Today was THE day. Yes, the day I met up with Jennifer, a nutrionist that works with joulebody (the cleanse I did recently, i.e. see “juice”) and also independently for those people wanting to go the extra mile for their health. She told me most of her clients are already decently healthy but want to take it a step further which she found funny because you would think very unhealthy people would be seeking her out, right? She is a fountain of knowledge. She is slight of build with lovely long brown hair and a knack for yoga, she took me around Whole Foods for an hour answering all my questions and grocery shopping with me. I will post a link to her website a.s.a.p., in the meantime here is what I learned! (and bought) First though a few pictures of interesting finds along the way to Whole Foods Tribeca.
A very old world looking fountain I came across while cutting thru the park, gas lit lamps! It was a rainy day and for some reason I love fountains in the rain, it just makes them… idk.. more interesting.
I found this nice little coffee shop across the street from Whole Foods, ( I promptly hid and disposed of my empty starbucks cup… I was being lazy and sbux is everywhere, but I lust for independent flavors! ) it had comic-esque pieces all over the walls, candles on the tables and a dark cozy feel. I had a conversation with the barista about tribeca and fair trade vs. direct trade coffee… yes, I was that annoying person from Portlandia asking hippie type questions ahahhaa. Anyway they are direct trade because with fair trade one farmers superior product can get mixed in with their surrounding fellow farmers inferior products, creating a mix (i.e. fair trade) and degrading the quality of the product, or so I was told. So they use private direct trade suppliers. I ordered a macchiato, it came in a tiny cup with the most lovely latte art on top, made with care… and yes Starbucks version of a macchiato is WRONG. So onto the point…
I didn’t know what Jennifer looked like so I decided to search for another person that looked like they were waiting around and bingo, we spotted each other pretty quickly, ha, and so after introductions the adventure began. We started in the produce section where I was informed of the benefits of various fruits and vegetables and how we should eat seasonally (i.e. eat what is in season during that season… Wintertime examples: pear, dried fruits, etc. Summertime: strawberries, melons, etc) I asked her about mushrooms, because I stopped eating them as I was convinced it created fungus in your body somehow since it IS a fungus. She informed me that mushrooms actually help reduce all that junk that is holding onto the walls of your G.I. tract by having a “pulling out” effect. She recommended Shitake, but regular mushrooms (aka the white ones) are ok too. If you think about it, if your G.I. tract lining is full of crud (red meat that stays behind, all those processed foods, etc) how can you readily absorb the nutrients your body needs? Also she pointed out the new rating system whole foods just adopted ( The Andi System) which measures just how nutritionally dense a food is, these are posted all around whole foods on little laminated posters. I also learned that you can sample anything in Whole Foods and return items simply because you don’t like them.. I don’t know of any grocery stores that have such an open policy, I love Whole Foods!
After the produce we covered raw foods and the bulk section (quinoa, whole grain brown rice and a bean like lentil makes a complete protien) and checked out the dairy/tofu/soy area (Do not eat soy, its too processed in the U.S., she recommended eating tofu or tempeh instead, the less processed your food is the better). If your looking for the benefits you recieve from milk turns out you can get the same ones from kale. Also if you must do yogurt do greek yogurt (this is my tip but I think she agreed) I informed her I have a bit of a sweet tooth so we picked a raw vegan chocolate out (JUST as good and better than “regular” chocolate) and I picked out a tea, as it is a better alternative to coffee (yerba mate is for energy, still has caffeine in it but… much less damaging to you). I also picked up some basics that you should have for everyday use for baking and cooking. Coconut Oil is good for baking and frying (get the kind you can use for high heat otherwise you risk turning your healthy cooking product into a carcinogen if the heat is too high !!) I also purchased a variety of food additives such as: nutritional yeast (good for salads etc) which is found in your G.I. tract naturally, also sea salt mixed with sesame seeds (the sesame seed oil coats the sea salt making it less harsh on your body, you can put it on everything).
Jennifer grew up on a macrobiotic diet so she is very familiar with korean/asian foods (her favorite section in the grocery store!). You can’t go wrong with soba or udon noodles with mixed veggies and tamari soy sauce which you can also use on Kale. As well as seaweed for use as a salad or the sheets of seaweed (like you see on sushi rolls) she heats right up over the stove to crispy and eats; very high in vitamins and good for you.. obviously. As far as sweeteners go try agave or other raw unprocessed sugars as it is far less damaging to you than refined sugar. I bought some raw honey for my tea and I can’t wait to have it! I asked Jennifer about vitamins as well…. if you can have too much? what should you have? etc. She informed me everything in moderation (common sense people!) and daily you should absolutely have fish oil-1000 mg (New Chapter is a good brand) a probiotic (keep these refrigerated after you open the bottle) and a multi (whole food vitamins are best, read the label, also you will know by price as most cost anywhere from $40-$50 a bottle) As far as meats go Fish is great, tuna do once in a great while but definitely do WILD Fish not farm raised, salmon is good. I chose some lighter filets of white fish because I don’t care for salmon all that much. Fish is also easy to cook, you can bread it and/or put a little olive oil and lemon and wallah! Done. Before the shopping trip was over we returned to the produce section for lemons (for your water, squeeze about a half of a lemon into it and let your skin and stomach reap the benefits; aids in digestion) and avocados (people are afraid of its fat content however its NATURAL fat, don’t eat a ton but you need it too, so don’t be scared, just eat it! Its also very good).
Overall I highly enjoyed my time with Jennifer learning at Whole Foods even if I had to lug it all home on the train and in the rain. hahaha. When your deciding which diet is best for you just feel it out, don’t be afraid to experiment. No one diet is better than another, its all about you. Obviously the less you eat modified and processed foods the better it will be for your body, but you have to do what feels right. Vegan is for some not all, Vegetarian is for some not all, same with macrobiotic and meat… Just be aware of your options and explore your local markets/grocery stores! Also it doesn’t hurt to look up coaches or people who make a life advising others about nutrition, thats what they are there for. Jennifer specializes in holistic health (Wiki me!).
There are many different types of health guides you can find, I advise you find a health food store near you and usually if they don’t have someone on staff they will keep a list of local contacts you can get in touch with. Also if you just have a question on a product or something an employee can usually help you out rather well. After this trip I also think of Whole Foods differently, I used to only think the affluent could afford it on the regular, however with their large selection and in house organic brand (365) you can easily pick and choose specific items and then buy the bulk of your food from Trader Joes or a local fresh market. Its the best of both worlds. Nutritionally sound foods should not be so difficult to access, for most it is hard to afford (I’m single so its easy for just me) and also all the junk food (i.e. pretty much everything in your regular everyday grocery store) is cheaper than the good foods which only adds to the pandemic of obesity this country is experiencing. Bottom line: This system is whack and you have to do your research/get creative to eat well but its not hard! Promise! Not to mention the less junk you eat it gets easier to curb your cravings and soon you’ll actually want that carrot stick as a snack! (=
Cheers to your health dear reader.
Caption: “Spit that other brew crap out and go visit a real coffee shop.” – Kaffe 1668
!!UPDATE!! Here is Jennifers Website SO GOOD—> http://kasshealth.com/category/taste/