We have started a series on finding real food at the grocery store because often times it can be a very frustrating task! Never fear! Oh Lardy is here to help you navigate your grocery store and find the best options.
In our first post, we covered some general guidelines to real food grocery shopping, such as shopping the perimeter, reading ingredient labels, etc. Today we are going to talk about how to find real food at the grocery store, focusing on the produce, meat, dairy and egg departments.
Fresh produce is real food! Go for it! There are variations of good, better, best here, of course, but don't let it stress you out. In my opinion, fresh kale is better than no kale!
- Best: Organic AND local
- Better: Organic OR local
- Good: Conventional (non-organic), not local
- Produce should ideally be organic and in-season. Local produce is ideal too as the closer it is to home, the higher the nutrient content. For those on a budget, check the Environmental Working Group's Clean Fifteen/Dirty Dozen list to help choose which produce to buy organic.
- Wash all produce well to wash pesticides off produce. You can use an easy non-toxic vinegar wash.
- Try to eat a rainbow! Shoot for eating a variety of colors of vegetables each day!
- You don't have to buy all of your produce at the grocery store! Think outside the box and check out your local farmer's market, online delivery services and CSA programs!
- Want to take it up a notch? Eat fermented vegetables and fruits! They have so many benefits, such as healing to the gut, full or probiotics and vitamins (especially B and K2) and help the immune system!
Meat and Poultry:
This is an area that can be tricky at a traditional grocery store. Stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts can be a little easier to find quality, pasture raised meat. But, as consumer demand increases, we are starting to see better options at more places!
- Best:(Beef) 100% grass fed, organic, pasture raised, local. (Poultry) Pasture raised, organically fed, local.
- Better: (Beef) Grass fed, pasture raised. (Poultry) Organic, free range.
- Good: (Beef) Organic, hormone/antibiotic free. (Poultry) Organic, antibiotic free.
- Limit or Avoid: Conventional, grain fed
- Guess what? You don't have to buy your meat and poultry at the grocery. I haven't in years! Check out local farms and online shipping services. This can be an easy way to get quality meat products and, often times, save money!
- Sites to check out:
- Want to take it up a notch? Try adding organ meats like liver and heart to your diet! I know, sounds gross, but you can mix small amounts into burgers, chili, spaghetti sauce, even smoothies!
Try to choose fresh, wild caught, sustainable fish. Many farm raised fish are often fed GMO feed. There are several apps and websites to help you choose quality seafood:
- Environmental Defense Fund Seafood Selector
- Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch (iTunes App)
- Text the word FISH and a species name to 30644; the Blue Ocean Institute will send a sustainability rating and better options.
- Look for the Marine Stewardship Council label on wild-caught fish in stores and restaurants—it's the most rigorous certification there is.
Dairy is controversial. Many people don't want to consume any dairy, others do. If you choose to consume dairy, here are our suggestions!
- Ultra Best: Raw milk from grass fed cows.
- Best: If you won't do raw milk or it is illegal in your state try organic, full fat (whole), grass fed, low temperature pasteurized (VAT pasteurized), non-homogenized
- Better: Full fat, grass fed, organic
- Good: Organic (try to avoid ultra-pasteurized if you can) or Conventional with no added hormones or antibiotics.
- Limit or avoid: Conventional (non-organic)
- Many would say raw milk is by far the best type of milk to drink and I would agree. However, it is illegal or very difficult to obtain in many states so I include another ‘best' option as well!
- Curious about raw milk? Check out www.realmilk.com to see if there is a raw milk farmer or a raw milk pick up near you!
- Here's a list of states and their laws surrounding raw milk.
- Want to take it up a notch? Try consuming fermented dairy such as plain yogurt, kefir and sour cream.
Eggs are so tricky! I usually get my eggs from a farm, but when I don't, I find myself in the egg aisle staring blankly at the cartons trying to remember which is best. If I am in that position, I usually shoot a carton of organic eggs. At least I know the animals were fed organic feed. But, I do try most of the time to buy pastured eggs from local markets and farmers.
- Best: Pasture raised, organically fed, local
- Better: organic, free range
- Good: organic, antibiotic free
- Avoid or Limit: Conventional (non-organic)
- What do all those egg labels mean? They are so confusing, right? Here's a great breakdown for you:
- Ask around at your local farmer's market or health food store. More and more people are raising chickens and oftentimes, you may be surprised that you can find fresh eggs from your own town!