How Whole Foods Saved My Life – But It’s a Love/Hate Relationship

How Whole Foods Saved My Life – But It’s a Love/Hate Relationship post image

I’ve been on a real food diet for many years now and it gets harder and harder to stray from eating pure, unadulterated food. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to procure food of this quality when you travel. My one saving grace has been the emergence of Whole Foods all over the country.

There are many people who do not want to support Whole Foods – for numerous valid reasons, but when you are traveling and staying in hotels, Whole Foods can save your life. It did mine.

We were staying in a hotel in Florida and the selection of restaurants were numerous, but, as you might imagine, not exactly real. We did find a great restaurant and had a wonderful meal of fresh, local fish (wild of course), but the bill came to ninety something dollars for two people. We didn’t want to do that every night!

An Acceptable Solution While Traveling

We did locate a Whole Foods nearby and realized that their salad and food bar could provide us with meals that we could eat there or take back with us. Yea! At least I could get a decent salad and some form of protein that was not messed with too much. I couldn’t expect to get pastured chicken, but you never can get that eating out. They also had baked fish and pot roast made very simply.

Best of all – the bill for two people eating dinner was under $22.00! That I could easily do every night while traveling!

Time Shares are the Best Solution

When I started the SCD years ago, I began to stay at time shares. The first time we rented one and got hooked. Then we bought one.

I really love this way of traveling. You get more space and a full kitchen. Even if you are not planning to cook dinners, it makes breakfast and lunches a snap because you have the space and equipment to prepare and store food as you would at home. This is a really economical and much better way to enjoy different locations.

With most time shares, you can trade your week and your location so you are not stuck in any one place. You just have to plan ahead.

Frankly, I have gotten spoiled by staying in time shares because now a hotel room is so small and it is so difficult to prepare your own food – it’s like camping. I just hate to be at the mercy of restaurants – most serving the garbage they call food for so much more than it costs for real food that you prepare yourself.

Another solution while traveling is a Residence Inn. Marriott has these all over the country and they also provide a full kitchen. We have stayed at Residence Inns many times and been very happy. They are all very clean and modern.

The Love/Hate Relationship

Seeing a Whole Foods while away from home is, for me, like seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. I know I can get some kind of decent food there while away from home.

However, they do have a lot of garbage, too. You REALLY have to be careful about what you buy there. Luckily, the food bar has an ingredient label on every item. As you can see below, some of the food is jut filled with junk!

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I am especially peeved about their use of canola oil on almost EVERYTHING in the deli department! And, it is not even organic! They use this canola oil in all their salad dressing, of course, and almost all their salads and other foods. It is so frustrating. Do they not know that canola is a junk oil and it all GMO?

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They also have a love for agave in some of their foods. Here again, do they not know that most agave is worse than high fructose corn syrup?

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And speaking of corn, any corn they use is not organic – you know what that means – it’s GMO!

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. While everything looks nice and healthy, there is usually at least one VERY bad ingredient that makes me not want to eat it. Frustrating because they could easily use a better oil, or organic ingredients in these prepared foods.

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As  you can see, while I am happy to shop in Whole Foods and eat at their food bar, there is very little for me to chose from as my standards are very high. But there is always one or two items that are Ok. The ham is not pastured and the potatoes are not organic, but at least there are no toxic additives.

I’ve gotten stricter over the years because I realize that I feel much better when I stay on my diet of real food. I can stray here and there, but it takes its toll. If I had to eat out for 7 days while on vacation I think I would be feeling very ill.

Eating at Whole Foods food bar at least gives me a chance to pick and choose and know the exact ingredients in each dish. For me, that works.

What do you do while on vacation? How do you deal with special diets and restrictions? Leave a comment a let me know!

Shared at: Real Food Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Mommy Club, Fight Back Friday

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Leave a Comment

  • Mary Himmer April 23, 2014, 7:15 am

    I have tried an occasional meal at Whole Foods salad bars but always get sick from their lack of high quality ingredients. We have similar standards for eating as you. It is nice to know there may be one or 2 offerings that would be GMO free as that may be what is causing the problem for me. I will look next time I shop there. When we travel, we generally go to local natural food stores, the small ones, and take a butane cook stove with us to eat outdoors especially in the summer. Sometimes farmer’s markets, at least the ones in VT, have great home cooked options as well. When the camp grounds are closed, we often stay in a cottage with cooking facilities.

  • Lisa April 23, 2014, 8:34 am

    We usually try and stay at places with a kitchen. This is usually more expensive, but I think what we spend on the lodging we save on the meals and our health benefits as well. At times – especially when visiting a big city like Boston it is hard to find healthy alternatives. We try to pack things from home in a cooler like breakfast and lunch. We try in this case to also get a room with mini fridge so we don’t only have to rely on the cooler. We pack things like fruit, beef jerky, or I might make muffins, etc…We also try to do research on-line to find places that serve some local or organic items. It is a challenge, and does require extra planning but on the whole I think we do a pretty good job of avoiding most junky meals out there and are able to balance our extra planning with having a good time.

  • Laura April 23, 2014, 10:11 am

    Oh, I so get it. You have to be really careful of what to eat if you want to feel well. I personally don’t have any intolerances or something, but I have also noticed that I feel a lot better when on real food diet. I have a vacation at Canary Islands coming up in a week.. and I so hope that those all inclusive buffet’s provide at least SOMETHING to fit my eating habits. Otherwise I don’t even want to think how bad it will be after 8 days..

  • Judee@ Gluten Free A-Z April 23, 2014, 2:48 pm

    I can so relate to traveling looking for a Whole Foods, renting a place with my own kitchen, and packing non perishable essentials.

  • sabrina April 23, 2014, 3:35 pm

    I’ve noticed the SAME thing with Whole Foods. Supposed to be high quality food but the self serve and prepared food area is such a disappointment. Glad to hear you feel the same way! 😉

  • KG April 26, 2014, 11:16 am

    I travel and spend the night in hotels sometimes 2 or 3 nights a week. I don’t usually have a choice as to where I’m staying hotel-wise, and I usually end up in very small towns in the middle of nowhere in Kentucky. 🙂 With that said, I’ve come up with a perfect solution for my travel food woes. Almost every town I stay in will have either a Kroger or a Walmart. There, I can get a box of organic greens (usually a mix of kale, spinach, chard, and beet greens), an avocado, some whole-fat, organic plain yogurt, and either a can of Wild Planet salmon or tuna OR a bag of frozen “salad shrimp” (they’re wild caught in the USA, and only about $1.50 for a small bag). Sometimes, Walmart won’t have a good protein option, so I usually have a can of back-up salmon or tuna from home OR a package of smoked Alaskan salmon with me. I usually bring along some dijon mustard and a little local honey, as well as my own salt and pepper. I pop the top off off my box of greens, add in an entire cut-up avocado, some generous globs of yogurt, a squirt or two of dijon, a dab of honey, and then my protein, salt, and pepper. Mix it all up and eat the whole thing. It’s SUPER tasty, SUPER easy, and costs about $8 for the whole thing. This is my go-to meal when I’m on the road!

    • Jill April 26, 2014, 2:24 pm

      Hi KG,
      Thanks for sharing a very good solution!