I’ve been clean eating for awhile now and playing Paleo on and off (I happen to be back “on” now). On a recent grocery store trip, it suddenly occurred to me how shopping for Paleo ingredients has changed my entire grocery experience. I’ve been focusing on making my Paleo meals more homey and comforting, so my new go to cookbook for Paleo is Everyday Paleo Around the World: Italian Cuisine.
1. Less ground to cover – You’ve probably heard “shop the outside aisles and avoid the interior aisles where everything is in boxes”. Without giving deliberate thought to this, it’s true. I buy meats and produce – real foods – for my Paleo meals. One of my favorite apps is from Nom Nom Paleo – she has the most amazing recipes. Short of interior aisles for coconut oils, spices and other whole food condiments, I rarely visit the center of the store.
2. Shorter trips – Since I’m only shopping in two sections of the store, my time in the store is greatly reduced. What used to be a weekly one hour shopping excursion is now down to about 30 minutes.
3. No list – I also no longer take a list to the store. I know I’ll buy whatever meats and produce look good or are on sale. And having a vegan daughter, I do tend to load up on produce. In fact, the cashiers often comment on the amount of produce I buy, especially the young ones who can’t imagine what anyone would do with a rutabaga.
4. Pantry space – My pantry is virtually empty since I don’t buy anything in bags or boxes, save for nuts, quinoa, beans. My produce drawer on the other hand, overfloweth. And while I said I spend less time in the grocery store, I do spend significantly more time putting away groceries and prepping all of my produce to store it properly. TheKitchn has a great guide on storing produce and Washington Green Grocer offers this pdf that I refer to when unpacking my produce. Recently, I decided to stop using plastic storage containers and plastic bags in the fridge. I had learned long ago that you should never re-heat anything in plastic, but even putting warm foods into plastic for storage can’t be good for you right?
5. Cost – Back to my grocery store experience, many people ask if I’ve seen an increase or decrease in my weekly shopping expenses when I buy mainly Paleo ingredients. Honestly, I don’t notice much difference. First, when you’re cooking with whole foods, you tend to use fewer ingredients – think simplicity – protein, veggies, seasonings/sauces. If I find produce on sale, I’ll load up on it and make it a few different ways throughout the week. Buying all those pre-packaged and processed goods can be expensive so my gut tells me I’m actually saving a bit my buying whole foods.