A Whole Foods Journey

After our last blog about the beginning of our rabbit hole journey with food we had quite a few friends reach out to us, which was fantastic! We both really love sharing about our journey and have been studying it (and listening to our bodies) for over five years now, so we feel pretty comfortable literally spilling our guts.

This morning we were reminded of a post-grocery store ritual we had shared with one of our friends and thought we’d like to share it here with all of you as well. First we’ll talk about a few things and then at the end of the blog we’ll share a very easy (and fun) way to stay on track!

When we first began down this journey we were learning how to make so many of our meals from scratch. Let’s face it, it’s super easy to go to the store and buy the pre-made, processed foods like pasta sauces, dips like hummus for snacks, frozen pizzas, etc. Most of the inner aisles of the grocery store are just that; processed foods.

Basically we had to learn a new language; whole foods. We had no idea what that really meant. Processed foods; did we even really know what that means? Definitely not, but once we learned more about the term it changed our lives.

Processed Foods

Definition: “The definition of what constitutes a processed food can vary slightly, but it usually refers to foods that are packaged in boxes, cans or bags. … In addition to going through many complex processing steps, processed foods often contain additives, artificial flavorings and other chemical ingredients.”

(Source – http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/processed-food-definition-2074.html)

Examples: Milk, canned vegetables, ready made sauces, dips, soft drinks, cereal.

Are all processed foods created equal?

Unfortunately not. Hence, the rabbit hole. Learning to recognize how manufacturers label foods is one of the most important parts to figuring out this maze of confusion, but that is also a tricky feat.

Look for logos on your food labels like:

Whole Foods

Definition: “…a natural food and especially an unprocessed one (as a vegetable or fruit)”

(Source – https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whole%20food)

Examples: Nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, quinoa, rice, etc

While we just wanted to give you all a quick run down of these two very different ideas, we really wanted to make note of something important about the definition for processed foods. It clearly states that processed foods often contains additives and even chemicals. This means that chemicals are actually added to your foods that you and your family are consuming. What does that mean?

Additives can be anything from artificial (synthetically made) sweeteners, MSG’s, Trans fats – to see more on the subject click the link for a list of 10 additives to stay away from and why. These are not the types of chemicals we want to have in our bodies and so that meant we had to do something different. We had to commit to making some very big changes around our home.

It meant we’d have to start cooking from scratch.

Tips & Tricks When Just Starting Out

  • Use your search engine and search for lists of whole foods
  • Only shop from the perimeters of your local grocery store
  • Avoid the centre aisles where foods are packaged in cans and bags
  • Substitute things like whole grain pasta for brown rice pasta
  • Start using raw, unpasteurized honey instead of granulated or refined sugar
  • Buy coconut milk for sauces and soups instead of using heavy creams
  • Make your own dough for pizza (holy cow you guys, we have the easiest, nobody can screw this up, vegan pizza dough recipe so there’s another quick blog we’ll put together soon!)


Now let’s get to the fun stuff. We want to share a tip with you that has saved us so much time, money and from having us stop for fast food (or just bad food choices in general), especially before we were both working from home.

Go grocery shopping on a day where you have no set plans. Dedicate your entire afternoon. Buy yourselves a bottle of wine. Why?

Every Sunday we would go to our local health food store and stock up on all of our flours (buckwheat, whole wheat, brown rice), nuts, seeds, almond milk, coffee beans (Kicking Horse, we love you!), spices, veggies, fruits, dried beans, peas (our favourites are split and black eyed, especially for soups), quinoa, rice, chick peas, substitutes like Veganaise instead of Mayo, etc.


We would pack up the car and head home to quite literally spend the rest of the day prepping for the entire week. We washed and prepared all of the vegetables into containers and popped them into the fridge. We’d meal prep, too, but it was also just easiest to chop up a whole zucchini and then when we wanted to add zucchini to a meal, open up the container and throw in a handful. Imagine if you did this with your veggies in a way so it was easy to grab a few carrot sticks, zucchini and cauliflower heads with the hummus you prepared yesterday, etc.

It doesn’t sound like much, but we really came to enjoy these afternoons. We’d pop on some music, crack open a chilled bottle of white and prep all day. OH! And we’d even save all of the vegetable trimmings and ends and make a big pot of vegetable stock to use throughout the week as well. It was kind of like a date day – all while making it easier to live healthier, happier, whole food loving lives.

With Purpose,

Tonia & Colin


16 Comments on “A Whole Foods Journey

  1. Pingback: Quality Time – Everything With A Purpose

  2. Pingback: It’s Complicated – Everything With A Purpose

  3. Love this! I have recently started eating more plant-based and I keep gluten-free as much as possible. Love your tips and you make it so understandable. We are sugar society, and white sugar is bad, so honey or raw sugar is better. I stay away from processed as much as I can. Another thing I learned this week-probiotics: just because they are refrigerated in a high-quality store, doesn’t mean it was handled that way on the journey. We must do a bit of homework-educated buyer. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fantastic! Yes – probiotics are really important to us as well and I learned my lesson last year about them. I brew my own kombucha and we purchase fermented foods like pickles and beets from our local farmers. That works really well for us. Thanks for sharing, Kim!


  4. I’ve been Whole Foods plant based since January and it takes a little while to get used to but I much prefer eating this way! I find preparation is key!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good for you! Do you find that your food is tasting sweeter and more vibrant? That was one thing we both noticed in the beginning – and yes. Preparation was important!


    • It also makes snacking easier. The zucchini and carrot sticks are already cut up, so grabbing a handful with some hummus is easy – no excuse not to. It ended up taking hours off of cooking time which was so helpful, especially in the beginning.


  5. I love this! I used to work for a healthy/organic food magazine and was eating healthy. I need to get back into it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, we talk about a whole foods journey as a lifestyle change. One step at a time so that it’s not an overwhelming change, much like a ‘diet’, which typically we don’t stick to for longer than a few weeks. Making this change is for good, at least it was for us. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a treat or eat an entire pizza to yourself once in a while. We’re human. It’s just about awareness and making better choices overall.


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