Last week, Reggie Aqui, KGW News Channel 8’s anchor and host of Live @ 7, invited me on the show to do a clip on making better choices in the grocery store. His segment “You’re Doing It Wrong!” is about how little changes in things we do every day can make a big difference. Here we are:
Click here to see the segment.
In preparation for this story, I sent Reggie a list of common “mistakes” people make while grocery shopping. Keep in mind, my considerations were optimal health, nutrition, and budget. Here’s the list I sent:
Tips while grocery shopping:
- Stick to the perimeter of the store (avoid processed/packaged foods)
- What are we eating too much of and/or not enough of? Too much junk food and not enough REAL food. Real food is food how nature intended it – whole and nutrient dense. Junk food is processed, sugar-laden, fat-devoid, unhealthy, “Franken-food”. We’re also eating too many simple carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice, etc.) which raises our blood sugar, causing intense insulin secretion which puts us on the slippery slope towards dysglycemia (blood sugar dysfunction) and eventually type 2 diabetes (which isn’t just affecting adults, but too many kids as well.)
- Produce: Dirty dozen (always buy organic) & clean 15 (low pesticide use)
- Dirty dozen: peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, kale, lettuce/spinach, imported grapes, carrots, pears (I’d add potatoes and raspberries)
- Clean 15: Onion, avocado, sweet corn, pineapple, mango, asparagus, sweet peas, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, papaya, watermelon, broccoli, tomato, sweet potato
- Meat: Antibiotic- and hormone-free; grass-fed beef, wild caught fish. AVOID factory farmed/conventional/feed-lot poultry and meat.
- Dairy: Full fat! Unflavored milk, yogurt (add your own fruit, honey, chia seeds, etc. to avoid added sugar and chemicals). The days of low-fat, non-fat foods are over. Healthy fat does not make you fat; SUGAR makes you fat. We got into this mess (obesity, diabetes, etc.) when fat was removed from food, and sugar was added.
- Other fats: Stay away from canola oil, vegetable oil, and other processed oils. They are bad for your health. Stick to extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, REAL butter, ghee (clarified butter), nuts (and nut oils), and seeds.
- Cut the sugar: Swap green tipped bananas for riper ones; Granny Smith apples; use small amounts of raw honey or real maple syrup instead of refined sugar and other sweeteners (agave syrup is just as bad as high fructose corn syrup). If sugar is in the top 3 ingredients, it’s dessert!
- Read every label: If there’s a long list of ingredients you can’t pronounce or identify, don’t buy it. The fewer ingredients the better.
- Chemicals and food coloring: AVOID, AVOID, AVOID
- Wine: Drink red over white. It won’t raise your blood sugar nearly as much and cause overproduction of insulin.
- Soda: BAD! Diet soda: WORSE! (think chemicals). Wean yourself off diet soda with soda containing real sugar. Then wean yourself off that. (Kombucha is a great alternative to soda).
- Chocolate: the darker the better. Go for 70% dark or darker.
- Peanuts/peanut butter: 3 strikes against: Highly inflammatory, often contain mold, high use of pesticides as peanut crops rotate with cotton, which has one of the highest uses of pesticides. 4th strike: Popular brands like Jiff and Skippy contain hydrogenated and/or partially hydrogenated oils which are bad news for our health. Good substitutes for peanut butter: almond butter, sun butter from sunflower seeds, cashew butter. If you can’t wean yourself off peanut butter, only buy organic, fresh preferred.
- Cereal: Cereal is best left off your menu as it is a processed, packaged food, often containing unhealthy additives, sugar, etc. Though common in the Standard American Diet, cereal doesn’t really make for a healthy breakfast. Oatmeal may be an exception for people who tolerate it.
From this list, Reggie picked the ones he wanted in the story – green tipped bananas and green apples; red wine vs. white; peanut butter vs. almond butter; dairy. I wish we’d had more time to address some others, but this was a good start.
I think the story was mostly well received by viewers and I received many complements online and in person. As it goes with social media, there are always detractors who leave their insults in the comments section. Ironically, some of these commenters were registered dieticians who use a different paradigm than holistic practitioners such as myself. Name calling and insults aside, I’m proud of my work and the messages I’m trying to get out to the public regarding small changes people can make to improve their health.