When you adopt a new way of eating that excludes packaged and processed foods and incorporates more nutrient dense whole foods, going to the grocery store can become a challenge. In fact, if you are trying to adopt clean eating you may not even be able to shop at your old grocery store if they do not carry organic products and will be heading off into completely unknown territory when you start shopping at a natural grocery or whole foods store.
Here are 10 tips to give you some for your next grocery shopping trip:
- Make a grocery list – then stick to it: It is a good idea to have an idea of what meals you are planning for the week, for example, one bone-in roast, one liver meal, one fish meal, one chicken meal. Planning ahead will make it easier to know what you are looking for but also deter last-minute impulse purchases. Nowadays there are many useful apps that can help you with this.
- Buy more vegetables: Buy a variety of fresh vegetables for stews, soups and salads. Make sure to include a good supply of greens because they are versatile and nutrient dense. Kale, spinach, swiss chard and mixed salad greens are staples in our shopping cart.
- Choose fresh or frozen over canned: Cans are just bad news all around. Typically they are lined with BPA and will usually have an extremely high sodium count. It is possible to find cans that are not lined with BPA but they are still lined with some chemical substance. We always choose glass for pantry items like strained tomatoes, soups, tuna, etc. For vegetables and fruit buying fresh will ensure you get the nutrient density benefit without the added sodium, sugar or preservatives.
- Buy organic: The two main reasons to buy organic are more nutrient density and less contamination with chemical toxins. Over 3,000 high-risk toxins routinely present in the U.S. food supply are, by law, excluded from organic food. Not only are these toxic substances individually harmful, but when combined, as they are in commercially grown and processed food, and in the human body where they accumulate, their effects have been found to be magnified as much as a 1,000-fold significantly contributing to your toxic load or body burden.
- Get to know the butchery and fish manager: Talk to the butchery manager and find out which of their meats are grassfed, which fish is wild caught and which chicken is pastured. Usually deliveries happen on the same day each week so you can make sure you get your supply before they are all sold out. Sometimes they receive smaller supplies of liver, bones etc so you can plan to shop on delivery day.
- Read labels: If you can’t pronounce it -don’t eat it. If it has more than 5 ingredients listed – don’t eat it. Monosodium glutamate (MSG), high fructose corn syrup and Yellow No. 5. are all examples of common ingredients found in many (if not most) of the processed foods on grocery store shelves. These ingredients have been linked to a range of diseases and disorders from obesity and diabetes to brain and liver damage. MSG by any other name is still as toxic and unfortunately it is often ‘hidden’ by being called a variety of other thinks like hydrolyzed vegetable protein. Similarly, high fructose corn syrup can also be masked.
- Shop the outer rim of the grocery store: This is typically where the nutrient dense foods are; fresh produce, meats, egss and dairy. The middle of the store usually stocks all the highly-processed items packed with artificial ingredients and sugar. There are some standard pantry items in the middle of the store so you will need to go there but here as in many things, the 80:20 rule applies (80% of your cart contents from outer rim, 20% from middle aisles). Pantry items from the middle of the store will typically include coconut & olive oil, coconut flakes and coconut milk (Native Forest brand is BPA-free and there is no bottled alternative, snack bars like LaraBars for a quick on-the-go-snack, strained tomatoes etc.
- Skip the soda aisle: Replace sweetened and carbonated beverages and artificially sweetened diet drinks with water, seltzer or 100 percent fruit juices diluted with water. Those sugary drinks are a big no-no that provide unnecessary calories with zero nutrients and too much sugar has been linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It will also compromise your immune system for several hours after consumption. Artificial sweeteners like Aspartame and Splenda are just plain toxic – don’t go there!
- Have a meal or a snack before you go: If you are really hungry when you go shopping you are more likely to be enticed by the quick packaged items or snack foods. it can be hard to hear your intuition guiding you to smart food choices over the growling of your stomach!
- Prep Ahead: After returning from the store with your new supply of groceries, you can save time by unwrapping, cleaning and chopping up your produce and proteins to freeze or refrigerate in portions. If you haven’t managed to get through it all then make our favorite ‘End-Of-The-Week-Everything-But-The-Kitchen-Sink-Soup’.
In future posts we’ll be sharing more about what to eat for nutrient density, why this is important and how you can benefit from it and how eliminating toxins from your food supply can boost your health and wellbeing. Sign up to receive future updates or add us to your favorite reader.
And here’s one bonus tip – remember to take your reusable shopping bag. As important as it is to keep your body healthy and toxin free – it is just as important to do what you can to keep our planet as healthy and toxin free as possible. This is one easy way to make your contribution as a citizen of the Earth!Share