Doing my usual grocery shopping this morning, and walking the talk about working wellness into my daily routine, I realized that
grocery decisions are endlessly baffling for many people.
It’s not their fault – the current societal trend toward Nutritionism puts out confusing, often contradictory, information at an alarming pace. Foodies put out great information, but it’s often impractical for a weekly shopping trip to whatever store is nearest home. It’s often also impractical for anyone on a budget. After a while, none of it seems to make any sense to the average consumer. Toss in the brain-lapses common among busy moms and others, and it’s enough to keep General Mills in business for a long, long time. (Oh, yeah – I just called out Big Food.)
I also realized that I’ve put a lot of work into understanding food choices and the impact they make on our health. While I’m not a dietitian, I am ACE-certified to coach people in lifestyle and weight-management, and I absolutely devour (excuse the pun!) information about health and good nutrition. There’s still a lot to learn, but I’ve done my homework, let’s say.
Synthesizing all the information out there is no easy trick. I’m not saying I’ve got it all covered, but having read a few important sources like Diet For A New America by John Robbins and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, plus countless journals and research studies, I’ve boiled down my own decisions to a pretty simple plan.
My basic philosophy is just like Pollan says: “Eat food (REAL food, that is). Not too much. Mostly plants.”
To his manifesto, I would add:
Eat colors. It’s important for bodies to have a wide range of different foods in order to gather the nutrients they need.
There are no “evil” foods that occur in nature, without processing. The evil generally comes from what we do to those foods in a factory, not from the basic food alone.
ClickAClass.com is all about making good health EASY (so that it can be DONE!), so in that interest, here’s the first in a series of posts on my decision process as I’m perusing the aisles. I’m betting there’s at least one nugget in here that you’ve never heard in the typical “how to find good grocery food” articles.
Topic #1: Plant or Animal?
- If it’s animal, did it live with feet?
- If it didn’t, check that it’s wild instead of farmed, and consult the NRDC list to check for safe mercury levels. Avoid posers like albacore tuna (mercury) and tilapia (omega-6).
- If it had feet, buy organic. Local organic is even better. Local, organic, free-range, naturally-fed is the gold standard. (By “naturally-fed,” I mean that the animal ate on the farm the same things it would eat in nature. For instance, grass-fed beef vs. corn-fed.)
- If it’s a plant, is it fresh instead of processed? Is it high in nutrients, like cruciferious veggies and leafy greens? Is it in season? Is it organic? Is it local?
- If it doesn’t satisfy these requirements, what is your alternative? In other words, are the nutrients in this less-than-ideal food still better than eating a MORE-processed version – or not getting those nutrients at all?
So, how am I doing so far? Do you agree? Disagree? Think I’m full of it? Anything new to you?
Next week’s topic: Fresh or Processed? Tune in Wednesday for more!