So, the other day I was checking out at the grocery store and I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation happening between the lady in front of me checking out and the checker. They were discussing a new breed of grapes that had arrived on the shelves. Cotton Candy flavored grapes! This is no lie, grapes, that are supposed to taste like the tooth achingly sweet spun sugar treat every kid on the planet adores. The customer had a bag of said grapes, and the checker wanted to know what they tasted like. She offered a sample to the girl ringing up her groceries. So she happily took one and down the hatch it went. They continued to talk about how amazing they were, and what I heard next was what troubled me so much. The lady buying the grapes said, “I don’t know how they make them, but who cares?!”. Wow, who cares, well I sure care about what’s going into my body. The thought that someone could actually just consume products while not knowing anything about them is mind boggling to me. Now before I continue to go on about the importance of clean eating, I will be honest and tell you that I do not eat clean all of the time. Following a strict whole foods only 100% of the time type of diet is unrealistic for my life. I love my chocolate and Mexican food on a weekly basis. However, I am aware of what is going into my body, as well as the benefits or consequences to follow. I do not live with an all or nothing mentality. My goal is to be aware and make good choices for myself and my family more often than not. I read every label on the items I am purchasing. If I see more than 5 ingredients on the label, most times that item will not make it in my cart. If I am unsure about a food item, I will do a quick search on my phone and get the facts before deciding. If I am still unsure, I will use the “phone a friend” life line and call a trainer or nutrition guru friend to get more answers.
So many of us have gotten off track when it comes to filling our bodies with delicious nourishing foods. The aisles of grocery stores are littered with processed, trashy, junk food. There are several that I won’t even venture down because none of the foods I will find would be allowed in my house. Education is needed. So many of my clients, friends, and family honestly have no idea of the poison they are consuming on a daily basis. They really think they are doing good by buying the newest “skinny” version of their favorite snacks. There is a low fat version of every chip, cracker, cookie, and dairy product on the shelves. The thing you may not know is that to get back the flavor that was lost from taking the fat out, companies load the products with sugar instead. Processed poison. This is just one little fact about the foods marketed as “better for you”. I could go into the need for fats in a diet, and how eating “low fat” versions of foods will more than likely hinder your ability to lose weight than help it, but I will save that for another day (you’ll just have to trust me for now). There is a very good and educational film on the dangers of sugar, and more food industry secrets called FED UP. The film is very much worthy of your time. Here is the link.
So what are you supposed to do? How about getting back to basics, with real food? The best way to do this is to shop the perimeter of the store. Simply starting with the produce aisle, moving around to the meat counter, and across to the dairy and eggs. That is it, the basics, real whole food closest to its most natural form. Even better than that is finding a local farmers market. This way you are guaranteed to get your food at its freshest, and supporting a local farmer is a bonus.
Then there is always the importance of buying organic. If you’re not ready to give up all of your junk food, at least buy an organic version. Organic food tastes better, can prevent pre-mature aging and cancer, ensures a safe and healthy world for future generations, as well as many more benefits. (The first three I listed there are enough for me to buy in.) This is one way I compromise with my kiddos. You’ve got to pick your battles right? Hey, I am a momma, so I know how it goes. Do I want to argue about doing homework and potato chips? Nope. By giving them choices they end up starting to follow my example and make wise choices on their own rather than rebel against me.
In conclusion, let’s make a commitment to be more aware. Aware of the ingredients in our foods, aware of where our foods are coming from, and, at the very least, stop not even considering these things. I know I can do better, and I will. I am just as guilty of “falling off the wagon” as the next person.
Oh, it wouldn’t be fair for me not to tell you about the research I did on the cotton candy grapes. As it turns out, they are made from cross pollinating two types of grapes in order to get a new flavor. So they are not some genetically engineered mutant from a lab. As far as I know, there is not an organic version available, but they are not as bad as what I had imagined in my head. It’s a pretty neat idea actually. Look them up and find out for yourself. It is time to start taking an interest in what you are consuming.