Eat Right America Challenge
Invitation and acceptation
I get an email about the collaboration between Whole Foods Market and the Eat Right America inviting me to join in. It sounds harmless enough. I have no idea what it entails but I am thinking Whole Foods Market has a fabulous selection of food, and I want to “eat right.” I peruse the Eat Right America website, and the three tenants across the site, “Lose Weight Without Dieting!” “Look and Feel Your Best” “Nourish Your Children” all sound encouraging without being too over the top. Whole Foods is also offering to credit me $50 for groceries during the challenge, which almost sounds unbelievable. So I email back with a few questions, and say yes to the challenge.
What I said yes to:
I head over to the first group meeting at Whole Foods Market. Its been a crazy tuesday as usual. I grabbed lunch from Stillwell’s Bakery, a BLT on whole wheat, caesar salad, strawberry florentine and water. Probably will have to cut out pastry consumption.
When Elyse Dietzel starts to hand out our folders, and explain the Engine 2 Diet I start to get a little worried. Engine 2 is very inspirational, Rip Esselystyn, (I love his name) a firefighter in Texas who realized he cherished life and living too much to let himself and his colleagues die from food related disease, like high cholesterol, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. They risked their lives with fire everyday, no need to risk the body to food. He developed a plant based nutrient rich diet in which to live by, with meals delicious enough for the firefighters to stand behind.
But for me this kind of diet is a radical change. A plant based diet is a diet with no meat, of course, but this will also be no dairy. I will not be eating any of my beautiful home farmed organic eggs. Bye bye yogurt, kefir and cream. Then also no oils. We will not be cooking veggies with any oil. Fried potatoes no good. Also removing any processed foods, and refined foods, no white rice, no white flour, or white pasta, and stay away from things that come packaged in a bag or cellophane for you to eat like cookies and chips. I don’t eat a lot of processed foods, and feel like I eat lots of vegetables, but i start the day out with bread and coffee with cream. a big no no.
We get hand outs about which vegetables rate highest on the scale of nutrient rich density (called an ANDI score, aggregate nutrient density index). Top of the list is watercress and kale, scoring 1000, luckily I love both of these items. These are part of the four pillars of healthy eating, according to whole foods. Eat whole foods (whole fresh natural organic), plant strong (fruit, veg, whole grain, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes), nutrient dense (choose foods higher on the ANDI), and healthy fat (avow, nuts and seeds). By the way sugar does not rate high on the ANDI scale, and does not count as a plant based nutrient rich item.
Taking in all of the information stream I am part dumbfounded and part excited to embark on a new way of eating. My biggest challenge beyond willpower is going to be finding the foods on the go. And when it comes to my dining reviews all bets are off, I will be tasting everything as usual. That doesn’t mean that i can’t change my eating and shopping habits for home, and what i grab to eat on the go. I hope to come to a better awareness of food and how I consume it.
Before I go home from the meeting I peruse the aisles in Whole Food Market Kahului quizzing myself on the nutrient rich items, what has added oils, what is whole grain, etc. I come home with almond butter made fresh from the machine, about $3.50, and a bag of sunflower seeds $3.50. Sunflower seeds rate highest on the nuts and seeds category of the ANDI list with a score of 78, Almonds are 7th with a 38.