17 Tips for Cleaner Grocery Shopping

Toxins and chemicals in food are ubiquitous these days. Here are 17 Tips for Clean Grocery Shopping:

1. Your best bet is to shop on the outer store perimeter where you will find fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid the center aisle where junk foods hide.

2. Choose organic produce whenever possible. During the summer time visit your local farmers markets. Talk to farmers about their growing practices, since U.S. currently does not require organic certification for farmers markets.

3. Check out the Dirty Dozen, Clean Fifteen List, which includes a list of most and least pesticide contaminated produce.

4. Watch out for claims like “secret” formula, which is a good indicator for artificial fillers and added chemicals. Avoid foods with long ingredient lists of scientific words you can’t pronounce. Those are most often than not, chemical additives.

5. Ingredients are listed in descending order of predominance by weight which means that the first ingredient weights the most, and the last ingredient weights the least.

6. Always strive to fill your shopping cart with as much organic, locally-grown produce as your budget allows, along with whole grains, beans, nuts, and dried fruit.

7. Choose minimally processed breads, cereals, and pastas made with whole grains (first ingredient should read whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, bulgur, barley).

8. Only purchase dairy products made from cows not treated with rBGH growth hormone.

9. Aim to purchase only organic meats and wild-caught seafood (avoid farm raised seafood). If organic meat is not an option, choose meats with the label “hormone/antibiotic-free”.

10. If you eat cold cuts, choose “nitrite-free versions”. Research suggest that excessive levels of nitrites are linked to diseases like leukemia, lymphoma, and various types of cancers.

11. Avoid buying condiments. If you do choose to use them, stick to organic versions with five ingredients or less that you can easily recognize.

12. Avoid white sugars, and high-fructose corn syrups. Only choose sweeteners like raw honey, 100% maple syrup, 100% blackstrap molasses, and stevia. Skip the sodas and avoid artificially sweetened juices.

13. Start drinking water. If you would like to enjoy something other than water, choose herbal teas, or juices freshly-pressed in front of you.

14. Choose dried fruit (raisins, apricots, cranberries) that has not been treated with sulfur dioxide gas during processing. Sulfites are known to cause allergic reactions in some people, especially those who suffer from asthma. Look for words such as “sulfite-free” on the packaging.

15. Choose nuts (preferably raw) without added sugars or salt. Look for words like “raw almonds”, and skip the roasted versions.

16. Avoid canned goods due to the BPA (Bispenol A) which can leach out of the inner lining. BPA has been linked to adverse effects on the brain, behavior, as well as interference with our natural hormones, causing breast cancer. Babies and young children are said to be especially sensitive to the effects of BPA. It’s best to seek out products labeled as “BPA-free”.

17. Never plan your trip to the supermarket when you’re hungry. Chances are you will end up buying foods you may be craving at the moment.


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