Holy Whole Foods!

I remember when getting healthier options wasn’t “a thing.”  It wasn’t trendy to seek out specialty grains, certain types of algae for energy, probiotics, less-ingredient-foods…(though in figure skating and dancing, many top athletes were promoting them, so I learned early!)  But somewhere along the line (within the last decade), the notion hit the mainstream.

I don’t much care for being trendy and honestly, I’m not about to go pick up some herbal cleanse concoction or extreme take on a protein shake just because the larger population (at least the larger, health-conscious population) says it’s the “it” item of the moment.  But what I am incredibly thankful for is that the level of trendiness has prompted countless retail establishments to open their doors and cater to those of us looking for healthy options

The other day I happened upon a MASSIVE Whole Foods – one that, quite possibly – dwarfed two or three normal ones.  I was in heaven!  The prepared section is one I don’t tend to purchase a lot from, however, as I find many things are overcooked (no doubt over concern regarding internal temperatures, the feeding of the general public, and the potential for suits!)  BUT…everything else?  I was thrilled!

I don’t use cow’s milk for one – milk and I don’t much care for one another.  The sheer number of choices of almond, coconut, hemp, cashew, and other nut milks was (albeit overwhelming) astounding!  I was also able to find my crunchy seaweed snacks in spades…IN the flavor I prefer. 😀

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Oils…another wonderful example.  The “personal care” area was enormous – I had a pick of countless essential oils, herbal supplements, body lotions, whatever…  The seafood looked amazing… The pick of nut butters, produce, soups…even olives! (healthy fats)…was phenomenal.

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Oh, and then there was the coffee.  I personally use Maple Syrup in my coffee – why?  It’s one of the healthiest sweetener options out there.  Agave actually IS more like sugar BUT…I’d SO much rather use a drop of honey than use sucralose, aspartame, nutrasweet etc.!  And of course, they had almond AND soy milk over on the fixing station – at Starbucks, you have to ask for (and sometimes PAY for) that option.

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So for me…the trendiness is something I embrace, because then I have the wonderful luxury of finding stores with monstrous footprints, filled to the brim with healthy meal choices.  Definitely not complaining about that!  (More like stuffing my face! 😉 ) 

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Ingredients…the Book

I came across this book – Ingredients: A Visual Exploration of 75 Additives & 25 Food Products, by Dwight Eschilman and Steve Ettlinger – rather by accident…but it’s something that I am interested in, for sure.  I recently realized I am lactose intolerant…and for the last two or so years, I’ve come to the conclusion that I have new food allergies – yes, 35 years into Life, they reared their (frankly, inconvenient) heads.

I eat incredibly clean but I have my areas – I use Sucrolose, for one.  As I’ve mentioned before, sugar does not sit well with me…and Stevia caused a whole plethora of allergies.  But before you judge, please recognize we ALL slip somewhere!  Many of my friends are health-conscious-crazed…and even they have a few intruders. (It’s possible I’m interjecting this point because it makes me feel better.  At least I admit it, right?  Right? 😉 ) 

Pick your poison, is almost what it comes down to.  I think THE cleanest eater I know is my brother.  It’s a challenge to be free of all things non-natural, but it can be done.  One of my issues is that honey doesn’t work as a sweetener for me, nor some of the purported “better-for-you-than-sugar-but-basically-the-same-thing” products.  Especially for my coffee…I need a little bit!

That aside, I also take an amino supplement…one I haven’t found a comparable, ultra-clean version of.  So I worry about dyes and other “stuff” that lurks in the formulation.  It makes me a wee bit nervous but I think sometimes I let it go because the bulk of what I do ingest is relatively healthy…and DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) can really get the best of me.

“Relatively.”  

It is ALL relative, isn’t it?

I saw one of the food photography images from the book, and I was intrigued.  It looks akin to a chemistry experiment.  I kind of feel like I need to pull out my Bunsen burner, some glass slides, and a microscope…

(C) - Doritos. Photo by Dwight Eschliman, from Ingredients (Regan Arts, September 2015)

(C) – Doritos. Photo by Dwight Eschliman, from Ingredients (Regan Arts, September 2015)

I mean…sure, some salt, or spices…  But what’s up with the colored bits!?  Why ARE there so many powders?  

It’s a tiny bit creepy, don’t you think?  Doritos taste good, I know (at least our buds say they do)…but they DO leave our hands bright enough to paint road stripes.  Um…eeek.  

*puzzled face*

(C) - Photo by Dwight Eschliman, from Ingredients (Regan Arts, September 2015)

(C) – Photo by Dwight Eschliman, from Ingredients (Regan Arts, September 2015)

 

(C) - Photo by Dwight Eschliman, from Ingredients (Regan Arts, September 2015)

(C) – Photo by Dwight Eschliman, from Ingredients (Regan Arts, September 2015)

I can’t say that I am particularly keen on chem… Or maybe I should say “adept at” – I thought class was cool, but I was more interested in sports…or the next experiment, or…”oh hey! Are those ghost crystals?!” (my attention span is, sadly, that of a Gemini.  We get incredibly excited and entranced, only to lose interest and want a new challenge about three seconds later.)  

Sigh.

I’d like to say I am solidly knowledgable about EVERY ingredient in my supplements, and in my food…but the assurance would be unjust.  I DEFINITELY check my labels more than the average person, and I know for certain, I eat “cleaner” and “less processed” on the whole.  But I need to be better versed, and I like that this book has a visual element to it.  

I haven’t read the book – I only just came across its “Doritos” ingredient layout.  It may be more suited for someone who likes looking at molecular structures, or understands the interplay between hexagons and linked lines.  But it may also be a help for those of us with a need and desire to delve a bit deeper.  I’m hoping it’s the latter case, as opposed to the former maningful-shapes scenario.  I’m going to look into it myself…