Shopping is Not What It Used to Be
For many of us shopping and grocery shopping have changed a great deal since our childhood. Growing up in London and New York City, my family mostly shopped at small old fashioned proprietor owned shops, like the butcher, the green grocer, a bakery. Additionally we might visit specialty shops specific to a country or culture like an Indian, Asian, Greek or Polish shop where we bought traditionally specific foods and delicacies of those cultures. And of course there were cheese shops, bagel shops, donut shops and delicatessens.
I’ve always enjoyed shopping this way, going to each specialty shop for specific needs. Very often the foods came from behind the counter in a brown bag or a paper wrapper with no labels or brand names. When I was a kid in London in the mid 1970s, fruits and vegetables were never wrapped in anything (unless they were fragile and high priced like a rare taste of Belgian asparagus or Italian peaches then they were wrapped in plain paper) – the vendor removed the produce from the scale and placed them in the mesh produce bag that each shopper carried to the market. Even in those days – in contrast to the USA – grocery chains did not supply free grocery bags, a plastic bag cost a few pence and the responsible homemaker (from what I observed) did not buy these but rather carried her own bags just as we popularly do today.
When I was grade school aged and even through my high school years, large grocery stores were still quite small. There were not gargantuan sized boxes and oversized packaging, no 1/2 gallon sized containers of mayonnaise or 2 litre bottles of soda.
Shopping was simpler, more enjoyable, quite old fashioned, and uncomplicated.
Besides where would we store such giant containers or multi-packs of food? Our one car garage was old and just barely fit our one car. There were no mega development homes with 3 to 5 car garages or large kitchens with center islands and dozens of cupboards. Everything was simpler and smaller. And the most important family food – milk, was delivered to the home and left in a cooler box outside the back door or along the hall. In the UK there was no cooler box, daily milk was delivered and even drunk at room temperature.
Grocery shopping today is a whole other experience. Most grocery stores are super-sized behemoths with endless rows of packaged and manufactured foods and seeming miles of shelf space and an enormous amount of brands, sizes, and choices. These super stores – though they may seem to save time with the opportunity to shop all of our home needs in one store – they really exist to market as many products to the shopper as possible. Those towers of sale items, the billboard sized display of Tide boxes, boxed cereals mega-brands and bottled salad dressings, the easy to entice and grab candy bars next to the queue that we brush against and smell, and begin to crave as we wait on the slow check out line – all off these are expertly placed and marketed to get the shopper to buy, buy, buy. To buy more than we want, to buy what we don’t even need, to capitulate from even the strongest mindset and transgress budget, health, and diet.
The Shopping Drug – A Modern Way to Feel Good
Roving through massive grocery stores, discount clothing shops, and mall food courts looking and waiting for something to speak to us, to inspire us to eat or purchase in a search of comforting ourselves or treating ourselves with an emotional reward, a boost or a perk is a new way of shopping. Cinnabon Brand counters blast out that irresistible aroma of fresh baked sugary iced buns over the entire mall. If you resisted at one mall, wait until the next visit, or at the airport and there is Cinnabon ready to break your resolve and capture your dollar and undermine your rational. This kind of marketing is just one of many potential snares to buy and eat food we do not want!
You Are Being Targeted
If you are a modern shopper in the giant superstores it is important to know that billion dollar food companies and food marketing companies are engaging shoppers (you) to buy more, and to eat more. It is done persuasively and effectively. Take a look around at the other shoppers and see what it is in their carts, or watch shoppers wander around looking to get their appetites simulated and respond by buying foods with boosted engineered flavours and colours that have already made an impression on the shopper with big ad campaigns they’ve already been exposed to through the media.
As for going to a giant superstore like Costco where samples are being offered – this is further enticement to taste, swallow, and now to buy foods that are NOT on the shopping list.
Eye On The Prize
Why am I sharing all this? To get you armoured and ready and on a strategic shopping mindset to extricate yourself from all these effective marketing strategies and avoid the minefield of shopping and eating mishaps that are always at the ready to topple the shopper from lofty goals and good self-esteem. I want you to know – if you fall off the wagon, it you buy foods that seem to knock you out of control, it is NOT you! You are not bad, weak, a loser or stuck to never have your health goals. You are like the rat in the scientist’s maze – and great psychological marketing is going to keep you in the maze. But you can get out of the maze – by NEVER going into it! Shopper, keep your eye on the prize and focus to purchase only the nutritious, healing, satisfying super foods of the animal kingdom that make up the Carnivore diet and that will support your success in your health transformation.
The True Value of Your Time
Superstores are a giant time suck. The travel time to get there, park, shop, stand in line, and the time to get out and finally back home to the enjoyment of preparing my oxtail stew, or grilling a steak and to eating delicious fatty meats to satiety – that’s what I really want to do with my food time. I want to eat food that is delicious and share meal prep and mealtime eating with ease and calm and enjoy mealtime with friends, family or my own quiet mind.
I hate food shopping in superstores. They are loud, overly bright, hard to navigate, crowded – even traversing the parking lot to park, push a cart, or haul grocery bags is a giant accosting experience. Especially when I only purchase four or five foods over and over again (beef, some other meats, salt, sparkling water, limes). It can take 2 – 4 hours to do this whole trip from start to finish. What a waste of my time! Of YOUR time.
Consider how often you might say – I don’t have enough time, or I never have any free time, or where did all the time go?
Value your time highly and spend it (time is money after all) in the way that is most meaningful to you and with those that are most meaningful to you.
If you have had a habit of going to the grocery store and doing other shopping often, running to the store every time you need only one or two ingredients, or wandering in stores for some emotional boost or bump – change this now!
Budget Shopping Hours and Stock Up
To really succeed at lifestyle change, and to welcome the great gifts of mental clarity and self esteem that accompany the Carnivore diet, create a shopping plan that is one day a week. Even less if you can manage it.
Now you will have more time for what you love (no more saying I just never have enough time).
You will also keep to a minimum the time spent in a grocery store with all the potential to buy what you do not need or want. You will strengthen your mind by giving it less opportunities to succumb to powerful food marketing and undesirable internal food messages. You will give yourself the best chance of building and maintaining new habits around Carnivore lifestyle. With the most important outcome of shopping, food choices, food prep and food eating – YOUR renewed health, energised lifestyle, and your optimal mindset and brain function. Happy healthy YOU. Day in and day out.
Make a list for all meaty, eggy or cheesy meals – what suits your digestion and health the most – and plan these same meals for every other member of your family! If you have an idea that you are going to eat Carnivore style while the rest of your family eats chips, ice cream, frozen pizzas, and pasta, then your success will be greatly threatened. The longer you stay with a Carnivore diet, you will become a warrior to defend and support your best health BUT until then get all your family on board.
Packaged foods, snack foods are engineered to make us eat them. Our brains – when carb-fueled – are unable to limit or restrict carbs – the brain can drive us out of control. Your success is of utmost importance. Every time the dieter feels failure, esteem erodes. Your children or husband or wife does not have different optimal health food needs than you do! The whole human family can eat this way. That is the biggest gift you can give them! Your whole family – even if they do not recognise the necessary health changes that you have, will all be thriving very quickly.
Buy more than enough for a week of meals – do not give yourself a chance to slip because you ran out of burger or bacon and now have to dash to the dangerous superstore while you are hungry! Do NOT restrict meal size! Do not limit calories. Eat and enjoy.
When you buy all fresh food, be willing to freeze it for a few days if needed. Then thaw as you go. So you always have enough, more than enough, meat to satisfy your hunger, nourish your body and brain and get you feeling happy, focused and vital. And to fill up the kids at home, and other family members. When you cook – make extra. This means you and everyone else can grab a fatty meat snack (leftover bacon or sliced steak) at any time in the day or night.
An Extra Gift
So now you are shopping only once a week or less. You are laser focused in the store and get only those things that are on YOUR Carnivore plan. The added benefit of this? All that time that you used to spend shopping, now that is free time on your new schedule! So let’s use that time for the things you love to do. Implement some new projects or activities with YOUR free time. Now that you are Not shopping every other day – fill this new time slot with crafts, reading, DIY house project, volunteer work, a side gig to earn some extra income, a cultural outing, playtime and projects with friends, kids or grandkids. DO the things you never had time to do and prioritise them in your schedule.
The Best Use of My Time, Mindset and Meals
These past nearly 3 Carnivore years of my new life, I rarely go food shopping. My boyfriend does 95% of the shopping. He has been in the animal protein and organic food biz his entire adult life. For him shopping is also enjoyable research with an opportunity for professional and creative insights.
We both eat in the same way, though he can tolerate more cheese and pork and sour cream than I can (sigh), his bringing those foods home along with our steaks, burger, oxtail and sparkling water does not throw me off plan (in the beginning I would ask him to eat these things in my absence when out on his social outings). These days, I am happy to see him enjoying these foods.
His weekly family gathering of taco Tuesday turned into Steak Tuesday. All of the family approves and digs in to real nutrition.
I still love exploring a fish market, a local butcher shop and even getting to know the butcher/meat section and the butcher at a giant superstore.
I always have more than enough food on hand and I never tire of my Carnivore menu.
The sick person only dreams of one thing – health. Health is truly wealth.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this shopping strategy. Find me at Wednesday’s Meat and Mindset meeting here on Carnivore.Diet.