In order to prepare meals that are looking and tasting great, you have to do your shopping for the right foods. Our super markets are like the land of plenty, but the overwhelming selection can make a shopping trip a confusing and tiring experience. Often the sigh ” I hate grocery shopping” expresses the feelings of the person, who embarks on a shopping expedition. It can be a jungle out there (Ref. 7, 258-259)!
How to do grocery shopping:
- Careful planning is the first step to a trek in the jungle!
- Have a list at a prominent place in your workshop (yes, your kitchen is exactly that!). Put items on your list, when you notice that you are running out them. It also helps to put a lid on impulse buying and the well known frustrations of returning from a shopping trip and having forgotten an important item.
- Do your shopping when you are not hungry. It may sound funny, but market researchers have noticed a long time ago, that a lot of items look good to the shopper, who is prowling through the aisles at lunch or dinner time and has an open stomach for food demos.
- Be wary of enticing displays close to the check-out (one last attempt!). A bargain which you don’t need is not really a bargain.
- Get to know to the store and the products offered, also know the prices.
With these points in mind and a list in your hand a shopping expedition does not have to feel like a jungle trek. Also, for the most part, you do not have to venture deep into the jungle: it is a good rule of thumb that most of your shopping is done at the periphery of the store. This is the area of fresh items, which you will peruse most of the time.
Let’s start at the deli: your low fat cheese varieties, roasted chicken or turkey breast or lean ham if you choose are all found here.
Go on to the meats: lean cuts of beef, pork, chicken, lamb will be found here, and next will be
Fish and seafoods: salmon,sole,cod, halibut,trout, mussels, shrimp will be there to choose from.
Continue at the vegetarian section: tofu, tempeh, soy burgers and nuggets will be here.
At the dairy section you will look for 1% milk or low fat soy milk, yogourt, low fat cottage cheese, and more low fat variety of cheeses.
The bakery section is also found at the periphery, but you will want to be very discerning, as these are products which offer not much more than dense carbohydrates ,trans fats, and a lack of minerals. The dozen bagels will not offer you much nutritional bang for your buck!
Finally you will arrive at the produce department. You will likely go for all the green leaf choices like leaf lettuce, kale, chard, spinach, as well as the cabbage varieties(broccoli, green cabbage, sui choi, napa cabbage, cauliflower).
The other ones of your list are the intensely colored non- root vegetables like tomatoes, red and green peppers, also mushrooms, which are a power house of minerals,green beans, asparagus, as well as onions and garlic. You will also buy your fruit: apples, oranges, grapefruit and other citrus, pears, berries, and pineapple. You will go easy on mango, papaya ,and banana because of their high sugar content.
The deep frozen section can be your best ally: look for deep frozen vegetables, fruit, and fish as well as meats. As vegetables are quickly readied for the freezer, their vitamin content can be higher than that of a vegetable that has spent 8 days in transit from the field to the produce department. The deep frozen section also gives you access to a lot of variety. You’ll be able to enjoy some strawberries, even when they are not in season. Read the labels, as some fruit have been packaged with sugar syrup. Look for the varieties, where no sugar has been added. The frozen section also contains some highly processed items: deep fried foods and dessert selections, which may not be an accessory to full health but rather to an empty wallet.
Canned foods can be useful, as long as you are dealing with fruit that are canned in their juices and not in sugar syrup. The vegetables are less valuable in vitamins than their deep frozen counterparts. Watch out for varieties, where less salt is added. The label will tell you” low sodium”.
You will not have to navigate all the aisles, except for your cleaning products and your cosmetics.There are some staples, which you will also require: olive oil, some olives, almonds or macadamia nuts(raw or dry roasted). The one cereal product which is valuable will be coarse rolled oats and some pot barley. Both varieties carry a lot of fibre ,which makes them very useful food staples. Avoid the “quick cooking” or “instant” oats.Due to the processing, the carbohydrates are absorbed a lot faster and consequently trigger a higher insulin response.
You ‘ll wonder about drinks next. Having passed the colas, ginger ales and other sugar pops you may eye the diet drinks. Beware of drinks sweetened with aspartame. There is increasing evidence that phenylalanine ( brand names: Aspartame, Nutrasweet and Sweet’n Low) is not a “harmless” sweetener. Newer research has shown that it can cause gastroesophageal reflux (=GERD) and migraine headaches (Ref.5). Stevia, a sweetener from a South American plant, does not have harmful effects, and stevia, which is safe to use, as it does not cause an insulin response. You are best served with mineral water, purified drinking water, herb teas, tea or coffee. Fruit juices do have vitamins and minerals, but they are high in sugar causing an insulin release.
You would not really eat 3 large apples in one sitting. So why insist on drinking 8 oz. of apple juice? You’ll ingest all the sugar and forgo the fibre ! You’ll also notice, that a lot of fruit juices have been mixed with sugar, water, artificial flavor,some color, and as an apology some vitamin C has been added. They are appearing on the shelves as “a good source of vitamin C”. In reality we are dealing with flavoured, colorful sugar water. Use your own judgement, whether you want to spend your dollars on this selection!
In the aisle adjacent to the pop you will very likely encounter a huge selection of convenience and snack foods. They have several things in common: you have met them on TV, some will be high in starches and fat (chips), others will be high in starches, sugar, and fat (cookies, donuts, cream pastries), and we are dealing with trans fats. Do take time to read the listed ingredients, and then decide, whether you and those who eat in your household deserve nutritional garbage.
You have now completed your round trip in the supermarket.
Summary of your round trip in the supermarket:
To sum up the most important facts, remember the following:
- Do most of your shopping at the periphery of the store.
- Look for fresh products – the less processed, the better.
- Read the ingredients on labels.
- Stay away from nutri-garbage
1. B. Sears: “The age-free zone”.Regan Books, Harper Collins, 2000. Also see Dr. Sears’ site.
2. B. Sears: “Zone perfect meals in minutes”. Regan Books, Harper Also see Dr. Sears’ site.
3. B.J. Wilcox, D.C. Willcox and M. Suzuki: “The Okinawa Program.” Clarkson Potter,2001, N.Y., U.S.A.
4. E.L. Rossi: The psychobiology of mind-body healing. Norton &Co., 1986, N.Y., U.S.A.
5. Vitamins and Foods. Audio-Digest Family Practice Vol 49, Issue 29, Aug.7, 2001.
6. P.C. McGraw: Life strategies. 1999, Simon&Schuster Source, N.Y., U.S.A.
7. B. Sears: “The top 100 zone foods”. Regan Books, Harper Collins, 2001. Also see Dr. Sears’ site.