Walking into the supermarket these days can be a world of confusion. There are on average 47,000 food products on the shelves of a typical full-scale grocery store. It is important to note here that of these 47,000 products, a large portion of these so-called “food-like” substances are disastrous to your health. So what should you be on the look out for next time you browse the aisles of your local market.
Perhaps the most powerful thing any person could do when buying food for themselves is to know exactly what it is you are buying. This is easily accomplished by doing one simple thing, a thing so easy it only takes a second. And this thing will most definitely save your HEALTH and your WALLET!
So how do you find out exactly what you are buying? Are you ready for it, Drumroll please……. Read ingredient labels on absolutely EVERYTHING you buy. Yes, it is that simple. Reading ingredient labels only takes a second and is a good indicator as to whether what your about to buy is “Real” food or just an imposter! For instance, Steryl Lacylate is found in most loaves of bread. Do you have any idea what Steryl Lacylate is? I have been a nutritionist for quite some time now. Reading labels and knowing ingredients is my job and I don’t have the slightest clue as to what the mentioned mystery ingredient, Stery Lacylate is used for. A loaf of bread is the perfect example of why you need to read ingredient labels on EVERYTHING that you buy. Pick up the first loaf of bread you come to next time you’re at your market and you will be amazed as to how many ingredients are on the label! Keep in mind here that to make fresh bread, the kind I call “Real” bread, you know the kind of bread that you would find in an artisan bakery roaming the streets of Paris, takes just four ingredients. That’s right, all you need to make bread is four ingredients; water, salt, yeast and flour.
So why is it that most breads in a typical American grocery store have dozens of ingredients? It is because “fillers” make companies products cheaper to mass produce meaning more money in their pockets. Now your probably wondering why I am “picking on” a simple loaf of bread here. There are far worse demons just one aisle over from the bakery. The point here is that even the most common and thought to be healthy foods have been infiltrated by cheap ingredients that are often times unhealthy and dangerous to consume.
Follow these 10 simple rules next time you’re at the grocery store and help save your own life, one cart at a time!
1. Read the ingredient labels of EVERYTHING you buy. It only takes a second.
2. Don’t buy foods that contain ingredients you can’t pronounce!
3. Don’t buy foods that contain more than 5 items on the ingredient list!
4. Shop the perimeters of the supermarket and avoid the aisles at ALL costs. The perimeters of the supermarket is where you will find all the nutritious foods!
5. Avoid health claims on packages. Most if not all are completely bogus. A perfect example, Post Alpha-Bit Cereal for kids says it contains Vitamin D which helps promote healthy brain development. Post Alpha- Bit Cereal won’t make your kid smarter. What it will do is make them sick and fat!
6. Buy things that are local and in season!
7. Know where your meats and seafood come from!
8. Be willing to spend a little more money on the food you buy. In France and Italy, people spend close to 20 percent of their income on food. Americans spend less than half of that. Most people don’t want to spend the extra dough but yet still manage to have the latest iPhone or Comcast Digital Cable. We all spend money on the things that are a priority. Start spending it on your body!
9. Only buy water. This will save you boat loads of money at the end of the year and will improve your health overnight. How much money do you spend on cappuccino, lattes, coffee, juice, milk, etc?
10. If you can’t grow it or make it yourself, avoid it at all costs. Afterall, it’s probably not even “Real” food. Let me ask you this, Do you think you could make an Oreo? (That little chocolate cookie with the white frosting in the center)
Whether you decide to follow just one principle or all ten from the list above, know that you are doing something good for both yourself and the environment. Becoming an ingredient detective has been one of the best accomplishments of my career in nutrition. I can look at most products in the grocery store and without even reading the ingredients know if it is something that I should eat. I encourage you to do the same……
Certified Nutrition Consultant
Certified Personal Trainer
Certified Health Coach
Board Certified in Holistic Medicine by American Association fo Drugless Practitioners
Member of National Association of Nutrition Professionals