The 21st century has become the era of informed public citizens, with demands and controversies upending the status quo to require food and pharmaceutical companies to become far more transparent about their processes and ingredients. More than ever, people want to know what chemicals and toxins they are placing in their body, and many have turned to local farmers markets and organically grown labels to help them achieve better health.
So this begs the question: exactly how should you shop for truly healthy food? It sounds simple to stay away from processed foods with more than five ingredients, which is a golden rule in holistic health, but turning theory into reality proves more challenging. Next time you head to the grocery store, try using these simple rules to guide your choices.
Stick to the Perimeter
This is one of the most valuable lessons to learn about the grocery store. Do your best to shop around the perimeter of the market, where all of the fresh meat, dairy, fruit, and vegetable options are situated. If you fill your cart with items mainly from the perimeter, you’ll already be well on your way to avoiding to tempting junk food found in the middle aisles.
Avoid the Dirty Dozen
There are certain fresh food items that really should be purchased organically in order to avoid excess pesticides and chemicals from entering your body. We all know that pesticides can gradually destroy our bodies with cancer, allergies, heart disease, and more, so avoiding the “dirty dozen” highly sprayed fruits and veggies will help you minimize the amount of toxins that enter your system. Apples, peaches, nectarines, tomatoes, grapes, potatoes, spinach, bell peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, celery, and kale are exposed to the highest levels of pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals. The “clean fifteen” are much safer: avocados, papayas, kiwi, eggplant, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, asparagus, onions, sweet peas, cabbage, pineapples, and mangoes.
Read the Labels
Even the friendliest food boxes can hold the most damaging ingredients, so always check the label. Ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, and artificial colors are all damaging to your health in one form or another. Red dye #3, for example, is made from coal tar and linked to brain cancer. Aspartame is blamed for a host of health problems including IBS and ADD. Anything that you need to buy from the center aisles, try to buy food with the simplest and shortest ingredient lists.
With these tricks, you’ll instantly make your food options at home healthier and prevent many future health miseries as a result.