Nutrition Series, Part 3 … The Grocery Store

Article by Allsion Jones, BA-N, RN, CIHC
Original Source:
Date of Article: August 23, 2016

Now that you have planned your menu and have a grocery list of everything you need, you are ready to shop. Your motto in the grocery store is “Real Food”. Don’t stray from this, stick to food that generations ago would recognize. So many people today get caught up in the latest craze of diets. Some of the buzz diets right now are: gluten free, dairy free, paleo, keto, low carb, and many more. There are many people whom, due to health reasons and health goals, will ultimately benefit from diets such as a gluten free or a paleo. But if they can’t switch to a whole foods diet first and conquer that uphill battle, they will never get anywhere with any other diet.

Packaged products are baffling. The front of the package is designed to promise us, guarantee us, and tell us how special the product is for our health. The real truth is on the back of the package in the smallest print.  The greatest example is a gluten free item, check out this ingredient label:

Check out this gluten-rich item:

Both of these items are crackers, you tell me which one you understand better. Gluten free items can be full of fillers, concentrates, and other foreign ingredients to make it taste like a gluten made cracker. Usually gluten free packaged foods are higher in calories, bad fats, and have more ingredients that are more questionable than regular gluten containing items.

So how do you determine if the food you are putting on your grocery list and about to buy in the store is whole, real food? By reading food labels. The ingredient list will tell us the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Yes, I am talking about the tiny print underneath the Nutrition Facts (numbers and percentages). That is where you will find words like high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oil (trans-fat), dyes, natural flavoring, and tons of chemicals that act as preservatives. All of the fillers, chemicals, dyes, processed fat, processed sugar, and other ingredients we can’t pronounce in our food are causing inflammation in the body and creating disease. Avoiding them will promote, heal, and strengthen your health.

Once you hit the grocery store stick to the perimeter of the store. Start with your fruits and veggies, as they should be the bulk of your list and budget. Move to high quality protein. Choose chicken that is raised how chickens should be raised, in a field, free to roam, free to eat grass, bugs and plants. Choose beef that is raised how cows should be raised, in a pasture, eating grass, free to roam. Choose pork that is raised how pigs should be raised, from a small farm, in mud, eating as much as they can get their snouts on. Go down a few aisles to gather your 70% or higher dark chocolate, organic quinoa, whole fat coconut milk, unrefined/unfiltered olive and coconut oil, organic whole grains, raw nuts, and those few treats and fun snacks that your family adores. Then hit the opposite side of the store picking organic grass-fed milk, non-sweetened almond milk, plain full fat yogurt, grass-fed butter, and other refrigerated items you want to stock up on. Constantly be vigilant of not what the front of the package promises you, but what the actual ingredients are in the product.

The first time you enter the store and shop with this new sense of empowerment it may take longer and you may get frustrated, but it’s the beginning of a beautiful change. It’s the beginning of taking charge of your health and the health of your family. It’s the next win in this battle of making health transformation because you are choosing to not only live your life, but Thrive.


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