5 Healthy Grocery Shopping Tips to Live by

Words: Mekhala Living
Photos: Brooke Cagle


“You are what you eat,” is an oft-repeated quote and its origins can be traced back to the early 1900’s. The average human diet has gone through numerous transformations in the 200 years or so since this phrase was first uttered, and how we have changed with it.

Our forebears consumed a greater number of calories than we do now, yet cancers and heart disease were under 10 per cent of the levels we are experiencing today. Why is that? One word – profit.

Fuelled by the mass commercialization of food production after the second world war that fed food companies’ profits, the average human diet now consists of unprecedented amounts of processed meat, sugar, salt and artificial additives. Even these diets go through fits and fads – remember the low fat (equals high sugar), Atkins (the founder died of a heart attack), and now vegan, vegetarian, carb-free, and Paleolithic (yep, that’s how far back we are going in our quest for immortality).

Faced with a deluge of jargon, propaganda and products on supermarkets shelves all shouting for attention, how does one make simple, smart and health-changing diet decisions?

here are the 5 tips: 

Eliminate refined sugar and salt

Did you know that glowing yellow sulphur dioxide harvested from an Indonesian mountain is used to purify cane sugar that is widely sold in Asia? And that white table salt is stripped of all its minerals and contains TOXIC additives? Switch to pure sea salts (like Himalayan or Murray River), and coconut or raw sugar, and make sure to read food labels to see if they contain high fructose corn syrup (which is literally sweet, liquid death).

Read your labels

Not all processed foods are bad, but did we mention - make sure to read the label. Don’t buy anything that contains “flavouring”, “colouring”, MSG, palm oil, and of course, white sugar and salt.

Choose the RIGHT Oils

Back in the 60’s, a mammoth PR campaign from the US (where else) fooled consumers into believing that fat was bad, heralding the era of the low fat diet. See where that got us? Repeat to oneself - not all fats are bad.

Avoid trans fat, generally found in goods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. And have more good oils like olive, coconut, avocado, rice bran and walnut, which lubricate our body’s mechanisms and make things smooth sailing.

Eat organic vegetables

We should eat be eating our greens anyway, and organic vegetables are free of pesticides. Not least of all, they are way more affordable than organic meat. It’s an easy introduction to healthy eating and more palatable for the wallet.

Eat fruit instead of juice

Yes, we know that juice diets are trendy but unless they are vegetable juices, you are better off eating the actual fruit. Fruits contain fiber and fill you up more efficiently, whilst juice is really just sugar in disguise. And no, we don’t believe that juices can detox the body, at least not one that is often visited by Mr G&T.