Whether you are a seasoned wellness warrior or just dipping your toe into healthier cooking and eating, this all-encompassing guide makes trips to the supermarket simple.
The smart guide to shopping efficiently and nutritiously:
Fruits and Vegetables
Look for: Seasonal, Organic, and Local whenever possible
Eat the rainbow
Red- Brain Function and Memory
Orange- Rich in Betacarotene and Vitamin C which boosts eye health and supports the immune system
Yellow- Improves Circulation
Deep Green- Purifies the Blood, Strengthens the Immune System, Calms the Nervous System, and Combats Anxiety and Depression
Blue and Purple- Antioxidant Rich preventing early signs of aging and heart disease
White- Reduce blood pressure and LDL cholesterol
When is Organic Important? *updated. 2018
Clean 15- Lowest Pesticide Residue
These are the 15 fruits and vegetables you can buy conventionally.
Dirty 12- Highest Pesticide Residue
These are the 12 fruits and vegetables to always buy organic.
Sweet Bell Peppers
-Do not be afraid to buy frozen!
Frozen fruits and vegetables are flash frozen within hours of being harvested and therefore maintain high levels of nutrients. And, they’re much more budget friendly.
-Keep Healthy Flavor Enrichers Stocked
Fresh Herbs, garlic, and onion are available year round and take any healthy dish from bland to delicious!
-Load up with Sweet Vegetables!
Eating and enjoying sweet vegetables such as carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, and onions will naturally and effortlessly reduce your cravings for sweets such as cake, cookies, and ice cream.
At Busy Bee Well, we advocate a plant-based diet-that is every meal with your plate covered by at least 50% vegetables. However, the decision to incorporate animal protein into your diet is all yours once you have identified the sources which best support you as an individual. Protein builds cells, produces enzymes, and hormones. Everyone requires sources of high quality protein.
-Always check the dates when purchasing animal products.
-Understanding the options:
-Animals raised on organic feed without antibiotics or hormones
-Soil is free of contaminants and itself organic
Free-Range or Cage-Free
-The animals are allowed to roam free although it does not guarantee that there is access to outdoor space
-This guarantees that animals have access to
-Beyond minimizing the animal’s pain during slaughter, the animals are allowed to behave naturally and have sufficient outdoor space to live
-Animals are fed grass for the first four months of their lives before being switched to feed
-Animals are fed grass for the entirety of their lives
PLANT BASED PROTEIN
Beans and Legumes
-Seafood is a great source of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids which are essential to brain and heart health. Salmon, cod, mackerel, and sardines are fabulous sources of Omegas.
-When shopping for seafood here are a few pieces of information to keep in mind:
-Smaller fish generally contain lower levels of mercury
-Do not shy away from buying whole fish but when you do: make sure that the eyes are clear and that the gills are red. It is also imperative that the fish has a clean fresh smell.
-Fish filets and steaks are easier to prepare if you are newer to cooking seafood but make sure they are bright in color.
-Check the date of the fish with the fishmonger and never purchase anything that has been on display longer than a day. The fresher-the better!
-Eggs are a complete protein as well as a great source of Vitamin D. Not to mention, incredibly budget friendly!
When shopping for eggs outside of your local farmers’ market look for the following certifications: “Certified Organic”, “Certified Humane”, and “Pastured”.
-When it comes to brown vs. white eggs, their nutritional values are identical so simply select the variety you prefer.
NON-DAIRY and ORGANIC DAIRY
-Dairy is incredibly controversial! Personally, I completely eliminated it from my diet more than 12 years ago. I encourage all Busy Bees to experiment with organic non-dairy alternatives for two weeks to observe the effects on their digestive systems.
-If dairy has no negative effect on your digestive system then shop for dairy products that are certified “organic”, “free-range”, and “grass-fed” as these will come from animals that are allowed to graze freely in the sunlight thereby absorbing Vitamin D.
-Ghee is clarified butter.
-If dairy does not support your digestive system and wellness goals there are plenty of alternatives for you including but not limited to: nut milks, coconut, oat, soya, and rice.
-Most importantly look for the alternative with the fewest ingredients and choose the unsweetened option.
Shopping or whole grains in the 21st century requires you to use your label detective skills as unfortunately government guidelines allow for products to be labeled “whole grain” with minimal whole grains-all parts of the grain-left in tact.
-Look at the list of ingredients-a whole grain must be listed first to be truly whole grain. If the words “wheat”, “enriched wheat”, or “enriched flour” are listed first-the product is not truly a whole grain but rather an example of deceptive marketing and labeling.
-Wheat `grains include: Bulgar, Cracked Wheat, Wheat Berries, and Spelt
-Gluten Free and Wheat-Free Grains Include: Amaranth, Buckwheat, Corn, Millet, Rice, and Quinoa (which is a complete protein)
Fats do not make you fat! That said, everything in moderation. Here is how to identify healthy fats that support brain functions, vitamin absorption, boost skin radiance, etc…
-Look for cold-pressed and unrefined
-Not all oils are suitable for cooking at high temperatures but do not be afraid to experiment with the different tastes of various oils in salads or marinades.
-Coconut oil and almond oil have a variety of uses aesthetically as well as they soothe and moisturize skin, hair, and nails.
Condiments are fabulous sources of flavor that last for ages in the refrigerator. Best of all, they are usually inexpensive so you can experiment with a new one every time you go to the market. Just read the ingredients label to make sure you are not purchasing anything loaded with sugars or highly processed.
-Apple Cider Vinegar is great if you want a sour flavor with a little less sugar than balsamic vinegar
-Cayenne pepper and Hot sauces are great sources of HEAT and spice and be topped on everything from eggs to veggies
-Nut butters and tahini add smooth nutty flavors
-Nutritional yeast is a high protein vitamin rich vegan source of a cheesy flavor that is great mixed into warm veggies, melted into sauces, or sprinkled on top of salads
HERBS & SPICES
Fresh herbs are ounce for ounce some of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet and like spices have powerful health benefits.
-Salt should always be either pink or have a grayish tint indicating that it is naturally harvested and unbleached therefore retaining natural qualities.
-Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, and Ginger are sweet seasonings great for baking, fruits, and sweeter vegetables.
-Basil, Rosemary, Thyme, Dill, and Oregano are herbs that complement everything from fish to red meat to whole grains
-At Busy Bee Well we believe in all things in balance and moderation so as to live without feelings of deprivation or restriction. However, sugar is highly inflammatory and addictive so when consuming sweets always avoid refined sugars and opt for controlled amounts of all-natural sources such as Honey and Maple Syrup.
-Taking supplements will NEVER compensate for eating garbage. And, at Busy Bee Well we believe that when a balanced diet of whole foods is being eaten, nutrients are being consumed in adequate amounts eliminating the needs for excess supplements. However from time to time, depending upon your short-term wellness goals, supplements may temporarily boost your efforts.
-Signs supplements might be right for you:
-Chronic Fatigue, Brain Fog, Hair Loss, thyroid Condition, Long Term Vegan with Low Energy Levels, Lowered Immunity, etc..
Essential for proper metabolism-especially of protein
Whole Food Sources: Salmon, Chicken, Liver, Avocado, Walnuts, Pistachios, and Chickpeas
Supports Nerve Function and Healthy Blood Cells. Especially important for aging individuals and those who follow vegetarian and vegan diets.
Whole Food Sources: Eggs, Salmon, Tuna, Oysters, Clams, Liver, and Beef
Supports Immunity and boosts the absorption of iron from plants.
Whole Food Sources: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, Citrus Fruits, and Potatoes
Offers structural support through our bones and enables muscle contraction.
Whole Food Sources: Collard Greens, kale, Boy Choy, Spinach, Tofu, and Sardines.
Necessary for bone health. The body may synthesize it through sun exposure so those who live in low light areas should consider a supplement as well as a Vitamin D rich diet.
Whole Food Sources: Eggs, Fatty Fish, Butter and Liver.
An antioxidant that supports the aging process.
Whole Food Sources: Almonds, Spinach, Avocado, Sunflower Seeds, and Vegetable Oils.
Essential for bone health, metabolism, and the synthesis of protein. Magnesium is abundant is a plethora of foods so a deficiency is usually rare.
Whole Food Sources: Spinach, Tofu, Almond, Chard, Pumpkin Seeds, Black Beans, Flax Seeds, and Cocoa.
Essential for blood clotting.
Whole Food Sources: Broccoli, Cabbage, Turnip Greens, Kale, and Swiss Chard.
1. Manuka Honey
-Strong anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties in addition to being used in teas and warm drinks for those who are sick, it may be applied topically on wounds and burns.
-Powerful antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, lowers blood pressure, and cholesterol. Alicillin is the ingredient responsible for garlic’s medicinal properties but it loses its potency upon heating.
-Anti-Inflammatory. Curcumin is one of the active compounds in turmeric which reduces oxidative stress is anticancer and cardio protective.
-A powerful anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial used to stimulate digestion and remedy nausea. Gingerol is the main active ingredient which is shown to support blood glucose regulation, reduce the risk of stomach ulcers, and decrease the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
5. Coconut Oil
-A health food and skincare item all in one. The abundance of Lauric Acid makes it antimicrobial. It is also a great source of medium-chain triglycerides making it an easily digestible fat. Its high heat capacity makes it great to cook and bake with but as it is rich in saturated fat, should be consumed in moderation.
-A powerful antibacterial and astringent with high levels of Vitamin C, antioxidants and flavinods which provide immunity against colds, flus, bacterial and viral infections. The citric and ascorbic acids balance the blood’s pH by alkalizing the body.
SHOP LIKE A HEALTH PRO
-To save time and calories stick to the outer aisles of the supermarket as this is where the whole foods are located. The inner aisles are where the packaged and processed “food-like products” are shelved and sold.
EAT WELL ON A BUDGET
-Eating whole foods should not require you to spend your whole paycheck. Here are a few tips to keep your meals both figure and budget friendly:
1. Make a Plan
2. Male a List
3. Stick to the Store’s Perimeter
4. Buy Whole Foods not Packaged and Processed Food-like Products
5. Look for Coupons
6. Shop for Local, Seasonal Produce (seriously-the farmers’ market has the best deals!)
7. Buy in Bulk and learn to portion and freeze.
8. Pick Plant-based Proteins
9. Buy Frozen Foods
10. Compare Unit Prices (this is especially easy to do when shopping online)
FOOD LABEL CLAIMS
- These days shopping in the supermarket is more than confusing with food labels exclaiming the healthiness of the food and food products wrapped inside of them. Understands exactly what these food label claims mean give you tremendous power to shop well. As always consider why a food is packaged in a way that a label can be printed on it and then read carefully from there.
1. Anti-biotic Free
-No antibiotics were administered at any point during the animal’s lifetime
-Birds, particularly chickens were raised without cages surrounding them. As a guarantee it does not indicate whether the birds had access to sunlight, outdoor space, fresh air, or the ability to move freely.
-A guarantee only that egg laying chickens had access to outdoor space. This label claim does not indicate whether the birds were given antibiotics or hormones not does guarantee what the birds were fed.
-A guarantee that both farmers and workers received fair wages and treatment while growing produce.
-Plants produced without being genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses, or other plants and animals.
-Animals have been raised on a completely grain fed diet.
-Animals were raised on their natural diets, grass, rather than grains. In addition to being more humane-the meat from animals raised on grass is both leaner and lower in calories than grain-fed counterparts. However, a grass-fed label does NOT guarantee that an animal ate grass for the entirety of its life, merely the first four months of its life.
-The animal ate its natural diet, grass, from birth until slaughter.
-Whenever possible, this is what you want to select! Pasture raised animals were raised on a pasture where it was allowed to roam freely and eat its natural diet of grasses and plants. Pasture raising is the traditional farming technique which is both environmentally friendly and ethically friendliest.
-All organic food is fully traceable from farm to table. Organic foods are produced with natural fertilizers from plants and less energy. Organic always means no artificial colors or presercvatives. Always free range. No antibiotic use and no GMO ingredients. Food as it should be.
-Entirely organic but whereas an organic farm may purchase organic seeds or organic feed for livestock from outside sources, a biodynamic certification requires that everything be produced on the premises meaning that a biodynamic products come from self-sustaining organic farms.