The Fit Life – 2019.4 – Getting Around the Grocery Store

 “I believe the most important and the most powerful tool you have to change your health and the world is your fork”
– Dr. Mark Hyman

I have to say, the grocery stores do try and start us off on the right foot. Think about it… Think about the grocery store you go into (ok not Costco) and think about the first section you walk through. The PRODUCE section. Wow, they actually want us to eat real food. Maybe their #1 value is in the right place but then they need to think about making money and things get dicey after the produce isle… All because of the “food industry“.

The food industry over the last few decades has really shaped our perception of food and our bad nutritional habits from marketing, to labeling, to price point. But there is some good news coming on. Things are starting to shift. At least we think and hope so! We seem to be caring more about the source of food, realizing our well-being nutritional needs and sneaking in vegetables any way we can.

But until the shift to food being all about nutrition, longevity and performance, we need to be careful with our shopping and wise with our choices. The current “food industry” will try it’s best to keep us buying the most cost effective version of whatever food they can “make”.

The good news – we are here to help. Coach Morgan, RHN is going to take you on a trip around the grocery store and help you navigate so you can be well prepared for your next shop.

Grocery Necessities

Fresh Produce

Make this your first stop and fill your cart with fresh, whole and nutrient dense foods:

  • 3 greens
  • 7 total fruits + vegetables
  • Increase awareness of location of origin



Shop the perimeter of the store to get your animal proteins (meats, poultry, fish, eggs, greek yogurt, organic butter), plant proteins (non-GMO tofu, tempeh), unsweetened dairy alternatives (almond milk, yogurt) and raw, unpasteurized fermented goods (kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut).

  • Increase awareness of the sourcing of any animal products (organic is best) and the ingredients in alternative products


Bulk & Dry Goods

Enter these aisles for whole foods or items made up of whole, simple ingredients like:

  • grains (brown rice, quinoa, oats etc)
  • pulses (lentils, beans etc)
  • nuts and seeds (almonds, flax, hemp chia, walnuts etc)
  • sweeteners (raw local honey, local maple syrup)
  • pure herbs and spices
  • beverages (teas, fair trade coffee)
  • simple ingredient snacks (rice cakes, rice crackers, puffed quinoa etc)
  • whole grain breads (sourdough, sprouted)


Cans, Jars & Condiments

Replenish your fridge and cupboards with oils (olive, coconut, avocado) , vinegars (apple cider, balsamic, red wine), staple canned items (beans, chickpeas), quality condiments (coconut aminos, hot sauce, mustard, salsa) and natural nut + seed butters.

  • For all other items, check to ensure a clean ingredient list


Ingredient Lists

Why It’s Important

The food we eat is information to our body on a cellular level that can, over time, affect our microbiome and physiological functions. Our choices are ultimately a choice towards vibrant health or suboptimal living and disease.

How to Read

Ingredients are listed in order by quantity (weight), meaning first items make up the bulk of the food. Without getting sucked into the claims, read the ingredients first to give insight on the quality of the product.

  • Look for items with less than 6 recognizable ingredients
  • A lengthy list is a sign of harmful artificial preservatives to make a product more shelf stable


Misleading Claims

The front of a packaged good is the manufacturer’s version of billboard marketing. Claims are often buzzwords that follow the current trends (ex. “low-fat” to “healthy fats”, or “high fibre”).


What to Avoid

  • Vegetable oils: corn, soybean, vegetable, canola, safflower, sunflower 
  • Synthetic trans fats: margarine, shortening
  • “Enriched” white flour & rice
  • Artificial flavours, colours & sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose)
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Sodium nitrates & nitrites
  • Sodium or potassium benzoate


Foundational Principles

  1. Read the back first
  2. Stick to items with less than 6 ingredients
  3. Look for ingredients you know and can pronounce
  4. Think critically about the length of processing and shelf life
  5. Be content with your decisions

Happy Shopping and Eating! 

Looking for a little more information or would like this information in an easy to use document.

Download Morgan’s cheat sheet today.  

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