Whole Foods

I love Whole Foods. I’m talking about the store. I also love whole foods (see my food & wine blog, VineJoy, for more on that). I am so happy in a Whole Foods store. The produce is so fresh, I almost feel as if I’m picking it from a garden. The seafood and meat all look so inviting, and are all sustainably farmed or caught. The cheeses from around the world are magnificent, from crumbly and aged, to soft and stinky. The baked goods smell divine, the coffee is fair-trade. The salad bar should be insulted that it’s in the same category as regular grocery store salad bars. And there’s a sushi bar inside the store! It’s a foodie-yogi-environmentalist’s dream!

I am instantly in a happy zen-like state whenever I go into a Whole Foods. I think about the fabulous food that my family and I will be eating, and the fact that I’m shopping sustainably and my heart sings! For about ten minutes. Then another feeling sets in…Panic. I am going to spend way too much money!! It really isn’t the price of the store; everyone has heard it referred to as Whole Paycheck. But, I live in a ski resort. My neighborhood grocery store is exorbitantly priced. So, the prices at the Whole Foods in Denver really aren’t any higher than what I’m used to paying. It’s just that there’s so much more that I want!

So, how does one shop at Whole Foods, on a budget? The first step, is advice that most people who are trying to eat healthily have heard – shop the periphery. That’s where you find produce, meat, and dairy. Generally, the less processed the food, the less expensive, and the better for you. I also choose very carefully which products to buy organic. At Whole Foods, even the conventionally produced foods, are generally sustainable, free of high-fructose corn syrup and trans fats. I also look at the price per ounce; I just started doing this and it’s a pretty significant thing to do in any grocery store. And, unless there’s something I specifically plan on buying, I stay completely out of the soaps/cosmetics/vitamins aisle. I love an aromatherapy oil as much as anyone, but those little things can really add up!

I managed to get out of there without spending my “whole paycheck.” Sure, I wanted more, but when I got home and unloaded my (reusable, of course) grocery bags, I had a week’s worth of fabulous produce, fish and chicken to freeze, a tiny bit of yummy cheese, a french bread that lasted days, some great olives, and healthy school snacks.

Feeding my family well has always been important to me. No matter how little money I have, I refuse to buy processed crap. Let me tell you from experience, it is possible to eat healthy and delicious food on a limited budget. It definitely takes more work than boxed macaroni and cheese or frozen dinners, but it is worth it. Love your family! Love yourself! Eat Well!

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