Sunday, April 18, 2010

Eating Green and Healthy

Eating green has been on my mind lately. At the LA Moms event earlier this year, I talked to a Whole Foods representative that invited me to a tour of the store. I confess, I'd never been in one before. My time and resources are both limited, so I kept my shopping to my neighborhood store.

Just a week before my Whole Foods tour, I found out that my usual grocery store had discontinued two different items that we would miss. One was my dark chocolate/chili bar; the other was Hansen's soda. I found it ridiculous that my grocery store wouldn't keep one of the few sodas that doesn't contain high fructose corn syrup on the shelves, so I was glad for the opportunity to try something new.

As I've mentioned before, I'm not the most eco-friendly mom out there. My kids haven't grown up vegan and they've eaten processed foods. While they are healthy and fit, they know enough about junk food to know what they like.

Not only does Whole Foods carry my missed items, but they are indeed a one-stop shop for foods and products that are not only free of artificial ingredients, free of processing, but they are also fair trade-conscious, and are helping to promote small farmers, both locally and internationally.

Sylvia was thrilled they actually carried a jam with rhubarb (my aunt made some, and she loved it), and Riley was perfectly content with their substitute for Oreos. Now, I'm not naive enough to think that just because the cookies are from Whole Foods that they're actually good for Riley, but they're still better than the alternative in moderate doses.

The 365 Everyday Value products are on par with other store brand products on pricing. Still, the specialty products are what gives the store the reputation for being expensive.

Surprisingly, however, my grocery bills from Whole Foods ended up a lot cheaper than my last shopping trip at Ralph's. Ralph's seduced me with their club card savings; I may have "saved" a lot, but I did more impulse shopping. The prices at Whole Foods were high enough that I knew to keep some items out of my cart.

I was also really excited to learn that in their produce department, I could ask for "cut to size." We won't go through a whole head of cabbage fast enough, so it's nice to know I can only pay for what we will. I also liked the 0.5 refund on my receipt for every reusable bag I brought in. (Their 365 brand of wine was good, too!)

In the past month, I also tried the Fresh and Easy that recently opened in our neighborhood. I noticed a lot of name brands that Whole Foods would never allow on their shelves, and I wonder how many consumers think these brands are healthier than they are because they're in such a store, but I might shop there for those last-minute items.

I really didn't think I'd end up saying this, but for our family, it's actually more economical - as well as eco-friendly and health-concious - for us to make Whole Foods our regular grocery store. Just don't go there on a Sat. afternoon. CRAZY crowded!

This post was inspired by the SV Moms book club pick, National Geographic's Green Guide for Families (click on the image to buy), which was given to me to read. Whole Foods provided a tour, and some samples of products to try. Purchasing links included in this post generate referrals through my Amazon Affiliates account.


Anonymous said...

If you have one where you live, check out Wegman's. It's like Whole Foods and a general grocery store combined. It's amazing!

Julie@My5monkeys said...

I have yet to shop in one too..might have to check it out.

Unknown said...

You *know* I loved reading this. Way to spread the good word ... this is a review post that I am 150% behind. And good for you and the girls for being so open minded.

As a vegetarian and conscious shopper/meal preparer myself I find that the majority of people don't even want to hear about and I've learned to just keep my mouth shut unless someone asks :)

So this kind of thing makes my heart happy!

Erica said...

I'm going to have to give Whole Foods a try again but definitely not on a Saturday - it's nuts. Trader Joe's is also a good one if you have one near you (also good to avoid on Saturday).

Danielle said...

I love Whole Foods. I eat a lot of organic stuff. Not all, but a lot. But yes, you still kind of have to watch labels!

Cat said...

We don't have whole foods here, so I have to cobble together foods from a few local organic and health food shops. It's worth it though!