Along with the real-food revolution, more and more people are looking to explore alternative shopping options and avoid the processed-food laden supermarket or grocery store. In my everyday life, I’ve managed to completely replace all large supermarket shopping and in the process, I have made new friends, learned more about where our food comes from and supported our local food providers along the way.
WHY DITCH THE SUPERMARKET?
Although extremely large and sometimes more convenient, the supermarket is not the best place to find real food. In fact, finding real, high quality, Paleo-friendly products within the fluorescent aisles can be like hunting for a needle in a haystack! For many supermarket products, shelf life is top priority, which generally has a negative correlation with nutrient density. You may have heard the tip to shop around the perimeter, but I’d rather you head outside, meet your local business owners and take control of your health.
VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLAR
One of the biggest questions that we come up against is “but isn’t eating healthy more expensive?” The answer is no. It is true that some organic products can have a higher price tag than supermarket items, but there are a number of ways to address this dilemma. When we transition to a whole food diet, many of the high ticket items from your supermarket are off the menu. Have you ever noticed that the most expensive items tend to be things like cereal, crackers, muesli, kids snacks, “healthy” treats and dairy products like yoghurt and cheese? When we take these items out of the budget, there is often a lot more to spend on fresh vegetables and high quality meats than you think!
By stepping out of the supermarket, you will be opening yourself to a world of choice. You can vote with your dollar to support individual families and business practices that you believe in. If we are all able to ask the right questions and support practices like the ethical treatment of animals, we will all play a role in changing the landscape of living for our families and for future generations.
As organic produce and grass-fed meat is becoming increasingly popular, this has helped to reduce the prices across the board. If you do your research, you can even purchase your seasonal and organic or spray-free produce for equal or even less than supermarket value. By taking out the middleman, you know exactly where your money is going, too. There’s no denying that grass-fed and organic meat is more expensive than meat from conventional farming. This is because it takes longer and uses higher quality resources and extra care to raise animals without high volume grain feeding and hormonal intervention. However, by making the switch you are also keeping these toxins out of your body and promoting a change in the way we treat and feed animals. A weekly budget is a great way to implement this change, and will allow you to see exactly where your money is allocated to feed your family. You can plan what you need to spend at the market for weekly fruit and vegetables, at the butcher or market for your key protein sources and any household extras that may need to be topped up at the grocer. Your investment in health now may mean huge savings in the future by preventing illness and disease for you and your family.
THE FARMERS' MARKET
A trip to the farmers’ market is one of the most fun, rewarding and delicious ways to spend your Saturday or Sunday morning. If you love getting up early to beat the crowds, you can always get your hands on a warm cup of tea or coffee and check out the daily offerings. I recommend that you prepare your shopping list ahead of time, do a lap of the market first and suss out the best value stalls or ask any questions that you have before you start buying. Every market will be a little different, and some will have vegetables, meat and eggs all in one spot while others will be more produce or even craft-based. Visiting different markets can also be a great way to travel in your city and is a great excuse for a road trip!
The farmers’ market is the best stop for fresh fruit and vegetables. If you’re on a tight budget, it’s great to know which vegetables are better to buy organic (more likely to have chemical residues) and which ones have the lowest risk. In the US, The Environmental Working Group has released a “dirty dozen” list of vegetables and fruits with the highest potential for pesticide residue. Get as many of your fruits and veggies from a spray-free or organic provider, but keep the following in mind as high priority.
Go organic for: apples, peaches, strawberries, celery, spinach, capsicum, nectarines, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, grapes, snap peas and potatoes.
Less risk of chemical residue on: asparagus, avocados, cabbage, cantaloupe, cauliflower, eggplant, grapefruit, kiwi, mangoes, onions, papaya, pineapple, sweet peas and sweet potatoes.
YOUR LOCAL BUTCHER
Ask your butcher questions! Where does the meat come from? What is it fed? Is it 100% grass-fed or grain finished? If they really care about their product and your wellbeing, they’ll be able to tell you what you need to know to make a fully informed choice for your meat supply. Your butcher can also help you with questions about how to cook specific cuts of meat and what meats might suit your favourite recipes.
Add a wide variety of cuts and animal types to your shopping list: lamb, chicken, beef, fish, pork, kangaroo, wild game, bones for broth and organ meats.
THE LOCAL CORNER STORE OR ORGANIC GROCER
If you get caught out during the week, it’s great to have a local corner store or organic grocer to stop in and pick up the necessities. Often, your high quality grocer or health food shop will have groceries like:
- pasture-fed eggs
- organic nuts
- frozen foods
- healthy treats and snacks
- fermented foods
- staples like sugar-free pasta sauce, tuna, tomato paste and coconut milk
Where are your favourite places to shop for meat, veggies and staples? Do you have a favourite market? Share below!