Unfortunately, many of the foods you’ll find in the grocery store should not go into your cart. There are lots of reasons: foods masquerading as healthy may be anything but, convenience foods charge an unconscionable markup for the benefit you get.
Other products take a terrible toll on the environment. Here are ten items you should cross of your shopping list for good.
Smoked and cured meats
Cured and preserved meats are drastically unhealthy. They are preserved via chemicals known as nitrates or nitrites, which in the body break down into cancer-causing compounds.
Other additives, notably sodium, play a role in high blood pressure and migraines. And that’s not to mention the artery-clogging grease. Federal regulations allow meats like sausage and hot dogs to contain up to 50% fat by weight.
Blueberries are justifiably considered a super food, as the nutrient packed fruit offers health benefits galore, including a lowered risk of cancer.
But just because a product says “blueberry” on the label doesn’t mean it actually contains any. From breakfast cereal to granola bars and muffins, you will likely find that these foods are made with artificial blueberry flavor, rather than real fruit. Buy the whole berries themselves to add blueberry flavor to foods that need it.
Bottled tea and powdered tea
Both bottled and powdered teas cost significantly more than tea bags, and they come with way more sugar than you’d use at home.
Check the label on that bottled tea you love – it may contain more sugar than a soda or slice of pie. The powdered mixes may even list sugar as their first ingredient, before tea.
Tomato-based pasta sauces
The problem with store bought tomato sauce is two-fold. First, it costs many times more than the raw ingredients used, and second, it is typically loaded with sugar and salt.
For much less money and just a little bit more time, you can make your sauce at home and probably enjoy it more. Tomatoes are plentiful and cheap in the summer, so why not spend one day making and canning sauce yourself?
All it takes is crushed tomatoes, some vegetable stock, a little wine (if desired), salt and pepper, herbs of your choosing, and just a sprinkle of sugar. If you like, add your favorite vegetables, like onions, peppers, mushrooms, or carrots. Mix it all together and let simmer for an hour. You can either leave it chunky or blend it smooth before canning.
Bottled water is a bad buy for several reasons. First of all, it is very expensive compared to your tap water, and not necessarily of better quality, either. Many bottlers get their water from the same municipal source as serves your home.
Bottled water is also an environmental disaster – making and shipping all those bottles consumes a lot of fossil fuel, and many tons of the discarded plastic ends up in landfills and oceans every year.
Even with the cost of at-home water filters, you will come out ahead financially if you fill a reusable bottle, and you’ll do the environment a favor as well.