Tag Archives: whole foods

Side-by-Side Comparison of Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Fresh Market

Habit, convenience, and proximity are major factors in shaping where we purchase food and which foods we purchase. The decision to eat a healthier diet can be much easier than deciding which foods to purchase and from where to purchase them. While healthier options are becoming more widely available, where you live may determine what is or is not available. In Indianapolis, the 12th largest city in the United States, we have at least one farmers market year round, as well as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Fresh Market. Proximity plays a major role in where I shop most frequently, but perhaps that is not the most important factor.

Farmers markets may give you the best opportunity for the freshest produce and to speak with farmers about the conditions in which animals and produce are raised, but they are often not available throughout the week and selection of goods can vary. Whether we like it or not, we all visit a grocery at least occasionally, and the majority of Americans buy the majority of their food at a box store. Your farmers market may not offer fresh-made pasta or gluten-free baked goods like mine does, but your Whole Foods is probably a lot like my Whole Foods. (more…)

Challenge: Buy 30 Days of Groceries at Whole Foods on a Poverty-Level Budget

Have you ever pictured yourself doing a happy dance in the grocery store because you could afford oranges? No? Me neither, but that’s what happened during my 30-day challenge to feed my family of three at or near the poverty level. There were also moments of frustration and a few tears shed. Here’s how it all started …

I was roaming around a section of the USDA website where they keep track of over 8,000 families and what they spend every month for groceries. This helps them set four different budget levels: Thrifty (near the poverty level), Low, Medium, and Liberal.  Amounts are broken down by gender and age; kids and the elderly account for less money than 20-something guys, for instance. 

If you think this is a futile exercise and a waste of taxpayer money, you’d be wrong. If you’re going through a divorce, it’s likely that the courts will assess child support at the “Low” level, no matter your income. The food that our servicemen and women are served is budgeted at the Liberal level. So this monthly assessment by the government has a bigger effect than you might realize.

When I looked at the numbers, I realized my family was living at the “Low” level, but that wasn’t taking into account how often we eat out (two to three meals per week between lunches and dinner). The amount we spend does reflect us eating a lot of organic foods. Plus, we can sometimes be too wasteful; I cringe some weeks at what we throw away. It’s not just a waste of money, but a waste of resources for the planet.

Could our family live at the Thrifty level? What would it take? And what if I tried doing this while only shopping at Whole Foods, aka “Whole Paycheck”? And then what if I also threw a dinner party for eight as the very last meal?

I contacted Whole Foods and suggested a bet. If I could feed my family of three for 30 days exclusively from items purchased at Whole Foods for $491.10 they would reimburse me for my food. If I didn’t make it, they’d owe me nothing. The budget worked out to $16.31 cents per day total for all three of us. In case you’re wondering, here’s what we bought for the month.

Whole Foods said yes, my family was gung ho, and we were off on January 1st, shopping for over 90 minutes, trying to figure out what we could afford.    (more…)

Whole Foods Introduces New Line of Soy Milk and Almond Milk

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…)

The Great American Salad Bar Project to Improve School Lunches

We’ve made no secret of the fact that the National School Lunch Program needs improvement. From processed chicken patties to tator tots served as a vegetable, many schools offer lunches that are well below the acceptable nutrition level. With more than 2/3 of all schools serving meals that exceed an entire days allowance of fat, greater numbers of children are afflicted with obesity and deteriorating health.

Whole Foods, the upscale grocery chain, has announced a partnership with Ann Cooper, “The Renegade Lunch Lady”, to help make a change across America. Chef Ann has already changed hundreds of lunch programs across America by helping schools switch from processed foods to fresh, natural ingredients, and this newest partnership promises a bigger payoff than ever. (more…)

Leave the Peel, Get the Vitamins

Potato PeelsSkinning and peeling fruits and veggies adds a lot of time to meal-prep. But did you know that it’s also stripping away a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber?

When people talk about the benefits of eating whole foods, part of that means keeping foods whole—like leaving the skin. If a fruit or vegetable has a skin so thin you can puncture it with your thumbnail, chances are, you don’t need to peel it. This includes apples, tomatoes, grapes, eggplant, carrots, pears and potatoes. Even if a recipe calls for peeled produce, try leaving the skin. We love mashed potatoes with pieces of peel, not only does it add flavor, it also has potassium, fiber, and vitamin B (just go easy on the butter).

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Are you Fed Up? A Teacher’s School Lunch Blog Project

school lunchHave you wondered why kids have a hard time concentrating in class? Have you noticed a difference based on the foods they eat? If you have young children in school you have likely seen the type of foods being served during mealtimes. These aren’t exactly the meals that one would hope for their child. Not only do they typically lack all the nutrition kids need in such a developmental stage but they also don’t provide the healthy, whole foods that lead to higher concentration and learning in the classroom.

How can a child eating chicken nuggets and having drinks loaded with sugar possibly be able to focus through a math period? (more…)

Eat Whole Foods to Avoid Depression

fruitRecent research conducted in the United Kingdom has shown that dietary choices can have a long term effect on your mental health. Researchers compared 3,486 civil servants in London based on surveys they completed about their eating habits and a follow-up survey on mood completed five years later. Participants were divided into two categories: the “whole food” group ate a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and fish, while the “processed food” group ate a high percentage of sweetened desserts, fried foods, processed meat, refined grains, and high-fat dairy products. The research also took into account other habits that effect overall health such as exercise and smoking.

The link between what we eat and mental health: The participants in the “processed food” group were 58 percent more likely to develop depression, while those with a “whole foods” diet were 26 percent less likely to develop depression. Interestingly, the researchers were cautious to draw any specific conclusions based on these correlations. (more…)

We Love JamFrakas from Lara Bar

Jam-what? From the makers of the Lara Bar, comes JamFrakas. Even though these yummy little organic snacks were designed to be a kid-friendly, all-natural energy bar, we adults love them too! Here’s why:

These crispy, chewy-gooey food bars are packed with healthy ingredients like fruits, nuts, honey, and crisp rice. And they are whole-grain, contain nine vitamins and minerals and soy- and gluten-free, with no trans-fats or high fructose corn syrup. JamFrakas come in five flavors, each with its own funky name: Chocolate Chip Cosmocrisp, Banana Chocolate Blastocrisp, Strawberry Crispiscrumptious, Peanut Butter Blisscrisp and Apple Crispalicious. Each one has 90-120 calories, 4-5 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber and contain all organic ingredients. (more…)

Top Five Cave-Person Checklist Starting a Paleo Diet

Andrew Rubalcava runs the health and fitness site Go Healthy Go Fit. Since adopting a Paleo lifestyle, Andrew has gone from 13.2% body fat at 192 lbs. to 6% body fat at 165 pounds.
andrew-rubalcava1

1. Eat food that has lived a good life.
If you’ve ever seen a time-lapsed photo of a flower’s journey from bloom to whither, then you already have a perfect example of how your food should have lived. Whether it’s a vegetable, a fruit or an animal, they all have one thing in common: They lived! Start by eating only these foods and the rest will follow.

2. Just because it isn’t plastic doesn’t mean it’s real food.
The concept of modern food packaging is meant to fool you into thinking what you are about to eat is “fresh”, and therefore guilty of being real by association. “Packed fresh” and “over processed” do not cancel each other out. Be wary of packaged goods. (more…)

Food Find: Noble Bars

When it comes to nutrition bars, there is a taste for everyone. From bars that are little more than a candy bar injected with a multivitamin to bars that have more protein in them than a baby calf, energy bars line grocery store shelves and promise you the convenience of fast-food eating with the nutrition of a balanced meal.

The Food of Ancient Rome

Noble Bars: The Food of Ancient Rome

So when I heard about the Noble Bar, an all-natural fruit, nut and whole grain bar that coins itself as being The Food from Ancient Rome, I had to give it a try. Then when all I had to do was send the company an email to receive a free bar, I really had to give it a try.

Just a few days ago, the whole-foods enthusiasts at Noble Bar sent me a sample of Centurion Fig in the mail. And quite different from the four lines of ingredients that accompany most nutrition bars, many of them unrecognizable, the ingredients of the Noble Bar contained only five items – organic figs, apples, walnuts, organic hard wheat berries and honey. Already, I liked it. And when I tasted it, it was like eating a sweet and nutty mixture blended up by Mother Nature herself. I loved it! The sweetness from the natural fruits, crunch from the wheat berries and figs and moistness from the all-natural goodness created a yummy bar that felt super healthy – in a good way. (more…)