Health Starts Here at Lincoln Park


With an ever-increasing amount of diseases and ailments being linked to diet, there has never been a better time to choose one’s food with wellness in mind. However, with such an abundance of information available about what to eat, what not to eat, how much to eat, and the healthiest way to prepare it, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Let our Healthy Eating Specialists be your guide!     
  • Get your Healthy Eating questions answered.
  • Take a Healthy Eating Tour of the store, and find out about shopping for HEALTH and VALUE.
  • Attend our classes to learn how to create a healthy menu plan and discover new recipes that fit your life, needs and budget.  
  • Sample seasonal recipes and our house-made Health Starts Here offerings.
  • Browse our collection of books, DVDs, and literature about Healthy Eating.
  • Use our LifeClinic health station to test your blood pressure and body mass index.
  • Learn how to decipher nutritional labels.
  • Learn about ANDI scores and discover how to choose and use the most nutrient rich foods.
  • Find out about our upcoming classes, events, and healthy eating challenges.


  Karen Formanski, Healthy Eating Specialist - After spending many years as a dedicated Whole Foods Market shopper, Karen joined the company in 2007, and helped launch the Health Starts Here program at the Lincoln Park store in 2010. She is a graduate of the Professional Chef’s Training Program at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in New York City. Upon completing this program, she returned to Chicago with an understanding of the fundamentals of human nutrition, the connection between food and wellness, and practical cooking techniques for making delicious, health supportive cuisine. Karen has also completed the Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition through the T. Colin Campbell Foundation at eCornell University. She loves to help customers navigate the store in their search for the healthiest choices, and to answer their questions about special diets, meal planning, and what the heck to do with all those veggies they know they should be eating more of. Karen offers Health Starts Here tours for individuals and groups by appointment. For more information, contact her via email at


Julie Gyondla, Healthy Eating Team Member - Julie Gyondla is the newest addition to the healthy eating team in Lincoln Park. Julie started her career with Whole Foods Market after graduating from the School of Culinary Arts at Kendall College in 2011. Currently a student of Nutrition Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, she enjoys utilizing her knowledge of food and cooking techniques to make healthy food fun, nutrient dense, and delicious to all who try it. She loves working with customers to enhance their healthy eating knowledge and is currently on her way to becoming a Registered Dietitian. When she's in the store, feel free to ask for a tour of our Health Starts Here or Engine 2 items! You can also schedule an appointment by contacting her at




Friday, September 25, 6:00pm, 7:30pm Show, Parking Garage 3rd level

The Sandlot! Movie-on-the-Roof Night

Join us for an evening of family fun, delicious snacks, and a baseball classic--the Sandlot! Our third floor parking garage lot will be converted into an outdoor movie theatre for this exciting evening. All proceeds benefit the Whole Kids Foundation. It'll be a night that goes down in history for-e-ver.

Admission: $5 Adults, $2 Kids. All snacks will be $1.

Tuesday, October 13, 6:30pm, Cooking Classroom on the Mezzanine

Seasonal Immunity and Skin Care

Grab a friend and join us for a fun-filled evening to learn about healthy skin care! You'll try delicious teas and treats with ingredients that support immune system health, and create a variety of DIY skin care products to pamper your skin as the weather turns colder. You'll take home your skin care creations and recipes.

$25 Per Person--Call the Customer Service Desk to reserve your spot! 312.587.0648

Wednesday, October 21, 6:30pm, Cooking Classroom on the Mezzanine

Fall Soups and Slow-Cooker Class

Fall weather is here and homemade soups are an easy way to warm up and get more nutrient-dense veggies into your weekly meals! Healthy Eating Specialists Karen and Julie will show you how to create layers of flavor in these hearty one-pot meals without the need for dairy or oil. You'll take home the recipes, which will all be vegan and gluten-free.

$10 Per Person--Call the Customer Service Desk to reserve your spot! 312.587.0648

Friday, November 13, 6:30pm, Cooking Classroom on the Mezzanine

Friendsgiving Fall Sip+Savor Dinner

Join the Health Starts Here team and Candid Wines for a seasonal five-course vegan dinner paired with five delicious, organic wines. This is a great opportunity to give thanks for the friends around us, for delicious healthy food, and sustainable, quality wines!

$30 with wine, $20 without per person. Call the Customer Service Desk to reserve your spot! 312.587.0648

Monday, December 14, 6:30pm, Cooking Classroom on the Mezzanine

Healthy Holiday Desserts

Join us as we put a healthy spin on some of your favorite holiday desserts. You won't miss the oil, eggs, or butter when you taste these delectable plant-strong treats. Learn to make a variety of guilt-free goodies including cookies, pies, and tarts. Then you'll take home samples and recipes so you can share the guilt-free goodness with your friends and family this season! (Vegan, Gluten-free).

$10 Per Person--Call the Customer Service Desk to reserve your spot! 312.587.0648

Intro to Health Starts Here Tour: by appointment only.

By Appointment Only.  Email to schedule. Free!
Do you have a special diet concern, or just want some help making healthier choices in our store?  Make an appointment with our Healthy Eating Specialist, Karen, and learn more about Health Starts Here, our healthy eating education program.  Healthy samples provided.  By appointment only.
QUESTIONS? CONTACT  Healthy Eating Specialist Karen at