How To Shop

How to Shop for the Right Food in Your Regular Grocery Store in 10 Easy Steps

Buy the Freshest Items

The fresher the food, the more nutritious it will be. Only buy produce that is fresh and firm, otherwise you are wasting your money on food that has passed its prime, in terms of both nutrition and taste. This also applies to meat, poultry and fish. If it’s not fresh, don’t buy it.

Pick the Leanest Cut of Beef, or Request Bison

Free-range meats and poultry are always the best choice, but there are other options if these are not available to you. In terms of beef, choose the leanest cuts as most of the toxins from hormones and antibiotics will settle in fattier tissue, so the fatter cuts tend to have more toxins. Lean cuts of beef include flank steak and round steak.

Another option is to ask the butcher to order some bison. In general, bison are raised much more naturally than other livestock, which means they’re not given antibiotics or hormones and the meat is very lean. If you haven’t ever tried it I suggest you give it a try, as in my opinion it’s one of the best tasting of all meats. Its flavor is similar to prime beef, but sweeter and more tender.

If the Chicken is From a Factory Farm, Don’t Eat the Skin

Most chicken sold in typical grocery stores is raised in factory farms. Each full-grown chicken in a factory farm has as little as six-tenths of a square foot of space. These extremely overcrowded conditions pave the way for disease. Many are also genetically modified, and due to genetic manipulation, 90 percent of broiler chickens have trouble walking. If you don’t have access to free-range, organic or cage-free chicken, be sure to remove the skin before eating. Also be sure to follow the white meat/dark meat guidelines based on your metabolic type.

Fresh Food is Always Better Than Frozen, but Frozen is Better Than Canned

There is some confusion over whether frozen vegetables are as healthy as fresh vegetables, but you can rest assured that fresh vegetables are always preferable to frozen ones. The freezing process causes damage to the cells in the food, which compromises its nutritional value. Eating pre-frozen food is acceptable, however, but be careful to not overload your diet with pre-frozen foods. If you have no choice and must choose between frozen or canned, frozen would be the better option.

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Avoid Processed Foods

Processed foods, including canned goods, are among the most nutritionally devoid foods. Plus, they tend to be expensive, especially when you get into all of the packaged, name-brand junk foods. Save the money that you’d normally spend on pricey and unhealthy items like potato chips, cookies, ice cream and frozen pizzas, and spend it on some fresh vegetables or meat instead.

Check Prices on Organic Food–It’s Not Always More Expensive

If you have access to organic food, don’t just pass it up because you assume it’s too expensive. Sometimes organic food is actually less expensive than traditionally grown food, especially when it’s on sale. It may also be only slightly more expensive than a comparable regular item, and in that case the increased nutritional value (and lack of pesticides, etc.) would be well worth the extra price. So be sure to compare prices and choose the best value, which may in fact be organic.

Ocean-Caught Fish is Better Than Farm-Raised Fish

I don’t recommend that you eat any fish unless you can be certain that it does not contain toxins like mercury and PCBs.

If you do choose to eat fish from your grocery store, don’t eat farm-raised fish, as numerous studies have found it may be harmful to your health. Instead, your best choices would be fresh, ocean-caught Alaskan salmon, arctic Char (similar to salmon), fresh sardines and anchovies. Remember that these may still contain toxins, though probably a lesser amount than the other options. Sardines and anchovies are likely fine to eat, as they are small enough to have minimal contamination. As fish is not typically labeled thoroughly, you may have to ask the fishmonger where the fish came from (farm, lake or ocean) to be sure.