I went to a killer wine, cheese, and seafood tasting event at my local Whole Foods Market yesterday. It’s not often you get access to an intimate Q&A session with their top specialty pros.
Surprisingly, I am new to the world of seafood as I was clinging to my childhood repulsion of fish for a few too many years. Thankfully though, I have learned better and am paving the road to changing my ways. As a newbie, I feel a bit intimidated approaching the fish counter at any grocery store, especially higher end ones. But the fishmonger at the tasting debunked all of my worries as he walked our group through the best questions to ask.
Now, you can help them help you! Here are the top three questions to ask at the fish counter this summer. (more…)
Natural grocer Whole Foods recently decided to pull the popular SkinnyGirl cocktail line from their shelves.
Whole Foods claims that the low calorie alcohol beverages contain unnatural ingredients. Lisa DeFazio, MS, RD, and Hollywood Nutrition Expert, said that Whole Foods allegedly removed the popular beverages because they contained caramel coloring, which was not within their definition of “natural.”
According to the Whole Foods blog, natural can be quite a complicated definition.
“‘Natural,’ on the other hand, doesn’t have a strong governmental definition when it comes to food, so my team (the Quality Standards Team) spends quite a lot of time defining which ingredients make up the natural foods we sell in our stores. The basic tenets of our standard require that our products are free of artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, sweeteners and hydrogenated fats,” Joe Dickson, Global Quality Standards Coordinator for Whole Foods wrote.
Gatorade is a well known beverage, served at sports events everywhere, from preschool sports games to professional events. It’s arguably the most served beverage at sporting events, but many parents are not fans of it. The traditional G Series is often thought to be high in sugar, and in answer to this, Gatorade created a lower sugar version, called G2. This beverage wasn’t a perfect fit for many families, however, in that it’s sweetened with sucralose. Many families desire natural foods and beverages and Gatorade has created a new line of performance beverages to please the most discerning of athletes.
Called G Series Natural, the beverage is part of the Perform level, designed to be enjoyed while exercising. G Series Natural replenishes lost fluids and electrolytes exactly the same as traditional Gatorade. Containing only sea salt, natural flavors and natural sweeteners, this beverage meets the needs of athletes who don’t want artificial colors or sweeteners. G Series Natural is sweetened with sucrose and dextrose and has 50 calories per serving. For a lower calorie, yet still natural choice, G2 Natural is sweetened with Stevia, and has 20 calories per serving. Each bottle contains 2 servings. (Always read the label!)
Whole Foods Market often gets a bad rap for being overpriced, as do many other grocery stores or markets that specialize in organic or natural products. Making a commitment to buying just organic produce may mean spending a greater percentage of your disposable income on food. That said, here are few ways to cut down on your grocery bill at Whole Foods Market.
First off, avoid the pre-prepared dishes. At almost any grocery store, there’s a higher mark-up for convenience items, and Whole Foods is no different. You’ll pay much more per ounce for a salad that is pre-prepared than you would buying all the ingredients individually. The same goes for pre-packaged produce items. For example, any produce that’s been chopped and shrink wrapped will be more expensive than something sold by weight.
Teri Gault, CEO and founder of TheGroceryGame.com, wife and mother of two, began The Grocery Game as a home-based business in February 2000. As an avid saver and coupon-clipper, Teri decided to use her skills to create a list to help identify when to use coupons, based on categorical sales trends, to achieve maximum savings at her local supermarket. Since 2000 The Grocery Game has expanded to over 50 states and continues to expand globally. Today the average family of four saves up to 67% a month in groceries, totaling about over $500 a month in savings, by playing The Grocery Game and following Teri’s Tips to shopping.
You WILL pay more for organic than conventionally produced food, BUT you DON’T have to pay full price! Plus there’s some money saving alternatives you may want to consider.
First of all, “organic” or “natural”? In the US, to bear the name “organic”, it must be USDA certified organic, which is costly to food producers. But, more and more “natural” food manufacturers are doing almost the same things as considerable alternatives. The catch is that there are no government standards for what “natural” may mean. Your best bet is to visit the manufacturer’s website and read what “natural” means to them. You just might find, for instance, a chicken grower who pledges to use no hormones and no antibiotics. If that takes care of your main concerns, you just cut your poultry bill by about 75%!
Times are tough and a lot of companies are trying to cut back on costs. Less benefits, less hours, no healthcare, no bonuses, and more have become the norm, but that hasn’t stopped a large handful of companies from doing everything they can to provide corporate fitness benefits.
Ikea recently had 12,400 custom bicycles made as Christmas gifts for their U.S. employees. The bikes (which are silver with blue, yellow and white stripes- Ikea’s colors) served as a ‘thank you’ for a great year and also a reminder that an active lifestyle is key to a happy life. Employees were pleasantly surprised and it encouraged some who weren’t previously bicyclists to take up the healthy hobby. Ikea might be wow-ing us with their thoughtful and creative gifts, but they aren’t the only company to take ethical responsibility for the health crisis we are in.
Even though it’s my personal philosophy that if you’re going to have a treat, it should be a really good, high-quality treat in a smaller-than-average portion, especially if you’re trying to lose pounds or maintain a certain number on the scale.
Of course, there are times when a tablespoon of chocolate chips just won’t do and purchasing an entire pint of premium ice cream for just a few bites is more dangerous then it’s worth. For those times, I have a few go-to sweets to tide me over until I’m ready to go for a bigger splurge.
Feeding your family both nutritiously and inexpensively can be a challenge. Are you up for one?
When I posted a link to the Whole Foods Initiative, Feed Your Family of 5 for $25, many readers suggested that the $25 threshold wasn’t that big of a challenge. Readers felt that it would be more difficult to feed either a large family with that figure or spend less money. I decided to try to do both, and went to my local grocery store with a week of dinners planned. I gave myself a budget of $75 to feed 8 people for dinner. I did not include charges for staples or spices that you should have in your house, like garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil and honey. I was surprised to see that it was not as tough of a struggle as I had anticipated. (more…)
Got milk? What about chocolate soy milk? Or vanilla almond milk?
I love almond milk, and while I’ve been a devotee of Blue Diamond’s unsweetened vanilla almond milk, Whole Foods’ new refrigerated line of soy and almond milks are giving my usual stand-by some stealth competition.
Made from flavorful American-grown organic almonds, the new 365 Organic Everyday Value Almond milk is the first-ever private label organic refrigerated almond milk. (There is also a shelf-stable version, if you prefer.) Naturally free of saturated fat and cholesterol, Whole Foods Market’s Almond milk contains as much calcium and Vitamin D as dairy milk and is an excellent source of Vitamin E. The new line boasts a fresh, rich taste that comes in Original, Vanilla and Unsweetened flavors. (more…)