Most people’s relationship status with Whole Foods would definitely be, “It’s complicated.” A lot of people have a love/hate relationship with grocer. It’s pay more for organic, natural, and in some cases, sustainable food’s model can be hard for people to swallow; myself included at times. I however have a love/love relationship with Whole Foods. Yes you do have to mentally prepare yourself to spend a decent chunk of change when you walk through its doors, but you are purchasing quality when you do so. You just need to know what to buy, and what to avoid to get the most out of your relationship with Whole Foods.
Since Whole Foods opened its doors in Vancouver I’ve had many people come to me raving about all the wonderful things that they have purchased at the store. However in quite a few of those cases the praises are typically followed by expressions of disappointment; as most are unhappy that they’re still not losing weight despite their new organic “whole food” diet. While Whole Foods’ shelves are stalked with many incredible products, there are still items residing on those same shelves that are not good for you. To help you get the most out of your next Whole Foods experience, here is your roadmap to navigating the organic grocery store’s aisles.
Foods & ingredients to avoid at Whole Foods
Just because it’s organic and sold at Whole Foods, does not change the fact that sugar—in high doses—is not good for you. It’s the leading cause of weight gain, is directly linked to diabetes, and a number of other diseases. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, (like I do) satisfy your cravings with natural sugars like honey, maple syrup (the real stuff) and coconut sugar, and avoid sugars and sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame, Splenda and cane sugar. Check out this post for more on that sweet stuff you love.
2. Baked Goods
The baked goods at Whole Foods are delicious, and admittedly, very hard to avoid. But if you’re trying to lose weight or are just watching your calorie intake, you need to stay away from this department. Despite the fact that Whole Foods’ bakes all of their own goods from scratch—a step-up from most big name grocery stores—they still contain loads of sugar, flour and other fillers; which will contribute to weight gain, and/or slow down the weight loss process. If you have a craving for something baked and are not in the mood to hit your kitchen, by all means grab something from Whole Foods. Just be mindful of how much of these products you are eating. If you are trying to lose weight or be healthier, baked goods should not be a staple in your diet.
3. Ingredients that you can’t pronounce
Organic doesn’t always mean good for you. Just because a product says organic, raw, non-GMO etc. on the packaging, does not mean it’s free of less than good for you ingredients. The bottom line is that you need to be prepared to read the label of any product that you pick from the shelves of Whole Foods, and avoid foods that contain ingredients that you can’t pronounce—as they’re typically not good for you. Whole Foods does make a conscience effort to stalk a limited number of chemical-ridden products—making them better than most grocery stores—but they can still be found. Take natural tea for example. Whole Foods’ stalks many wonderful tea varieties, but most contain “natural flavours;” which could literally be anything. Check out this post for more on reading the label and arm yourself with education before you hit any grocery store.
Foods to stalk up on at Whole Foods
1. Grass fed animal products
2. Organic whole grain products
3. Gluten-Free products
Tips for saving money at Whole Foods
1. Only buy what you need
Easier said than done but, make a list before you go and stick to it! You’ll be glad that you did when you reach the checkout.
2. Check local deals online
3. Follow Whole Foods on social media
4. Stick with value products
5. Start in the bulk section
6. Bring back your glass milk containers
7. Don’t put heavy items in your salad
8. Don’t shop hungry