Saturday, October 03, 2009

Grocery Policies I Follow or Wish I Followed

I realized I have these policies as I stood in line at Walmart the other day. The woman in front of me easily qualified for the title of "morbidly obese," as did many of the other shoppers around us. Her cart was full to overflowing with pizza rolls, frozen hashbrowns, salisbury steak frozen dinners, chips, cookies, etc. She spent close to $300.

It made me hungry looking at all that greasy salty wonderfully snackiness. But it made me pretty sad too. I know how I feel after I've been particularly irresponsible or self-indulgent and eaten two or three of those kinds of things in one day. BAD. Maybe she was going to go to another store and buy some fresh foods too. But that seems doubtful; she must have a lot of kitchen space if she could bring home all that food and real food too. I couldn't help but imagine that I was seeing her staple diet. I hoped she didn't have kids.

To keep those bad-feeling foods out of my grocery cart, even though they seem like you get so much taste and satisfaction for so little money, I follow these simple rules:

Really, I do follow these:
  • No high fructose corn syrup.
  • Nothing with more than 25% of daily allowance of sodium. (Twenty-five percent! That's a huge amount. And some foods have even more than that. Astonishing.)
Hmmm, maybe those're the only ones I have virtually no exceptions for.

These, I follow, but I'm not rigidly blind about it:
  • No partially hydrogenated oils.
  • No "enriched" flour.
Makes it sound like we must eat that cardboardy brown pasta, if we eat pasta at all. But we do eat pasta and we don't eat cardboard! Barilla PLUS in the yellow box is great--better than most dried pastas at the grocery store. It's high in protein and fiber. A little more expensive, but if you are willing to stoop to shopping at Walmart, you can generally find it for under $2 a box. I used to not be able to resist Cheez-Its occasionally. Especially when they started labelling it as "Zero grams trans-fat per serving!" But it's still got partially hydrogenated oil, not to mention the white flour. They are allowed to call anything less than one gram per serving "zero grams." That's some kinda math, ain't it?

These I'd like to follow, but usually I feel too, ah... fiscally compromised:
  • No factory-farmed meat.
And we are on our way to being able to follow this rule too. We've invested in a chest-freezer and are currently seeking out and tasting local grass-fed beef providers. If you buy it in bulk, it brings the price down significantly. I was at Walmart in the first place because I'd had a rendezvous in a nearby parking lot with Chris of Chaffin Orchards in Oroville to pick up some frozen steaks and roasts.

These I wish I could live without, but not sure life would be worth living if I did:
  • Bacon, hot-dogs, salami, cured meats in general.
  • Ice cream.
And although I don't have the gumption to even put "no refined sugar" on my list, at home I usually substitute honey or agave nectar for it and do not feel deprived in any way.

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