I mean think about it...
- The produce department should always be the first stop in the grocery store. Grab your fruits and veggies, preferably organic. Maybe you can even find locally grown. The healthiest part of the store! You can often find veggie meats and tofu in this department, too.
- The meat department is next. Unless you are a vegetarian. Many grocery stores are now carrying more "natural" meats, but buyer beware. Know what you are getting and read the fine print. Natural just means no artificial additives. You may still being buying grain fed and factory farm raised and it may still have gone through a large meat processing plant. However, choosing the lesser evil is still better than buying that Smithfield vacuum packed meat.
- Next you have the frozen food department. If you stick to healthy foods like fruits and veggies this department isn't so bad. It's actually full of healthy choices. And frozen fruits and veggies retain more vitamins and minerals than canned ones. Just don't cook them in a big pot of water. Many of the nutrients leach out into the water. Buying prepared foods in this department is not such a good idea, however. Typically, they contain tons of additives and preservatives and are highly processed.
- Last but not least is the dairy department. This department is full of protein and healthy fats. Remember that non-fat versions often have other added ingredients to enhance flavor so read labels carefully for carbs and artificial ingredients if choosing low-fat or fat-free. Whole milk, cheeses, and butter are good for us in moderation. I prefer to choose organic and choose free-range whenever available. In health food stores you may be able to find local raw milk in the dairy section, which is what we drink. The taste cannot be matched by supermarket milk.
- Then there's the rest of the store. Think about this: the shelf life on some of that stuff is years. That's not natural. Food spoils. If it doesn't spoil fairly quickly, be suspicious. Most of the center store is NOT healthy and DOES contain artificial ingredients like preservatives and sweeteners. Most of it is highly processed and much of it is high in saturated fats and low in vitamins and minerals. This is the icky part of the store. Not convinced? Download the app Fooducate and try scanning some items in the center part of the supermarket. You may be shocked at what you discover! And remember that these overly processed foods have negative consequences for your health and the health of the planet.
Of course, I still recommend and personally prefer buying from local farms. We are in a small-ish city and I am able to get fresh, local, organic products including free-range grass-fed meat, sustainably farmed veggies and fruit, raw or low temp pasteurized milk, eggs, and even honey, jams, and jellies. We also could get grains but we don't eat many grains. I buy soap from a local farm, too!
If you aren't sure where your local organic farmers are, check localharvest.org.
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