Whole Foods Market

Peter and I have taught over 50 healthy eating/cooking classes at Whole Foods Markets, from Seattle to Portland to California. We also shop at our local Whole Foods and like to visit new ones when we travel; needless to say we have spent some hours in there ;)

After interacting and observing at the health food store I realized A LOT of life lessons can be learned from Whole Foods Market

Slow Down

Rushing through life has never worked for me. Something about trying to go as fast as I can pretty much always ends in disaster.  I’ve seen this time and again at Whole Foods Market… mom reaching over multiple shopping carts to grab the salsa on the top shelf only to have it come crashing down on the floor and shattering to pieces.  Sometimes after teaching classes I’ll walk the customers around the store and show them where the ingredients that we used in the class are located. During this I notice that they are all over the place, forgetting items in certain sections, ready to get to find the next item as fast as they can! This ALWAYS results in forgotten items and back-tracking!

I’m no saint… I’ve been guilty of rushing through the jam-packed isles… usually when I rush through the grocery store I end up with the wrong can of soup with ingredients like potatoes, soy, sugar or oil – all things I try to avoid when I can. A couple weeks ago I picked up the peanut butter with added oil or sugar, I end up eating it because I’m not driving back to the store and I need it for my oatmeal!  

Rushing through the grocery store or life for that matter usually results in frazzled minds, bodies, shattered glass or the wrong kind of peanut butter for Pete’s sake!  

Speaking of Pete

He always says rushing doesn’t get you to your destination any faster… I’m still waiting to see the research on that, but slowing down does make the journey much more enjoyable. And when you  finally arrive at your destination, you’ll be in a much better mood!


It’s Okay to Say No

Being on the other side of the table, I know how disappointing it can be when someone doesn’t want to try one of your “samples”. But I’ve learned not to take it personally, as I often say no to samples, even at Whole Foods Market. I know those sales people can be pushy, but, if you’re trying to eat healthy, or you follow a certain diet, you need to put yourself first.

If you’re constantly saying yes to friends, family, co-workers and everyone else in your life, you’re probably saying no to yourself.  In Whole Foods Market and in life I ask myself…

Is this what I really want?

Is this going to help me reach my goals?

Does it make me excited?

Will it make me feel good? … If the answer to those questions isn’t yes, then I say No… no thank you of course ;)


A little Bit Goes a Long Way

I’m a sucker for nice people, sounds totally cheesy but it’s true. If you’re nice to me and those around you, I’m your friend for life.

Whole Foods Market knows this and they demonstrate it in their stores. Their customer service is top notch; the smiles, all the help throughout the store and even their return policy.  In addition to that, the stores are always clean, well lit and playing the latest feel good music – helping me look forward to my next shopping trip.

So this is a friendly reminder…

The little things matter. Hold open the door, say thank you and let that person behind you with just one item go before you:)

Ask for Help

Ask For Help

Why is it so hard to ask for help?

I think it has to do with being vulnerable. Somewhere along the journey we learn that asking for help and showing vulnerability is a sign of weakness. Peter and I have taught cooking classes where people won’t ask any questions during the entire class, but after everyone leaves someone will have a bunch of questions, which is fine, but we usually don’t have much time left to answer all their questions.

Same thing with shopping in the store. If you can’t find something or don’t know what something is just ask! Whole Foods carries so many amazing produce items, and I wouldn’t know what half of them are if I never asked; dragon fruit, red banana… forget about it.

If you don’t ask for help, you might miss out on something really great…

Like raw chocolate tarts, or when to mix in the flax meal into the Morning Muffin Recipe.


Time to be vulnerable… which one of these do you struggle with the most?


What other life lessons have you learned from the grocery store?

 If you have a friend or family member that could use a littler reminder on these life lessons, please share this post!



    6 replies to "What Teaching Cooking Classes at Whole Foods Taught Me About Life"

    • Olivia Lane

      I could use a little more “It’s okay to say no.” Love the questions/ criteria for if something should go in the basket. So helpful!

      Also, Whole Foods Market is the best national commercial market. I love that place!

      • Sarah

        Olivia, we are always so on the same page! Whole Foods Rocks, I mean don’t get me wrong I love small local health food stores but sometimes those aren’t available or you just need a whole foods;)

    • Melissa Danielle

      I’ve learned the importance of not doing my grocery shopping while hungry and the importance of having a list based on planned meals.

      Shopping while hungry and not having meals planned out for the week makes it easier to choose foods that may not be best for you and suck you in to the upsells (samples, sales, and the food porn that is the Whole Foods product display).

      Whole Foods Market has food marketing down to a science!

      • Sarah

        Hey Melissa!

        Great advice!!! Peter and pretty much always get a “Snack” When grocery shopping at Whole Foods, they are GOOD with the up sells and everything looks so tasty:)

    • Darin McNamara

      Hi Sarah, you are so right about being nice. It goes a long way! What a difference it makes when people at the store are nice and friendly as opposed to stressed out, not loving their job, and acting like you are bothering them or something. That is why I like Trader Joe’s, everyone is super nice!

      Enjoy your day!


      • Sarah

        Good Call Darin! The people at Trader Joes are super nice…I think its the Hawaiian shirts;)

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