The Shopping Trip
One of the things that intimidated me the most when I first began my Plant-Based journey was the weekly grocery shopping trip. Aisles and aisles of food lay before me with thousands of choices beckoning to me. Each product singing its praises with labels such as “improved”, “healthy”, “Dr. approved”, “more fiber”, “lowers cholesterol”, “part of a healthy breakfast”, “all natural”, “gluten free”, etc. Doesn’t this make you crazy? How was I supposed to make healthy choices with so many confusing messages? Step by step I made my way, figuring out the best way to plan out my meals for the week and determining my grocery needs. Learning to read hundreds of labels and deciphering the good from the bad. Eventually I have come to identify great, healthy products that meet my plant based diet needs.
Read those labels!
One of the first things I learned to do when I began to eat for health was to read the labels on everything – and I mean everything! You won’t believe the innocent looking foods that have hidden ingredients in them.
Let’s take a look at one of the more common culprits – sugar. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States (FAO), across the world, the average person consumes about 53 pounds of sugar each year. In industrialized countries, that number is as high as 73 pounds of sugar per person per year.
In the US, sugar consumption started as low as 4 pounds per person in 1776 going up to 20 pounds in 1850, 120 pounds by 1994 and is currently close to 160 pounds per person per year!
Click on this page to see the variety of names for sugar in the products you consume.
The next common hidden ingredient is oil. Oils are added to a long list of products such as sauces, dressings, cookies, crackers, breads, spreads, bottled veggies like roasted red peppers, olives, garlic, ginger, condiments even tortillas and seasonings! You can get many of these same items without oil if you read through the labels carefully. Once you identify those items that do not have oil add them to your SAFE LIST. It may take some time to find the products that are safe but then that job is done and you can confidently buy those items on a regular basis without worrying. It definitely is a process!
Of course you also want to check for dairy products as well as meat and any other type of animal products. Milk and casein can be found in many products even “dairy-free” cheese! If you make it a habit to read the labels on EVERYTHING you can’t go wrong. The closer you get to purchasing whole, natural foods and less processed products the better off you will be. You can’t control what manufacturers put in products but you DO have control of what YOU purchase and what YOU consume.
Ready to Get Started?
Let’s work together on your healthy future! I will meet you wherever you are in your quest for a healthy lifestyle.
Feel free to email me directly if you have questions about beginning your personal nutritional journey.
Disclaimer: I am a Nutritional Coach and Culinary Instructor and I have a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies via e-Cornell and a Plant-Based teaching certificate from Dr. Neal Barnard’s Physicans Committee For Responsible Medicine. In addition, I have a plant-based culinary certificate from the Rouxbe Culinary Institute. I stand behind all recipes, recommendations and nutrition information provided. Please read my full Legal and Affiliate Disclaimer for more information.