Most of us walk into a grocery store and get overwhelmed. There are bright signs pointing to this “healthy” or “whole grain” food, and that item is “on sale”, and its just hard to know what to do.
Here are some helpful hints to help ANYONE shop at ANY store effectively.
First: Know what you are getting before you go!
Have a list ready, if you go by whats on it you are less likely to get pulled in by all the clever advertising.
Second: Shop Smart!
Avoid the aisles of the supermarket as best as you can. That is where ALL your “Food Biproducts” are going to be. These are marketed to sell you items with clever names like “Whole Grain” and “All Natural”. Don’t be fooled, your body DOES NOT WANT IT! Every store is set up the same, the produce, meats, juices, and other fresh food is on the outer parts of the store, while the thousands of canned, frozen, boxed and bagged items crowd the shelves in the center. These items have a guaranteed shelf life, you want as MINIMAL of it as possible in your diet. Which gets to my next point:
Third: You Are What You Eat!
Fresh Fruits and Veggies!
Increase your produce to the point where MOST of your shopping cart is taken up by them! ORGANIC is best, more nutrients and less toxins, but ask because lots of farms are going organic these days and just can’t call themselves “Organic” yet but may be free from pesticides and grown will nutrient rich soils.
I always have the following fruits and vegetables in my fridge during the week as staples:
Apples (Gala’s and Fuji’s are some of my favorites!)
Oranges or Grapefruit (always good to have citrus in the diet)
Bananas (great for post workout or low sugar drops in the day)
Squashes (easy to cook with and gentle on the stomach)
Kale (so many nutrients!)
Bell Peppers (taste good raw and cooked)
Carrots (also good when craving sweets)
Sweet Potato (better than regular potato, easy on the digestive system, easy to cook)
Always try to have an assortment of COLORS when you shop for food! The more colors = more nutrients!
Nuts and Seeds!
Always good to snack on, however some bodies may not process them as well so try one kind at a time and see what your body prefers. Roasted nuts are always easier on the digestive system but if you can handle raw or sprouted go for it! Get those nutrients!
A great source of complex carbohydrates and protein, but they can be difficult on the digestive system, so do as most cultures do, eat with just a little rice. Bam! You have a complete protein complex as well as a good energy source for an upcoming workout!
Yes I do advocate eating meat. After all our teeth PROVE that we are suppose to be carnivores! But eat wisely. Humane meat is always preferred, again going back to “You Are What You Eat”. Meat that is treated well, allowed to roam, given good food, is going to have better muscle tissue for YOU to eat and have less TOXINS thus better for your system and the environment!
Here’s a fun fact, ONLY GRASS FED MEAT has Vitamin K2, which you cannot get from any green vegetable. It ONLY comes from cows that eat GRASS! So keep that in mind when you choose your beef.
The difference between “Natural Chicken” and “Organic Chicken” is the feed. Organic chickens get fed organic feed, and Natural Chicken does not. If that does not matter to you than feel free to get the Natural Chicken. Look for key words like “Free Range” and “Hormone Free”. Hormones are a major cause of many of our diseases, so keep it out of your diet.
If you eat pork, which you should do minimally because of its fat content, make SURE it is HUMANE!!! Why you ask? Because Pigs are “feeling” animals. They have the brain capacity of a 3 year old child. So make sure you get your pig from a place that treats them well. Keep in mind MANY ranchers are NOT humane, ( a good 97%) so LOOK for key words in the labels and when in doubt ASK!
Otherwise you are most likely eating trace elements of fecal matter since factory animals are in crowded spaces covered in poop. Yes even those lovely cows you like to eat have ammonia in the meat to kill any fecal bacteria that may occur from the poo covered cow. Now do you really want ammonia in your body too?
Again, “free-range” “cage-free” and “organic” is what you want to look for here. The better the environment the better the egg. So ORGANIC is going to be the best here. “Cage free” does not necessarily mean no antibiotics, so be careful. Organic MEANS organic feed and living conditions, so it guarantees that the chicken was able to roam normally, have access to sunlight and had no pesticides, hormones or antibiotics in their diet.
Fish and Sea Plants
Again I reiterate the importance of knowing WHERE your fish comes from. MOST fish sold is CORN FED. Yes that is correct, Farm-raised = “I ate corn” Fish. Avoid at all costs. The point of eating fish, fresh fish at that is to get all the vital nutrients, Omega-3’s and protein it offers. When you change any animal’s diet (ie. corn fed cows) you get a lesser product. Corn is cheap. It offers very little nutrient value but has calories which is WHY farmers use it. But farmers are NOT nutritionists and overlook the natural environment that the Fish SHOULD be in! All that kelp and seaweed has so many nutrients its ridiculous. When you eat a small piece of Kombu (a seaweed) you eat more calcium than a glass of milk (notice I do not encourage milk products of any kind). So eat your fish from a fresh source and eat your sea plants as well. Toss your seaweed in your soup or in your stir fry and you wont even NOTICE it but your body will!
Things to LIMIT in your diet:
Remember that old food pyramid? The one that said to get your protein from eggs, milk and cheese? Yeah forget that. Most supermarkets carry cheeses and milk from hormone fed cows and our body doesn’t like hormones or milk. Milk is funny because even though it is marketed as a calcium source, too much of it actually puts our body in a state of Acidosis and makes our body have to pull calcium from our bones to bring our body back to PH balance level.
As for Cheese? Well most of what you see in the supermarket is cheese that is not NATURALLY AGED, meaning the milk they use is from rejected sources that cannot sell it fresh. When in doubt avoid Kraft entirely.
Most yogurt and kefir that you see in stores is pasteurized (damages the milk nutrients), homogenized(damages the milk and nutrients) and does not contain live active cultures. So look for Organic, plain and “live culture” on the label if you must eat it, You can get your bacteria from Probiotics, Kombucha and Kevita.
The old school food pyramid convinced you that breads, pasta and cereal were essential in your diet. And now we know that the Bread, Pasta and Cereal companies lobbied Congress to tell us that! Too much of our grains are not grown the way they used to be and therefore have less nutrients. Today many of us cannot digest grains the way our ancestors were able to. So try to limit your grains as much as necessary. I rarely if ever buy bread, crackers etc. If I do buy grains I look for local and organic sprouted grain bread and I always eat rice based crackers because rice is easiest on the digestive system. But you will see as time goes on more and more studies being published about the hazards of eating wheat and other grains and the benefits of sticking to quinoa and rice. Japan is a clear example of a culture with very little heart disease and breast cancer. They eat LOTS of sea vegetables and fish and only rice as their grain. You take a Japanese woman and put her in America and her chances of breast cancer skyrocket!
We all like sweets, but avoid at all costs. If you are craving sweet, have Coconut Sugar on hand to bake with or to sprinkle on a piece of fruit. It is low glycemic and wont cause confusion to the enzymes in your stomach and intestines the way no calorie sweeteners do. Stay away from sugar substitutes. The are usually chemicals your body does not want or like Stevia, our body cannot digest. If you are like me and crave chocolate, look for Fair Trade and Organic labels with Dark Chocolate. The darker the better!