Monday, February 25, 2013

Staying Healthy USA Style (in body AND in budget!)

I wont lie. Since moving to the US, I've been tempted by more 'delectable' treats than I care to recall. On virtually every corner here in Tennessee, you will find a church and a restaurant. Back in the UK, luxuries like drive thru's were few and far between (although not all together unknown), but here, well, let's just say that if I never wanted to set foot outside of my car again in order to chow down, I would find myself quite well accommodated and not at all short for choice.

Sadly though, the trend of high convenience/low nutrition converts quite vividly over to so many large grocery stores (or supermarkets to us Brits). Except for the traditional 'U' around the outside of the stores featuring the usual suspects of dairy, produce, and meats, a vast amount of the aisle items are, well, worrisome to say the least. For example; so many cereals found on these shelves are comprised of mini cookies, E numbers, florescent shades of I don't know what, and more sugar and high fructose corn syrup that you can shake a spoon at. Not only that, but their attractive (and very kid friendly, *ahem*) packaging is covered in twisted advertisements, declaring its ability to supply you with whole grains, support your heart health and magically lower cholesterol. From sugary cereal. Sure, okay then.

All this very selective verbiage that's been dragged kicking and screaming out of context so it's not hard to understand how so many Americans have become baffled and misled when it comes to sensible nutrition and family food decisions. I could certainly delve deeper into thousands of products and the advertising mechanisms that I just don't agree with (and quite frankly, hold partly responsible for the poor nutritional education so many people nowadays have) but that's for another post I suppose.

So when it comes to making smart choices, protecting yourself from products that don't have your best interests at heart and in many cases just can't be trusted, where do you shop on the regular? Well, here are just a few suggestions to help you launch into some light research of what's available in your area...


One of our staples. Filled with both organic and conventional produce, with cleaner options for everything from toiletries, to cleaning products, to make up and health supplements, EarthFare certainly has a great 'everything under one roof' vibe. They claim to locally source everything that they can and have some fab information about their approach to food and wellbeing on their website. I personally get very excited about our weekly shop here as they're never short of options and new things to try and challenge our palettes with!

Local Co-op/Farmer's Markets

Take a look at This is a great reference point to find a co-op in your area, which equates to a resource where you can purchase a vast array of locally farmed and often organic produce, dairy, eggs and meats as well as other day to day staples. Nothing like supporting local farmers and getting a health kick in the process, right?! You can also use to locate local farms that sell direct to the public. Great for meats, eggs and dairy incase you find yourself wanting to know where it's all REALLY come from!

Trader Joe's

Originally based in CA, Trader Joe's is actually owned by the European company Aldi (Aldi is definitely a place where I buy a lot of our non-organic staples when I'm being realistic with how far our budget can stretch!) Plenty of organic and conventional options here, but being a smaller store don't expect hundreds of different options for the same product (which I think is quite nice when all you want is a simple shop and not to be overwhelmed by 300 bread choices!)

Yes, as you start out some of the prices in these places may force you to draw in a sharp breath, but sticking to a budget and compromising on the best choices with the most nutritionally relevant items your family uses regularly (such as eggs, dairy, meat and certain produces items - check out the dirty dozen and the clean fifteen for more guidance), can literally change your life. Have a read, have a research and find out what's happening with food all around you!

1 comment:

  1. In today’s economy we all need to cut back on certain expenses, eating healthy shouldn’t be one of them. Low price doesn't have to mean low quality.