What I Buy at Whole Foods

I make no secret about this…I am really into Whole Foods.

The first time I went into Whole Foods, I was in my second year of graduate school, and looking for a place to get food that wasn’t Jimmy Johns or Dunkin’ Donuts (the two places that were directly across the street from my school at NC State).  I stumbled into Whole Foods, and it was one of the first times since I returned from fat campthat I felt like I’d found my people.  Weird folks.  Who wanted a salad.  Just like  me.

Following my grad school graduation, when I couldn’t find a job, but needed to pay bills, I took a job in the Whole Foods bakery and coffee shop, where I blended, latte-ed, and packaged baked goods with some really cool people for a few months until I could find something a little more in line with what I wanted to do.

Working there, I was absolutely immersed in the culture, and tried foods I’d never imagined trying.  Kombucha, chia seeds, vegan treats, natural remedies for common ailments….the whole shebang.  I went from a diet of subsisting primarily on Lean Cuisines and Yoplait Light to more “whole” (tee hee) foods, and saw a real change in my body and my energy (I started running pretty regularly around that time too).

So, despite the fact that Whole Foods can be pricy, and sometimes grates on peoples’ nerves, I’m pretty loyal, even as some of the other chains branch into organics, because Whole Foods, in my mind, was one of the first that made good food accessible to idiots like me.

Want to see what idiots like me buy on our trips there?  And mayyybe get a little explanation as to what all this crap is?


//Frozen fruit + Trop 50. I use this for my smoothies in the morning. Typically I do a red solo cup, fill it with fruit, add a scoop of protein, some chia, and some Trop 50 to cover the fruit to make my smoothie. It’s quick and painless, and doesn’t require much prep at all. Plus it’s WAY cheaper than ordering a smoothie, and easier to control what goes in it.

//Cedar Roaster Red Pepper Hommus.  Their spelling, not mine!  I like hummus, but I have yet to find hummus as good as what I had at fat camp for my alternative vegetarian meals.  This hummus ended up being okay, but really didn’t change me.  It was pretty cheap for hummus though.

//Noosa.  This full-fat Greek Yogurt is absolutely delicious, and because it’s so calorie-dense, an entire container can serve as a meal in the morning, or half can serve as a snack after lunch or something.  Again, pricey at first glance, but two servings in a container softens the blow.

//Lettuce.  Pretty straightforward.  Sometimes I eat green things for lunch.  Not too many though, cause holy fiber these days!

//Bulk dried mango.  This one is a treat for me.  I LOVE dessert, but it doesn’t love me back so much.  The bulk dried mango is probably one of the cheapest sources of dried mango you will find without any added sugar.  Added sugar and chemicals are usually the trap with things like Craisins and mango.  This is more like fruit leather, just cut up and dried out for a few days.

//365 Black Chia Seeds.  Chia has been this pregnant lady’s best bud as of late, but it can be super expensive.  Whole Foods has an in-house brand, which is a whopping $3 cheaper than the other brands.  Great source of soluble fiber, protein, and a little burst of energy as well.

//Fruit mixes.  This one is a pricey luxury because I wasn’t loving any of the prices on produce anywhere this week and I need fruit.  So I ate like half for dessert the other night, and brought the other half in to supplement my lunch.

//Grape Leaves.  This baby can deal with Mediterranean food for sure.  These are a great snack, and delicious!

For a grand total of about $81.  My priciest items were definitely the fruit and the chia, and I escaped without kombucha or a cookie that would have driven the bill way up randomly – so I should be set for a while, minus the more perishable things (fruit and lettuce), which I will need to make a run for next week again.

Do you have any special foods needs?  (Veg, Gluten Free Options)?

Where do you do your shopping for fruits/veggies?


8 thoughts on “What I Buy at Whole Foods

  1. I’ve loved WF since it was Wild Oats, back in the early 2000s. From the prepared foods, the bulk foods, and the generally awesome shopping environment I’ve been hooked, crazy prices and all. I didn’t live anywhere near one in college, but when I was picking law schools, having one nearby was actually something I considered in my school decision, partially because I think the presence of a Whole Foods is reflective of the community attitude towards health, healthy eating, and fitness/activity in general. I became very familiar with their sales flyers and coupons, otherwise I never could have afforded shopping there.
    Of course, there is no Whole Foods here in Shanghai, but I visited the one in Ann Arbor when I was in the states visiting family over the holiday. I could have wandered their aisles for hours, and I didn’t escape without buying a few kombuchas. I still have a few things left that I bought there and took back to Shanghai with me.

    In Shanghai I buy most of my groceries online from 2 different grocery delivery services, and from a Japanese grocery store a short walk from my apartment. Food scandals have been very prevalent here, and I worry about what we’re doing to our long term health living here, so my favorite grocery delivery focuses on traceability and is transparent with the sources of produce and meats. They’ve expanded some and are now doing some deli type stuff – prepared salads, rotisserie chickens, etc. It’s made my life a little bit easier, because I can buy foods from them and not have to stress about what heavy metals and other things they might contain.

    Sorry for the long comment, great post!

    1. This is really interesting – of course, being the gossip-blogger disguised as me, I totally honed in on “food scandals”. Will you PLEASE tell me more about those?

    2. I think my first post was eaten, so I wrote up another, since you’re obviously interested. China has a long history of food scandals, generally related to people cutting corners to save money/make more money. This wikipedia page lists some of them by year, but it isn’t entirely accurate: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_safety_incidents_in_China

      In 2015, authorities seized tons of frozen meat that had been smuggled into China, some of it was from the 1970’s: http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/24/asia/china-smuggled-meat/

      This year, dozens of restaurants were busted for using opium powder in their food, but this happens pretty much every year: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/china-busts-35-restaurants-using-opium-poppies-as-seasoning/

      One of the biggest scandals was when baby formula/powdered milk was found to contain melamine, causing the death of some children and illness in many many more children. There are tons of articles available on this.

      Another major scandal was the gutter oil scandal. This made news in the U.S., so a quick Google search will provide a lot of information.

      Another thing, that isn’t so much a scandal, as just an issue we deal with is that personal hygiene is still pretty far behind countries such as the U.S. It’s pretty well known that spitting and people relieving themselves outside of bathrooms is very common, slightly less so in Shanghai, but very prevalent in other cities. I’ve seen more children than I can count squat and pee or poop on the sidewalk. Hand washing after using the bathroom is still a very novel concept here, and I’ve been in countless restaurant and other public bathrooms where there was no soap available. I’ve also seen chefs relieve themselves outdoors in the grass or bushes and then return to work. Eating at restaurants and eating prepared food involves a degree of calculated risk. I had friends who attended an event at a very well known and expensive restaurant hosted by an expat club, where over a dozen people became ill afterwards, some even requiring hospitalization. It was eventually traced to an employee who had come in despite being sick. Pretty much every expat I know has suffered from severe food poisoning at least once, and my husbands coworkers who visit from the U.S. often complain of stomach issues during their trips. Food poisoning is a fact of life living here.

      Finally, China has huge problems with air, water, and soil pollution. So we’re eating fruits and vegetables grown in soil that contains heavy metals and other pollutants, that is watered with polluted water, and grown in polluted air. There was an article a few years ago that had studied what percentage of China’s farms had polluted soil, and it was an alarming number.

      So given the food quality scandals, the pollution issues, and the hygiene issues, food quality and safety is a big issue living here.

      1. Wow…that is SO interesting. My husband goes to china often, and he usually comes back a little bit sick – I always thought it was because of the long plane ride, and he doesn’t drink the water, but I bet the food doesn’t help one bit…

  2. I haven’t been to WF; I go to Costco or Trader Joe’s! There’s a place called Sprouts here that everyone also loves, but I still need to check it out!

    1. Oh you will be addicted. Trader Joe’s is great but it’ s a little far from us and the parking is kinda mehhhh. But SO affordable it’s ridiculous!

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