Launch Day! 18 Innovators Share Whole Foods Wisdom

Today I am absolutely thrilled to kick off a new chapter of Eat, Recycle, Repeat. These wonderful souls have taken the time to share their passion, unique perspectives, and compelling reasons why whole foods have dynamically changed not only their health but their entire outlook on life. We can certainly find some wisdom here that can inspire us to live joyfully and find what makes us come alive.




Joe Johnson, mechanical engineer turned holistic health coach at Feeling Terrific

Moving to a whole foods diet was the best decision I’ve ever made. Physically, I feel more energized and steady throughout the day. I don’t crash mid-afternoon and fall asleep at my desk anymore! More importantly, I feel that eating a natural diet helped me grow spiritually as well. Eating whole foods has helped me to discover my life purpose and feel courageous enough to pursue it! Whole foods put me more in touch with my intuition, leading me to do things that make me happier. What more could you ask for?


Melissa Hartwig, CISSN. Founder of Whole9 and the original Whole30® program, author of It Starts With Food

 Changing to a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet like the kind we advocate in It Starts With Food has completely changed my relationship with food. I no longer see food as reward or punishment, and no longer am a slave to cravings or bad habits, and my food no longer comes with undesirable “side effects.” I’m in control of my food now, not the other way around. In two words: food freedom!

Lillian Medville, fearless recipe tester & real foods advocate at the ever entertaining and informative Lillian’s Test Kitchen

 Before I changed my diet, I was routinely depressed, I didn’t sleep well, and I had huge swings in my weight for seemingly no reason (which would then have a huge affect on how I felt about myself in general). I felt out of control in a lot of ways that didn’t make sense to me. But once I changed my diet, my life became simpler and easier. Sure, it’s more complicated to eat out, and sure, eating at a friend’s house is more difficult. But overall, my life is easier, simpler, and a lot more fun. I will never go back.

Pam Schoenfeld RD, Dietitian/Nutritionist,  holistic health practitioner of Reinvent Your Diet 

 The greatest benefit is being freed from an imprisonment caused by eating foods that slowly but surely destroy health.  When you focus on eating real food, after a relatively short period of time, it becomes second nature – your mind will naturally crave what your body needs.  Harmonic and almost effortless.


George Bryant, recipe genius behind Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations, author of Caveman Feast

“Hands down the greatest benefit of eating whole foods has been the numerous psychological benefits I have received.  I used to think I was sharp as a whistle with my quick wit but until I actually felt what mental clarity was, I didn’t know.  Since I switched up my diet I have become even tempered and very calm headed towards everything.  It feels like that the overly processed junk I was eating was directly contributing to easy frustration, impatience, and clouded judgement.  Things I didn’t realize until I removed all that crap and started eating the way I do now.  On top of it, all of my allergies suddenly healed themselves as well as the other amazing physical benefits.  I sleep, perform, and feel better in every way shape and form.  I could never go back to eating the way I used to.  I am a Whole Foods Paleo guy for life now.”

Ashley Tudor, author of Sweet Potato Power! (One of my favorite books EVER)

Health is being the best version of ourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  Eating the way we’re designed to eat is foundational for us to achieve the best version of ourselves in every aspect of health.



Liz Wolfe, NTP, blogging Cave Girl at Cave Girl Eats and co-host of the Balanced Bites Podcast

 The greatest benefit of eating a whole-foods diet is the wonderful, gentle way the lifestyle leads you toward a   shifted perspective on more than just what you eat. As you begin seeking better nourishment, you also begin regarding whole foods for what they are – amazing products of a giving Earth, worthy of appreciation and thoughtful consumption. You can’t help but learn, because the process of tuning-in to your food is such a joy; and you can’t help but realize what it takes to grow, cultivate, and move your food from point A to point B. The entire process, and how we engage with it, is fully descriptive of who we are: are we disconnected and unaware, or plugged-in and engaged with the world around us and what sustains it? The connectedness of it all – our food with our health with the health of the planet, and even the way we care for our homes and minds and bodies – is thrilling and precious and deserving of respect.

Jenny McGruther of Nourished Kitchen, ‘wife, mother and cooking instructor specializing in real and traditional foods’

I am able to take great joy in knowing that the foods I choose and how I cook them helps my child to    grow strong and healthy while also teaching him to take pleasure in the variable flavors of real food.


Matt & Stacy, the Paleo Parents, authors of Eat Like a Dinosaur, producer & co-host, respectively, of the Paleo View podcast, and general rockstars.

The greatest benefit of eating whole foods has been finding energy again. Before we started eating this way, we had no desire to get up and go and found ourselves to be very boring people. Now, we can’t wait to find new ways to play everyday.


Sarah Ballantyne, creative recipe guru/scientist behind the Paleo Mom, co-host of the Paleo View podcast

A whole foods paleo diet has allowed me to reverse disease and rediscover my energy.      I no longer take the six prescription medications I took for years prior to changing the way I eat.  I have energy throughout the day without the need for coffee or a sugary snack in the afternoon.  I sleep better and exercising is fun instead of a chore.  But, as amazing as those things are, the greatest benefit of eating a whole foods diet for me is my mood.

I never realized how low I felt most of the time before I changed to a whole foods paleo diet.  Not depressed, just a little low.  If mood is a scale between 0 and 10, my default mood before stress and before reward, was maybe a 4.  I could still feel really happy, but my norm was just blah.  Now, after a year of eating nutrient-dense whole foods, I would say my default is a 7.  Before anything else happens to me in a day to influence my mood, I feel pretty happy.  This is probably because there is less inflammation in my body and specifically in my brain.  

I eat nutrient-dense whole foods that decrease inflammation, promote healing, and provide my body with everything it needs to be as healthy as possible.  I didn’t start eating this way because I thought I had mood issues.  I didn’t even realize that I didn’t feel as happy as I  could feel.  But feeling so good now, both physically and emotionally, is definitely a motivator to keep going and never look back!

Alta Mantsch, creator of the bountiful & mouth-watering recipes at Tasty Eats at Home

The greatest benefit of eating a whole foods diet to me is my new-found appreciation for the complexity of flavors that natural, unadulterated foods provide. Once you get off of the processed junk, your tastebuds change. Suddenly, even things like sugar snap peas and red bell peppers are sweet like candy, you can really appreciate the subtle, buttery sweetness in crab and scallops, the richness in a grassfed steak, and gosh, when you find an in-season cantaloupe or peach, it’s heaven. Of course, eating a whole foods diet has given me a ton of health benefits, but finding a new level of love for food definitely an awesome benefit.

Katie, healthy dessert creator behind Chocolate Covered Katie

I think the greatest benefit of eating a whole foods diet for me has been the crazy amount of energy I always seem to have, thanks to taking good care of myself. Of course, the people around me don’t always appreciate this energy when it’s, say, 6 in the morning ;).




Mary Vance, holistic nutritionist specializing in women’s health & hormonal issues, as well as thyroid disorders, digestive function, hormonal imbalances, and detoxification concerns.

Through the whole foods movement, we are really making a connection between what we eat and how it impacts our health. I believe that when given the proper raw materials through a nourishing whole foods diet, the body has the ability to balance and heal. For me, getting back to traditional foods– organ meats, bone broth, plenty of seasonal fruits & veggies, fermented foods –has improved my energy level, health and hormone balance. The biggest reward? Seeing the dramatic positive changes in my clients, who come to me feeling tired, anxious, overweight, and struggling with myriad health concerns. Once they kick the processed food and junk, no matter how hard it can be to make these changes initially, the improvements they see keep them motivated. They’re much happier and able to be more productive and happy to spread the good word about how holistic nutrition changed their lives. And that’s really what it’s all about– educating as many people as possible and improving lives!

 Sara Forte of Sprouted Kitchen, ‘Food Loving, Wellness Craving, Veggie Fiend’

“I know it sounds cliche, but the more plant based my diet is, the better I feel. I don’t feel weighed down after meals, I have more energy, my whole being feels cleaner. That is encouragement enough for me to eat as well as I can, because I want to feel good. I realize that in cooking for other people, and for the sake of indulgence, exceptions have to be made for yummy treats and some melty cheese here and there, but it all balances out. I think you do your best, you try to feed people well, all in the name of feeling good. Produce is colorful, beautiful, a palate for creativity…it really is something to fall in love with.”



Shirley Braden, creator of Gluten Free Easily and a wonderful leader in the Celiac community

“Whole foods and dishes made from whole foods just make me feel alive and nourished in every sense of the word. For one thing, whole foods are so beautiful.  A roasted chicken, a just picked glossy purple eggplant, a fuzzy ripe peach, the simple shelled almond, the diminutive and cute black-eyed pea. And there’s nothing that beats the taste, texture, and satisfaction (from the very first bite!) that one gets from whole foods. Whole foods feed me in every way.”

Todd Dosenberry, man behind Primal Toad & currently inspiring others to live big with his Walk Across America!

Feeling awesome and being able to do the impossible, it’s why I place an utmost importance on how I treat my body. Because I focus on whole, real foods, I am able to notice symptoms of poor digestion when I eat foods I don’t tolerate so well. Over time, I continue to eat less and less junk because of how it makes me feel. Win.


Teresa Howard, local foods champion and inspiration behind A Table in the Sun

Cooking with fresh organic produce from my garden = Peace.  Comfort.  Joy.  Sharing.  Vitality.  Curiosity…..a seed that started in my heart the moment I was born.




Sunny Busby of And Love it Too! – Multitasking whole foods mom and Lunchbox Extraordinaire

Eating a whole foods diet has impacted my family on many levels.

First, financially.

So many people believe that eating a healthy or whole-foods diet is more expensive than eating packaged or fast foods.  And while I don’t like to tell people they are wrong…people who believe whole foods are more expensive than processed or fast foods are, well…wrong. Or maybe they just haven’t learned where to shop.

When shopping for whole foods, because the area we live in does not have a local CSA program, we focus on programs that are readily available here including Bountiful Baskets and our local Farmer’s Market where I can get produce and high quality meats for a fraction of the what it costs to purchase the same products at the store.  

Minimizing processed foods, especially the high-dollar gluten-free processed foods, has dropped our food bill from nearly $1500/mo to around $900.  

Given that I feed 7 people, two of whom are teenage boys with endless pits for stomachs, 3 times a day, 7 days a week and still manage to keep our cost per meal below $1.50 each…I believe that is evidence enough.

Second, health.

It goes without saying that the better the food you eat, the better your health will be. That being said, while making a switch from gluten-filled to gluten-free foods was a great leap in health for me, it wasn’t enough.  Since turning towards a whole-foods focused way of living, I feel like I have found myself again.  I no longer need steroids, I no longer worry about where food was produced or how it was manufactured (that is, unless you include whether an animal is grass fed or grain fed), I have more energy and for the first time in years I am not only able to run, but I am going distances I never imagined my body would take me.

My children have made significant changes as well. While each of them have made significant strides in their health, cognitive and physical ability, two of five of them have made the most notable changes including gut repair and the reversal of ADD symptoms.

Most recently, my husband joined me in a Whole30 and has maintained better eating habits even when away from home, dropping over 20 pounds in just one month.

We are all better off for the changes we have made.

Most importantly though, eating a whole-foods diet has given my family more reason and more opportunity to be together both in the kitchen and away from home.  My kids love to go to the farmer’s market with me, to get to know the farmers and have a better sense of where their food comes from.  Since Bountiful Baskets is a volunteer run organization, I often bring my children to help sort produce and prepare the baskets.  They love it and are just as excited as I am when we get something new, something we haven’t eaten before or something we haven’t purchased in a long time.  

And then there is the kitchen.  When everything we eat is made from scratch, working together as a team is important and essential to ensure we all play a part in what goes into our bodies.  My kids love cooking with me and I love cooking with them.

Truly, the benefits of whole-foods living are endless.


Johnson Family Nutrition Team

From Kate: 

I’m incredibly honored and grateful that each of these innovators took time out of their busy schedules and commitments to contribute their voices to this re-launch & the topic of whole foods. I’ve been inspired by their recipes, writings, books, blogs, videos, sites, podcasts, and so much more. They’ve expressed all the things I believe in regarding a whole foods diet so much more eloquently and profoundly then I could ever have hoped to do on my own.

I deeply appreciate their contributions because this site is about so much more than one person. It’s about all of us, working together as a supportive community, to achieve happy, healthy, sustainable, joyful lives. Wherever you may be on your path to whole foods-based, holistic living, thank you for taking the time to visit this site and contribute to our community, and I hope you visit again soon.

Know someone who would be inspired by some whole foods wisdom? Please share the health & happiness!