more you say, “Wow. Look at all these timeless foods—like olive oil and garlic and spices.”

Can you tell us about one of your favorite products?
Yes. Mountain Valley Spring Water. Its quality is world famous—just visit their website and you’ll see. It’s sourced from a deep, deep natural spring in Arkansas. The water is consistently clean and the pH level at bottling is a steady 7.8. For purity, it’s ozonated before its bottled. And please don’t look for taste! Pure water is odorless and tasteless. It just needs to quench your thirst. It’s the best water in the marketplace!

Imagine you’ve won a dream vacation trip. Where would you go?
I’d go to Italy, right to Tuscany. Where people eat lots of beans, olive oil and garlic. One of these days!