The Food for Vitality Grocery List
I was a little overwhelmed when I discovered the world of healthy eating. It felt like there were a million things to learn, and health food stores looked so foreign to me. Then I discovered how helpful the staff were. What a breath of fresh air to ask questions and be met with knowledgeable answers! More often than not, the employees live a healthy lifestyle and have a keen interest in helping you. Go figure.
With the growing cost of health care in this country, knowing how to stay healthy day to day is key. While it is important to have a good relationship with your doctor, eating well and light exercise are the best ways to prevent unnecessary doctors visits. This does not mean swearing off all the fun stuff. My life would be totally annoying without a nice ‘lil hunk of soft and squidgy brie accompanied by a delicious glass of red wine once in a while. As long as this isn’t an every day occurrence, you’re good to go. It’s all about balance.
An idea to consider: Using organic products. Organic fruits and vegetables have not been sprayed with harmful pesticides. These pesticides are literally poison to your body (and the soil they grow in). The toxic build up of pesticide chemicals in your body can actually shorten your life. For flavor, do a taste test comparing conventional fruits and vegetables vs organic. Organic fruit and veg are bursting with flavor and contain more nutritional value to boot.
Worried about the expense of going organic? Oh, that old chestnut. Do I have a story for you. My husband Toby is one of the loveliest, but cheapest men on the planet. So much so, that it’s become a long standing joke among friends and family. Although he has helped me to appreciate the value of a dollar (with more trips to the 99 cent store than I’d care to admit), the tightness did unnerve me to no end in the beginning of our relationship. A good example: Toby used the cheapest brand of toilet paper in his apartment. I’m talking tree bark. Soft tissue paper is a no brainer for me, but when we moved in together, we would literally bicker in the aisles of supermarkets about which brand to buy. Toby couldn’t seem to understand the merits of spending a few extra pennies for a more pleasurable experience in the salle de bain. Needless to say, we got through it (one does not divorce over Angel Soft), but you can only imagine the uphill battle it was to buy organic.
Oh, the pain of our first trip to Whole Foods. “Do we really need all of those organic (in a snippy tone) bananas?” “What’s the difference between these organic Heirloom tomatoes and the conventional Roma ones? ” “Tempeh? What is that? It looks like…..” All this, and I was making dinner. I must say I arrived to the check out a little agitated. How enjoyable was it to see the humbled look on his face when it cost no more than the usual bill? Ummm hmmm, thasss right! Then he ate the Heirloom tomatoes in his salad at dinner and exclaimed, “Wow(sounded more like “wowr” with so much salad stuffed in his mouth) these are grrrreat!” Ah, the joy of transitioning your family to a healthier lifestyle. Trust me, if my family can go organic, anyone can.
To save money, we make two pits stops for our groceries. Our local Trader Joes carries a lot of organic products and produce, then we pick up the bulk of our produce at one of the following: Farmers Market, Whole Foods, or The Co Op. However much I love Whole Foods, we simply cannot afford to do our whole shop there. I have become a frugal gourmet, and apart from produce, I may pick up one or two things that I can’t get anywhere else.
The Food For Vitality Grocery List
Here is a basic list of staples that won’t bog you down with a bunch of food you won’t ever use. In the beginning, try small quantities (one pound bags of rice for example) so the overall cost is low. Whenever possible, use organic products for nutritional value and flavor.
Fresh Fruit and Vegetables in season
organic designer bags of lettuce (ex. 1 bag of romaine for crunch and 1 bag mixed leaves for depth of flavor)
fresh heads of lettuce
pea pods or boy choy for more exciting stir frys
short grain brown rice (has a slightly sweeter taste and chewier than long grain)
white or brown basmati rice
quinoa (a tasty grain, pronounced keen wah)
brown rice noodles (penne or spaghetti)
Beans and Soy products
brown or green lentils
dry or canned black beans (dry requires overnight soaking, canned for quick cooking)
dry or canned chickpeas (same as above)
extra firm tofu or baked, marinated tofu
tempeh (a nobbly soy product that can be marinated for stir frys or grilled as cutlets)
olive oil (cook with regular rather than extra virgin)
tamari soy sauce (wheat free soy sauce is also available)
apple cider vinegar
natural mustard (no sugar brand)
natural ketchup (no sugar brand)
agave syrup or raw honey
Choose one from the following:
whole wheat, stone ground, gluten free bread, or unyeasted sourdough(the most digestible)
whole wheat or corn tortillas
essene bread (sun baked and dehydrated bread that comes in yummy flavors in the frozen or cold shelf)
Spreads and Jams
fruit jams (fruit juice sweetened only)
cashew or almond nut butters
unbleached white flour
whole wheat flour
baking soda (no aluminum added)
baking powder (no aluminum added)
bicarbonate of soda (no aluminum)
vanilla (no alcohol)
vegan dark chocolate chips
Nuts (buy raw)
almond, rice, oat, or soy milk
juice (no sweeteners or colors added)
fruit and herbal teas: peppermint, chamomile, nettle, raspberry leaf, yogi teas
Choose one or two cereals from the following:
puffed rice, wheat, corn, or kamut
raw dehydrated granola or gluten free granola (no sugar added)
boxed cereals with flax, kamut, or any other healthy grains (no sugar added)
rice cakes (no caramel or other sweetened types)
popcorn (no microwave popcorn please. full of baddies)
essene bread (a moreish bread that is addictive, but thankfully healthy)
mochi (snack made of brown rice and puffs when baked. simply delish)
dried fruit (stick to unsulphured. much better for you)
Roasted tamari covered nuts and seeds
As with all things in life, this is not a race, but a journey. Take your time, and be kind to your body. Considering we are in a global recession, finish what’s sitting on the shelf, then make the conversion. When the ketchup is finished, buy an organic bottle and so on. Fruit and vegetables are easier to upgrade week to week. If you are itching to dive in straight away, donate your unwanted goods to a local church, charity, or homeless person.
Enjoy, and watch your skin start to glow.