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Magic Grocery Shopping

Monday, May 21, 2012

Once a month I do my "big shopping" in a large grocery store. As I wander down the aisles I will sometimes see women with a look on their face that I recognize. It's because I used to have the very same look on my face several years ago. It's the "What product can I buy that will make my weight issues go away?" look. This look always occurs on the aisles where there is plenty of packaged food, most often near the cereal bars or in the cookie and cracker aisle. That's where I used to get that same look on my face, too.

I think as Americans (maybe people in other areas of the world too, I don't know. I've only ever lived here.)....... anyhow..... I think we have become conditioned to think that in packaging foods we have somehow made them better or improved on Mother Nature. I used to be looking to see if someone came up with something that was ultra-nutritious, low in calories, and low in fat, all while being ultra-delicious. Oh, and if that food also had some magical ability to make fat melt off my body, that would be even better.

What tickles me is that occasionally one of these lost-looking people will glance at my cart, as if trying to see if I have some secret ingredient. Of course, my cart looks pretty boring compared to the pretty packaged things on the shelves, so I don't capture their attention for long.

I often wish I could take the hand of those poor confused souls and lead them to the fresh produce section. Our next stop would be the meat counter, showing them how to select lean cuts (organic and fed what the animal is SUPPOSED to eat in nature, if they can afford it), then over to the dairy section to show them how to look for products that don't have added hormones or antibiotics, preferably also from animals fed what it is animals would naturally choose to eat in the wild. I'd like to teach them not to be afraid of fats from natural sources the way God made them, not the way we have changed them to be. Next we'd make a quick trip through the aisles for coconut and olive oils (coconut oil is more expensive, but for the little bit of baking I do it's a much healthier option and bakes up nicer, plus it handles heat on the stove better than olive oil), and the kind of nut butters that you have to keep in the fridge because the oil separates from the peanuts if you don't. Then I'd walk them through the bread section and show them what the ingredients list of baked products withOUT white flour in them looks like (it's tricky- companies have learned to be careful with how they word the ingredients list), and lastly through the frozen foods section where we would select unadorned frozen veggies, fruits (like berries, for smoothies), and fish to thaw quickly for healthy meals for their family. Most of the rest of the stuff in the frozen section we'd leave alone.

The fact is that there ARE magic ingredients, but we are so used to looking at them that we don't really see them anymore. Pass up the processed stuff. If a product looks NOTHING like the original ingredients it claims to have in it, it's been processed too much to be truly good for you anymore. It may not taste as good at first, but you and your family will get used to it and learn eventually to prefer the natural foods. God knew what He was doing when he made foods- He designed them to nourish our bodies. It's a little hard to improve on God.

We can't all afford to eat all clean all the time. I understand this. The things that have a longer shelf life are cheaper. I get it. But if you are looking for a magic bullet in a man-made food, you'll never find it. Buy healthy all you can afford to, and cook at home all you can (hint- your Crock Pot is your pal). Cooking at home more often will help offset the added cost of the higher grocery bill from the better foods.

You are building the little bodies of your kids to be healthy adults and you are taking care of your own body so that it will carry you well through life. Love your body with your choices- Choices that are as close to the way Mother Nature as you can. It's not an instant fix, but over time you will be glad you did.
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    I have been blessed to always stumble upon the inspiration I need! I'm adding you as a friend and will be sure to read through your past blogs.

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    2164 days ago
  • ILOVEJIM851991
    Wow I'm definitely subscribing to your blog. You are my hero. I'm currently in progress to get where you are. I have a problem giving up decadent sweets. I know everything in moderation but even the small dairy queen shake when it was over 90 degrees today after getting a job after almost a year on unemployment seemed as indulgent. I'll have to say I did get the calories under control for the day though with only soup and a sandwich for dinner. But I just can't seem to get them under control. My weight is down about 20 pounds since the beginning of the year and I do have the start of the u in the tricepts but my abs are definitely hiding under a layer of fat. I need to get that down and I'll look great. Thanks for being my inspiration. emoticon emoticon
    2166 days ago
    Great post. Was just thinking about this the other day as the boyfriend and I were shopping. Eliminating the majority of the inner aisle processed stuff makes shopping much easier. Yes, occasionally we buy some, but not that often. Been almost 3 months since we started and I never thought I would be where I am now, actually getting it!

    We know what we like and how to buy. My food allergies force me to read labels and that is another reason to cut the processed junk out. We live in a quick fix society and I have to say I’ve been that person who would pay anything to have “health” now, would starve rather than deal with decisions. I always “knew” the secret was to eat clean and move my body, but something in a box seemed so much easier:) We have come to love the wonderful, clean taste of our food. We don’t need to cover natural foods up. The palate took a couple of weeks to adjust, but it does. Have learned that our “cheat” meals are rarely worth it and serve to teach us lessons about how we ate before. This coupon-loving couple is finding that it is actually proving to be cheaper. We free up a little for organic and make sure that at our weekly shopping visits we try something new (fruit, veggie, spice…) All this and we are still learning!!! It takes a bit to get in the groove, but you DO:)
    2192 days ago
    I am still working my way through this aspect of healthy eating. I used to be one of those "moms" who bought all pre-packaged processed foods, especially junk food. Now I rarely buy chips, cookies, ice cream or any tastey treats that my kids are starting to miss less and less. My counters and cupboards are no longer filled with bags of chips or boxes of cereal bars, instead we have fresh fruit and homemade trail mixes. I'm not completely rid of all packaged food (frozen pizza is still a weakness) but the transformation so far has been huge and I am working my way to a complete transformation.
    2193 days ago
  • CICI510
    You are so right! I have started to cook at home more and even though I am slowly working my way away from the processed foods (weaning my family off I should say) its better than fast food and before I know it we'll be a clean family!! ;)
    2194 days ago
    I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who checks out other people's grocery carts!

    I feel the same way... I'll look at my cart -- full of veggies, lean meats, healthy dairy, etc -- and compare to other shoppers. I have to resist the urge to tell them to put the junk back on the shelf and head over to the produce section!!

    2195 days ago
  • IRP1114
    So true. Cooking at home makes room in the budget for those organic products that are worth paying for over conventional where it matters and definitely over takeout or packaged foods!!!

    2195 days ago
  • ROCKMAN6797
    Another awesome blog!
    I use to live on those inner aisles, searching for those magical items that would help me lose weight, be easy to cook, and taste good. However, since I have started this journey over 2 years ago I now live on the outside aisles of my local grocery store. I especially load my cart with veggies and fruits. These are my magic food products!
    You know I am friends with many successful weight losers on SP and I have noticed that we all share some common characteristics. We choose to eat natural products, we move on a daily basis, and, in general, we are determined. As you so eloquently stated, we choose to love our body with our choices!
    Thank you for stating it with simplicity!
    2195 days ago
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