Proper food selection is about first having knowledge and secondly making a conscious effort to improve your health through good selection. There is one common theme when selecting food and it’s really about simplicity.
By simple I mean selecting from whole based foods that either have very little ingredients or just the whole food itself. The more ingredients, the harder on your body. If you are really trying to be conscious of this, your time should be mostly focused on the exterior of your local store if that’s where you are shopping. Granted there are some frozen items like organic bagged vegetables that can be a good choice, but the majority of the interior items are filled with additives, sugars, sugar subs, hydrogenated oils/trans fats and SALT. Additionally there are some whole food type stores where the inner aisles are populated with better selections but even in those cases you still need to analyze the labels as there are some sneaky ingredients out there.
We live in the land of opportunity here in the good old USA and this can certainly be seen in your supermarket aisles. This is the land of opportunity. It’s also a land of confusion and I know this sounds like an old Genesis song for those old enough to remember. But the truth is that it is extremely confusing on all retail paths, with hundreds of salad dressings, hundreds of breads, hundreds of chips, hundreds of crackers and the list goes on. Walk down any aisle in any commercial grocery store and you are attacked by variety! Variety can be the spice of life, but at this volume it just becomes OVER DAMN WHELMING! In some ways I feel better about my current GAPS diet because at least I don’t have to contend with making so many choices.
So here you are with all of this overwhelming data in front of you, what do you do with this? Planning is the key to success. If you enter a store with a shopping plan you can usually avoid getting a case of the “I gotta have its”. If you have a plan you can foil the marketing plan of these crafty big food companies, get better food choices and stay within a budget. It is a good idea to plan meals or at least have a good idea in your head how the week looks from a breakfast, lunch and dinner perspective. If you are going through a special diet then your week may be easier, but you may still have a need to pick up items for the meals that you plan to make.
Once you have your meal plan, figure out what’s good and what’s not. Reading food labels is a critical part of selection and it can get a little tricky especially when the intention is to conceal certain key pieces of data from you.
So there you have it. Some real basic label reading that will help you make better food choices. The next part is up to you. You can either go whole thirty like or take a more phased approach to this, but the bottom line is you have to start somewhere. It’s just too critical to be your own detective as a lot of the products that you will find out there will simply bring illness over time if you continue to consume them. Here’s to your health!
Ian Sandage is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who speaks from the personal experience of someone with autoimmune disease and the highs and lows of a health journey