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How to Grocery Shop and What to Eat

  blog post author icon   blog post published date icon   09/22/15

Detoxification Support  Disease  Hydration  Nutrition  Sleep  Stress  Supplements  Weight Loss  

Learn practical tips for healthy and affordable grocery shopping and consider using a list similar to the recommended natural, whole foods grocery shopping list provided to get you off to a good start!

We are what we eat. Studies from reputable health organizations suggest that 40-60% of Americans are living with one or more chronic diseases, which negatively impacts their quality of life, reduces employment productivity, and drives up health care costs.1 Lifestyle choices, in particular, the foods we choose to put into our bodies, are making us sick. However, we have choices regarding nutrition.

Live Better By Choosing Nutritious, Whole Foods

With the significant rise in sickness, obesity, and lifestyle disorders over the past 100 years, you can never be too careful when choosing what you put into your body, and mind, for that matter. Many health and wellness issues may arise from consuming processed or inorganic foods. If you want a healthier and more fulfilling life for yourself and your loved ones, you cannot go wrong by choosing organic or whole foods.

If your great-grandfather didn't eat it, you should probably consider not eating it.

Why Are These Foods So Special?

These foods were chosen because they have special properties like:

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Phytonutrients
  • Carotenoids
  • Antioxidants
  • Fiber
  • Flavonoids
  • Resveratrol
  • Good Fats
  • Probiotics
  • Anti-inflammatory Properties

For those of you who ARE sensitive to gluten and/or dairy, try this healthy gluten-free and dairy-free whole foods shopping list.

And no, it's not more expensive to eat healthy.

woman grocery shopping for healthy foods using smartphone
Bring a shopping list, and don't shop when hungry.

Grocery List of HEALTHY FOODS

When in doubt, use THE 150-YEAR RULE: If it wasn't around 150 years ago, you shouldn't eat it!

checkmark icon Indicates the top five most healing foods on our list! Extracts of these foods are often found in high-quality supplements.

Almonds (Milk too) Asparagus Arugula Lettuce Avocado
Barley Beans (all kinds) Beef (lean) Beets
Blackberries Blueberries Broccoli Carrot
checkmark icon Cacao (cocoa) Chicken Cherries Chickpeas
Cilantro Cinnamon Coconut Milk & Oil Cumin
Dandelion Greens Eggs checkmark icon Elderberry Flaxseed
Garlic Ginger Grapefruit Hazelnuts
Honey Kale checkmark icon Kombu Lemon
Lime checkmark icon Maca Mangoes Millet Mushrooms
Olives/Olive Oil Onion Oranges Oregano
Papaya Passionfruit Peanut Butter (natural) Pears
Pecans Peppers Pineapple Pistachios
Plums Polenta checkmark icon Pomegranates Quinoa
Raspberries Rice (brown) Romaine Lettuce Salmon
Scallion Shrimp Spinach Squash
Sunflower Seeds Steel Cut Oats (Irish) Strawberries Sweet Potatoes
Swiss Chard Tea (Green) Tomatoes Tuna
Walnuts Whey Protein Yogurt (Greek)
Almonds (Milk too) Asparagus Arugula Lettuce
Avocado Barley Beans (all kinds)
Beef (lean) Beets Blackberries
Blueberries Broccoli Carrot
checkmark icon Cacao (cocoa) Chicken Cherries
Chickpeas Cilantro Cinnamon
Coconut Milk & Oil Cumin Dandelion Greens
Eggs checkmark icon Elderberry Flaxseed
Garlic Ginger Grapefruit
Hazelnuts Honey Kale
checkmark icon Kombu Lemon Lime
checkmark icon Maca Mangoes Millet Mushrooms
Olives/Olive Oil Onion Oranges
Oregano Papaya Passionfruit
Peanut Butter (natural) Pears Pecans
Peppers Pineapple Pistachios
Plums Polenta checkmark icon Pomegranates
Quinoa Raspberries Rice (brown)
Romaine Lettuce Salmon Scallion
Shrimp Spinach Squash
Sunflower Seeds Steel Cut Oats (Irish) Strawberries
Sweet Potatoes Swiss Chard Tea (Green)
Tomatoes Tuna Walnuts
Whey Protein Yogurt (Greek)

What Are Organic Foods?

Organic foods differ from inorganic foods in several aspects. The major differences include:

  • Natural foods are farmed using natural organic fertilizers such as animal compost or manure. On the other hand, inorganic foods are grown with the help of processed fertilizers that have chemicals.
  • If any weeds appear on an organic farm, they are usually controlled using animal compost or manure methods such as weeding by hand, mulching, or crop rotation. For organic foods, any weeds that crop up are usually controlled through factory-produced herbicides.
  • For organic foods, pests are controlled using natural means such as birds, traps, insects, or any pesticides that have been produced naturally without the addition of any chemicals. In an inorganic farm, crop pests are usually controlled using pesticides that are manufactured synthetically using chemicals.

Why Should You Consume Groceries and Whole Foods Grown Organically?

Food that you consume has a direct impact on your general health and well-being. Organically grown produce has a lot of benefits to the user compared to inorganically farmed produce. Below are some of the advantages of consuming natural and whole foods.

Less Risk of Chronic Ailments

Over the last 60 years, there has been a substantial rise in the number of chronic ailments such as cancer and diabetes. Research has shown that many of these diseases are caused by chemicals found in the inorganic foods that we consume.

Farmers usually use pesticides, herbicides, and other farming products designed to hasten produce growth when growing inorganic foods. These products can contain high levels of harmful chemicals that predispose the users of inorganic produce to a high risk of contracting chronic ailments such as cancer.

On the other hand,

Farm produce grown organically minimizes exposure to harmful chemicals that may put the consumer at risk of diseases.

Natural Produce Is Good For The Skin

Skin care is a huge priority for many of us. Natural and whole foods may help to achieve glowing and nourished skin.

Research has shown that foods such as avocados and dark chocolate may help protect the skin from the effects of excessive exposure to the sun.

What's more, studies suggest that regular consumption of organic vegetables helps in rolling back signs of early aging such as flaccid skin and wrinkling.

You Get More Diversity With Attached Benefits

Yes, there are many types of inorganic foods and processed meals that you can consume, but the drawback is that these foods do not offer any real health benefits. In most cases, all you will get is a full stomach.

Should you choose organic foods, you will have a wide range of items that you can put on your menu that have tangible and proven benefits. You can choose vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seeds, legumes, and nuts.

Less Risk of Obesity

Across the world, authorities are reporting a huge spike in obesity levels in their citizenry. This has been occasioned by the consumption of processed foods that contain high and unhealthy fat levels, as well as additives that our bodies were never meant to digest or process.

One great thing about organic foods such as nuts and vegetables is that they contain naturally occurring fats that have a lot of health benefits. Some examples include:

  • Coconut oil has fats that help in cutting excess weight
  • The oil from olives has monounsaturated fats that are highly effective in promoting better health in the cardiac system
  • Many other natural foods contain high levels of healthy fats, such as avocados and nuts.

Better Gut Health

If you face gut-health problems, and you may be facing them by knowing that you should consider consuming natural foods. Natural foods such as cocoa, garlic, and asparagus contain prebiotics and bacteria, ensuring better gut health.

Less Sugar Cravings

Excess consumption of sugary materials can lead to dental problems and health complications such as diabetes. Most natural foods do not contain a lot of sugar, which is why many people avoid them.

However, once you start introducing your body to whole, unprocessed foods, it will likely adjust to your new-found tastes. As you consistently follow your new diet, you may eventually find that you no longer have a taste for sugary foods, which will be a big plus health-wise.

Your Body Will Get The Desired Fiber Levels

Many organic and whole foods have high levels of fiber, which is crucial for good health. Consuming foods that are high in fiber means that you will have better metabolic health and impeccable health in your digestive system, and further, you will feel more full, meaning that you will eat less.

Many processed foods lack fiber, so most consumers of processed foods tend to turn to supplements. You can, however, give your body the daily dose of fiber that it needs by consuming several types of fiber, such as avocados, flaxseeds, beans, chia seeds, and leguminous groceries.

Natural Foods Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Diabetes is a cause for concern for many people across the nation and the entire world. Recent studies have put the total number of people suffering from diabetes at 400 million. At this point, it is important to note that high blood sugar levels are the leading cause of diabetes.

People with diabetes or those at high risk of getting this disease can lower their sugar levels by consuming high fiber levels of organic produce. Some of the recommended foods include different types of nuts and vegetables.

Major Health Benefits Offered By Different Organic Products

Living a healthy life is about consuming an all-round nutritious diet. Different organic foods have different health benefits. You cannot simply focus on consuming one type of food and think you will live a healthier lifestyle. Think about our great ancestors who had to eat different foods during different seasons because certain animals and plants were more prevalent based on seasonal climates. Because of modern manufacturing and distribution processes, we have foods that are now easily transported worldwide and can be preserved in cans and packages for a long time. Our bodies were never meant to eat the same foods routinely. We should ideally rotate our foods, providing at least a four-day interval before we have the same food again.

If you want to be healthier in all aspects, consider rotating your diet more frequently with different types of foods.2 Below, we will classify different natural foods for the nutrients that they provide.

Vitamins

  • B-1 Vitamins: Squash, watermelons and squash
  • B-2 Vitamins: Cereals and whole grains
  • B-3 Vitamins: Potatoes, mushrooms, and whole grains
  • B-5 Vitamins: Avocados, broccoli, mushrooms, and whole grains
  • B-6 Vitamins: Bananas and soy beans
  • B-7 Vitamins: Soybeans and whole grains
  • Vitamin C: Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, spinach, bell peppers, tomatoes, and citrus fruits
  • Vitamin D: Cereals
  • Vitamin A: Carrots, spinach, pumpkins and sweet potatoes
  • Vitamin E: Green leafy vegetables, nuts, and whole grains
  • Vitamin K: Spinach, broccoli, cabbage, and kale

Minerals

  • Calcium: Green leafy veggies
  • Magnesium: Legumes, Broccoli, spinach
  • Fluoride: Green read
  • Copper: Beans, nuts, whole grains and seeds
  • Manganese: Legumes, tea, whole grains, and nuts
  • Zinc: Whole grains and legumes

Antioxidants

  • Garlic, leeks, eggplant, pumpkin, grapes, carrots, apricots, spinach, berries, watermelon, green leafy vegetables, soybeans, peas, whole grains and capsicum

Carotenoids

  • Yams, kale, spinach, bell peppers, and cantaloupes

The benefits described above do not point to all the health benefits of organic foods. You can get many health benefits from organic foods, and the ones listed above do not even scratch the surface.

A Guide On How To Shop For Healthy Foods

You may have already decided to go for natural and whole foods due to their immense health benefits, but you may be wondering how to find truly organic foods that are unblemished with processed chemicals. Below are some considerations when grocery shopping.

Consider Your Needs

Different types of organic foods have different health benefits. Before going shopping, identify your needs. Make a shopping list. This will help you narrow down on stores in your locality that stock the type of organic foods you seek. You may consult a dietary specialist to identify your specific nutritional needs.

Check The Store Rating

Before purchasing organic foods at a store, check the rating given to the store by the health department. It does not make sense to purchase organic foods only to develop health complications because your products are in a store known for less than stellar hygiene levels. Ideally, you should make your purchases in an A-rated store.

Consider The Price

Different stores stock and offer organic produce at different rates. To get the best deals for your organic produce, check out the rates in different stores before purchasing. Due diligence can help you save a lot of money in the long run.

Check Out The Labels

Check out the labels in different stores before purchasing produce. Never assume that any produce you see on shelves has been produced organically. Most stores typically put up labels to help consumers differentiate between produce that has been farmed organically and inorganically. To spot organic produce, check for labels such as natural, organic, and Certified Naturally Grown (CNA).

Think About Your Personal Motivation

Are you more health conscious, or are you more worried about the health complications that may arise if you consume food grown using chemicals? Your personal motivations will have a big impact on your shopping patterns.

Query The Store Owners

The best way to understand more about the produce you are about to purchase is to question the store's owner. Consider asking about the produce's origin, the supplier's dependability, and whether the owner can guarantee that the product has grown organically.

Consider Buying Directly From Farmers

The best guarantee you can make to buy organic produce is to get it directly from farmers. By visiting the grower of the produce at their farm, you will get a chance to interrogate their farming methods and gauge if you are okay with the organic practice that the farmer has in place. Many communities have farmers' markets on Saturday mornings where there is an opportunity to get fresh, locally, organically produced foods at great prices. Besides, we might just enjoy getting outdoors and interacting with others!

Is Buying Organic Produce Expensive?

Living a healthier and more nutritious lifestyle is not as expensive as most people think. Contrary to popular belief, you will likely save a lot of money by choosing a natural and whole foods diet. Processed foods often come at a higher cost than natural foods because of the extra production, transportation, and storage costs. More importantly, your health care cost will likely be minimized significantly as you will be at less risk for chronic disease and other illnesses associated with sustained, poor nutrition.

To save money when purchasing natural foods, you can:

  • Stick to the outer isles of the grocery store where the fresh produce is normally displayed.
  • Be mindful of sale prices. Fresh food only stays fresh for a few days, so stores mark it down quickly to move it before it goes bad. As long as you can use it quickly, this can be a good option.
  • Purchase your produce in bulk if you have more mouths to feed.
  • Buy directly from farmers.
  • Visit local farmer's markets if they are available in your locality.
  • Gradually introduce yourself to organic foods.

Consider Consulting with a Nutrition Specialist

Natural foods have many health benefits. To live a healthier life, you simply need to make a choice. To realize the full benefits of organic foods, you should consult a nutrition specialist before beginning your new diet. A dietician will be able to help you choose meals that help you meet the required nutritional requirements. Further, they may be able to advise you on where to shop in your locality.

Gradual Change is Easier and Produces Better Results

If you are not used to consuming organic foods, you don't have to overhaul your pantry and fridge overnight. Instead, you can approach a healthier diet by making gradual changes . By pacing yourself, you will increase your chances of success and give yourself more time to research organic foods that you will enjoy eating and finding local providers.

A great way to implement a transition to eating more whole foods is to simply remove or limit one unhealthy item during the week and potentially substitute in its place something healthy. For example, if you like sodas, try substituting water or tea for just one you normally drink during the day. Over time, keep reducing the number of sodas; if you are thirsty, gradually replace them with a healthy alternative. Another example is substituting a piece of fruit for a candy or chip snack once a week. Or you could substitute a salad once a week for a traditional carb like a side of potatoes or bread or for a dessert. Just a little bit at a time over time is much easier for us to manage, and it tends to produce a sustainable result that impacts our health and well-being positively .


headshot of Jay Todtenbier 2018
Author

Jay Todtenbier is an original founder of SupplementRelief.com in 2010 and has operated the business ever since. He is also a tennis instructor and gospel musician. Formerly he spent 25 years in business development, technology and marketing with startups and major corporations having gone through the tech boom in Silicon Valley in the 90s. He became passionate about, and began studying and practicing Wellness as a Lifestyle after experiencing chronic, personal health challenges including depression, auto-immune disorders, and being overweight that impacted his ability to live a healthy, vibrant life. Since then, he has been an advocate for healthier living encouraging others to live better through making small, gradual changes to lifestyle behaviors relating to whole-foods nutrition, stress management, reasonable exercise, proper sleep, and the use of targeted, high-quality supplements.

Learn more about Jay Todtenbier.

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