This month I am participating in the the Whole Foods 28 Day Healthy Eating Challenge, which is affiliated with their Health Starts Here work.
For five weeks, I will attend a class at my local store, with sessions to include: Whole Foods core values and wellness lecture, a healthy eating demo and a healthy eating on a budget store tour, navigating your way through a healthy lifestyle change, a cooking class with the store chef and a supper club with a panel of experts. Additionally, they will be screening the film "Forks Over Knives", but since I've already seen it, I won't be going to that session (but you should see it if you haven't! Fantastic film!). All this, plus a book and a bag of healthy starter groceries (lentils, quinoa, steel cut oats, Lara Bars, digestive enzymes, etc!), for just a $30 donation to their Whole Planet Foundation. This is the third time the store near me has ran this program, so if you are interested I would suggest that you see if a Whole Foods near you already is holding the class or let them know that you are interested.
At our first session this week, we reviewed what we should be eating during this time period by learning about their four pillars of healthy eating: eat whole, unprocessed foods, lots and lots of plants, healthy fats and foods with a high nutrient density. They are stressing eating a plant strong diet, which could include eating meat or dairy as as more of a garnish to a dish, but stated they aren't there to make everyone into vegetarians. While I know they are trying to not push people away, they are basing their course on the work of Dr. Fuhrman and Rip Esselstyn, so I wish they would at least touch on the benefits of a plant-based diet. They also brought in an expert on wellness who talked about reducing stress levels for a healthier lifestyle. He taught us a breathing exercise to try to combat cravings and explained how chocolate, dairy and sugar all temporarily increase your relaxation response, which is why you want to eat them when you are stressed.
This is supposed to be a challenge and I am sure that it will be. This month includes the Super Bowl, my birthday, Valentine's Day and a trip to New Jersey to visit my family. All of these are potential pitfalls for a healthy diet. However, I am hoping to learn some new things (such as more ways to cook greens!) in this course and apply them for the long term. For the next 28 days, I plan to follow their suggestions as closely as possible. It's time to go from eating vegan junk food to really focusing on eating good, whole, nutritious food. So far, after just one class, I have a lot of new information and resources. I'm looking forward to seeing where these next few weeks of class take me.
(Picture from the Whole Foods website)