It can be quite the struggle to buy healthy groceries these days, especially when you have to walk into a store with every food imaginable. Remember, grocery stores are businesses and it is their job to get you to spend as much money as possible. Gone are the days where you just have to fight against your wants and desires. Now you have to deal with the best advertising money can buy. For instance, I had the intention of going into Trader Joe's to buy one item, and an hour later I had 100 dollars less in my bank account. Another time I went to Whole Foods with the intention to buy snacks for a movie. I had my mind set on dark chocolate covered pretzels, but guess what happened? I walked into the store and right away I see a table with the sign "Self Serve: Potato Chips. And if you know me well then you know I love salty foods. So of course I went ahead and filled up my bag with the chips.
How crazy is that?
Before entering the store I had no intention of buying those chips, but one trigger and boom, there I was stuffing my face. And of course I still ended up buying the dark chocolate covered pretzels because I needed the sweet to counteract the salty, right? As humans we must realize that we are wired to eat and that we are fighting an uphill battle when going into a food store. If our ancestors walked into a food store today they would consume everything in sight. This is the first time in history where food is readily available and it is causing massive health consequences. Even the healthiest of food stores, i.e Whole Foods or Trader Joes, still have foods that can pack on the pounds. Granted, they are better than the typical food store and have healthier options versus other stores, but these stores still sell processed snacks. A gluten free cookie is still a cookie and we can't forget that.
Our current food stores, including the healthy ones, have every food combination possible and any desire can be met with the swipe of a credit card. You see, walking into a food store without a plan or general idea of what you should buy is asking for trouble. Humans (including me) are feeble and weak minded. We run on the momentum of the moment and let our emotions make the decision for us. And if you are going into the store tired, hungry or stressed out then you will be more likely to make a bad decision and purchase a processed food that is high in sugar and fat. Remember, a lack of sleep has been shown to increase snacking in individuals (Read More). Thus, if you go to the store tired then you are going to be more willing to buy processed snacks.
Let's face it, chocolate covered pretzels and potato chips taste amazing and reduce the stress response in many people. The food companies know this and take advantage of this. Have you ever read the slogan for Lay's Potato Chips?
"Betcha can't eat just one."
And that is one bet you will always lose. When you are stressed out, you are only thinking about the moment and satisfying that need. You want the instant gratification and fail to realize the long term health effects. In that moment, the salty chip tastes delicious and releases chemicals in the brain (dopamine, serotonin and a host of others) that make you feel good. However, this process only lasts a couple seconds which forces you to grab another. This develops a vicious cycle where every time you feel stressed you turn to food to reduce the stress. Now this isn't the case for everyone, but we are wired to love things that reduce stress and bring us comfort.
In today's world, food is that stress reducer and it can be bought in abundance. This isn’t changing anytime soon, so you better have a plan ready for the next time you go food shopping. Luckily, I saved you the time and wrote one up for you. The list below sets you up for success by taking the decisions out of your control. Follow the list below and you will be on your way to a healthier, happier life.
*Print this out and bring it with you. I am not advocating that you buy everything from the list, just make sure you only buy from this list. And yes, you can stray off this list, but keep it to three food choices max.*
Avoid Going To The Food Store When.....
You are tired
You are hungry
After eating an edible or smoking marijuana
You are drunk
You are depressed
Kombucha (8 grams of sugar max)
Bai Antioxidant Infusion Drink
My Weekend Beverage
Tequila, Salt, and A Lime
Vodka Club Soda
Healthy Protein Sources
Grass Finished Beef/ Steak
Free Range Chicken
Free Range Pork
Free Range Turkey
Nuts: Almonds, Cashews, Pistachios
Organ Meats: Liver, Hearts... You know, all the stuff from Fear Factor
Healthy Fat Sources
Dark Chocolate (80 % cacao or more)
Seafood: Salmon, Sardines, Scallops
Almond Butter (Should contain two ingredients)
Peanut Butter (Should contain two ingredients)
Sunflower Butter (Should contain two ingredients)
Goat Cheese or Cottage Cheese
Grass Fed Milk
Full Fat Yogurt
Grass Finished Beef/ Steak
Healthy Carbohydrate Sources
*Quick Note: I don't believe any fruit or vegetable is bad for you, just eat the actual fruit, not some fresh squeezed juice.
Sweet/White/Red/ Purple/ Gold Potatoes (You get the point, I love potatoes!)
Steel Cut Oats
Grass Finished Beef Jerky
Casein Protein Shake
Raw Nuts (No oils added)
85-100% Dark Chocolate
Greek Full Fat Yogurt
Healthiest Oils To Cook in High Heat
Grass fed Butter