Do you find that you spend too much time wandering grocery store aisles, overwhelmed and panicky? Need a quick solution?
When I walk into any grocery store these days, even Whole Foods, I regard nearly all of the contents of the store as unnecessary. If a grocer wanted to gain my respect and patronage, she would not carry anything molded by machinery in a plant, pumped full of chemicals, and spewed into wasteful packaging.
One of the unexpected benefits of severely limiting the number of processed foods that I buy is that it limits the choices that I have to make. If I don’t have to make so many decisions, I remain pretty focused while shopping and the whole process can be swift and pretty painless, resulting in a full pantry and refrigerator and no feelings of regret or, worse, ignorant confusion about what I’ve just bought. Scouring the shelves for a natural toothpaste, I find only one. So I buy it. I don’t have to spend seven whole minutes deciding between the myriad of equally artificial items. (I do often find myself questioning the need for toothpaste, however, and vow to look up recipes for homemade versions.) Same goes for butter: there are only a couple of true butters in the refrigerated aisle; I don’t have to spend any time looking through “butter products” or margarines because they’re all the same. I simply look for the fewest additives in my food and it makes the selection process very easy.
So with 95% of the store in inaccessible territory, I simply search for the 5% of items I can buy with a relatively clear conscience. And that makes grocery shopping more of a treasure hunt than a boring household duty.
For years now, I’ve stuck to buying only basic, simple items from the grocery store, letting the local farmer’s markets bring me the variety and spice of life in produce that I crave. Even the basic items that I buy I’m suspicious of, but since I don’t have my own cow or almond tree for milk, I’ll continue purchasing the boxed versions until that, too, is remedied.