Well, my friends, I’m back! I’m so glad you’re here, too. We’ve been discussing the transition from a Standard American Diet pantry to a Healthy pantry. What people often don’t realize is that making this transition is not just about replacing one type of food with another. If it were that simple, everyone would do it. Much of what we are talking about goes so much deeper. We all have emotional attachments to food in one way or another, whether we realize it or not. The whole process of cleaning our diets up is frequently a roller coaster ride of psychological ups and downs. Even though we know it’s the right thing to do for our body, sometimes it is so difficult to give up an old (and maybe unhealthy) favorite. It’s kind of like giving up that old pair of slippers. They are comfortable; they make us feel better, and those new slippers just kind of rub us the wrong way and don’t bend in all the right places. Many times, we also have a physical addiction to certain foods. Processed sugars, unhealthy fats, and MSG are extremely addictive. One of my goals is to support you through the mental aspect of changing your lifestyle, as well as giving you the knowledge to improve your food choices.
Last night, we looked at some of the necessary staple items for stocking your healthy pantry. Tonight, let’s take a look at produce and meat. Remember, our goal is to crowd out the not so great, processed food with healthy, fresh choices. By the time we’re done, you won’t even want the old way of eating back again.
One of the best ways to get the best food in the grocery store is by shopping the outside of the store. This is usually where the produce aisle and meat counter is located. Most of the inside aisles have all the boxed and canned foods that you want to avoid, so try to avoid those. Many grocery stores have separate sections devoted to organic foods. I highly recommend that you shop for your staple items there as much as possible, but remember that processed organic foods (prefab meals, boxed foods, sweets, and cereals) are still PROCESSED. Your goal is to buy as much real food as possible. Also, I mentioned last night that one of the best places to find wonderful organic produce is at your local farmer’s market, farm stands, and co ops. Health food stores often have co op memberships that you can join for a nominal fee and you can get really great produce all year long. Another thing to consider is purchasing a CSA from a local organic farm that offers them. With a CSA, you pay one price at the beginning of the growing season, and then get a box of fresh produce each week during the growing season. This turns out to be a great option moneywise. The CSA that I purchased works out to less than $30 a week, and I know I am spending more than double that in the grocery store each week, probably closer to triple. So let’s see what should be in your healthy fridge!
- Fresh greens (kale, spinach, beet greens, chard, bok choy)
- Russet potatoes
- Sweet potatoes
- Tomatoes (Slicing tomatoes and cherry or grape tomatoes)
- Peppers (bell peppers)
- Fresh herbs (especially rosemary, sage, basil, thyme, parsley, dill, and fennel)
- Cabbage or Brussel Sprouts
- Zucchini or Summer squash in the summer
- Spaghetti squash (to use in place of heavy pastas)
- Butternut or Acorn squash
- Broccoli and Cauliflower
These are just a few of my favorites, but when you start with this kind of produce list, you have everything you need to make wonderful stocks and soups, fresh herbs and spices to season your foods, salad fixings, greens to saute or juice, veggies for sides or to cut up and eat raw for snacks. There are a million other veggies. Experiment with vegetables, and don’t be afraid to try new things. It’s great to eat seasonal; seasonal eating gives you a variety of foods throughout the year, and our bodies are actually designed to assimilate seasonal foods better than when we eat against the seasons. (But that’s a whole different series of blogs!)
Make sure you also buy lots of seasonal fruits and berries. My favorites right now are raspberries and strawberries. I always have some apples, bananas, and oranges on hand for quick snacks, and when I can’t find good fresh fruits, I buy frozen. Frozen is a good option when you pick fruits and veggies without added sugars or sauces.
Tomorrow night, we’ll take a stroll through the meat aisle, and see what else belongs in our healthy refrigerator! I hope you’ll share what fresh veggies and fruits are your favorites in the comments section. I would love to add to our list. Have a great night everyone! See you all tomorrow!