Now that we’ve taken an inventory of our kitchen and we have discussed whole foods versus processed foods, it’s time to think about replacing those processed foods with good, clean, wholesome foods God created for us to eat.
The first thing to remember is that this is a process. It’s not an easy task and you’ll need to continue to take baby steps. Give yourself plenty of time and grace to learn to shop. There will be times when you’ll find a chemical ingredient on a label of something you bought thinking it was clean. There will be times when you’ll believe an ingredient is healthy and later learn it’s not. It’s okay. Take things one step at a time, one meal at a time. There are multiple facets to whole foods: if and how much they are processed, whether they are organic, GMO versus non-GMO. For now we are just going to focus on labels to check for ingredients. We’ll get more indepth about the other facets later. It’s going to take some time before you are able to remove all processed and “fake” foods from your lifestyle. It’s not something you can do overnight. We’ll take it one baby step at a time.
The second thing to remember is that most grocery stores display whole foods around the outer walls or the perimeter of the store. Think about it…it makes sense. The produce is usually one one end of the store. If you start there and work your way around the walls of the store you’ll meet lots of refrigerators and freezers filled with foods that are perishable. The center of the store is typically open shelving so those are foods that contain preservatives as they don’t need refrigeration.
So, I always begin with produce. It’s almost like picking it right out of the ground, except that it’s all clean and shiny. Notice most of the produce is not in a package. This is whole foods. As few ingredients as possible. When you buy strawberries, you just want strawberries. You don’t want other ingredients. Now there are bags of salad mixes, etc. and those generally are clean, whole foods, except for some of the “salad kits” which contain dressings, croutons, etc. Stay away from those kits. Choose a colorful array of fresh, wholesome veggies and fruits.
Now as you make your way around the perimeter of the store, notice the other refrigerated items like meat and dairy. Take time to look at labels and observe what types of ingredients are included. Are they ingredients you would find in a kitchen of someone making the item from scratch? Can you pronounce the ingredients? Is it a food God created? Is there a long list of ingredients in a food that should be simple? Make note of some of the ingredients and search what they are.
It may be easier to plan this trip to the store, not necessarily for shopping purposes but to simply view foods and products. Plan another day for your grocery shopping. Read labels and continue asking those same questions. Remember we are taking baby steps, so I don’t necessarily want you to do anything more than that right now. Next we’ll discuss more of the food groups. We’ll talk about some of the typical ingredients in many of our favorite foods, whether or not they are whole foods, and healthy alternatives or substitutions.
For more information on whole foods and clean eating, you may be interested in reading the following posts: