It’s hard to believe that we have some 350,000 choices overall in our grocery stores. So, how do we make the right ones that give us the most for our dollar in the way of health and vitality. How do we choose healthy groceries?
Grocery stores are layed out systematically to make the most money they can from the items that they carry. It is no accident that certain foods are placed at eye level and that certain children’s cereals etc. are placed where the little guys can see all the cute pictures while crying to their moms and dads, “Buy me that, mommy!” In the supermarket world it has been made extremely easy for you to choose one product over another. All this has absolutely nothing to do with your health. It has to do with money…the money the food industry is making.
Tip 1: Remember that the more food you buy the more food you will eat. Calories do count. I believe that the only way to not have to worry much about calories is to basically eat a plant/starch based diet. If you like potatoes eat them to your heart’s content…just don’t load them up with butter and sour cream.
Tip 2: The term “fresh” does not mean that the produce you are buying was picked that day or that week. It simply means that the particular food doesn’t spoil as fast as some other foods. If a food is locally grown it should taste better. Not only should it taste better but it should retain more of it’s nutrients and be fresher. Read your labels to see where the produce originated. The acronym for this is COOL. This means Country of Origin Labeling and Congress passed a law requiring this labeling that took effect in 2008. If you’re living in California and eating fruit from New Zealand it doesn’t make a lot of sense. In different areas of the country different produce is available at different times of the year. This produce will be less expensive as there is an abundance of it…so…buy locally and buy what’s in season whenever possible.
Tip 3: Buy organic when possible. It does matter. The produce may not look as pretty but it is not covered in pesticides or herbicides, is not genetically modified in any way, the fertilizer is not derived from sewage sludge and the seeds have not been irradiated. The USDA does not make any claims that organically produced food is safer or more nutritious. Why do you suppose that is…well probably because there is a huge conflict of interest. The USDA’s principal mandate from Congress is to promote conventional agriculture.
Tip 4: Stay away from genetically modified foods. Again, look at your labels. There has been a huge battle going on between the biotechnology companies and all those companies and individuals who want these foods labeled and for good reason. If people know which foods are genetically modified they probably won’t buy them. There is a very large amount of information on the subject of GM foods. I have a lot of it on my site. Jeffrey Smith has been an outspoken leader in the fight against GM foods. If you have any doubt read the research. Certainly not something I want to feed my offspring or myself! If the label says “non-GMO” you can believe it.
Tip 5: Processed foods: Where are they? Head for the center aisles of your local grocery store and you will find shelves laden with them. These are the foods full of sugars, hydrogenated fats, salt, excess calories and who knows what chemicals. The manufacturers and retailers of these foods are certainly into every advertising ploy available while they tell you that these foods give you what you want and need. These, according to the hype, foods are easy to eat and require no preparation. They taste great and give you all kinds of nutritive value. Don’t you believe it! Again, read the labels. Pay particular attention to the fat and the salt. Not a bad idea to glance at whatever chemicals are in the food as well. These foods are the “junk foods” that you need to stay clear of. These foods have little or no nutritional value, are made of the cheapest ingredients and manufactured by some of the largest food corporations in the world. There is something called a “slotting fee.” This fee pays for that center aisle space and is more than made up for by you putting these foods in your shopping cart.
Tip 6: Foods for children: If children are given the opportunity to eat the same healthier foods that adults eat they will eat them. If the children are offered junk foods they will eat them just as easily. They do not need soft drinks, juice drinks, foods with added salt and added sugar, desserts, candy, sweetened cereals or fast foods. Our children have had thousands of televised food commercials thrown at them since infancy.
They know the brand names of what they want and are more than happy to indulge themselves in McDonald’s burgers and french fries. Marketing to children is a big business. It is estimated that somewhere around $8 billion a year is spent to promote food products to children. Be aware that all this advertising aimed at children isn’t about making them healthy. It’s geared to make money for the people promoting the various sugar laden cereals etc. for your children to eat.
Tip 7: Supplements: Do we need them? Clinical trials on various supplements have rarely shown much benefit from taking them and in the case of beta-carotene and vitamin E have, at times, shown harm. The supplement trade association has worked very hard to convince you that you cannot get enough nutrition in the food you eat. I was one of those people… very health conscious, physically fit, non-smoker etc. who took a handful of supplements every day. I don’t do that any more as I have done a great deal of research and discovered that all those extra supplements really didn’t help me at all. I don’t believe they did me any harm but they sure cost me a lot of money. Think about it…how can the nutrition of a tomato (some 10,000 or so nutrients) be put into a little pill? I am a vegan and because of this I do take Vitamin B12. As far as Vitamin D is concerned I don’t wear sunblock…I just spend a little time in the sun every day.
Tip 8: Snack foods: Most snack foods are high in fat, salt and sugar. They also cost quite a bit. Look at the difference between buying an Idaho raw potato and a bag of highly salted potato chips. The difference is outstanding…a pound of potatoes can cost from around seventy cents to around $2.60. A pack of 24 one oz. bags of Yukon Gold Potato Chips can be purchased for $21.00. (that is $.88 per oz.) There is a huge problem with obesity not only in the adult world but more and more in our children’s world. So, instead of buying all these very expensive, unhealthy snacks, why not make a little packet up of almonds and raisins or snack on an apple or maybe some carrot sticks. It will save the waist line and the pocket book.
Tip 9: Flour: What kind is best? When whole grains are milled the calories go up and everything else goes down. The fiber is removed along with the vitamins and minerals. When the flour is enriched then some vitamins and minerals are added back in. I’m afraid that to me this doesn’t make any sense at all. To give you an idea of what you are losing by eating white bread along with white rice and white pasta let’s look at 100 grams of whole wheat flour as opposed to white flour. In the whole wheat flour we have 14 grams of protein while we have 10 grams in the white flour whether it is enriched or not. We have 12 grams of fiber and 35 milligrams of calcium in whole wheat flour while there are 15 milligrams of calcium and 3 grams of fiber in both unenriched and enriched white flour. There are other comparisons but allow me to give you just one more…B6: There are 340 micrograms of B6 in whole wheat flour and 45 micrograms in white flour whether enriched or not.
Tip 10: The biggest tip I can give you is to stay away from the center aisles and spend a lot of time in the produce section. You are what you eat! If you are going to eat animals and animal products go easy on them and try to buy animals and fish that have not been factory farmed or fish farmed. Buy eggs that come from free range chickens. Think about how little calves are treated to turn into veal. I could go on and on. We need to take care of ourselves and our animals. We are humans and we need to do whatever we can to stop the cruelty that goes on to fill our markets with factory animals. Let’s be humane in our treatment of ourselves, our children and our animals.
I hope that these 10 tips have you on your way healthy grocery shopping and choosing healthy groceries.
The following link has been written by a Natural Bodybuilder Fitness and Nutritional coach. It is included here primarily to educate people on the different views and benefits of health and fitness so they can make an educated decision what’s best for them after having the facts. http://www.insiders-guide-to-fitness-diet-exercise-and-weight-loss.com/whole-food-diet.html#.UFYDy1H2Vx0