How to Shop the Grocery Store to Better Health
What was once owned and operated by a small local family, most grocery stores are now run by a huge corporate conglomeration clamoring for your every dollar. You are mistaken to believe that most of these corporations truly care about your health and well-being. Take a look at how this industry has changed over time and what you can do to make sure you are shopping in a way that has your health at interest!
You walk into your neighborhood market and are immediately inundated with colors, smells and pretty packages. Aisle after aisle, corporations are fighting for you to choose their products (approximately 46,000 to be exact!). Unbeknownst to you, most of these packaged food-like items are not only void of nutrition, but are also packed full of questionable ingredients, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives that are toxic to your health.
Now take yourself back to the early 1900s and imagine walking into this grocery store:
What is different? Well, practically everything. Grocery stores descended from what used to be known as trading posts. They sold not only food, but clothing, household items, tools, furniture and other miscellaneous merchandise. These trading posts evolved into larger retail businesses known as general stores. Barrels of vinegar, crates, canned goods and fresh produce can be seen. The bread is from a local baker; the meat from the local butcher; and the produce from the local farmer. No where do you see boxes and bags of candies, processed cereals and snacks, crackers, and chemical-laden cleaning supplies. There simply was no temptation and access to eat things that were as bad for you. Oh how the grocery store business as drastically changed over the last 100 years.
So what does this mean for you? To put it quite simply, it means what would normally be a simple trip to the grocery store to pick up your weekly items, has now become a confusing trip full of hundreds of decisions needing to be made by you. What are you going to choose to feed your family? Will this help or harm them? Do you even care if that jar of strawberry preserves if full of high-fructose corn syrup?
Here are tips to help make your shopping experience a little less confusing:
- Make a list and stick to it. Too many times,we find ourselves running into the store to grab a thing or two, only to leave with bags of items we didn’t intend to buy. A lot of times, stores have items strategically placed throughout that make you want to buy something you wouldn’t normally (think: drinks and candies at the end caps). If you are doing your shopping at a place that has sampling stations set up, you are being persuaded even more so to taste and purchase things you may not have normally chosen (sometimes this is a good thing, other times it is not). Decide on your meals for the week, create your shopping list, and stick to it. Resist the temptation to go down every aisle that does not serve you and your cooking goals for the week.
- Shop the perimeter of the store. This is where you will find your fresh produce, meats and bulk items. The inner aisles are where you will find the majority of your processed and packaged foods. Do not tempt yourself by even venturing into those sugary cereal and snack aisles.
- Anything you are considering purchasing but are unsure about, put it in the child-seat of your cart. As you are getting ready to check out, hold each item and ask yourself if this item will help you reach your health goals. If not, hand them to the checker. They will gladly take items you changed your mind on and re-stock them for you.
Remember: With every dollar you spend, you are casting YOUR VOTE for the types of foods you want accessible. Conscious purchasing not only helps local farmers and suppliers, but helps defeat corporate conglomerations that don’t have any interested in your health. #shoplocal
For those of you that live in Arizona, I offer tours of most grocery stores. Every single day, we each make over 300 food-related decisions. The more we take control of our consumption and consumerism, the more we are able to realize our wellness potential.During this 60-minute tour we’ll discuss: local and seasonal foods, strategies for eating healthy on a budget, effectively reading labels and produce stickers, choosing household products that are non-toxic and how to replace the ones that aren’t, in addition to ways to select and prepare healthy foods for you and your family.
About the Author: Megan Maloy is the founder of Primrose W+B. Her passion for a healthier, more natural approach to life has made her an exceptional educator and coach on the wellness and beauty achieved through organic living, food and chemical-free products. Her passion lies in bringing harmony to the mind, body, and spirit.