One of the best things about following a Paleo lifestyle, is the serious reduction of the time-sap that is the supermarket. There is absolutely no need to go up and down every aisle – unless of course you like to look at the ingredients of Frankenfoods “just for fun” like I do.
My Supermarket Route
I generally get all of my meat from my local organic butcher. This means one less thing to get from Coles or Woolworths, and a far superior product. I get some veg from markets, but I've still not found a great reliable, local source – so at the moment I am still buying a lot of my veg from the supermarket.
My first stop is therefore the fruit and veg section, usually in the front corner of the store. Here I generally try to buy local Australian produce and avoid the imports. This is not only cheaper, but I believe a much more sustainable, healthy option. I regularly buy sweet potatoes and pumpkins as good carbohydrate sources. I buy lots of onions, garlic and tomatoes as they tend to form the basis of many meals. I’ll often buy vegetables such as zucchini and cauliflower to create zucchini pasta and cauliflower rice. I often pick up avocado as this is such a good, quick and easy fat source which goes with many meals. Depending on which meals I have planned for the week ahead, I’ll get carrots, parsnips, Asian greens, spinach, capsicum (bell peppers), mushrooms, leeks and broccoli. I vary my purchase significantly depending on what is in season and what looks good on that particular day. Depending on the type of vegetables I'm buying, I’ll decide whether or not to go organic. Unfortunately price is a big consideration in this for me. I use the dirty dozen rule when deciding what I should buy organic – and what I'm more likely to get away with non organic for.
I'm buying less and less fruit as I'm trying to minimise my sugar intake. I also believe I can get the same beneficial nutrients the fruit provides in vegetables and meat – without the sugar hit. However, I always buy limes and lemons as I often have a slice in hot water as a refreshing hot drink. I occasionally purchase kiwi fruits and will buy berries more and more as the season gets further underway. I can’t remember the last time I had an apple – balancing off the sugar and nutritional content, there are so many things I’d choose to eat first.
Next door is usually the egg section. I buy a lot of eggs. This is an area I won't compromise on. The minimum I'd consider buying would be free range, but I generally get organic. I don't see them often, but where I do I'll also buy Omega-3 enriched eggs.
Close to the Fruit and Veg section is usually the “healthy” range (i.e. “Macro” in Woolies or “Health Solutions” in Coles. From here I’ll buy nuts, nut butters and ground almond and coconut flour. I don’t buy these items regularly, but to go into a specific meal I have planned, such as noatmeal, or into a curry .
Back on the outside perimeter of the store I’ll occasionally then get some meat (if I haven’t managed to get this from my butcher). On the rare occasions I get meat from the supermarket I'm always very careful to get organic – I consider meat to be the key area where quality really is everything.
I dip into the centre of the store to visit the Asian section, as it is here I can stock up on coconut milk which is a great source of fat. As I'm currently avoiding dairy, this is another section I get to skip. Finally, occasionally I’ll visit the frozen section, where I’ll pick up frozen Australian berries. This is typically an option I only use when fresh berries are not in season.
The only staple I can’t find in supermarkets is coconut oil, which I make a special trip to my local health food store for.
It’s incredible to think how many aisles in the supermarket become completely redundant, when leading a healthy primal lifestyle.
Have you noticed a big reduction in your grocery miles since you reconsidered your diet? How much of your diet do you get from supermarkets?