New Paleo Prepared Foods
Now at Whole Foods Market

WF Paleo Special of the Weekby Melissa Diane Smith

If you eat a Paleolithic, gluten-free, grain-free, or sugar-free diet—or if you’re looking for easy-to-grab prepared foods free of most genetically modified organisms (GMOs)—I have some great news for you: Whole Foods Market now offers Paleo Specials of the Week every day in its deli case and at least one day a week in its hot food bar. Though specifics may vary in areas around the country, the Northern California region of Whole Foods started the Paleo items first, and several other regions, including Southern Pacific, have begun to carry the options. In Arizona where I live, there are Paleo offerings in both the hot bar and cold bar all day every Thursday.

“Whole Foods Market wanted to better serve our Paleo lifestyle customers, which is why we have added these unique items to our Prepared Foods Department,” says Laura Kruszewski, marketing team leader for the River Road Whole Foods Market in Tucson, Arizona.

The Paleo options will be offered for the foreseeable future, providing they sell well enough. That means it’s up to us customers to support the program by purchasing these foods.

The Paleolithic diet is free of grains, gluten, dairy products, beans, vegetable oils, sugar, and most of the top sources of GMOs. As a nutrition counselor, I’ve seen firsthand how the Paleolithic diet turns people’s health around, and it’s no secret that I follow a largely Paleo diet myself and recommend the diet because of its many benefits. (If you don’t know how or why avoiding grains, gluten, sugar and GMOs improves health, learn more by reading my books Syndrome X, Going Against the Grain, and my new book Going Against GMOs.)

Research backs up how therapeutic the Paleo diet is. To learn more about the diet’s health benefits, check out the following blog posts:

However, even if you don’t eat a Paleolithic diet, the Paleolithic items at Whole Foods can still help you. Most of the specials are creative combinations of non-starchy vegetables, something all of us—from those on low-carb diets to those on vegetarian diets—benefit from eating liberally. The picture above shows Paleo Pan-Roasted Artichokes, and behind the sign, Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad. I’ve seen Moroccan Carrot Salad and Cabbage Crunch Salad also offered.

In the hot bar on a Thursday a few weeks ago, I saw an amazing assortment of non-starchy vegetables—far more than the average person would cook for himself at home. The options included Paleo Roasted Vegetables, Sautéed Greens and Mushrooms, Sautéed Brussels Sprouts, Steamed Cauliflower, and Roasted Asparagus. (Interestingly, the latter two weren’t labeled as Paleo Specials, but they were Paleo all the same).

Eating these items is an easy way to avoid both grains and GMOs and help lose unwanted weight and overcome many health problems. Non-starchy vegetables are low in calories and carbohydrates and are essential for everything from weight loss to bone health. In addition, as of right now, all vegetables except zucchini and yellow squash are non-GMO. (Zucchini and yellow squash can be genetically modified unless they’re organic.) The Paleo offerings at Whole Foods also use no vegetable oil—only naturally non-GMO olive oil or coconut oil, the two healthiest oils out there.

Eating a Paleolithic diet with a combination of meat and vegetables is the easiest way for most people to get the hang of going both against the grain and against GMOs at the same time—and to experience impressive health benefits. Whole Foods’ decision to offer Paleo Specials is an exciting development I applaud: The items will help countless people, including busy clients of mine and readers of my books, eat healthier, especially when they don’t have time to cook.

Though I wish that Whole Foods would go even further and offer organic, grass-fed meat options in its prepared foods hot case, I understand that making these kinds of changes takes time. Offering the Paleo Specials is a huge step in the right direction.

If you strictly avoid all sources of GMOs, including meat from animals fed commercial GMO feed, here’s a tip: Purchase an Organic Rotisserie Chicken at Whole Foods and pick up a variety of vegetable-based Paleo Specials for takeout. This is a great way to get a complete non-GMO meal for you and your family with no cooking required.

Copyright 2014 Melissa Diane Smith

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