It’s become more obvious that the health of the population is not getting better, with rates of life long diseases in the rise. Obesity rates are also at an all-time high with two thirds of the adult population being overweight or obese and one quarter of our children.
A grassroots movement of changing the way we shop for food will change this trend. If we refuse to support the fast food outlets as well as the food items in the grocery store that are filled with dubious ingredients, then we begin to change our own health and turn the tide of sickness.
After all, it all starts with what you put in your trolley! Of course, reading nutrition labels isn’t always easy and it’s easy to fall into old shopping habits. So, in saying that, I’ve pulled together my top seven hacks to make healthy food shopping a breeze:
1. Preparation and organisation before and after you shop will save time and money.
Checking the fridge and pantry and making a list will help you stay on task. Clean out the fridge, placing old vegetables in the freezer with the meat scraps (see #7). When you get home washing and prepping vegetables can save you time when preparing meals.
2. If you can only shop at a grocery store or shopping centre…
Park your car at the furthest car park away so that you walk for exercise as well as shopping!
3. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store
Pick up seasonal fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, good quality dairy, some frozen organic fruits and vegetables.
4. If you must go down the aisles…
Be diligent and read the ingredients of what you put in your trolley. The food industry has created a new system of clean labelling where they rename additives that many health-conscious consumers avoid. Beware of natural flavourings, natural colourings, rosemary extract, citric acid, citric fibre, vegetable extracts, herb extracts, yeast extract, these are not what they seem. For more detailed information read my book Changing Habits Changing Lives 2018.
5. If you can avoid the grocery store…
Find a local butcher, fruit and vegetable supplier, local dairy and local artisan baker. This will not only allow you to ask the questions of organic, hormone free and chemical free but will help your local economy.
6. Seek out your local farmer’s market
These are wonderful places to shop, especially when the local farmer is on hand. You can ask questions about their animals, their land and what they spray on their foods. Once again buying local supports your community and economy.
7. When buying meat or poultry make sure you buy some cuts with bones
After you’ve cooked the meat, throw the bones into a container and place in the freezer, add old vegetables to this container that you would otherwise throw out and then when it’s full, put everything into a slow cooker add filtered water to cover, apple cider vinegar and sea salt and cook for 8 to 12 hours. Decant the liquid, throw away the solids and you now have a hearty healthy stock which can be used to make soups and other meals and increase the nutrition of your week.
If you don’t take the time and money now for health and wellbeing then you will have to take more time and money later for sickness. One way is to spend a little more time finding the right foods and then getting back into the kitchen to feed and nourish your family to heal this nation.
Words by Cyndi O’Meara
Cyndi O’Meara is a nutritionist, best-selling author, real food advocate, international speaker, film maker (What’s With Wheat, 2017) and the founder of Changing Habits, an online holistic health destination offering wellness products, programs and guides to nourish yourself and your family.