Like I was saying about my new found food awareness and Oprah’s Vegan Challenge the American diet is not working for me at all. Even though I am tall and somewhat lean that doesn’t mean I am healthy, far from I suspect. People assume that because of my height that my weight is easier to maintain, it’s not. Yes I can tip the scale at 150 and still fall within a healthy BMI but that doesn’t mean I am in good shape. Trust me when I say that since I started blogging my ratio of body fat to muscle flipped and my scale (that measures body fat %) reminds me of that every day (not that I weigh myself EVERY day). Surprisingly enough I found sitting in a chair pecking away at keys for hours at a time does absolutely nothing for you midsection, what an epiphany eh?
So now I am on a mission to regain muscle, lose fat and feel more energized and it starts here and now. So what’s first?
Let’s go grocery shopping and see if we can’t turn this chore into something FUN! It helps to have a press pass to take photos (thank you WF for that).
When you go into a Whole Foods grab a copy of the Whole Deal.
The latest edition January/February is 20 pages and full of recipes, guidelines, kids food ideas (below) and my favorite… COUPONS! I had no idea until the other day that this even existed! You can sign up at their website to receive newsletters in your inbox, download your own copy or print out the coupons at home.
I know a lot of people think they can’t afford to shop at Whole Foods but I think that’s because they aren’t taking advantage of some of deals they have. If you live in Orange County you should make it a point to visit the District location in Tustin, its 60,000 sq. ft. store has everything from local produce, freshly made sushi, wine bar, organic raw juice bar to an award wining bakery.
When I walk in the doors I feel the angel and devil on my shoulders it’s so hard… go right and get my latte and fresh bear claw…
or maybe a fresh juice elixir. Try the Dr. Oz!
Can’t decide then just walk straight and you are going to see the Health Starts Here desk. Gerrie is there to help you with any questions you have whether it be about nutrition, meal planners or how to shop Whole Foods on a budget (yep there is a class for that).
Gerrie spent the good part of the morning the week me around Whole Foods and teaching me about ANDI. ANDI stands for “Aggregate Nutrient Density Index.” An ANDI score shows the nutrient density of a food on a scale from 1 to 1000 based on nutrient content. The premise here is that its more important to look at the level of nutrients your food is providing over low caloric or protein value. In line with the findings of The China Study they have found that processed foods and animal protein are necessary in order for cancer cells to thrive and eliminating that from your diet makes it harder for cancer sustain and live within your body. Not to mention the extreme benefits you gain from eating foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Here is a sample list of the ANDI value for fruits. Strawberries being the highest based on nutrients.
The produce section is so beautiful isn’t it? Come early and you’ll see freshly stock shelves that are a work of art!
Look up and you will see photographs and visuals featuring the actual growers that supply produce to whole foods. I actually had the pleasure of meeting a couple local growers and was surprised to find the strawberries in my cart (which I only paid 3 bucks for by the way!) were picked from a family produce lot just a few miles from my home.
Don’t miss the bulk section this is the section where you are going to get the most bang for your buck. Don’t look at the price per pound though especially on spices. Weigh your item and then do the math, you are saving a ton by skipping the packaging.
they have shampoo, lotions, candles, handcrafted soaps, balms the list goes on and on. Here are my absolute favs straight from my bathroom:
1. Collective Wellbeing Charcoal Body Wash – this tar-like body mask makes me feel detoxified! 2 Depth Body Wash in Sea Berry I just love the smell which is unusual for this unscented lover. 3. HUGO Naturals Vanilla and Sweet Orange Shampoo -good for 4 and 40 year olds! 4. Inner Health Sole Pads I swear by them, you wear these sticky pads overnight on the soles of your feet, tourmaline warms up the tissues gently extracting impurities, they go on white and peel off almost black with toxins.
After you have cruised Whole Body check out the aisle of tea and then turn around and head toward the back of the store.
You can’t miss Tony and the crew behind the fish counter.
Don’t be shy around these guys, ask them anything about fish they’ll tell you what’s fresh (all of it) how to pick out your scallops (the darker ones are the females and they are sweeter) and the dark pink in the swordfish steaks are considered the “dark meat” portion and some people look for that when buying their fish. My favorite part about the fish dept. is the grill behind them, they will par-cook your fish so you can take it home and finish it right before serving! I find the oiler fish like Chilean Sea Bass, Salmon and Halibut work very well. Have them add a dash of seasonings and veggies too! Saves you almost an hour at home.
Next you are going to pass the poultry and meat department. Make sure you say hell to my friends Armando (below) and Andre, they will help you out with your butcher needs including prep work. I think of them as my personal sous chefs, you can’t imagine how much time I save having them prepare my meat, I love it.
You’ll see they have some meats that have a 5-step Animal Welfare rating system that tells you how that animal was raised.
Make your way around the smokehouse – I love the marinated chicken skewers (the ginger teriyaki are my kids favorite and the only way they will eat chicken). You’ll pass the wine bar that has champagne tastings on Sunday check the calendar for dates.
You’ll pass the dairy section on your left as you approach the cheeses…oh the cheeses. I could live on cheese, crusty bread and champagne I know I could.
I am going to have to do a little follow up to my meeting with one of the local goat farmers and his delicious chevre, I have gone through 3 tubs of it so far.
Grab one of these, a bag of frozen mixed veggies and some pie dough and you have all the ingredients to make homemade Chicken Pot Pies. I can’t find a better price (at 7.99) for a whole organic chicken, can you?
Make your way past the antipasto bar. Pesto, peppers and feta oh my.
Grab a freshly squeezed flavored lemonade, raspberry is my favorite.
Had a chance to sample a piece of vegan pizza as well as the vegan apple pie (only 6.99 for a made-from-scratch pie!). Soooooo good people!
The bakery recently won an award within the company for best in the country, have you seen their cases? Last year for Valentine’s day I bought mini cakes, we sampled cheesecake , ganache covered brownies and fruit tarts it was perfect. When strawberries are in season they have chocolate covered strawberries right next to the gelato!
The chocolate case features a local chocolatier Xan . They were recently on the Food Network show Unwrapped featuring the ancho chili chocolate jewel. My favorite is the Big Mouth – ready for this? Organic crisp brown rice, marshmallow base, a layer of caramel and natural peanut butter covered in dark or milk chocolate and gluten free!
If you have enough will power to make it out of there without too much damage to your diet look to your right at the cases of prepared food. If you are like me and sometimes (actually most of the time) you are low on energy and burned out on the idea of greasy take out (again) hit this case. There are even special dishes for those following the Health Starts Here program.
Same goes for the hot and cold self serve bars behind the counters. I always make a huge salad and throw on chopped veggies, sprouts, egg, nuts (all the things I won’t take the time to chop and prepare at home) and I have a really hearty salad for under 5 dollars.
Well that concludes our little tour today. I haven’t even touched on the center isles, frozen treats, spices, Saki or fresh pastas (I die). You’ll have to go check it out for yourself. When you go make sure to find Gerrie Adams (she’s at the Health Starts Here desk right behind the juice bar), you can email her for an appointment at Gerrie.Adams@wholefoods.com or call (714) 566-7650, Ext. 410 for more information or Whole Foods Market.com.
disclaimer this was not a paid post nor was I offered an compensation for allowing me to photograph the store, this is my take on one of my favorite shopping stops in Southern Ca.