Don’t Get Stuck Behind Enemy Lines While Grocery Shopping

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Shopping this morning, it occurred to me: we are casualties of the food marketing war. No one is selling healthy. Food corporations are simply trying to out-earn their competitors and we’re stuck in the middle.

Sure, this sounds conspiratorial. But around every corner, I was assaulted by potato chips, pita chips, kettle cooked chips, tortilla chips; sodas, juices, energy drinks, processed, packaged, chicken nuggets; cookies, pies, cakes and candy. And on all these junk food packages were actual health claims: “Good for you” (on a sugary granola bar); “simply naked” (on a bag of deep fried chips, with salt); and “Zero trans-fat” (as if that could erase the fact that the cookies were loaded with sugar).

There’s nothing healthy about a processed chip. Period.

Don’t get me wrong. Sugar, for example, is not bad. A teaspoon of real sugar, here and there, that is. But when sugar is added to almost everything we eat (Really? We need to add sugar to applesauce when it’s already naturally sweet?), then it’s a problem. On top of sugar, you have high fructose corn syrup, then trans-fats, then salts. When so much crapola goes into the processing of food, we end up taking this “lesser of two evils” approach to what we choose to purchase and eat. When we look at a bag of chips for example, we might take the “baked” variety over the deep fried, thinking we’re making the better choice. But the baked variety could be loaded with salt, and a myriad of processing chemicals. The lesser of two evils is still the enemy.

There’s virtually no place of safety or neutrality in a grocery store, save the produce aisle, the Switzerland of the combat zone. And so I made my way there and determined to buy rations of potatoes, leafy greens, tomatoes and other real foods. Think perimeter of the grocery store that’s where most of the real food is.

My point? It’s time to fight back by knowing what to avoid. Health Assist has a great little list of the Eleven Worst Foods Americans Eat Daily.” Use it as your compass to avoid enemy territory and get serious about your health. Sometimes I need to say it to myself a million times: You are what you eat. And by God, I refuse to be an Airhead, a Dum-Dum or a Twinkie.

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