Sunday, December 30, 2012

Grocery Shopping for a Healthy Lifestyle

Today was shopping day to prepare for the January 2 start of the ARBONNE HEALTHY LIVING 30 DAY CHALLENGE.  My friend Stacy and I went together, starting at Costco and getting a few more items at Copps in Middleton, where they have a great selection of organic product, bulk nuts, and some items best purchased in smaller quantities.  Now, I will say - if you shop with a friend and split the bulk sized food purchases at Costco - you can save a ton on your grocery bill.
I am often told, "I can't afford to shop organic", which I completely understand. If one is wanting to make a serious lifestyle change - start small and work your way to making smarter choices. Purchasing non-organic vegetables is a whole lot better than buying a box of Cream of Wheat...if you get my drift.  Make COLORFUL foods a minimum of 50% of your diet, and by diet - I am not referring to a temporary choice of foods chosen for short term weight loss, but a long term lifestyle of food choice.
Eating HEALTHY is about making exchanges.  Processed foods cost A LOT of money - don't kid yourself. As I recall, a family sized bag of Ruffles potato chips cost $5.99.  What kind of dense nutrition comes from a bag of chips? Be honest.  NONE. Sorry, you can't get away with calling potato chips a vegetable. I won't even go into all the ingredients that make chips a none pro-active health choice. As a comparison, for $4.29 you can get a bag of about 36+ mini bell peppers (red, orange, yellow). Consider that bell peppers are "a good source of vitamin C, thiamine, vitamin B6, beta  carotene, and folic acid.  Bell  peppers also contain a large  amount of phytochemicals that  have exceptional antioxidant activity." To learn more about the benefits of bell peppers and other foods, check out
For the 30 Day challenge, those participating in the "ALL IN" level are cutting out GLUTEN/WHEAT, DAIRY, SOY, SUGAR, ALCOHOL, VINEGAR (unless Bragg's Organic Apple Cider Vinegar containing "the mother"), CAFFEINE (coffee/soda/tea).  Gluten-free products are becoming easier to find, in large part due to many people developing gluten intolerance and/or Celiac's disease later in life - which often comes from a lifetime of gluten build-up in the gut. The majority of the population have no idea that their aches, pains, and symptoms chalked up to "getting old" are 100% diet related.  Which is why so many of us, including my husband and I, are eating clean for 30 days to learn and be tuned in to our bodies and how they feel without such foods.
So what can we eat when all of that "stuff" is removed from one's diet, you may ask? Plenty - as you can see - we certainly don't starve! It is simply about exchanging a habit of buying foods that don't serve you to those that do.  At one of the Arbonne detox classes a quote I love is "food is either fuel for your body or toxic for your body". If you are new to the challenge perhaps you should put that quote on your refrigerator so when you are tempted you are reminded that you are either going to choose a low octane fuel that makes "your engine" sluggish, or you are going to choose a high octane, clean fuel that is going to make you perform at and feel your best. Aches and pains are NOT a part of growing old, but are a part of poor nutrition choices.  
Let me share some GOOD and not so good choices on my shopping receipt today. First, the not so good. To help illustrate - I circled in RED foods that are not a part of the 30 Day clean eating program, but they are foods that our children eat. On the list that include gluten are the biscotti, 8 grain whole grain bread, and possibly the Aussie Bites. Aussie Bites are great little snacks made from whole grains such as oats, rolled oats, dried fruits, flax seed and such. Our 10 yr. old is nuts about Aussie Bites. They are not labeled as gluten-free and I suspect that comes from the whole grain and rolled oats. Also, you may notice a few "toxic" foods - a bottle of German Riesling for New Year's Eve - alcohol is a triple strike in that it is not only alcohol, but it's high in sugar and something else that is not allowed in the clean eating program.  I also succumbed to the taste testing of Smoked Gouda Cheese today at Costco - which is THE cheese of choice for special occasions, and I figured we could ring in the new year with a bit of dairy before we go bovine by-product free.
In blue on my receipt are non-food items, to help you differentiate. Bulk paper goods cost a bit up front, and make my grocery bill look deceptively large. All said and done - my healthy living grocery spree cost under $125 and this will feed our family of four for 1-2 weeks, plus three of us will enjoy an Arbonne protein shake once a day as a meal replacement.
First timers to my Costco grocery cart today is a gluten free quinoa based pasta! I do plan to contact the manufacturer as it does contain corn flour, and I am concerned that it might be GMO grown corn. To the right you can see a meal (or two) I plan to make - gluten free pasta with mushroom and chicken marinara sauce - which I will post when I create in the kitchen.  
I was THRILLED that Costco listened to my, and many others I am sure, suggestion to carry organic coconut oil in the store. I was SO EXCITED when this appeared right before Christmas. I "sold" a couple of containers to others today who asked me what to do with it. (That could be another post in of itself.) And bricks of SEAWEED! Yep, you heard right. Stacy and I saw that and wondered what in the world.... Dehydrated and salted with sea salt. The box shows that you can add it as garnish to soup and a few other things, but we tracked down some folks who had it in their cart and asked.  (We met up by the coconut oil.)  When I asked how it tasted this couple apparently loves to snack on the seaweed as one would chips - and it is very similar to the kale chips one can make at home pretty easily with olive oil and sea salt. I know that seaweed has many nutritional benefits, so into my cart it went. I will let you know what I think! Come on over for New Year's Eve for games. German Riesling and seaweed chips! We know how to live it up in our household! (LOL)
Staples in my clean eating shopping cart include organic quinoa pasta $6.69, Crunchmaster gluten-free crackers (safflower oil is my only concern with this product as it is probably a hydrogenated omega 6 oil) $7.49,  vinegar free marinara sauce $8.24 (less 2.25 coupon for a 2 pk), black beans $5.59 (8 cans), organic agave nectar $9/99/2, gluten-free and hormone-free chicken tenderloins 18.96/6 pkgs, AmyLu brand gluten free chicken sausages $13.99/3 pks of 6, and a variety from the produce section. Today I found pre-cooked grilled chicken strips under the Kirkland brand, offered by Foster Farms.  Foster Farms used to offer a large bag of pre-cooked chicken in the freezer section and I was crushed when the item was discontinued. I could not beat the convenience of grabbing a little pre-cooked chicken for my daily spinach salad. I am happy to report I found it in a two-pack for $9.99, which is super convenient for those of you who live alone.
The large tub of organic mixed baby greens will last my family about one week. This is something we need to purchase weekly for $4.49 a container.  I plan to eat a salad for lunch each day with a homemade dressing. We had quite a bit of produce already at home and I held off on buying too much more as our frig is not that empty. 
After Costco Stacy and I went over to Copp's for a few limes, green onions and smaller amounts of produce for the Cowboy Caviar I plan to make for New Year's Eve. I also needed some turnips for a ginger-glazed turnip recipe I found, which I will be sure to share as well.  You can see the mushrooms in the photo above - baby portabellas.  Stacy and I split a container of these from her grocery bill as mushrooms have a short shelf life. It is best to store them in a container that allows air movement and do not rinse or wash before storing. In addition to the marinara sauce I am looking forward to making my superb dairy free Mushroom Bisque that I made last year, and it truly rivaled anything I have ever enjoyed before. For the gentleman I met at Copps, should you visit my blog here is a link to my Mushroom Soup recipe. Enjoy!

To your health,
Rita S.

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