In the last several months, I have developed a little habit at the grocery store.  While in the check out line I’ve begun to notice what other people are buying.  (Don’t you judge me!  You know you do the same thing.)  What I’ve noticed is that the people around me have very few whole foods (fruits, veggies, meats, etc.) in their carts, and lots of pre-packaged, processed, junk foods.  Honestly, what I see most of in people’s carts are things like: frozen pizzas, corn dogs, chicken nuggets, ice cream, candy, chips, “diet foods” like Lean Cuisines, soda, sweetened fruit juices and sugary cereals.

I don’t think this needs to be said, but I’ll say it anyway-these aren’t the kinds of food that lead to a healthy, lean, strong and optimally functioning body.  In fact, these are the kinds of food that, when eaten often, lead to the opposite of all of those things (unhealthy, overweight, weak and poorly functioning).

My wife took a picture a few weeks ago of our shopping cart.  This is honestly what it looks like on a regular basis:

Here’s what in there (from left-ish to right-ish): clementines, cilantro, mango, lime, basil, thyme, onion, garlic, tomato, lemons, ginger root, broccoli, yams, carrots, bananas, frozen corn, milk, apples, canned pineapple, canned mandarin oranges, natural applesauce, lemon juice, tomato sauce and cat litter (I don’t recommend you eat this before noon).  If you’re wondering what on the bottom rack of the cart, it’s a big bag of dog food.

What’s missing that should be there: mainly meat and eggs.  We currently have a freezer full of grass fed beef and a bunch of elk steaks, so that takes care of most of our meat.  We also get fresh eggs from a few friends of ours.

What’s missing that shouldn’t be there: any of the previously mentioned processed foods.  The closest thing would be the applesauce and the tomato sauce, which are both a far cry from chips, soda and corn dogs.

This isn’t to say that we don’t occasionally buy things that aren’t ideal.  We do.  Sometimes we get a frozen pizza for dinner (or we make our own which is much better and much better for us).  But the majority of the time, our cart looks like the above picture.

Your’s should too.

I understand this could sound a bit judgmental, but to be honest, part of my job is to make a judgement call on what people are eating.  That’s kind of what they pay me to do.  The reality is that if you don’t buy it at the grocery store (cookies, chips, soda) you’re much less likely to make a special trip to go get it.  In other words, if it’s not in your kitchen, you probably wont eat it.  This is why you should stock up on fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables.  Buy a ton of meat when it’s on sale and freeze it.

If these foods make up the majority of your diet, you don’t need to worry when you have an occasional cheat meal.  (I loves me a good corn dog.)  You can enjoy it and not feel guilty because you know that 90% percent of what you are putting into your body is caloricaly low and nutrient dense.  Both of which are good things.

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