by Heather Olsen, Healthy Eating Specialist
I have been with Whole Foods Market for 6 years now, and I am amazed at all I have learned about healthy eating. When I started I was working as the cake decorator, my sweet tooth took over as I rode the roller coaster of sugar addiction tasting my way through the pastry case. I rationalized: “how can I sell these cakes, cookies, pastries and breads to customers if I haven’t tried them?” You may not be surprised to hear that I gained 30 pounds in 6 short months of eating this way. When I moved to Jacksonville in 2008 to help open the store and joined the marketing team, I swapped cheesecake for fresh strawberries and I haven’t looked back since.
I have been maintaining a 65+ pound weight loss for four years and counting, and I am happy at a “normal” weight without counting calories or stressing over every bite. I went from a bona-fide couch potato that dreaded having to run laps in gym class to completing a couch-to-5K program in 2009. I have so much more energy eating healthy that I have continued running – I finished 3 marathons and 6 half marathons to date – and I love how I feel.
What worked for me was the concept of baby steps: I would take a healthy eating nugget that I learned at work and incorporate it into my life. After a few days I felt a difference in my energy level, my quality of sleep, and my mood. My skin became clearer, and my hair and nails became stronger. These changes motivated me to keep it up and to try more and more positive habits. The number one most important change I made to my way of eating was to enjoy fresh fruit instead of processed sweets, and learning how to make ice cream at home using bananas changed my life – really! Here is a decadent, vegan, super easy recipe for Banana Nice Cream: http://wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/banana-nice-cream, and a creamy-tart Raspberry Nice Cream: http://wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/raspberry-nice-cream. Get your blender motors revving!
You can learn more about Health Starts Here, and of course enjoy healthy vegan recipes, by signing up for events at the store: cooking classes, supper clubs, store tours, 28-day challenges, individual consultations, and more! Visit our online calendar of events at: http://wholefoodsmarket.com/events?store=6583 for details.
You have a lot to be proud of! Take a moment to reflect on the positive changes you are experiencing as you choose to eat plant-strong, and pat yourself on the back for making healthier choices. My hope is that this experience is the beginning of a new way of life for you. Good nutrition is the foundation of your health, and it’s truly amazing what your body can do when you choose to enjoy whole, nutrient dense foods. Keep up the great work, and I hope to see you at healthy eating events at Whole Foods Market!
About Heather Olsen
Heather facilitates cooking classes, store tours, recipe demonstrations, 28-day challenges, and presentations for groups of all ages, and in addition provides healthy eating consultations to individuals.
Heather has worked for Whole Foods Market for 6 years and she enjoys educating others about the company’s Core Values, in particular healthy eating education and caring about our communities and environment.