Healthy Shopping: Your Grocery Store Cheat Sheet

The supermarket is no longer an enjoyable trip. No longer can you base your purchasing decisions on the latest dieting fad and hit the checkout. The days of throwing together a cart full of Lean Cuisines, Twizzlers, and Snackwell cookies (They have no fat so they don’t count, right?) are over. The latest dieting “fad” that companies are taking advantage of is “not getting cancer”. Fat free is out and cancer free is in. It’s the best marketing scheme out there.

I used to at least feel comfortable following the rule: If it grows out of the ground or walks around it’s safe. This is not enough of a guide anymore. What is really safe and what isn’t? Why am I paying $7.99 a pound for ground beef? Are my $5.49 eggs really different that the $1.19 eggs right next to them? While I can’t answer everything, I can at least give you some tips that have made my grocery shopping MUCH less stressful.

1. Produce that you should ALWAYS buy organic:
, Peaches
, Nectarines, Strawberries
, Grapes
, Celery, 
Spinach, Sweet Bell Peppers, 
, Cherry Tomatoes, Snap Peas (Imported), 
, Hot Peppers, Kale
, Collard Greens

2. Produce that doesn’t have to be organic:
Sweet Corn
, Pineapples, Cabbage, 
Sweet peas (frozen), 
, Asparagus
, Mangoes
, Papayas, Kiwi, 
, Grapefruit
, Cantaloupe (domestic), 
Cauliflower, Sweet potatoes

3. When it comes to meat, chicken, pork, and eggs, the word “natural” means nothing. It seems there are currently three prices; regular, natural, and organic. If you are not buying organic, you might as well buy the regular. The food marketing people have tapped into the chunk of the population who will not pay for the organic but make a mental compromise to “at least buy the natural chicken”. This is totally pointless. When you buy organic you are getting somewhat of a guarantee that the animal was not given antibiotics (after the 1st day of life) and were fed non-GMO food that was free of toxic pesticides. Natural is 100% an advertising word. This chicken is the same as the regular/low end chicken.

4. “Enriched” and “fortified” foods: I steer clear. Most pasta, cereal, flour, bread, and rice have a long list of added vitamins. They are synthetic. Did you know that about 40-60% of americans have an MTHFR gene mutation that inhibits their ability to process and use synthetic folic acid? Basically your body has to treat it like a foreign toxin thereby eliminating any health benefits, but also making it harder to get rid of other toxins. I will TRY not to get too passionate (crazy, angry, obsessive) about this, but FYI in 1998 our government mandated the addition of folic acid to our enriched grains. In other news in 1998 the autism rate started increasing EXPONENTIALLY to unheard of percentages. Am I saying synthetic folic acid causes Autism? No way. But I am saying that with all of the unavoidable toxins we are exposed to daily, maybe it’s a good idea to avoid them where we can. You still have to check labels, but usually organic bread, pasta, and rice is NOT enriched. If you see the words “thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, and iron” in the ingredients, throw it back on the shelf.

5. Coffee: BUY ORGANIC!!!! Conventional coffee is among the MOST chemically treated foods in the world. IN THE WORLD!!! Most of us drink this every day. I take mine sans ammonia and chlorine. I promise you won’t miss it.

6. Dairy….ugh. I don’t know. I think most people are intolerant and a lot of people eat too much. There is way too much happening from utter to glass. I want to help here. I really do. I love cheese, cream, ice cream, and sour cream!! Eat organic raw dairy when possible. If you substitute, do NOT choose “non-dairy substitute” which is generally some form of soybean oil. If you do eat dairy and treat yourself to ice cream make sure it is in fact called “ice cream” and not “frozen dairy dessert”.

7. Soy…scary stuff. 90% is owned by Monsanto – nuff said? If you are a soy-head and must get your fix of processed soy, here are some GMO-free soy sources: Eden Foods, Wildwood, and Mitoku.
However, we do not recommend processed soy. If you are vegetarian and feel you need soy, try edamame, tempeh, or miso.

8. Fish. There is a clear decision here. Always buy the WILD seafood, never farmed. Farmed raised fish are eating genetically modified soybeans and frankencorn. Or they are eating the chicken shit of chickens that are eating modified soybeans and frankencorn. This gives a whole new meaning to, “eat shit and die”. Stay away.

Happy Shopping!

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