I just ran to the grocery store to get ingredients for cooking up a big beef tongue that I have. I only needed some vegetables. The store is one of the big mongo-sized Giant Food stores.
I was wandering around the store, and it suddenly struck me... there is an ENTIRE aisle for soft drinks, maybe 20-30 yards long.
An ENTIRE AISLE for potato/corn chips... dozens of varieties. And if that wasn't enough, there was another aisle for "natural snacks" (which means the other snacks are unnatural?) which included another half-aisle of chips (gourmet, rice, etc).
An entire aisle for breakfast cereals.
An entire aisle for cookies and crackers.
An entire aisle for smooshy white and pseudo-whole-wheat bread products (hotdog and hamburger buns, sandwich bread, muffins, etc). This doesn't include the fresh bakery items.
An entire aisle for candy.
A separate "seasonal" aisle with "seasonal candy" (Mother's Day stuff, now transitioning to other stuff).
An entire aisle of frozen desserts, NOT including ice cream (pies, cakes, popsicles, etc).
Another entire aisle of ice cream, sorbet, sherbert, etc.
Half an aisle of frozen breakfast items (Eggos, frozen pre-cooked pancakes, etc).
When you look at this through the lens of the Paleo diet, it's a bit mind boggling.
Prevailing wisdom is that most of these items are good for you and "part of a balanced diet". Hey, you're supposed to have 10+ servings a day of "grains" after all, and you wouldn't want any of that yucky fat. Most of the items that normally have fat like ice cream and dairy have had it removed. Almost all of them have synthetic fats added, not to mention preservatives and other stuff.
It just kind of struck me all of a sudden. It was like a sci-fi movie. No wonder there is a lot of chafing and waddling in the American population.
Ok so I guess that wasn't a question. Let me make a question out of it. What percentage of the average grocery store is stocked with items that you would actually eat?
Our markets are a reflection of the need to dispose of toxic, subsidized agricultural commodities via the creation of heavily-marketed, value-added food stand-ins rather than the need to optimally nourish our populace.
After I began this Paleo way of life, *My eyes were suddenly open.* I walked in a grocery store and said... "There is no food here!!!" I had to walk to the other end of the store to find produce. I refused to go down any isles. I was amazed at how many things could be made out of grain. I walked into a health food store and said the same thing. Grain abounds every where! I just bought a grass fed Angus from a friend. I have a whole deer in the freezer. I get eggs from a person whole raises a few chickens. We are working on the garden thing. We used to have a huge organic garden but moved. We have a land to clear and about 15 large trees to cut down.
I don't even go into conventional grocery stores any more. It is so depressing. But more than that they don't even sell what I consider to be food! O.k. I get my coffee at the Safeway. I buy a few things from TJ's and the rest is from the farmer's market with a few things from Whole Foods.
Last time I was at the Safeway and waiting in line I wanted to cry when I watched the woman in front of me unloading her cart. I wanted to cry for her and her poor body. I wanted to cry for me and my poor body because for so many years I was her. And then I wanted to cry out of shear joy that my life had been truly transformed. Even just a few years ago I would go to a conventional store and feel tempted by all the "goodies". Now I go and simply feel grateful and happy that all temptation has been removed and what I used to think of as goodies I no longer can even think of as food.
i had that epiphany once, too. i remember it hit me like a rock. for a hundred years ive been shopping the perimeter (before paleo i was still eating pretty clean), and other than the random spice, or jar of almond butter here and there ive never really hit the center of the store. i was wandering around an unfamiliar store once not too long ago and found myself suddenly totally overwhelmed by it all. i also sometimes find myself wondering what the nutritional information would be for the contents of a given aisle, like the chips and cookies aisle. my least favorite is the frozen convenience foods aisle. the amount of sodium and transfats in there complimented by the almost total lack of micronutrients is staggering.
as far as percentage, it shrinks more every day, but depends a lot on the season. in summer i think i really only get nut butters and spices there. i used to get yogurt (10% milkfat greek yogurt from cabot mmmmm) but even that im making at home myself now. in winter i get a lot of fruit and veggies, milk for the kids, and sometimes butter and cream. my husband is running out to the store now and asking what we need and all i could think of as bell peppers for dinner tonight....
Good observation...what I can't help but observe is what people have in their carts... I'm kind of a grocery cart snob. Most of what I put in is just vegetables, some fruits, bulk nuts/seeds, and various sources of protein. There's never any boxes or crinkly bags or bottles of soda...it's really sad to see people shopping with small children and seeing the toxins they're putting into their little bodies. It breaks my heart really. That...is the saddest thing about going to the store.
When I shop what my brother, who also eats paleo, calls the "gross-ery store" at all, which is only in the winter and early spring, we only buy vegetables and fruits and, occasionally, raw nuts. All of our meats, dairy and eggs are purchased from local farms and we get 98% of our produce from the CSA co-op and farmers markets from late spring through fall.
I look at the things in the market like this all the time. It is completely absurd that a box of Fruit Loops claims it is a "good source of fiber" or Frosted Chocolate Fudge Pop Tarts as a "Good Source of Calcium" link text Completely insane.. I find myself looking at the other baskets in line, and thinking, Man..I wouldnt eat a single thing these people are buying.
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