We've been taking a journey the last few days down a road of foods that are nutrient-dense and good for you...  And thought we'd continue a bit further on this path.

You might wonder WHAT Whole Foods has to do with anything related to mindest or business... 

The food which you use for fuel makes a definite impact on the rest of your life, both physically and mentally.  The list from yesterday's post is full of great possibilities, but not exhaustive!  Without further ado...    

Picnic lunch for the Symphony Orchestra Concert!

Picnic lunch for the Symphony Orchestra Concert!

Whole Foods…

I’ve become very interested in this in the past year, and done a lot of reading / research on it and continue to ! I’m interested in this and really that started at a young age – my paternal grandparents were very geared toward homeopathic healing, not eating sugar but honey, they had goats out back ( drank the milk ), etc.

My maternal grandparents also have always eaten ( and my grandma continues to… ) whole foods – non-processed, a diet high in vegetables, whole grains ( legumes – lentils, beans, etc ), milled their own flour ( I remember grinding the grain into flour at their kitchen counter when I was little ), always bought from the Coop, got gallons of milk right from the farmer ( you had to skim the cream off the top of the milk to drink it ! ), etc, etc.

You get the picture.

I have gone back to trying to cook from scratch – make my own bread ( I would like to mill my own grain, but haven’t gotten to that point completely ), create meals instead of buying everything premade, read labels. It’s a work-in-progress – I also eat fast food at times, but you’d be amazed how differently ( and bad ) you feel after eating that vs whole foods. 

1) Simplify ! 

2) If you can’t pronounce it, it’s not a whole food. The fewer the ingredients, and the more simple the names ( and recognizable ! ), the better. 
This requires reading a lot of labels, but once you find these items, that learning curve lessens. You’d be amazed at how much “junk” is in most foods ( additives, items that are felt to be toxins by most standards, etc. ). After while, you will notice the dramatic taste difference in whole foods vs processed. 

3) Eat from the alkaline food list that is listed in the book noted below – it’s recommended that 60-80% of each meal is from that list. This is primarily a list of vegan foods – I’m not a vegan or even a vegetarian, but it’s a good guide, and you can choose the remainder of the foods that you add. 

*Interesting fact: if you have a positive attitude, it causes your body to be more alkaline. 

I recommend reading The pH Miracle for Weight Loss by Robert O Young, PhD - it’s a great source for foods, vitamins / supplements, and also exercise. In a nutshell, the more alkaline your body is, the more efficiently / healthily it will run. The more acidic, you are more prone to sickness. This book is by a microbiologist and his wife, a nutritionist. It’s very scientific in nature, not opinion or based on fad diets. 

After awhile of eating alkaline foods, your body will not crave the sugar that it might at first. Eating this way is shown ( check out the data in the book ) reduce the yeasts, molds, and bacteria in your body that are fueled by sugars. You will be healthier from the inside out ! 

4) Do not eat refined foods. This includes white sugar, white flour, GMO’s ( genetically modified foods ), “fake” sweeteners or harmful chemicals, etc. These items have been so completely processed that they have no nutritional value, and some of these can be dangerous. 
Try to eat whole grains ( whole wheat, although there are not a lot of grains associated with the alkaline dietary change ) 

Use raw honey ( or just local honey – our local Fareway has honey from the Amanas (which is a local collective). If you use local honey, it can help some with allergies – since the bees are gathering from the local plants, that will be in the honey and help build up your immunity to those. ), also there is Stevia – a sweetener derived from plants. You only need to use a TINY amount of it, so it lasts for a long, long time. They have several types of Stevia at HyVee – I get the powdered one for about $10, but it lasts for months. This is also organic sugar, which at least has been processed in a natural manner ( no chemicals ). 

GMO’s have been engineered in the labs to produce the “best,” although there is a lot of opposition to this. First, these companies can put patents on them ( really, can you patent something found in nature?!?! ), second, it’s putting many family-owned farms around the world out of business, and third, there has not been a significant amount of testing done to ensure that this is safe. They are changing foods on a molecular level – what is to say that they will not continue to change in your body, causing cancers, etc ? 

Watch labels for items like MSG ( which has been proven to cause a myriad of issues ), nitrates, phosphates – these are only to “enhance” flavor and prolong shelf life. Many places are now not including MSG at your request, you just have to ask sometimes to get more info. 

5) Buy local – at Farmers’ markets, have your own garden ( even a container garden – economical and HEALTHY ! ), your local Coop, etc. A lot of vegetables at the market are now irradiated and are not required to be labeled by the FDA. This is because of the salmonella scares in the last few years. Includes spinach, lettuce, etc – things you would think of as “healthy” and “nutritional.” The irradiation kills bad bacteria, BUT ALSO the nutrition in these items. That is part of the reason why shelf life is so long now… 

6) Buy organic. This CAN be more expensive, but you can watch sales, and shop around for best prices on these. To be certified, it must have the USDA Organic round circle seal on it. MANY, MANY items say organic, when they might possibly NOT be. Organic means that the items you are purchasing have not been sprayed with harmful chemicals, etc. Other reason to have your own “container garden.” 

7) Cut out chemicals. After drinking primarily water, and some juice – when I get the craving for a soda, that quickly diminishes when I take a drink. And taste the chemicals. Your taste buds get used to more natural flavors, and these all have harsh chemicals, coloring, etc. Not to mention that the carbonation in the soda is highly acidic and deteriorates calcium from your bones. 

8) COOK SLOWLY. Not only will you appreciate it more, but it can definitely be more healthy. By this, I REALLY do not recommend using a microwave – studies have been conducted and are continuing to be underway to prove that the molecular structure of foods are altered by cooking in this way. This not only reduces the nutritional value, but causes the food structure to be unstable and potentially harmful to your body.

I use a toaster oven and the stovetop to heat up foods quickly. I don’t even think about the microwave anymore, although at first it was a big change. One item that is a favorite in the microwave is popcorn, but again – the microwave isn’t the most healthy for this. Chemicals are used in the lining of micro popcorn bags ( that obviously leach into the food being microwaved ) and you can definitely tell the taste difference between microwaved popcorn vs cooking on the stovetop… 

9) BE CREATIVE ! Try foods that you may not have tried before – kale ( a great source of calcium – but beware if you have a family history of kidney stones, may be too much calcium for your system ), broccolini, seaweed, get out of your comfort zone. You may find that a food you never tried before is now your favorite !! 

Basil Chicken with veggies 

Basil Chicken with veggies 

It can be expensive to buy “organic” or healthy items, esp at stores where they are seen as the newest fad. I have a few tips: 

• Buy buckwheat noodles and seaweed from the Asian market. 

• If you buy at the Coop ( i.e. New Pioneer in Coralville ), go down the aisles and purchase items that are on sale. They are constantly switching their stock, and I get a lot of deals that way. 

• Plan ahead – I am making a turkey today, and will use the meat in several meals, then cook the carcass to make my own turkey stock, instead of purchasing it or using bouillon that typically has MSG in it. 

• Use dried beans / lentils / legumes. Not only are these CHEAP, but they can be a very EASY and very TASTY way to cook. Dried beans take a long time to cook, but they are easy to throw in the crock pot – let them cook away all day. Throw a hambone in with them and dinner’s done. There are a myriad of lentil recipes out there, and they are GREAT. I often make lentil soup or curried lentils with coconut milk – good with salmon… Be creative !

I also came across this fact in my reading: Legumes are a great source of magnesium – magnesium, which is highly lacking in most Western diets, is ESSENTIAL in carrying calcium into the bones. Even if you are getting “enough” calcium in your diet, without this nutrient, the calcium may sit in the soft tissue in your body without being transported into the bones. This can cause many other health issues in addition to osteoporosis. 

• Order online. I will find some good deals online – I get much of my natural soaps / body washes / conditioners from Lucky Vitamin. If you order over $100, shipping is free, and you should only have to order a couple of times a year. I also get some grains / sweeteners that way: Organic Quinoa, Org Sugar, Suconat, Stevia – they are MUCH more cost-effective this way than purchasing in the store. 

• GROW your own sprouts ! THIS IS SO EASY !!! I primarily grow bean sprouts. Instead of buying a tiny container of sprouts from the store for $3-4, that honestly are not the most FRESH in the world, I buy one package of mung beans seeds from the Asian market for about $.90. You only need about a tablespoon of seeds at a time, probably less. That $.90 can last… well, for MONTHS ! And they are fresh on your counter.

I use a rectangular glass Pyrex dish with lid – adjust the amount of beans according to how many sprouts you will be using. Put in a teaspoon to a tablespoon of mung beans in the container and enough water that the bottom of the dish has about 1/8” or so of water in the bottom. Every day, drain the water, and replace with just enough fresh water that the beans are wet. You will quickly see them sprouting – they are best to eat by the time the sprouts are 3 days. You can add to wraps, sandwiches, soups, on top of pretty much anything – adds a nice crunch and great flavor ! And some greens / nutrition !! 

• Have a container garden. Especially good with tomatoes – I don’t even buy them in the winter anymore from the store, as they have NO flavor… My grandma has fresh swiss chard growing all winter long in her kitchen. Fresh, nutritious greens, almost FREE, and you don’t have to go to the store ! You can also easily grow many types of herbs, etc. 

I could go on and on about this, but I will stop here… ☺ Hope this helps, and let me know if this all makes sense !!! Don’t be overwhelmed – try one thing at a time, and soon it becomes second nature ! 

Also check out this book that is great reading: 


I brought this to a work potluck a couple of years ago for Halloween!

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