Hey All!

I’m trying to eat healthier especially now since I’m having some kidney issues. I’m trying to eat healthier and cook better foods for me and my family. And I was lucky to have been invited to an event last week by whole foods. It was a great event that taught me so much on how to eat healthier and I was lucky to learn and try some healthy recipes. Like this dish that incorporated a whole grain called Quinoa and salmon.

I was super delicious! I jotted down a bunch of notes for all the recipes and info on how to be healthier in the new year.

Whole foods has been rolling out a new initiative in their stores called health starts here, which promotes plant-based, low-fat, nutrient-dense cuisine. It incorporates a variety of foods all the way from the bakery to the deli case, you can find pre-packaged meals to go, branded with the health starts here label.  I’m sure some of you might have noticed signs that say it.

To help shoppers who want to improve their health easily and naturally, Whole Foods Market, a leader in natural and organic foods launched its “Health Starts Here” initiative at all 289 locations in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The new program is based on the following simple principles for everyday healthy eating:

  • Plant-Strong – Eat more plants, like raw and cooked vegetables, fruits, legumes and beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains to ensure the best nutrients for the body, which leads to feeling satiated
  • Whole Foods – Choose foods that are real, fresh, natural, organic, local,    seasonal and unprocessed. Eliminate refined, highly processed foods and foods containing ingredients void of nutrients, such as artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, sweeteners and hydrogenated fats.
  • Healthy Fats – Get healthy fats from plant sources, such as nuts and avocados. Minimize extracted oils and processed fats. If eating a diet that includes animal products, choose leaner meats and seafood as well as low-fat dairy products.
  • Nutrient Dense – Choose foods that are rich in nutrients when compared to their total caloric content. Build menus around plant-based foods to emphasize nutrient-rich meals containing a variety of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants.

One of the heads of prepared foods who is a chef and a whole foods chef taught us how to make some Healthy recipes that will be featured in the health starts here program.

Whole Foods Market will feature free information, recipes, in-store lectures, events and support groups. A selection of supporting educational books and cookbooks will also be for sale alongside the “Engine 2 Diet” book and “Eat Right America” program materials. So check your local Whole Foods for these events.

And to help shoppers identify healthy, nutrient-dense foods, stores will post signs with Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) scores and also you can get one of these BOOK MARK little cards to carry around at the stores which has a list of ANDI scores by department. It’s divided by Produce, Fruits, etc.

The ANDI scoring scale evaluates levels of micronutrients, including vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants per calorie in various foods. The higher the concentration of micronutrients in a food, the higher that food will score. For instance, a serving of kale, a dark leafy green, scores 1,000, placing it at the top of the index, while a serving of soda only scores 1. Individual ANDI scores will be placed on all fruits and vegetables because they are the most nutrient-dense foods.  For departments like meat, seafood and cheese, the top 10 ANDI scores in each category will be displayed. A complete list of ANDI rankings can be found in The Nutritarian Handbook, available at Whole Foods Market stores in late February, and they are available to Eat Right America members online. 

You can also find downloadable MEAL PLANNERS that look like the picture above AND SHOPPING LISTS and AMAZING RECIPES on the Whole Foods website at this link www.wholefoodsmarket.com/healthstartshere.

Shoppers can also expect to see information in some stores immediately, while other locations will incorporate this initiative throughout 2010. More information about Health Starts Here can be found now at www.wholefoodsmarket.com/healthstartshere.

I highly recommend you keep an eye out for this logo when you shop at Whole Foods!

And let’s all get healthy together! Thanks whole foods for getting us on the right track!

**Disclosure: I was not paid or compensated in any way for this post. I was invited to an event by whole foods and rogers pr and I was given lunch at the event and recipes to use. Simply sharing for the benefit of my readers. All opinions are my own.**