Going More Natural at the Supermarket – Where to Start

by Nick Livermore

The following is a guest post from Raising Natural Kids

Because food and drink are the two things that we intentionally put into our bodies on a regular basis, they’re the best items to start with when it comes to detoxifying your life.

Some Quick and Simple Tips When at the Grocery Store

1. When buying produce, make sure that if the fruits and vegetables that you are buying are listed on the top 12 of the “Dirty Dozen” list, that you buy them organic. Every year the Environmental Working Group puts out a list of the top 12 produce items to avoid due to the high amounts of pesticides being used on them. They also put out a list of produce with the least amount of pesticides used. Below is the list for 2011 (The 2012 list has not come out yet). If an item you are curious about isn’t on one of these lists, you can look the item up at What’s On My Food. Remember, you can’t wash or cook off pesticides and these toxins get into the cells of the fruit and vegetables that they are sprayed on.

The items that contain the highest amount of pesticides are: 1. apples, 2. celery, 3. strawberries, 4. peaches, 5. spinach, 6. imported nectarines, 7. imported grapes, 8. sweet bell peppers, 9. potatoes, 10. blueberries, 11. lettuce, 12. kale/collard greens (EWG)

The items containing the least amount of pesticides are: 1. onions, 2. sweet corn (BUT over 80% of corn is genetically modified, so you still want to buy this organic), 3. pineapples, 4. avocado, 5. asparagus, 6. sweet peas, 7. mangoes, 8. eggplant, 9. domestic cantaloupe, 10. kiwi, 11. cabbage, 12. watermelon (EWG)

*In order to tell if the produce is organic you must look at the barcode. If it is a five number code that starts with the number 9, it is organic. If it is a four number code it is not organic. If it is a five number code starting with an 8, not only is in not organic, it is also genetically modified.

This barcode shows that this apple is not organic and that it is not genetically modified.

2. Many parents think that the yogurt targeted at kids must be the better choice for kids. This is absolutely NOT the case. All yogurts targeted at children, including GoGurt, YoBaby and Danimals, all contain a high amount of sugar, including unnecessary refined sugar. Many also contain artificial flavors and colors, which can cause an array of issues, including cancers and ADHD type behavior. Instead, buy plain greek yogurt and add your own toppings, such as fresh fruit, granola, nuts (finely chop these and they blend quite well into the granola), finely chopped carrot or kale and/or a little bit of honey. The sugars you add yourself will be less than what’s in a typical flavored yogurt, and they will be natural.

3. I am not a fan of wheat, be it white or whole wheat. So many people cannot tolerate or effectively digest the wheat gluten, yet many people don’t even realize that they have a problem with it because they don’t relate the symptoms they experience from it to wheat. That being said, I know many people buy bread and I want to tell you what to look for. For starters, if you are looking for a truly wheat free bread, read your labels. Even many oat and rye breads contain wheat as the number one or two ingredient. Second, if you are buying wheat bread, make sure it is unbleached, is low in sugar, doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup and doesn’t contain any artificial flavors, colorings or preservatives as many do. Also, if buying wheat, buy one that also contains other grains as well (just not corn!).

4. Breakfast is the most important part of the day, so start your family off right. Organic eggs are great and so is oatmeal! Buy both, and make sure that the oatmeal is the old fashioned, slow cooking kind (which doesn’t actually take all that long to cook!). The reasoning for this is that “the time it takes to cook the oatmeal commensurates with how it will deliver energy to your body. The energy given from the slow cooked kind will ‘simmer’ in your body, dispersing it in even and balanced amounts, while the kind found in the instant oatmeal will deliver it all at once, thus spiking your blood sugars before sending them and your energy crashing”(Lorenz). Also, the instant kinds contain added refined sugar. If you buy the slow cooked you can add your own healthy toppings. I add raisins, apple, and peanut or almond butter for protein. If I feel I need more veggies on a particular day, I add pureed sweet potato or butternut squash. I top it with a little bit of honey.

5. Save yourself money and skip the juice. Water is the ONLY liquid a human needs after he/she turns anywhere from one to two years old and NEVER does anyone need juice. Juice is adding unnecessary sugar to a diet for no reason. And let’s remember that according to Dr. Jerry Lee Hover, “Eating white sugar will paralyze and hinder your white blood cells from fighting off an infection. Eating 25 teaspoons of sugar will paralyze 92% of your white blood cells for approximately five hours. The average American eats over 42 teaspoons of sugar per day. For example: A banana split has 24 teaspoons of sugar. A 12 oz coke has approx. 8-10 teaspoons, a piece of white bread 2 teaspoons. It must be remembered that sugar or empty calories and junk foods interfere with the working of the body’s immune system.” Instead of a sugary drink, go for the whole fruit where you can receive the fiber and all the nutrients it has to offer. If your family is currently juice dependent, start by cutting the juice they drink with water and ‘wean’ them off. You can then add fresh lemon, lime or orange juice to their water if flavor is required.

6. Don’t be fooled! if a product says that it is all natural, it doesn’t really mean much of anything! If you are looking for something to be sincerely natural and organic, it must say 100% organic. In order to determine just how natural a product is, you NEED to read the label and the list of ingredients yourself. If you can’t pronounce something or there are lists of letters, such as TBHQ, it’s not natural.


EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Web. January 9, 2012.

Hoover, Jerry Lee, M.D. Natural Cancer Cure. Web. January 9, 2012.

Lorenz, Donna (Dr. of Naturopathy). Personal Interview. January 10, 2011.

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