Pantry Makeover: How to Grocery Shop.

It has taken me a little longer than I expected get this post together, but I’m glad I waited. After doing a couple pantry makeovers, I have better insight to foods people have in their pantries and I feel I’m able to make better suggestions.

Here are some food rules for your next trip to the grocery store.

Food Rules: If it’s advertised on TV, or in the media, RUN! Cheap foods are heavily promoted and lead to poor health.

Eat foods made from ingredients you can picture in their raw state of nature.

Shop locally, find a farmers market near you and check it out.

If you have space, purchase a freezer. This way you can purchase organic grass-fed meat in bulk.  That will reduce the cost of the meat. Look for deals, last year Whole Foods had grass-fed ground beef on sale for $4 a lb. I purchased 15 pounds and froze it.

You can’t supplement a poor diet. Don’t spend money on supplements then eat a poor quality diet.

Shopping Guidelines:
Shop the perimeter of the store. 80% of what you purchase should be from the perimeter of the store. This is where you will find real foods such as fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and dairy.

When purchasing dairy, if you can afford it consider raw, organic dairy. When milk is pasteurized the heat kills important enzymes as well as damaging or destroying vitamins and amino acids. For resources check out The next best diary option is organic, non-homogenized milk(Straus and Trader Joe’s sell this). The third best option is organic full fat milk.

The homogenization process forces milk through a fine filter at pressure equal to 4,000 pounds per square inch, decreasing the fat globules. By making the fat globules smaller it allows certain substances to bypass digestion. Proteins that are usually usually predigested stomach, are not broken down, increasing the chances of incomplete protein digestion in the small intestine. This can lead to a milk allergy or intolerance.

Is organic dairy really worth the extra money? Yes, and here’s why. Most dairies inject their cows with hormones to produce more milk. This can cause their udders to drag to the ground, causing an infection, which they then treat with antibiotics. Antibiotics that end up in your milk.

Yogurt. Same rules apply, purchase full-fat organic yogurt from grass-fed cows.

Butter. Look for butter that comes from grass-fed cows. Trader Joe’s carries Kerrygold butter which comes from grass-fed cows.

Creamers. Most dairy creamers contain trans-fats.  Healthier options would be cream or whole milk.

Meat. When shopping for meat, your best option is grass-fed. Look for chicken and pork that was raised outdoors and pasture-fed. Same thing for eggs look for eggs pasture-fed hens (usually at your local farmers market) If the previous items are not available or unaffordable try and locate organic meat and free-range eggs. If your unable to afford those then consume less conventional meat and when you do consume it remove the fat since thats were toxins are stored. Grass-fed meat is higher in Vitamin E, Beta Carotene, Conjugated Linoleic Acid, and the omega 3 to omega 6 ratio is favorable compared to grain fed meat which is much higher in Omega 6’s. For further information read: The Advantages of Grass Fed Beef and Dairy

Fish. Avoid farm-raised fish. Farm raised fish are fed grains, soy and receive antibiotics along with other drugs. Look for wild-caught fish. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a pocket seafood guide you can download here.

Produce. The best produce your going to find is from your local farmer’s market or a health food store. There you will be able to find local organic produce. If you can’t find organic, your next best bet is produce that was locally grown without pesticides. If that is unavailable to you, I would look for frozen organic, then regular produce and make sure that you wash it with produce wash or make your own produce wash with vinegar and water. Here’s a list of the 12 most heavily contaminated crops and the 12 least: The Dirty Dozen.

Fats and Oils. Avoid fats, oils and products that contain any of the following terms: Refined, Hydrogenated, Partially Hydrogenated and Cold-Processed. Look for Organic, First-cold pressed or Cold-Pressed, Expeller-Pressed, Unrefined, and Extra Virgin. The best type of oils for cooking are: Lard, Ghee, Beef and Lamb Tallow, Chicken, Duck and Goose Fat,Coconut Oil, and Red Palm Oil. For quick stir-frying, or light sauteing olive oil is safe to use. If you purchase packaged foods check the ingredients for vegetable oils. During the last pantry makeover that I completed, my client was amazed at all of the vegetable oils found in the packaged foods she purchased. What’s wrong with these supposedly healthy vegetable oils? According to Ray Peat, Ph.D., a physiologist who has studied hormones and dietary fats since 1968 polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFAs in vegetable seed oils are the bane of human health — they actually cause cancer, diabetes, obesity, premature aging, thrombosis, arthritis, and immunodeficiencies. Their only appropriate use, he says, is as ingredients in paints and varnishes. For further information on how damaging vegetable oils are check out Unhealthy Vegetable Oils?

Sweeteners. The one sweetener that every pantry seems to have nowadays is agave. I tell every client to throw away the agave! Every client says “but I thought agave was healthy!” How agave was originally processed and how it’s processed today is completely different. From the Weston A Price Foundation here’s how agave is produced:

The process by which agave glucose and inulin are converted into “nectar” is similar to the process by which corn starch is converted into HFCS.35 The agave starch is subject to an enzymatic and chemical process that converts the starch into a fructose-rich syrup—anywhere from 70 percent fructose and higher according to the agave nectar chemical profiles posted on agave nectar websites. 36 (One agave manufacturer claims that his product is made with “natural” enzymes.) That’s right, the refined fructose in agave nectar is much more concentrated than the fructose in HFCS. For comparison, the high fructose corn syrup used in sodas is 55 percent refined fructose. (A natural agave product does exist in Mexico, a molasses type of syrup from concentrated plant nectar, but availability is limited and it is expensive to produce.)

According to Bianchi(Managing Director and CEO of Adept Solutions, Inc., a globally recognized food and beverage development company), agave “nectar” and HFCS “are indeed made the same way, using a highly chemical process with genetically modified enzymes. They are also using caustic acids, clarifiers, filtration chemicals and so forth in the conversion of agave starches.” The result is a high level of highly refined fructose in the remaining syrup, along with some remaining inulin.

The sweeteners that I recommend are honey, preferably raw (your local farmers market is a great place to purchase local raw honey) Maple Syrup (Trader Joe’s sells organic Maple Syrup for a decent price) or organic sugar. I like the Wholesome Sweeteners brand they make a great line of organic sugars (just avoid the agave) most of the sugars they sell are fair trade certified. To find out what fair trade certified is check out wholesome sweetners website: Wholesome Sweeteners. One natural sweetener, that I haven’t made an official decision on is Stevia. I think it’s too new to make any official decisions on whether or not it’s a safe sweetener. If you do decide to use it, the best way would be to purchase a stevia plant and use the leaves. Otherwise you want to make sure that you purchase the green stevia, since it hasn’t been bleached. I’ve tried stevia and am not a big fan, it has a funky taste. In my opinion your much better off using one of the sweeteners I mentioned prior. Here’s some more information on Stevia: Dangers of Stevia.


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