Making the decision to improve your health by implementing changes to your diet is only half the battle.
In this chapter I will discuss how to shop at the grocery store properly so you don’t get tricked into buying food that could secretly pack on extra pounds.
Once you set foot in the supermarket, the challenge really begins. Between the misleading food labels, tempting special offers, and endless aisles of tasty treats, what starts off with the best of intentions can quickly crumble amidst the air-conditioned aisles and corny supermarket music.
Previously, we discussed the basic changes you can make to your diet to begin improving your health. In this chapter we’re going to take a more in-depth look at specific factors that can make or break your dietary efforts, as well as exploring potential pitfalls and how you can avoid them.
Shopping for Groceries
Before leaving to go to the supermarket, make sure you have a shopping list prepared, either mentally or preferably written down. I’ve made a shopping list for you so you can check off the items you have in your cart as you grab them. Click Here To Download the Shopping List!
I have also created shopping lists specific to the meal plans so once your start following them you’ll be able to use the week by week shopping lists.
Knowing exactly what you intend to buy before you go will ensure that you don’t end up browsing the aisles and stumbling upon something you know you probably shouldn’t.
Just like in the kitchen, your actions in the supermarket can make or break your dietary efforts. Any food that ends up in your shopping cart is going to end up in your mouth, so bear that in mind as you walk by the Krispy Kremes!
The food industry does everything in their power to catch your attention to manipulate you into buying their foods.
The most effective way of breaking bad habits is to replace them with good ones, and while you’re in the process of developing your newfound healthy eating habits, it might not be easy to remember every single item that you want to incorporate into your diet.
For this reason, a shopping list is a must-have because it will ensure that you pick up all the foods you need, as well as guaranteeing that you stock enough food so that you don’t run out a few days later and end up ordering a pizza or wasting time making a second trip to the store.
Create a shopping list. Take a load off your brain to focus on more important things such as keeping your goals intact.
Read Food Labels
When you look at food labels, remember that what you’re really looking at is an advertisement, an attempt by a marketing agency or food manufacturer to say “Hey, look at me! Buy me!”
Best selling products are even strategically placed at eye level to catch your attention. Products at the edge of the isles are also placed there to make you buy them.
With this in mind, take everything you read on food labels with a grain of salt, if not the whole shaker.
You will see all manner of claims on food labels, such as:
Low-fat / saturated fat
Helps lower cholesterol, and
The vast majority of the time, any food that needs to make such claims is probably not going to be a food you’ll want to include as a staple in your diet.
If a food is low-this or low-that, you will often find that what has been pumped out has just been replaced with a chemical brew of who-knows-what. The bio tech industry has been modifying and adding tons of harmful chemicals to foods that haven’t even been tested thoroughly enough to know if it’s healthy or not.
The other thing to note regarding food labels is that if in doubt be sure to take a look at the ingredients list. This will give you a clearer idea of exactly what you’re putting into your body, and you will be surprised by how many hidden items that are listed.
Food Ingredients You Must Avoid:
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Ingredients containing MSG also include yeast extract, hydrolyzed protein, and textured protein.
This is a flavor enhancer that is found in restaurants, processed foods, and even baby formula.
It’s used to freshen up processed deli meats, salad dressings, crackers, and many other processed foods. This additive makes you think that the food tastes fresher and tastier than it really is.
Aspartame, sodium saccharin, and sucralose are some other popular names for artificial sweeteners.
These sweeteners are chemicals that have been man made and added into diet sodas, fat free foods, and processed foods.
This is a food preservative used to help extend the shelf life of processed foods. This harmful ingredient in foods has the ability to deprive cells of oxygen, break down the immune system, and cause cancer.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)
The most popular GMO foods include wheat, soy, sugar beets, and corn. If you’ve seen high fructose corn syrup on a food label then that specific product contains genetically modified bio tech corn. It’s a very cheap ingredient that can cause inflammation in your body. Shockingly long term research has not been done on the safety of genetically modified foods.
This is food coloring that has been added to some foods. The ingredients of this coloring include tar to seal driveways.
In the old days these food colorings used to be made from turmeric and other healthy spices but that’s not the case anymore.
This seems like a healthy ingredient because it’s derived from sea weeds. That’s not the problem though, as food companies process this ingredient it can damage it and turn it into a carcinogen (cancer causing).
In truth, these artificial chemicals are all toxic to the human body and have absolutely no place in any remotely healthy eating plan.
The Quality of Food Choices
The quality of the foods you consume will ultimately determine the results you achieve from your healthy eating efforts.
You probably saw this coming a mile away but it has to be said: Quite simply, you are what you eat; if you eat a diet of microwave ready meals, pasta, and breads, you will look and feel very differently than you would if you replaced those chemical laden foods with healthy alternatives.
It sounds crazy but heart healthy wheat bread and cereals have completely deceived the public because they’re anything but heart healthy. They’re processed and can cause artery calcification, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
It isn’t just about eliminating toxins from your body, it’s about providing your body all of the unique nutrients that are found in a balanced diet of natural, wholesome foods.
Consider eating a plate of pasta…
If you eat the pasta at 2pm, when will you feel hungry again? At 2:45pm? Perhaps 3pm? The point is, nutritionally-barren foods with little in the way of protein and fiber will be digested incredibly fast, causing you to experience a rapid spike in blood sugar levels followed by a sudden drop.
This sudden drop in blood sugar levels will leave you feeling under-fed and lethargic, which isn’t exactly what you’re looking for in a food, wouldn’t you agree?
Organic Vs Non-Organic
It must be said that while the benefits of “organic” foods have been subject to a great deal of marketing hype, there are still some foods that we recommend you purchase organic.
Foods that should be bought organic are typically those that include an edible outer skin that may contain pesticide residues, foods such as:
Berries and grapes
It is also wise to opt for organic meats and eggs, particularly if you are buying fattier cuts of meat, such as steak.
The reason for this is because the livestock is often kept in such dire conditions that they must be injected with antibiotics and hormones to prevent illness and make the animals grow larger. In animals, as in humans, these substances are stored in the body’s fat deposits, and ultimately end up on your dinner plate.
The best alternative is to choose meat that is organic and/or grass-fed, as this will be your best chance to ensure that the animal has been fed its natural diet as opposed to corn meal or some other generic animal feed devoid of nutrition – remember, you are what you eat!
I always buy grass fed beef and organic chicken and I would highly recommend you do the same. Grass fed beef has a higher concentration of Omega-3 fatty acids, which helps reduce the inflammation in your body.
Non organic meats contain a high concentration of omega-6 fats, which can cause inflammation.
Not every food needs to be bought organic; here are some examples of foods that you can buy in their conventional form:
Citrus fruits, providing the peel and zest are discarded.