Earlier this week I was craving a brothy soup and dark chocolate covered ginger. Amazingly enough I was able to find both those things at my local Whole Foods. That store is absolutely one of my favorite things about where I live. And that's not just because I know some of the sweetest people EVER that work for Whole Foods. Even the employees I don't already know are always friendly. They are super helpful. They smile often. They say thank you. It's kind of a magical place.
Not only can I find really unique treats in Whole Foods but I actually love how I can go there and easily know what I am buying and where my food is coming from. The store identifies and supports local products which is important when deciding how to spend my money. And since the word "natural" on a label is a marketing tool (and not truth) I like being able to choose food that is verified organic and NON-GMO. Eating organic is important so I'm not ingesting a bunch of immune depleting toxic pesticides. NON-GMO is even more crucial because my body wasn't designed to digest or benefit from a scientifically engineered substance that is not actually food.
Since Whole Foods Market is a super fun place for me it's also incredibly easy for me to over spend every time I visit. I am aware that a lot of people feel the same and there have been arguments made about over-priced products sold by the company. Maybe so. Although they do offer weekly specials, an in-store booklet or online coupons (look up Whole Foods, The Whole Deal) and in my local WFM you can choose a sampling of four salads for $4 which is very filling. Several items can be purchased in bulk which is another way to keep down total dollars spent.
As much as I love shopping in Whole Foods, it still isn't possible for me to purchase everything there. I have a growing teenage son!! To best manage my finances for our family it just makes sense for me find healthy &affordable options in other ways. I really love non-chemical soaps and cleaning products. But I've learned to make my own laundry-detergent, shampoo (which is really just baking soda + water), and cleaning solution for my sinks and toilets. Things like this can be done with borax, lemons, and vinegar. All of which are super cheap. Sometimes I just look at that store like a giant Pinterest board. Love all their offerings but I cannot buy everything on display!
One more wonderful thing about Whole Foods is they often have organic produce you just cannot find anywhere else. Sometimes it's amazing how difficult it can be to simply find an organic green apple. It can be more affordable to buy local at a farmers market but even then organic choices can be limited. One of my friends has started buying a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) basket through the Nashville Farmers' Market. Even there she was only able to find one co-op that offered all organic. For a lot of people it can be challenging to find and buy actual whole foods.
I also think the value and awareness Whole Foods Market has brought to consumers is really cool. Other grocery stores like Kroger and Publix have expanded their offerings of organic items so that they can compete with the demand brought to our attention by Whole Foods. I think more people should be asking what value they are actually getting for the items they are buying in other stores. Why does a store that offers organic and less processed foods have so little major competition? Why is this not the norm everywhere?
If you are purchasing a sugar filled cereal that is "vitamin-fortified" you will actually end up depleting nutrients from your body just to process. Minerals in our body are often depleted in order to digest foods containing excessive sugar and the added synthetic vitamins are rarely transformed into a beneficial reserve for your body. Not to mention weight gain, energy depletion, and all the other chronic conditions that appears when we fill up with non-food "foods." So in reality, spending money for something labeled as a food without nutritional benefit, is actually over-priced selling. It is happening in grocery stores all across America. This leaves me wanting to say, “Thank you Whole Foods! Let's do lunch sometime."
Reality Wellness Specialist