How One Grocery Store Trip Can Change Your ENTIRE Life
Science is finally revealing that our immune systems NEED nutrient-dense foods to protect us from bacteria and viruses. Most American households are dealing with metabolic/lifestyle illnesses that are 100% preventable. Learn how one grocery store trip can change your entire life put you and your family on the pathway to wellness and stronger immune systems!
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One grocery store trip can change your entire life?? Seriously?
Yes, really. I am making a big, bold claim — you are one grocery shopping trip away from changing your entire life!
Due to recent events that start with a “Pan” and end in “demic” (I actually can’t write the word on my site or Google will penalize my site), there is a worldwide emphasis on health and wellness.
Although the narrative about these events has been weird and scary, I think the emphasis on health is a VERY good thing!
Finally, we have actual numbers connected to an actual illness that proves how taking care of our bodies with nutrient-dense foods makes all the difference in illness and recovery rates.
According to one study, 94% of deaths from the p-a-n-d-e-m-i-c have occured in people with pre-existing conditions involving excess body fat (source).
These pre-existing conditions are metabolic, lifestyle-induced illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and chronic inflammation. These conditions almost always have one common factor: excess body fat.
Metabolic Disorders = Inflammation = Susceptibility to Illness
According to the CDC, 25% of ALL annual deaths in the United States are caused by cardiovascular disease (source).
The United States also leads the world in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes (source).
Unfortunately, almost all cases of heart disease and diabetes are completely preventable with lifestyle and food choices (source).
Multiple innate factors (e.g., age, nutritional status, genetics, immune competency, and pre-existing chronic diseases) and external variables (e.g., concurrent drug therapy) influence the overall susceptibility of a person exposed to a virus (source).
Though we cannot prevent aging, other factors that contribute to our susceptibility of viral illness are within our control.
It is well-known that, through nutrition, we have the ability to turn on and turn off various genetic SNPs that increase or decrease our body’s overall inflammation. (If you don’t believe that our genes are influenced by what we eat, read Dirty Genes by Dr. Ben Lynch.)
If foods didn’t have the capability to influence and strengthen our immune systems, then high-dose Vitamin C, elderberries, and superfoods wouldn’t have flown off the shelves in March 2020.
And, we absolutely have the ability to influence the amount of inflammation in our bodies with our diets. Just ask anyone who’s found healing from a variety of metabolic and autoimmune disorders by following an anti-inflammatory diet (source).
What seems certain is that the nutritional status of the host is important for susceptibility to (and severity of) infectious diseases; inadequate nutrition impairs the functioning of the immune system, thereby increasing the risk of virulence and disease (source).
My Own Story with Changing My Shopping Habits
2008 was the first time I ever scrutinized how I grocery shopped. Until that point, my kids had grown up on Gerber baby food (including the convenience microwaveable meals and puff snacks), frozen waffles, PBJs, and flavored yogurt.
I regularly cooked with canned and boxed foods, including boxed mac-and-cheese and Hamburger Helper. My husband and I both drank steady streams of Dr. Pepper and often gave our kids Sprite.
Our daughter’s severe constipation was the catalyst for our family’s change.
We started seeing a chiropractor who not only healed our daughter’s severe constipation, but this chiropractor took the time to educate us about health and wellness.
We began to realize how we’d been like sheep — buying what was advertised on TV, what our parents had bought when we were kids, and whatever was quick and convenient.
Neither my husband nor I had ever connected our overall health with the foods we put in our bodies. Nor did we realize the harm we were doing to our children’s bodies by feeding them this way.
We weren’t financially or educationally able to make an overnight change. However, we never stopped (and still haven’t!) learning more and doing better as we learned.
Lots of things had to adjust along the way:
- I had to learn to meal plan.
- We had to adjust our lifestyle to spend more time in the kitchen than we were accustomed to.
- We had to adjust our budget to accommodate more Real Foods and less processed foods.
- All of us had to adjust our tastebuds. At first, Real Food doesn’t always taste as good as processed foods because processed foods are loaded with chemicals that trick our brains into craving them!
I shudder to think of what our health would be like right now, 12 years later, if we hadn’t learned about how our foods affect our health. What types of metabolic disease would we have or be near to having? Would my daughter have more severe gut issues because of long-term constipation?
I’m thankful I’ll never know the answers to those questions because we did change our entire lives… and it started with one trip to the grocery store!
How One Grocery Store Trip Can Change Your ENTIRE Life
Folks, we have the power to change our lives and health each and every time we step foot into a grocery store.
Only you make your grocery list. Only you choose how you spend your hard-earned dollars. You alone take items off the shelf and place them in your cart. You alone unload those items from your cart and onto the conveyor belt. Perhaps you even pack your own grocery bags.
You absolutely can change your entire life in a single trip to the grocery store. It starts with the power of choice.
You have the freedom to shop in any way you choose. Your choices are either contributing to your health or destroying it. It’s really that simple.
The main way you change your life with one trip to the store?
A genetic predisposition to heart disease or diabetes is NOT a death sentence. (Again, read Dirty Genes for proof that we are not our genes!) Not when you know you have the power of choice!
Yes, these diseases run in families. However, so do eating and shopping habits. Those run in families, too. (Source.)
Many of us have spent our entire lives grocery shopping without intention and awareness. We buy the same brands our mothers and grandmothers bought. (Here’s looking at you Bisquick, high fructose corn syrup-based syrup, and Lucky Charms!)
Our families eat the same things over and over. Our grocery shopping is basically on auto-pilot.
Generation after generation — for at least the last 3 generations — we have historically shopped and cooked in whatever way we were taught. With the industrialization of agriculture, we have become further and further removed from our food sources.
To the point that much of our food no longer even resembles food!
Despite family history, habits, genes, and even income, we can make our next grocery list and our next shopping trip more intentional.
Define your WHY
Habits are hard to change… especially when we’re making changes because we’re “supposed” to. Something I say all the time: “Should is a terrible motivator”.
Positive change will never come from a place of guilt or shame, but from empowerment and education. So, define WHY you want to eat healthier.
Is it because current events have shed light on taking better care of your body through nutrition? Is it to heal generational illness, such as diabetes or high blood pressure? Or, maybe you want shift your habits and lay a better foundation for healthy eating for your kids?
Whatever your “why”, define it! Write it down! Then, when those old habits want to creep back in, you have a tangible reminder that every small change is a step in the right direction.
If you are simply uneducated and uninformed about the connection between food and health, that’s ok! You’re never too old to learn new things.
Books I highly recommend for informing yourself about food and health:
- Nourishing Traditions <– This was my summer, pool-side reading in 2010. It absolutely changed our lives for the better!
- Omnivore’s Dilemma
- Real Food: What to Eat & Why
- Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual
- Nutrition & Physical Degeneration
Practical Ways to Be More Intentional When Grocery Shopping
#1 — Make small changes.
If you try to change your lifestyle overnight, you’ll overwhelm yourself and your family, which will result in a loss of focus and, ultimately, going right back to old ways of eating and shopping.
Yes, you can change your life the next time you go grocery shopping. However, that change is more likely to stick when you make it in increments.
Some small changes include:
- Buy more produce (see below).
- Replace one processed food with a healthier, homemade version each week (like homemade, veggie-loaded brownies instead of boxed mix brownies).
- Find a local source for eggs, beef, raw milk, or produce.
- Start reading food labels and avoiding foods with ingredients you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce.
- Set a goal to buy fewer pre-packaged items each time you shop.
- Learn to bake your own bread, make your own pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce or hummus, and make your own snacks.
If you make these small changes, one at a time, over a period of weeks or months, just think of how much healthier your whole household will be in 6 or 9 or 12 months!
#2 — Spend more time in the produce section.
You’ll never go wrong by eating more produce! For years, even mainstream medicine has encouraged us to eat more vegetables.
- Make it a game to try one new item of produce each week.
- Stock up on inexpensive produce items like carrots, onions, bananas, oranges, and salad greens.
- Don’t worry about organic if you can’t afford it.
- Experiment with different ways of cooking/serving produce. For instance, roasted broccoli with lemon is SO much better than mushy, steamed broccoli.
#3 — Reduce your sugar intake.
Sugar is in EVERYTHING these days. Sugar-filled stuff is even marketed as “healthy” just because it’s fortified with vitamins — like breakfast cereal.
When you start reading labels, you’ll start noticing that sugar is hidden in everything — from the squeeze-yogurts in your kids’ lunches to the canned spaghetti sauce you use for easy dinners.
Reducing sugar means less inflammation in the body overall. And, as we learned above, less inflammation means a stronger, healthier immune system!
#4 — Switch from buying canned foods to whole foods.
Canned foods are processed at such high temperatures that they are virtually void of nutrition (and taste) by the time they reach shelves.
Fun fact: My husband grew up on canned vegetables, so when we married, he was convinced that he hated vegetables. I started preparing fresh and frozen vegetables, and he changed his mind!
Bonus: buying dried beans will save you money over canned beans!
#5 — Change up breakfast.
If breakfast is typically boxed sugar or instant oatmeal, may I humbly suggest changing it up by increasing the protein content of your first meal of the day?
Not only will you and your kids stay fuller for longer — as protein is very satiating — you’ll also save money!
Inexpensive, easy protein options for breakfast:
- hard-boiled eggs
- scrambled eggs
- plain Greek or regular yogurt, sweetened with a bit of stevia and some fresh or frozen fruit
- protein-packed muffins
- a veggie- and protein-packed Chocolate Zucchini Bread
- sausage or bacon
- protein balls
- these overnight oats
- a quiche
See? One grocery store trip REALLY can change your life!
Everything your family eats typically starts with a trip to the store. (If you’re growing some of your own food, even better! But… no pressure. 😉 )
All of these changes start by being more intentional with how you’re shopping. Make small changes, one at a time, until a healthier lifestyle becomes your “new normal”.
It’s been our family’s “new normal” for over 10 years now — and we’re still learning!
You CAN improve your family’s health and support your immune systems — which can ultimately change your life — with one trip to the store!
Does This Mean You Buy Everything Organic/Local/Biodynamic/Fertilized with Unicorn Poop by Vegan Gnomes?
Many of us can’t afford to buy organic or locally farmed foods. Even as much as we’ve adjusted our lifestyle and budget to buy as much local and organic food as possible, we still aren’t eating 100% organic food.
I feel ZERO guilt about this!
If grass-fed beef or organic produce is out of your reach financially, you can STILL eat Real Food.
Real Food is defined as food that is eaten in as close to its natural state as possible. It’s not processed or filled with ingredients that you can’t pronounce. Almost always, it doesn’t come from a box or a bag, though a bag of frozen broccoli is still Real Food.
My post, What If I Can’t Afford Organic Food?, will help you get over any feelings of “less than” and embrace Real Food anyway!
Money-saving ideas, recipes, & tips for healthier eating…
- What If I Can’t Afford Organic Food? (how to let go of the guilt & embrace Real Food anyway!)
- How to Make & Freeze Cauliflower Rice
- 10 Easy Instant Pot Recipes for Beginners
- Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Black Beans
- 35+ Best & Healthiest Instant Pot Chicken Recipes
- Cauliflower Chocolate Pudding (yes, really!)
- 10 Tips for Raising Real Food Lovers (& 35+ Picky Eater-Approved Recipes!)