Jessica Grossman, Whole Foods

Each week, Jessica Grossman hosts Healthy Tuesdays at the Coral Gables Whole Foods Market. Jessica is a Healthy Eating & Green Mission Specialist, meaning that she facilitates the ‘health starts here’ program. ‘Health starts here’ was begun by Whole Foods Markets to provide customers with some simple, straightforward guidelines for healthy eating.

Jessica says that a few small changes can make a big difference if you integrate the ‘Four Pillars of Healthy Eating’ into your diet: whole food, healthy fats, plant-strong foods, and nutrient dense foods. Whole foods are unprocessed and allow the body to benefit from the liquid, fiber, fat, etc. Healthy fats are rich in micronutrients. Plant-strong foods have more nutrients because they obtain energy from the primary source: the sun. Nutrient dense foods have a lot of micronutrients for the amount of calories they contain.

‘Health starts here’ is affiliated with Eat Right America and the Engine 2 Diet. Eat Right America has developed the ANDI score (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) for whole foods to indicate the top 10 most nutrient dense vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds, whole grains, meat, fish, cheese, and dairy. The list is available at customer service and posted above each section in the store. Customers are encouraged to incorporate foods from the ANDI list into each meal. Divided into different categories, foods are given a score. Jessica emphasizes that people need to eat a balance of types of food in order to have access to all of the types of nutrients the body requires.

Healthy Eating Specialists offer Healthy Eating Store Tours to provide a better understanding of what foods are advocated in the program and where they are located in the store. Whole Foods tourists learn about the importance of reading labels to get the facts since ‘health starts here’ requires people to take responsibility for what they place in their bodies. Healthy Eating Specialists entice tourists with free samples of anything, answer questions about foods that are unfamiliar, and offer creative and satisfying preparations. Jessica highlights her favorite foods and explains Whole Foods Markets’ quality standards. For instance, none of their conventional produce growers use persistent pesticides, meats are qualified by Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating, and fish is rated under stipulations of the Marine Stewardship Council and the Blue Ocean Institute.

For those with busy schedules, Jessica points out options that minimize preparation time, such as frozen fruits, frozen vegetables, and pre-cooked rice. Additionally, several ‘health starts here’ options are available in the prepared foods section. With minimal seasonings, these foods cater to a broad spectrum of palates.

Healthy Eating Specialists also offer themed cooking classes to demonstrate preparation techniques that are aligned with the Four Pillars and taste good. Most people seek help with preparing plant-based foods so most classes are vegetarian oriented. ‘Health starts here’ is less about what to buy and more about how to buy. It is an opportunity to learn about how to make some concrete changes that increase the body’s ability to function properly.

Information about ‘health starts here’ and the 28-Day Challenge can be obtained at your local Whole Foods market or online at Private tours are also available for those with special dietary needs and preferences.

Miami Whole Foods Locations

Coral Gables: 6701 Red Rd / 305-421-9421/

Healthy Eating & Green Mission Specialist: Jessica

Pinecrest: 11701 South Dixie Highway / 305-969-5800 /

Healthy Eating & Green Mission Specialist: Alina

South Beach: 1020 Alton Rd / 305-938-2800 /

Healthy Eating & Green Mission Specialist: Jordan

Aventura: 21105 Biscayne Blvd / 305-933-1543 /

Healthy Eating & Green Mission Specialist: Alessandra

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