My First Trip to Whole Foods

January 27, 2011

Well, not my first ever trip to Whole Foods.  I’ve been there before.  But today was my first visit since being given a very generous gift card on national TV.

It was a quick visit today.  I have plans to scour every inch of Whole Foods, and try tons of new things (and blog about them), but today I was out running errands, and I just needed to quickly pick up a few things, mainly produce and protein.  And I didn’t make a list before leaving the house (I always like shopping with a list, it curtails impulse purchases), so another more major visit is right around the corner, I just didn’t get it together to make it happen today.

Here’s the closest Whole Foods to my house – it’s in Sherman Oaks, CA:

It’s pretty small for a Whole Foods – more like the size of a CVS than a grocery store.  But they have pretty much all the departments: meat and seafood counters, prepared foods counter, flowers, bakery, etc., with most of the groceries and supplements packed into about 4 aisles in the center.

I only hit 3 departments:  dairy (where I picked up eggs and cottage cheese), frozen food (for veggie burgers), and produce, where I picked up all this:

Clockwise from top, that’s 1 bag salad mix, loose carrots, 3 banansas, a cucumber, 2 roma tomatoes, 1 shallot, 1 red and 1 green bell pepper, and a head of celery.

It’s all organic, and the prices reflect that:  $1.29 a pound for the carrots (I bought $1.14 worth), $0.99 a pound for the bananas (I bought $1.43 worth), and $1.99 for the cucumber.  At $1.99, the bag of salad looks like a good deal, but it’s only 4 ounces, so I’m not sure if it is or not.  Altogether, I spent $13.14 on this produce.  Add in the other groceries mentioned above, and my total was $31.74.  Thank you, gift card, for taking care of that!

Dinner tonight will be a veggie burger, and probably a salad, since I have lots of good stuff for a salad now.

Keep it up, David!

Haircut & Produce & More

November 19, 2010

Where to start today?  Lots of little things to blog about…

1) Haircut. I didn’t just get a hair cut – I got them all cut!  [Rim Shot].  I’ve been going to Heather at the Glendale Salon Spa for a couple of years now, and have always walked away happy.  Here’s what I looked like before Heather and her scissors worked their magic:

And the end result:

2) Produce. Had to go grocery shopping today, and had to be thoughtful about it.  Today is Friday, and on Monday evening I’m leaving on a jet plane to Colorado to visit my sister and her family for Thanksgiving week.  I’ll be gone for 5 days (though I plan to blog from Colorado, and my sister is excited to help me), so the challenge was this:  buy enough fruits and veggies to last exactly until Monday, and if I happen to buy too many, make sure I buy kinds that will last until I get back.  I don’t like buying produce and throwing it away, like I did with that disgusting Yali pear.

So I was off to one of my favorite grocery stores, Jon’s.  I looked up their weekly ad online, and saw that they had grapes on sale (99 cents a pound), which is perfect for my situation, because I can freeze them, and whatever I don’t eat in the next few days will keep for the next few weeks (read about the benefits of freezing grapes here).  Other good produce that will keep if I need it to include apples, carrots, and celery, so all those went into my basket.  Here’s what I walked away with:

1 head of celery, 1 yam, 1 zucchini, 1 pound of carrots, 1 bag of red seedless grapes (brand name: Supergrape!), 2 bananas, 1 green pepper, 1 Rome apple, and 2 Granny Smith apples.  I haven’t had a green apple since I don’t know when, and plus the Granny Smiths were on sale for 50 cents a pound, so I bought a couple.

The grand total?  $5.34!   Some pricing highlights include the yam for 9 cents, the zucchini for 24 cents, and the bell pepper for 34 cents.  Even on sale, the grapes were nearly 1/2 of my bill, at $2.48 – but still a great price for 2 1/2 pounds of grapes!

3) Flat Tire Update. I posed a question in the title of my last postHow Many Calories Do You Burn Changing A Flat Tire? I asked the question rhetorically, but earlier today, I snooped around to see if anyone actually knew the answer.  Lo and behold, someone did!  Eric Lupher, a reporter for KKTV, the CBS affiliate in Colorado Springs, posted a blog in April (you can read it here) claiming he burned 367 calories changing his tire!  Seems like a lot to me, but who am I to argue?

4) Workout. Was up early today for my 3rd session in the park with Oscar and Joe, although Joe couldn’t make it today, so it was just me and Oscar.  Oscar had me do a workout similar to the one I did on Wednesday (read about it and see pictures here), and he added a new piece of equipment into the routine: the kettlebell.  I like Wikipedia’s description: a “weight looking somewhat like a cannonball with a handle, used to perform ballistic exercises that combine cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training.”  Oscar’s kettlebell is a little more sophisticated than that, with plates that slide in and out so you can adjust the weight.  Oscar had me do kettlebell swings, where I start in a squat position, and simultaneously stand up, thrust my hips forward, and swing the kettlebell from between my legs to straight up in front of me.  You can watch what the movement looks like here (starting at 2 min, 30 sec into the video), except that I did them with each arm individually, instead of both. I felt ready to collapse when the workout was over – a good thing!

Keep it up, David!

Vallarta and an Update from My Scale

November 4, 2010

We’ll start with the good stuff!  I stepped on the scale this morning and…

Down 2 pounds! That’s 147 pounds total.  Now 3 pounds away from hitting 150 pounds of weight loss, and 5 pounds away from reaching my next goal.  They’re practically in striking distance!

Time to update my chart:

The dotted line is at 250 pounds, which is what I’ll weigh when I reach my next goal.  I’ll be setting another goal after that – I have more to lose – but I haven’t figured out what it is yet.

Here’s a fun fact:  I’ve now lost 36.56% of my original body weight.  That’s over a third!  Wowsa!  Keep it up, David!

I’d say today was a good day, even I hadn’t stepped on the scale.  I was able to lend support to one of my best friends when she needed it (I’ll elaborate a little bit on this in my next post).  I also got a few things done around my house, and tried out a new supermarket, which I always think is a good time (here are links to posts about other supermarkets – in recent weeks I’ve checked out Super King, Jon’s and Superior).

Today it was a Vallarta Supermarket.  I’ve seen Vallarta stores around before – there was one a few blocks from my last apartment, actually – but I’ve never been in one.  According to their website, they have about 30 locations throughout Southern California.  Here’s the one I went to (in Burbank):

Let me tell you, all the other supermarkets could take a lesson from Vallarta on how to go balls-to-the-wall in regards to Supermarket decor.  Indoor fake palm trees?  Murals and lights on every available surface? Fake building facades as if you’re in a little Mexican village?  Yes, sir! I feel like a sucker for shopping for so long without such amenities!

Here’s their giant produce section:

They had a whole aisle that was almost entirely just different varieties of bananas:

Here’s their prepared food section:

I could have watched their tortilla machine for hours.  Mesmerizing:

All this, only about 2 miles from my house!

While Vallarta was a kaleidoscopic feast for the eyes, my wallet was a little less impressed.  The prices were good, but not holy-crap-I-can’t-believe-it amazing.  There were deals to be had, for sure, and with stealthy shopping, you can make out like a bandit.  But it’s no Super King, where I once bought 9 pieces of fruit for $1.65.

That said, I’m still pretty pleased with my haul from the produce department.  Here’s what I picked up:

A cauliflower, celery, cilantro, a cucumber, a personal seedless watermelon, 5 bananas, 3 oranges, 2 gala apples, 1 green pepper, 1 tomato, 1 anaheim pepper, 3 kiwis, 2 limes, a persimmons (which I recently tried for the first time), and a quince.

That’s right, a quince.

I don’t know what a quince is, how to tell if it’s ripe, if I can eat it raw, if I should eat the skin… there’s a lot of research to be done.  But, as you regular blog readers are aware, I’m up for trying new things, so what the hell.  Vallarta had a ton of quinces (quinci?) and that one cost me 98 cents.  I’ll keep you posted on what the deal is with that quince.

Some of the other good deals at Vallarta included bananas for 33 cents a pound (5 cost me 57 cents), cucumbers and cilantro for 25 cents apiece, and oranges for 39 cents a pound (3 cost me 80 cents).  All told, all that produce cost me $8.53.

Ok.  I retract my previous statement – those are pretty amazing prices!  Vallarta, I’ll be coming back soon!

Lastly, before Vallarta I went to the gym and had a great workout.  Five minutes on the treadmill to warm up, then about 25 minutes of weight lifting (minus 5 minutes that I was chatting to an old friend I ran into), then 35 minutes on the elliptical, and then sit-ups.  I’ve worked out the last 6 days in a row… I think tomorrow I’ll take a day off from exercise.

Keep it up, David!

Fruit and Snow

September 16, 2010

You know how there are places you drive by all the time, and you think, ‘I really should stop and check that place out?’  Maybe it’s a restaurant or a boutique, but for me, one of them is a supermarket, and tonight, I pulled into the parking lot for reals and checked it out:

There are Jons all over Los Angeles – according to their website, there are 15 in total.  There was one in my old neighborhood, Burbank, that I never went to (and now appears to have closed), and there’s one in my current neighborhood, too.  I didn’t have a long shopping list – I just wanted to pick up some fruit, as my produce bowl was down to slim pickins:That’s 1 head of garlic, 2 shallots, 1 small pluot, maybe 10 cherry tomatoes, and a lot of empty space.

Here’s my verdict:  Jons is a great place for produce.  They had a big selection, and it was cheap.  Pears for 50 cents a pound?  Yes, please!  Oranges for 33 cents a pound?  Don’t mind if I do!  Cantaloupe for 25 cents a pound?  Are you kidding me?  Here’s the fruit bowl after my shopping trip:

The new additions are:  1 cantaloupe, 1 grapefruit, 3 oranges, 4 bartlett pears, 2 gala apples, 2 limes, 2 kiwis.  Total damage?  $3.70.  Three dollars and seventy cents!  I had to pick my jaw up off of the floor.  I’m totally going back to Jons in the future, and next time, I’m checking out the rest of the store beyond the produce section as well.

Just when I thought my night couldn’t get any more magical, when I arrived home I drove past a film crew set up at the gas station across the street from my building.  I parked and wandered over to investigate, and saw, miracles of miracles, snow!  In North Hollywood!They had covered the ground with fake snow, extras were wandering around in heavy coats and hats, and the camera was aimed at a woman pumping gas with a fake plastic snowman tied to the roof of her car.  I watched them shoot a couple takes of what seemed to be an establishing shot of some kind, as there wasn’t any dialogue, then asked a crew member what they were filming.  It was a Bank of America commercial.  B of A is the bank that held up my purchase of my condo for 10 months, so my interest deflated like an innertube after a shark bite.

Before the supermarket and the gas station, I hit the gym.  Since I’ve done cardio the last two nights and plan on doing it tomorrow, tonight I focused on toning, and did about 45 minutes of various upper body exercises with machines and free weights.  I followed that up with about 150 sit-ups, stretched, and called it a night.

Keep it up, David!