Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The "Whole" Experience

New Years often brings with it several resolutions. And, as has been the case for many of my new years, this one brought with it a resolution to eat better. Not just eating more fruits and veggies -- we do that already -- but I really want to educate myself about different eating options and plans that will benefit me and my family. As you all know, we moms control the eating habits of our children (and, to some extent, our husbands). If there are no oreos or honey buns in the house, guess what, we won't eat any. (That made me hungry just typing that...)

I honestly have a small aversion to these health nuts conscious people. But when I stopped and thought about it, my aversion was simply because it is a whole area that I know very little about. And (probably even more so), it is expensive and really messes with my efficiency disorder.

But I have never felt as good as this summer when I completely gave up sugar and white flour. Cutting out these ingredients seemed to allow my body to really target my body's fat pockets that like to linger. Sugar was gone, and I stuck to whole grains. I kept this strict routine for nearly 3 months but fell off the wagon when I got pregnant. I definitely don't feel bad about that. Every pregnant lady will tell you that during that first trimester, you just eat whatever you need to eat. I was so sick and nauseous that a diet without flour and sugar or Chick-fil-A breaks would have surely put me over the edge. So, as you can see, I take a balanced and realistic approach to this "diet". If you catch me eating a piece of pizza or sneaking a donut at MOPS, please don't judge me.

Today began this New Year's resolution. No better place to start than a trip to Whole Foods.

Here's my confession: I have only been to Whole Foods one time in my life. I went a few months ago to sample their offerings of coffee. And I technically did not buy anything because the "coffee guy" gave me a complimentary pound of organic coffee.

But I spent the past few days with my grocery list, recipe books, and nutrition blogs trying to figure out the best, easiest, and cheapest way to eat well.

Whole Foods is a whole 'nother world. First of all, people there weren't as forgiving of my screaming children. Just sayin.

Secondly, I was pretty overwhelmed by all the offerings of beans, grains, and flours. And the price on most of the groceries was much more than I am used to paying. No matter how health conscious I become, I just can't imagine paying $10 for a bottle of salad dressing.

Thirdly, the high point, is that I left there with 4 bags of groceries. I bought a ton of food and, at my other regular grocery store, would have ended up hauling 40 bags to my car. So I was a great fan of their bagging skills.

I would love to hear any recommendations that any of you may have as to some helpful blogs or websites. Right now, my plan is to try and cut out the majority of our processed foods and stick with the real stuff. Fortunately, we do not have food allergies and I am not trying to combat anything specific. But I would love to be able to finish out the last half of this pregnancy feeling energized and healthy. (And losing the flanks wouldn't be so bad either.)

This week's meal plan is full of avocadoes, blueberries, fresh pineapple, tomatoes, quinoa, Ezekiel tortillas (new one for me), and Greek yogurt. I'll let you know how it goes.



Clare said...

good luck, it all sounds very yummy to me:)

aprildtaylor said...

First of all you made me really want a honey bun w/ butter warmed in the microwave (OH MY) and second of all its great that you are trying to do this now when your kids are small bec.if I tried to pull this off I think Jordan would KILL me! I think the majority of overweight and unhealthy people are poor from what I've noticed bec. its so stinking expensive to eat right!

mom2boys said...

Lauren, your blog always manages to make me smile! Today while in Earth Fare (the east TN version of Whole foods) my 2 year old had an absolute melt down and the lady at the checkout looked at me like she had never seen a child throw a temper tantrum before! We started whole foods eating back in the fall after Brody was diagnosed with multiple food allergies. My sister, Kim, is a fantastic resource and I have some great cookbooks if you need a specific recipe. I will also try to email you some of the blogs I have been following. Congratulations on the pregnancy!!

anna said...

Guess that means no caramel corn for you. :)

Ben and April said...

I hear you about the pregnancy survival : )

I cut out sugar and white flour for several months too and I do feel so much better!!

I have been a Whole Foods shopper for several years now, and love the store. At first it was a big budget adjustment, but we decided it was worth it for us. That being said I still look for way to make it not so expensive. We try to do at least one meal a week with no meat, like a baked potato and veggies night. I usually only buy boneless chicken thighs instead of breast, unless they are on a major sale. I have learned to buy whole chickens too, since they are cheaper. We rarely eat steak or expensive cuts of beef.

One thing that has helped to is to look around locally. I get my eggs from a local source, and we are just about to purchase 1/4 cow from a local farmer(so we will be able to enjoy some steaks : ) I buy my milk from the farmer's market. In the summer here there are several farmers markets so veggies aren't too bad. For a while too, I was part of an organic produce co-op and that was great, wonderful prices on fruit and veggies, so that might be worth looking into also. We try hard to have limited processed food in the house. That being said, we still enjoying eating out and at our friends houses. We just figure if we eat the best we can at home, that will help.

Sorry for the book!! Hope that helps some.

Ben and April said...

One more thing, my Whole Foods has a Kid's card you can get at the customer service desk and each time you come in your kids can pick a snack at the desk. Makes my kids excited about going. They also get a special treat on their birthday.

merlin said...

Have you heard about the outside of the grocery store rule? If you stick to the outside (of the inside of the store) you will hit the produce, dairy, meat and bread depts and miss all (most) of the not-needed and tempting stuff.

I try to stick with food(s) that I call God-grown: fruit, veggies, grains, meat, dairy, try to bake and cook as much as I can to stay away from the processed and over-packaged stuff. We go through 2 ten pound bags of flour (unbleached all purpose and bread flour) every 6 weeks or so. It really isn't that much work, and life is simplified with fewer groceries to deal with in the bags and in the cupboard. Less truly has become more.

merlin said...

Pioneer Woman's blog (by Ree Drummnond) and her tasty kitchen site is a great resource for recipes.

Jennifer said...

At the front of our Whole Foods there's a customer service desk and there are usually WF coupon books there. They also have online coupons.


lists coupons & match-ups for sales

I also love C-ville Market (Carlton St.) & Simply Fresh Produce (off 29 behind the Flaming Wok) because they have more local fruit and veggies (obviously not so much in January :) but they do still have local apples - C-ville Market) C-ville Market has GREAT sales items and often has reduced produce that is still fresh. www.cvillemarket.com (there's always a printable coupon for a free item when you purchase the stated amount) It's relatively close to FBC so I try to go before or after MOPS or Sisters :)

I'm starting to look into a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) membership for the spring/summer/fall. I'll let you know what I find out.

Another great suggestion I have for you is relayfoods.com if you're looking for local, healthy foods without having to drive all over town with your kids. You shop from the comfort of your home and have access to lots of local farms for meat, cheese, breads, pastas, etc. and then pick it up for FREE from one of their drop off spots. This isn't as economical as shopping at Kroger, but you are paying for the convenience and quality.

www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes has lots of great whole wheat flour recipes too! I've made 100% WW pizza crust (so you could have some :)

www.simplebites.net (a spin off from simplemom) also has great healthy recipes.

Hope this all helps! You go girl!

April said...

YAY YAY YAY!!!!! We will have to come back and visit and have a revisit w/ you Michelle and me ;)

We are joining a CSA this spring! I can let you know how that goes.

I LOVE our raw milk...noticed that my kids' noses stopped running all the time after we switched and Caroline stopped having ear infections.
Pasteurized/homogonized milk is like white-bread-milk and raw is like whole grain in my opinion.

I also got a vitamix for christmas and I use it to make tropical green smoothies that my kids love w/ kale (google it) grind all my grain straight from the kernal berries that i buy at wf....it's super fast and easy and takes fresh to a whole new level and the freshly ground grain makes awesome pancakes and choc. chip cookies and doesn't have that "bitter" whole wheat flavor.

and yes it costs a million dollars to be healthy :( but getting long-term diseases is expensive too....and americans are just used to cheap food, but that may not be the best thing for every one.

"real food" by Nina Planck (no idea how to spell) is my favorite resource....tons of info on what to eat and why.

and most of all CONGRATULATIONS ON THE TWINS!!!!! I just can't believe it!!!!!! Tell Dr. W I said hi :)