Did you know that your local Whole Foods probably has a Healthy Eating Specialist you can meet with for free? As I've discovered some allergies and been dealing with some other health issues, I thought it would be a good time to investigate. Here's Jessica Spinner, the Healthy Eating Specialist at my local store.
Soy and Hemp Milk substitutes
She helped me understand the ANDI scores Whole Foods has adopted, pointing out where I could find items throughout the store that fit what I'm looking to incorporate more of in my new way of eating. I'm a little challenged by the dairy, carrot and almond elimination diet - many of the healthy options include these items. See?
Eating Right, Putting it to Work
The store was running a free trial of a 28 day healthy eating challenge with a program called Eat Right America. Since it cost nothing to join, I did. There are daily reminders about what to incorporate in your diet. Big green leafy salads, more fruit, nuts and seeds in small amounts. I find the reminders helpful.
I am encouraged by the suggestions and reminders to eat better each day. I'm sure that even if I don't stay exactly on course after this one month challenge, I will have learned new recipes, habits and tips for incorporating more healthful eating. I was thrilled to try the kale salad at the "Healthy Starts Here"bar.
How about stopping at this bar, instead of the usual one?
Healthy Habits, Resources and RecipesSo some small steps in the right direction?
A proper tabouleh salad (really a parsley salad with cracked wheat or bulgur) included some grape tomatoes. Lemony-garlicky dressing. Yes it's true, the tomatoes are out of season, but the greater good was a healthy, whole grain salad that my husband loved.
Buckwheat soba noodles with red bell peppers, cucumbers, scallions, cilantro. Another hit.
Go for the Color!
This weekend, I bought a cart full of greens and other things to begin cooking some of these crazy things at home. Experts from all corners encourage us to eat the rainbow, more color. Dark leafy greens, deeply colored vegetables and fruits.
Clockwise from upper right: Mustard greens, green beans, champagne mango, lacinato kale, red bell pepper, baby spinach, and a red cabbage in the center.
Here are my plans for these pretties:
- Mustard greens - I'm going to steam or sauté with shiitake mushrooms to serve with roasted chicken.
- Green beans - for snacking or as a side dish for something or other.
- Champagne mango - to add to kale salad
- Lacinato kale - going to make kale chips, or as a side.
- Red bell pepper - part will go into peanut/sesame noodles; part in kale salad.
- Baby spinach - going to use in salad and in this crazy "chocolate smoothie"
- Red cabbage - for salads
- Kale - didn't make it into the photo - I zipped it and massaged it for tonight's salad (kale, baby arugula, baby spinach, avocado-citrus dressing, red bell pepper, red onion and mango chunks.)
Since I had a less-than-healthy eating weekend, I've been reminding myself that improving my diet is not going to be a straight line. There will be some detours, but as long as I keep moving in the right direction, I'm making progress.
More Tips and Resources
Local versus healthy:
- Some folks on the E.R.A. (Eat Right America) message boards are challenged by the fruit requirements as against seasonality. I think it's important to do your best to meet competing goods, and not get so bogged down with dogma that you quit altogether if you're not able to be perfect. Here is a post that you might find encouraging: Sensible Sustainability.
- I have just been diagnosed with a dairy allergy. I'm learning a lot, like the fact that many, many people do not know the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance. Eating out is particularly challenging. I'm building proficiency with ordering safer foods (I have three other food allergies, too) and will be writing more on this soon so I can share what I'm learning. For those of you who do not have a dairy allergy, I wanted to share this recipe for homemade Greek-style yogurt. This is luscious, very healthy and practically makes itself. The Secret to Homemade Greek-style yogurt. It's pennies per batch as opposed to nearly $5 per container in my area.
- DIY is a great trend and can not only save time but money. Clean out your freezer and make room for the extra half batch of granola, or soup, or beans. Here is a terrific DIY Granola recipe. It incorporates many of the things we are encouraged to eat on this plan, seeds, nuts, grains, fruit. Check out Vannessa Barrington's DIY Delicious, cookbook for more ways to save money and eat better, homemade food.
- This cookbook, The Meatlovers Meatless Cookbook, is one of my favorite new tools for eco-friendly eating. The recipes are satisfying and range from vegan to gluten-free to vegetarian. All would work well with our guidelines here.
- Also check a treasure trove of recipes for healthy eating, sound advice, and eco-friendly eating at Nourish Network. One thing that's difficult to balance is my desire to eat locally, sustainably while also following the Eat Right guidance. "Eat more fruit" is pretty impossible to do in March in Boston without limiting myself to storage apples or hot house tomatoes. There are many ways to enjoy things you may not have grown up eating.