10 Surprising Things I Learned About Your Favorite Foods During 8 Years at Whole Foods Market

Over 8 years in 3 highly exposed roles at Whole Foods, I got extensive training on food nutrition (formally and informally). Let me share some of the tidbits I have found most interesting –

  • Napa cabbage is one of the most nutrient-dense (vitamins and minerals per calorie) veggies out there. It’s slightly more nutritious than kale(!), but a little bit sweet, and delightfully crunchy.
  • Conventional milk can be produced by cows injected with synthetic growth hormone rBGH. The hormone can make cows placid and sick, and when dairy farmers treat them with antibiotics, both hormone and antibiotic residues can make their way into human consumers…enough said. On the plus side, you can be sure that ALL organic milk is rBGH-free.
  • Smoothies and juice taste amazing and are super nutritious, but they can also pack huge amounts of fruit sugars (multiple candy bars’ worth!). Just as with anything, they’re great in moderation.
  • Most conventional corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified, but organic corn is GMO-free.
  • Frozen foods might get a bad rap, but flash frozen veggies are actually a great option, because they are frozen at peak condition and still contain the all the beneficial vitamins and nutrients that fresh veggies have.
  • Body care and supplements aren’t covered by the same federal health regulations that food is; many conventional brands (sold at Target, Jewel) use filler ingredients that consumers want to be aware of. Because of the loose regulations, Whole Foods created a set of standards — and inspects their body care and supplements for those standards before agreeing to sell them.
  • A fabulous, efficient way to prepare a ripe avocado is to remove the “stem”, and carefully slice lengthwise around the pit. Then twist open, remove the pit with a spoon. Finally, carefully lattice-cut each half, then turn each half inside out. Voila.
  • Nutrition labels do not yet list “added sugar”, which makes it tricky to tell how much of the sugar in a food is naturally occurring, as from fruit, and how much is added, as from corn syrup. The best way to tell that there is any added sugar (or sweetener) is to read the ingredient label.
  • Heirloom tomatoes aren’t just beautiful; they’re what all tomatoes used to look like. Our perfectly smooth and round tomatoes of today have evolved over years of hybridization and genetic modification.

I’m Leah, creative lead, designer and graphic recorder at urbanwildstudio.com. I am a digital nomad using a crafted skillset and lightweight footprint to work smartly, explore agilely, and reinforce purpose. Hobbies are physical activity and food nutrition.

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