Unfortunately, many of the foods you’ll find in the grocery store should not go into your cart. There are lots of reasons: foods masquerading as healthy may be anything but, convenience foods charge an unconscionable markup for the benefit you get.
Other products take a terrible toll on the environment. Here are ten items you should cross of your shopping list for good.
1. Smoked and cured meats
Cured and preserved meats are drastically unhealthy. They are preserved via chemicals known as nitrates or nitrites, which in the body break down into cancer-causing compounds.
Other additives, notably sodium, play a role in high blood pressure and migraines. And that’s not to mention the artery-clogging grease. Federal regulations allow meats like sausage and hot dogs to contain up to 50% fat by weight.
2. “Blueberry” items
Blueberries are justifiably considered a super food, as the nutrient packed fruit offers health benefits galore, including a lowered risk of cancer.
But just because a product says “blueberry” on the label doesn’t mean it actually contains any. From breakfast cereal to granola bars and muffins, you will likely find that these foods are made with artificial blueberry flavor, rather than real fruit. Buy the whole berries themselves to add blueberry flavor to foods that need it.
3. Reduced fat foods
Over the years, we have been trained to consider fat bad. We have been told that it is the main driver of weight gain and associated diseases. However, that’s not entirely true.
We all need some fat in our diet, and certain “good” fats are absolutely critical for facilitating bodily processes. When food manufacturers take fat out of a product, they add in tons of sugar in order to make the food taste good.
Science is now pointing to sugar as the bigger culprit in weight and health concerns, so it’s better to choose the full fat versions of things and simply watch your portion size.
4. Bottled tea and powdered tea
Both bottled and powdered teas cost significantly more than tea bags, and they come with way more sugar than you’d use at home.
Check the label on that bottled tea you love – it may contain more sugar than a soda or slice of pie. The powdered mixes may even list sugar as their first ingredient, before tea!
Make your tea at home to reap the health benefits and save some money at the same time. There’s no end to the variations you can do, such as combining different varieties of tea bags, using honey or fruit juice instead of sugar, and adding lemon or mint.
5. Tomato-based pasta sauces
The problem with store bought tomato sauce is two-fold. First, it costs many times more than the raw ingredients used, and second, it is typically loaded with sugar and salt.
For much less money and just a little bit more time, you can make your sauce at home and probably enjoy it more. Tomatoes are plentiful and cheap in the summer, so why not spend one day making and canning sauce yourself?
All it takes is crushed tomatoes, some vegetable stock, a little wine (if desired), salt and pepper, herbs of your choosing, and just a sprinkle of sugar. If you like, add your favorite vegetables, like onions, peppers, mushrooms, or carrots. Mix it all together and let simmer for an hour. You can either leave it chunky or blend it smooth before canning.