Tuesday, January 15, 2013

grocery shopping...

It's easy to make excuses for not taking responsibility for our health.  Up until a while ago I was doing that very thing...

I'm too busy: everyone is too busy for everything, is your health a priority?
it's too hard to eat healthy: yes, there are sacrifices to be made, but you don't have to go all out-just start changing what you buy.  If there is bad food in the house, you're likely to eat it.
I don't want/need to change: change is difficult...and scary, so is cancer
I'm attached/addicted to my bad food: think about seeing a natural health practitioner for an assisted detox
I have no health problems, so what's the point?: maybe not anything life-threatening, but how do you FEEL? how's your digestion? how do you sleep? do you have 1-3 bowel movements/day? frequent headaches/low energy? how are your moods/periods? any skin issues (excema)?, allergies (seasonal or otherwise)?, behavior problems/learning disabilities? how often do you get colds/flu?...health originates in the gut and is about more than just a number on the scale.
I don't know what to eat/how to be healthy: there is a learning curve.  I started slowly and am still adding new things to our everyday diet one item at a time.
It's too expensive to eat healthy, organic food: It seems that way at first because you're changing everything, but once I began buying only organic meats, eggs, dairy and produce and avoiding most packaged foods my bill evened out to the same amount.  I also buy a lot in bulk online and will post about this later.
I have no time to make stuff at home: shop smarter-it's impossible to make every single thing your family eats from scratch all the time, but you can drastically improve your health if you know what to buy and what to avoid when you're shopping...

1. Sugar- 
think about how much sugar you're consuming every day, especially kids.  When you start calculating you may realize that your diet is made up primarily of sugar when you consider also the foods that are easily breaking down to sugar in the body:  cereal=sugar, pasteurized dairy=sugar, breads, grains, pasta=sugar, fruit and juice=sugar.  Avoid anything with high fructose corn syrup.

Replace white sugar with organic sugar, coconut sugar, sucanat, raw & local honey, or grade B maple syrup

2. Fats- 
Avoid packaged snack foods made with polyunsaturated fats...corn oil, canola oil, safflower oil, all partially hydrogenated oils.  I know, this is everything, and where the 'sacrifice' comes in.  I had to train myself to think differently about snacks.  When buying snack foods try to find things made with avocado, olive oil or palm shortening instead.
Also no nonfat/lowfat foods.  They are loaded with chemicals and lack the satisfying, nutrient dense fat our bodies need to feel full, be healthy and function properly...again, especially kids!

Replace all vegetable oils and hydrogenated shortening with coconut oil, palm shortening, extra virgin olive oil and grass-fed, organic butter or ghee

3. Meats & Dairy-
Purchase organic meats and dairy only.  Toxins are stored in the fat which means when consuming non-organic animal foods you also consume the chemicals, vaccines, antibiotics and whatever other garbage they've been consuming...and make sure your sausage/hot dogs/lunch meat/bacon are nitrate-free, say no to cancer!  See RESOURCE page for local grass-fed meat sources.  Also think about purchasing whole raw milk and cheese, or at least a non-homogenized brand that is processed at low temperatures.  See REAL FOOD  dairy section.

a few of my favorite brands...

sausage, bacon, pork, beef
raw milk, cream, cheese
hot dogs, lunch meat, bacon
low temp non homogenized yogurt, milk, cheese

4. Additives & Preservatives-
Consider how much of your food is actually food.  I'm overwhelmed when helping in my son's classroom at the 'snack' foods kids bring for lunch.  Often their entire snack comes out of a package:  lunchables, handisnacks, gogurt, orange jello, granola bars (have you ever read the label of a granola bar?...not so healthy), fruit snacks, etc.  How much of their diet is coming out of a package and how much of their food is actually just chemicals arranged to look and taste like food?  How are their bodies expected to grow, to avoid flu this season, to concentrate in the classroom?  But it's not just kids...and it's not just fat, calories, and sugar grams that matter...it's the QUALITY of your calories that determine the health of your body.  Especially for women, if we're not changing the quality of our food it's virtually impossible to balance hormones and moods, reach an ideal weight, avoid disease, etc.  The chemicals will win every time.

5. Make the Salt switch-
It may not seem like a big deal to switch to a more natural salt, but our refined table salt has been chemically cleaned and therefore foreign to our bodies.  Pure pink himalayan salt or a high quality sea salt (most sea salt has also been refined) contains trace minerals that our bodies need.  Instead of causing water retention or other health problems it actually supports our body's systems and promotes health.      

Replace iodized salt with pink himalayan salt



If you're ready to eat healthier,  start in your kitchen.  
Throw out your processed, canned, packaged foods...and then go shopping:

-Change to natural sugar and healthy oils or organic butter for baking.
-Switch to a healthy salt. 
-Start replacing white flour and sandwich bread with an organic, sprouted brand or experiment with coconut flour and almond flour for gluten-free snacks at home. 
-Cook brown rice instead of white or try brown rice tortillas.
-Try to find a whole, plain yogurt that is processed at low temperatures and stir in some honey and berries.  
-Make beef & chicken stock and keep it in jars in the freezer to pull out for soup once or twice a week...
-Rethink your snacks and what you have on hand in the house.
-Soak some nuts & seeds for snacks and add some organic raisins and organic carob or dark chocolate chips- (see this video on healthy snacks)
-Read labels.  Avoid anything with hydrogenated oils or vegetable oils, refined sugar (high fructose corn syrup, agave or just plain 'sugar'), artificial anything (colors, flavors, etc.), preservatives, nitrates/nitrites, words that take more than one second to read...it will get easier after a couple trips.

Most importantly, strive to buy everything organic and think about how far removed your food is from it's pure, natural state.  Shop mostly on the outside aisles.
Eat fresh, organic and local.  Find a year-round farmer's market, CSA farmbox, and local grass-fed meat source.
Read labels and get rid of the chemicals in your body and your home.
Replace the fear of disease or worry about contracting the latest virus with a lifetime resolution to take care of yourself and to create health in your body.   

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