processed foods

Things I Don’t Buy in the Grocery Store Anymore

Grocery shopping was one of my favorite things for a long time. I loved going to my favorite store and exploring all the new items and things I wanted to try. I ate a lot of processed foods and had a fistful of coupons to save money on them. The advice that most “lose weight” articles give is to stay in the perimeter of the grocery story: the produce section, dairy, meat and seafood and avoid the middle of the store. The middle of the store is where all these processed, not-so-good-for-you “foods” are found.

I’ve mentioned many, many times that I don’t deny myself things I want now, I just eat them in moderation. I call this my 90/10 Rule. I splurge, I eat treats, I drink beer and go out for pizza. But instead of gorging myself on massive amounts, I do so in moderation. 2 pieces of pizza and 1 beer are the perfect amount of food for a dinner out. I don’t feel deprived, I don’t feel like I’m denying myself “Bad Foods” and I enjoy myself. This works for me and has worked well for 4 years now.

While I do not “deny” myself food or label foods as good or bad, there are a lot of things that I just don’t eat anymore. Part of that is because I know how many calories are in things now. It’s honestly difficult to enjoy something knowing that it has like 700 calories in it and it’s double the calories I’d normally eat for a meal.

One of the big things I avoid in the grocery store now is the candy/cookie/treat isle. Don’t get me wrong–I still eat candy and cookies and treats but I eat different kinds now. Instead of getting an entire box of Oreos and eating them all in one weekend, I get the take-n-bake type cookies and only bake a serving at a time. Just last night I made Michael and I some chocolate chip cookies: I baked 6 total and we enjoyed our little serving of cookies for dessert without the temptation to eat 5 more.

The other big one is the juice isle–frozen and bottled. I used to LOVE juice. Lemonade, guava juice, orange juice–I always had my freezer stocked with a few options because I usually had some kind of juice with breakfast every day. I’ve told you before that I had a bit of a “drinking problem.”┬áNow? I rarely have that stuff on hand. When I get sick I usually buy a small single serving container of orange juice and every once in awhile I will make lemonade in the summertime. Usually the only thing I have in the house is the unsweetened iced tea I made.

Finally, the bakery. It’s almost always skipped in the grocery store. In the old days, I used to get the single serving slices of cake or cheesecake a few times a week. I told myself I was doing “good” because it was only one piece. Until I started buying several at a time and eating two slices of cheesecake from the bakery instead of one.

One thing I don’t avoid anymore (but did while I was trying to lose 100 pounds) was the ice cream isle. For 2 years I couldn’t eat ice cream because it was a trigger food–if it was in my house I’d eat all of it and probably in one sitting. After I maintained my weight loss for awhile I realized I was able to eat ice cream in moderation. I COULD have it in my house and eat a little bit here and there and NOT the entire thing!

Of course, now I eat the lower calorie ice creams and not the crazy treats that are high in calories. And my trip the ice cream isle does not happen every time I got to the grocery store! Once a month is about the average now.

You can do so well in the grocery store and make your way to the checkout with lots of fruits and veggies and seafood and other healthy options. And then be faced with this:

The last minute, impulse buy crap! Dang it! Too bad the grocery checkout lines don’t look more like this:

Oranges, apples, and other healthier options. Oh well, in a perfect world I guess. I do pretty well with resisting the impulse buy candy section.

QUESTION: What things in the grocery store do you avoid now?

Coupon Queen

I used to be the Queen of coupons. I’ve never seen the TV show about couponing, and I certainly wasn’t that extreme, but I had a knack for saving $15-20-25 dollars at a time with just using coupons and double coupons and in-store deals. I’d get so excited, too, when I got a great deal on something.

Not only did I love saving money and getting that self-satisfied rush by making a normally $5 item only a $1, but I loved trying NEW products! Many people hate grocery shopping but I loved it. Well that has changed drastically in the last few years.

In the past two years or so my couponing habits have changed drastically. Because I am trying to get away from eating processed foods, I find that most of those coupons I see each Sunday are worthless to me. I don’t want a box of crackers or 100 calorie cookies. I don’t eat frozen meals for lunches anymore (and haven’t in nearly a year!). Those items used to be a staple in my house and I always had things like that.

Now when I clip coupons they are for things like cleaning supplies, beauty supplies (tampons, hair dye, shampoo, etc) and condiments (I’m a mustard addict as well as a salad dressing addict). I wish I could say that cutting out the processed foods has made a big dent in my grocery bill but the cost really hasn’t changed much. Produce is much more expensive these days and because we’re eating more “real food” we have to shop for it more often.

That is in no way a complaint. My body has never felt better since we changed to a caveman type diet. For example, my dinner last night was a boneless pork chop, a spinach salad and steamed broccoli. It was filling and satisfying in every way and I didn’t miss rice or pasta or bread as a side. Meat and seafood + veggies = simple meals and a happier body. I feel better. I feel healthier.

But it feels like these two lifestyles are incompatible. Is it impossible? No, but it’s not easy. The coupons I have been able to use on the healthier foods I eat are things like Greek yogurt, organic soups, frozen vegetables and Foster Farms chicken. Unfortunately, that is just a small portion of the stuff I buy.

You know what I wish? I wish that the Sunday coupon section had coupons for fresh produce. I want to see a coupon for 50cents off fresh broccoli from any store, or 10% of a watermelon at any store. Why isn’t this available? I really wish it was!

QUESTION: What are your spending and couponing habits? Have they changed with your diet?