I recently went to the grocery store to pick up groceries. It was payday, so like everyone else, I go when the money is in the bank. While there, I reflected on what my groceries used to look like and what they look like now. If I could go back to show you what I bought at the time of my before picture in My Story, it would look completely different! My cart had Spaghetti-os, hot dogs, hamburger (there wasn't a fat to lean %), Little Debbie snack cakes, canned fruit and veggies, ice cream, macaroni and cheese in a box, etc. You get the picture. A lot of things transpired to cause these changes: being overweight, high cholesterol, nutrition education, people I knew with cancer and other health issues that could have been prevented, celiac disease and food allergies. I have learned to eat to live. How we fuel our bodies makes a big difference in our health, appearance, weight, and our energy levels. You can make the grocery cart transformation, too! With some education and incremental changes it can happen without busting the budget. Allow me to share some observations, my own story, and then how you can make the switch.
There were some interesting things I observed while at the store. They were shocking. While I was in the produce section, a very large woman on a scooter was looking at the grapes on sale. Shocked, I saw her take grapes out of the bag and put them into her mouth! First, that is theft. Second, which might explain some of her condition, she never even wiped them off. These weren't organic, so pesticides, dirt, etc. were still on them. This drastically overweight woman had bruises on her arm probably from blood thinners and wounds with pus draining into bandages. She certainly was no picture of health. If she did this regularly, the residue on the fruits were taking a toll. Like I said, there probably were other factors behind her health condition as well. The other was a woman who was probably 50-70 pounds overweight. Her ankles were thick and swollen with purple variegated from the lower part of her calf to her feet. Her walking was a bit challenged as she finished her grocery trip. There were a lot of pre-prepared meals, white bread, and other high carb-high sugar foods in her cart. Type 2 Diabetes may have been behind the foot and ankle problems. She could have other issues too. It is not uncommon in farming communities to see these kinds of scenes. But I also have seen clients and class members with similar issues come into the gym to work out, then go out to eat the very things they should leave alone! Their doctors were trying to get them to eat right and avoid the very problems that were plaguing them! Some illnesses are self-inflicted through diet.
If it is any help, in my before picture, I was diagnosed with borderline high cholesterol. I was disappointed that the very foods I loved were hurting me: cheese, yogurt, ice cream, snack cakes, eggs, etc. My doctor put me on a diet to bring my cholesterol numbers back to where they belonged. It was hard, but worth it. Why do we kill ourselves slowly with our food? Abundance, availability and addiction. Believe me, there was a month long detox I went through. If you look at what is on the table in the picture, you don't see any of those things. However, I do allow myself and occasional treat like an Udis muffin or Alter Eco dark chocolate. It looks like a ton of produce bags in our fridge. In the winter, my freezer has a bunch of fruit and veggie bags, too,most of which is organic. Yes there is a bottle of Coke Zero. That is my husband's treat. However, I do allow myself some diet pop, but drink more water, black coffee, iced tea and orange juice with pulp. This cart load was under $100 and most of it will last 2 weeks. I cook almost all our meals at home. Rarely do we eat out.
Here is how you can begin making changes:
"But Char", you say, " I don't have time to cook!" Yes, you do. Here's the plan:
What's next? Buying organic can be somewhat cost-prohibitive in appearance. I usually buy it if it is only 20-30 cents more per pound. I also consider the dirty dozen list whenever possible. Try cage free eggs rather than the cheap store brand version on sale. Look for vegetarian fed meats and free-range or uncaged chicken. Look for fish on the list Seafood Card from Food and Water Watch. You will be surprised how many store chains have their own brand that is more cost friendly. Keep track of the sale flyers. Use store key tags to save money!
Another step would be non-GMO. If you have the choice between regular and non-GMO, start making the switch progressively. It won't shock your budget now. It also gives you time to make the adjustments in your shopping strategy. Some of these changes will take time. Try to make a new change every 2 weeks to once a month. You will hit cravings and so will your family. Determination, fun challenges and non-food rewards will help you through the relentless cravings. Making these changes will help you avoid the problems like what I saw in the store that day.
What we put in our bodies is godly stewardship- for your body and your wallet. Your health is worth the investment. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! God bless you!