I’ve been clean eating for awhile now and playing Paleo on and off (I happen to be strongly “on” now). On a recent grocery store trip, it suddenly occurred to me how shopping for Paleo ingredients has changed my entire grocery experience.
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. 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.