Let's get back to reducing Body Burden. This is such an important topic. When we are looking at our future health we've got to take into consideration the cumulative effect of the toxin buildup in our bodies. This is especially important for our children who will be exposed to more toxins over their lifetime than any other generation to date. They will have to take on the repercussions of 80,000 new chemicals invented in the last three decades! If you haven't yet read about Body Burden and the first five steps to reducing it, read here.
Here's Step Six:
Shop the perimeter of the grocery store and avoid processed foods. Even better, choose organic and locally grown meats, dairy, fruits and vegetables.
Besides Steps One and Two (which are changing to toxin-free cleaning and laundry products), this is my favorite. How can I have a favorite step? Well, I mean that these particular steps are both highly effective and easily accomplished. Really, reducing the toxins in our homes and the toxins we directly ingest would significantly decrease our overall Body Burden. Buying toxin-free carpets, mattresses and electric cars may not be quite as doable.
Have you ever noticed that most of the REAL food in the grocery store is around the perimeter? The produce is on one side, the meats and dairy around the back. And usually the Natural Foods are next to the produce. For the most part, you'll find boxes and cans of highly processed foods in the middle aisles. Obviously, we find Toilet Paper, Brown Rice and Natural Peanut Butter on these aisles so we can't skip them all together, but here are a few tips for navigating the grocery store without bringing home toxins.
First, make a menu for the week and a shopping list to go with it. Take the time to write down snack options as well since this is an area where we reach for lots of processed foods.
Second, only buy the things on your list! This is good for your budget and good for your health.
Third, always peruse the perimeter for Manager's Specials. Even if I don't have beef on the menu, I will look at the organic meats section for discounted items. I make use of my freezer by purchasing organic meats and dairy when they are a day or two before sell-by date. I stock up when it is cheap so I won't have to pay full price when I need it right away. I have also found amazing deals this way in the Natural Foods section. Like I said, stock up when it is discounted and you won't have to pay full price later.
Last, don't just browse up and down the aisles. You don't find Manager's Specials there since highly processed food just doesn't seem to get to the far-off-sell-by date! For the aisle foods on your list, go directly to the item and on to the next. Seem simple? Maybe, but it saves a lot of extra buying.
In selecting whole foods, don't forget that all things do not have to be found in a store! I purchase eggs from a local friend (thanks T!), cheese from a wholesale Amish dairy (no website available, but email me for a phone number), chicken from a local friend (thanks B!), milk from a local food Co-Operative, produce from a different organic co-op, and bulk food from here. In doing so, I save money over buying these items at a grocery store, plus the food is fresher and contains none of the toxic processing additives.
To find your own resources, start with this website. Next, start making phone calls to locate your nearby farmers. You can start with the farms listed in the phone book and ask a lot of questions! Often you can find a magazine listing local farm resources at health food stores. In the summer, visit farmers markets and talk to the growers about where they get their year-round food. It takes a little work, but it will make a difference for your family's health (and for your budget!).
Last, but definitely NOT least, I want each of you to comment about your tips for finding healthy food. I know there are a lot of websites and resources I don't know about. Let's share them with each other!