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Whole Mind Shopping

Shopping for food can be confusing and overwhelming, especilally if you are trying to buy  real, healthy food! Here is a list of useful tips to remember when you go to the grocery store to make your life easier and give you more time to cook delicious, real food meals and, most importantly, to eat!

1. When purchasing any food item, make sure it is real food insofar as possible, not a “food-like product.”
2. Try to shop, as far as possible, outside of the supermarket: visit local CSAs (Community-Supported Agriculture), farmers’ markets, impendent grocery stores and farmstead stores, or start growing or raising your own food.
3. Get to know the people who produce your food: ask them questions and learn the story behind your food.
4. Generally avoid food producers who are evasive about how the food is grown, raised, or made, or do not allow visitors (such as on a farm).
5. Ask your local and seasonal food producers what they have a lot of, and buy it. This helps prevent food waste and supports local businesses.
6. Buy local, organically produced foods: they support your community and ecosystem and they reduce fossil fuel use, as well as ensuring that you get food that is as fresh, synthetic chemical–free, and nutritious as possible, especially in terms of fresh produce.
7. Buy whole foods, such as wheat grains and whole produce, which can be “processed” in your kitchen. You will also find that buying whole foods and processing them at home can be a cheap way to make your diet healthy. Potato chips, for instance, can cost $8 per pound, where an heirloom potato variety at a farmers’ market costs less than half that.
8. If you eat out, support establishments that serve local, “farm-to-table,” and organically produced foods, as far as possible.
9. If you visit a grocery store, be aware of the structured environment and how the layout is designed to grab your attention and get you to buy and eat more processed MAD (Modern American Diet) foods. Healthier products are often put close to the bottom of the shelves, while the healthiest foods are on the perimeter, such as fresh produce. The center aisles are usually filled with processed and refined MAD foods. And remember, avoid impulse buys at the counter!
10. Buy wild foods: these are generally more nutritious and make a meal both exciting and impressive. This tip applies to all food types. If you buy animal products, they should ideally be pasture-raised or grass-fed (aim for 100 percent grass-fed, not just grass-finished), organically raised, free of added hormones or antibiotics, and always humanely raised. It is a good idea to buy these meats in bulk and freeze them for future use. Often several individuals buy shares in a whole animal from a local farm or CSA.
11. Try to avoid purchasing too much muscle meat: go for bone broths, organ meats, and other parts of the animal that are more nutrient dense.
12. Buy a diverse range of foods. If you try to shop as seasonally as possible, you often eat a more varied diet. Farmers’ markets are particularly good places to begin. Japanese turnip and kohlrabi with your heirloom purple potatoes, anyone?
13. Buying bulk in season, and freezing or preserving the foods, can save time and money. For example, buy berries or tomatoes in the summer when they are widely available and less expensive, and freeze or puree them for the winter months.
14. Try to buy whole nuts, seeds, and grains and process them at home. For example, make your own wheat flour for your own homemade bread, or your own almond milk. There are countless recipes online for free.
15. If you buy bread, make sure it is fresh, whole grain, with optimally a few simple and well-known ingredients—it should start going stale after a day.
16. Buy fats that are unrefined, unfiltered, extra-virgin (when possible), and cold-processed.
17. Remember, “if it ain’t decomposing in your kitchen, it ain’t decomposing in your tummy.” Avoid all food that does not rot (with certain natural exceptions, such as honey). Avoid MAD foods, foods with added nutrients, and/or foods that make health claims. Think of an apple: Does it have any health claims plastered on its skin?
18. If you are going through a particularly busy season, or travelling, shop at stores that offer a wide range of organic, local food products, and try cook as much as possible at home. There are so many simple and quick recipes online and in books. See the recipe section for more ideas.
19. Recycle recycle recycle! Reuse old bags for shopping, and keep glass containers for storage. Find ways to use your food scraps…coffee grinds, for example, are great for the soil! See more food waste tips at: http://www.epa.gov/recycle/reducing-wasted-food-home#ways