Fat loss, muscle gain, building strength and getting healthier. It doesn’t matter what the goal is exactly. It all requires you to build a number of different skills and habits. Nutrition is a big part of all those goals, although it consists of different subsets of skills to learn. Healthy food shopping is one of them. This post is going to delve deeper into what to look for at supermarkets and how to become a savvy consumer for good food.
Shop for Nutrients
The importance of nutritional variety to health is an immutable law, but it’s becoming a hard law to satisfy. Consider the following ugly food-manufacturing truths:
- The globe is moving towards a standardized diet that’s built almost exclusively around wheat, corn, rice, soybeans, and palm oil. Boring, and not conducive to health, either. Kill us now, please.
- More than 90 percent of the calories taken in by the world come from just 30 plant/animal species.
- About 75% of the food we eat comes from just 12 plants and 5 animal species.
While eating from such a limited menu is never going to be a problem, macronutrient wise, it’s certainly likely to be deficient in untold numbers of micronutrients. Obviously, every type of food on earth has a different chemical composition and it’s just plain logic that we should endeavor to sample as many of these foods as we can to ensure optimal health.
Expand Your Nutrient Menu
Here are a few things you could do to flesh out your nutrient intake, starting with the one that everyone knows but rarely follows:
- Use fresh ingredients, preferably from local farmer’s markets (they’re more likely to have greater nutrient density and diversity). In the video below, I expound on this by talking about my “produce continuum”.
- Start buying different brands of the foods on your “safe” list. Even a different brand of olive oil or a different variety of tomato or sweet potato likely has a slightly different micronutrient profile. As mentioned in the video, just make sure you know what’s in certain sauces, oils and dressings.
- Be produce-promiscuous. Vow to add a different fruit or vegetable to your diet every week. Throw some of the odd looking ones into your cart, the ones that you’ll have to Google later at home to figure out how to cook it. In the video, I talk about the concept of “eating the rainbow.”
- Start shopping at health food stores like Whole Foods, Down to Earth, Trader Joe’s (on the mainland), etc. These places are stocked with interesting and healthy food options.
- Lastly, be sure to watch and learn what’s actually the most nutrient dense food gram-for-gram that you should be eating…