Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Simple Changes for Lifelong Health

By Chad Sarno, January 8, 2013  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Chad Sarno

Curried Cauliflower Soup You’ve probably heard that popular old phrase, "you are what you eat." The food you eat has a massive impact on the way your body feels, not only in the day to day, but also over time. You’ve probably also experienced a sugar buzz or struggled to recover from a food coma at one time or another in your life. I think we are all probably very familiar with the effects that certain types of foods have on us. If you’re regularly feeling sluggish, have low energy or have energy levels that are constantly up and down, there are a few easy and effective changes you can incorporate into your everyday routine that will quickly give you those health benefits you so deserve.

One simple change you can make right away is to focus the majority of your meals around whole food, emphasizing plants -- both dry and fresh. Yes, this means eliminating processed foods, which is a huge feat for many people. Whole plant food is food that is free of added ingredients and is intact as a single ingredient – this includes fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Beet and Mint SlawIf your daily meals include lots of highly processed and refined foods and you’re ready to make a few simple changes, start by getting familiar with our Health Starts Here program. Then, begin to eliminate processed foods from your diet, replacing them with more whole plant goodness. Learn to stock a healthier pantry filled with primarily whole and minimally processed foods. Having the right ingredients on hand makes creating healthy meals much easier, and, trust me, you will rarely feel sluggish after a good hearty meal if it does not contain refined carbs, sugars or oils.

Another simple change you can make is rethinking the way you prepare food. Explore your creativity and let the beauty of whole seasonal plant foods guide your meals.  To help you along the way, get familiar with cooking methods for healthy eating. Consider challenging yourself to try one new type of whole grain and one new type of legume each week. If you’re not sure how to cook grains and legumes, we’ve got you covered with our guide to cooking with whole grains. And, if you need even more inspiration, we’ve got over 100 Health Starts Here recipes covering breakfast, lunch, snacks, sides, salads and suppers.

Bok Choy and CarrotsYou’ll be amazed at how making just a few simple changes each month can really add up over the course of a year. Before you know it, the simple changes you’ve made will feel like second nature. Sound good? Okay, so join me in making a New Year’s pledge to incorporate more whole plant foods while replacing the refined processed foods. Think of it as shaping your health one bite at a time!

HSHIf you’re game, check out more simple changes for lifelong health. Have you made some changes in the past that have shaped your health for the better? We want to hear about them!




Mike says ...
Working on making many of the changes you talk about. We are actually working on the Engine 2 diet with a local nutritionist.... we will see
01/08/2011 8:18:50 AM CST
Amy says ...
My kids are always wanting to snack before dinner. If I put out a plate of cut up raw veggies and sometimes fruit, they will pick on that. I would rather them get full on the fruits and vegetables then on pretzels and popcorn.
01/08/2011 11:13:58 AM CST
Michele says ...
Love fruit...will eat more fruit!
01/08/2011 1:22:28 PM CST
Sarah @ Semi-Sweet says ...
All such good, sane advice! Great resource links, too. Thanks!
01/12/2011 7:16:44 PM CST
Denise Mack says ...
I wanted to list my local store so that I would be aware of sales and demonstrations but it is not listed under your Florida stores. When will Destin FL be added?
01/12/2011 9:08:41 PM CST
Charlotte says ...
A diet will not work. Educating yourself and picking from healthy whole food choices like what is suggested here is how you will be successful in the long haul. Getting plenty of vitamin and mineral content. Balancing out your carbs, fats, and proteins.It is up to you as an individual and up to parents to teach by example to their children. EDUCATE YOURSELF. Take control of what you are putting into your mouth and what enters your home and pantry. If you want to make changes, if you want things to be different take hold of the reigns and do it. YOU can do it. You CAN do it. Charlotte
01/13/2011 10:18:10 AM CST
Minette Pearson says ...
I wished that you would build or smaller wholefoods products and or stores throughout the Chicagoland areas. Avalon Park location. I also would suggest that would bring more jobs to the city. Stores like brothers and sisters stores maybe on a smaller branch. Thank you ! I love Wholefood stores and the people who work there! Happy Valentine! and New Year!
01/13/2011 11:46:45 AM CST
Pat Hamilton says ...
Sounds great, you have some wonderful information on your website! I'm going to try to give it a whirl ;-)
01/15/2011 8:21:15 AM CST
LMO says ...
You can make large batches of oatmeal or rice to keep on hand for a few days. You can also make large batches of soups or stews to freeze in small containers for days when you're too busy to cook. At least then you know what's in it, instead of opening a can of something that has preservatives added. It's just as easy to make a big batch as a small one.
01/15/2011 8:50:49 AM CST
Rebecca says ...
The following changes have made huge impacts on my energy levels, controlled my belly fat gain and aided sleep: 1. switched from coffee to yerba mate; 2. cut out all sugared teas, drinks etc. & only drink water, unsweetened tea, fresh juice or coconut water; 3. cut out heavily sugared yogurts & "energy" bars; 4. cut down, not out, bread & pasta & cereal; 5. never absently minded snack from co-worker's candy bowls; ALWAYS have roasted nuts & whole fruit available instead; Now I would really love to learn to cook the different legumes & grains. I don't know how to cook barley or quinoa or dried beans or peas. I appreciate you putting this encouragement on your website to motivate us toward healthier eating habits. So important.
01/15/2011 3:18:10 PM CST
C.Austin says ...
Please open a store in Flower Mound. Great location would be vacant grocery store @ flower mound rd and long prairie (FM 2499) Your closest store is too far away. Thanks for considering.
01/17/2011 8:25:46 AM CST
Elizabeth says ...
I want to echo C.Austin, below. I heard a rumor that you are?!?!? I have reacently become vegan and it's the toughest transition I've ever had to make, because of all the foods claiming to be vegetarian/vegan etc. that are JUNK! I shop at Sprouts, but so much of what they carry is no better than the other commercial grocery stores' offerings. Everything seems to be packed with sugar, oil, or both! (Do they not think we read labels??) We DESPERATELY need a Whole Foods on this side of town. I know how many health-conscious people there are here, but they're falling prey to every little fad diet that comes around, and still buy into the USDA recommendations (don't get me started). I'd be FLOORED if you had a cooking center here, as I need help with creating delicious meals my 12-year old will enjoy and not feel deprived or punished.
02/03/2012 8:52:11 AM CST
janejohnson says ...
@Elizabeth Thank you so much for your support. Please check your email for a response on how to request a new store location.
02/03/2012 1:31:29 PM CST