Episode #15: Grocery Shopping
In this episode learn how to do the front-end work of grocery shopping so that actually doing it (whether on-line or in-person at the store) does not have to be a monumental and dreaded task. Learn why grocery shopping for any eating style does not have to be expensive and difficult. Being aware of the mistakes we make and why we are making them will cut your time and expenses into time spent and money spent, into manageable and affordable chunks.
1:12. Personal Story
3:11. Grocery Shopping for any eating style does not have to be expensive and difficult
3:53. What mistakes do we make when starting a new eating style?
7:37. Why do we make these mistakes?
12:39. Calling out a new way of grocery shopping starting with the front-end work
18:25. This week's actionable COACHING ADVICE
21:22. VFO (Valuable Free Offer)
22:45. Episode 16, coming up
Breaking Free From Diet Prison Book
Breaking Free From Diet Prison Course
Five Steps to Diet Freedom and Four Lists You Need
Breaking Free From Diet Prison Facebook page
Roadmap To Diet Success Instagram
Access Transcript Here
Episode #: 15 Grocery Shopping
You’re Listening to the Roadmap to Diet Success Podcast, Episode #15, Grocery Shopping – Vacation Is Over!
Did you know that you don't have to spend money on a diet program or weigh, measure and track your food? What if you could learn to have success by following an easy roadmap that takes you on adventures from learning how to change your mindset so that you can believe in yourself, to learning about what foods work best in your body and why? Join me, Miriam Hatoum, health coach, course creator and author of Breaking Free From Diet Prison, as I give you actionable coaching advice that is sure to empower you so that you will finally find peace with food and learn to trust your body’s signals. You’ve got this, girl!
Oh, and before we start, I want to let you know that the primary purpose of this podcast is to educate and does not constitute medical advice or services, and I’m keeping up with the science as fast as I can so I can share with you the latest breaking research in this area to help you achieve your dreams!
1:12. Personal Story
Okay, I’m the odd duck. I actually love grocery shopping. I have been giving it a lot of thought while writing this episode, and I think it is that I love to organize lists, and I love making lists. You either have this personality or you don’t. If you don’t, I urge you to make an effort based on tips I give you throughout this episode. Honestly, I can be out of a store – including waiting in line – in under an hour even if I am shopping for a full week’s groceries for a family. I love it so much that when my daughter had her first baby and went back to work, I would meal plan for my her, do all the shopping as well, and bring it down to her every Sunday when we visited. I no longer do that – I think it had something to do with my complaining one Sunday that the food I had brought the previous Sunday was still in the fridge untouched. But, be that as it may, she and I have both moved on from my control over her meals, and it’s working out just fine!
When I shop for the whole week, my first pass through looks at all the meals and recipes I will be making and I just jot down what I need: one onion for this, two onions for that, one onion I will need during the week for my salad, and so the final list will have four onions. That way I rarely have to go out for anything other than my one grocery trip a week. I do have the time to go to the store every day, but I have found it better to concentrate on shopping for the week all at one time even if it means going to several different markets on the same day. If you do not already do a once-a-week grocery haul, then break it up into 2 or 3 trips – but don’t go every day. If you can get down to once a week it is actually very efficient and saves money.
3:11. Grocery shopping for any eating style does not have to be expensive and difficult.
· If you learn to make your grocery list for the week, you can cut out a lot of extra purchases that will add up to quite a bit of money.
· Disciplined list-making and grocery shopping will pay off, not only in your pocket, but in the amount of confusion that may arise when starting a new eating plan.
· If you have never planned your grocery shopping the way I outline below, it might take a while to get used to, but I promise you, it will pay off in both saving time and money.
· I call it “putting in the work on the front end.”
3:53. What mistakes do we make when starting a new eating style?
When people first start grocery shopping for any new way of eating, they tend to find it expensive. It can be, but it does not need to be. These are things that can make it expensive, especially if you follow a style that emphasizes “clean” eating:
· You buy grass-fed and pasture-raised meat (not necessary).
· You buy only pasture-raised eggs (not necessary).
· You buy only organic vegetables, fruits and berries (not necessary).
· You hunt down carb-free (sugar free/nitrate free) processed meats (not necessary).
· You are still buying a lot of junk food for the rest of the family.
· You buy too much food.
· You buy all the cookbooks and start ordering strange and unusual ingredients from Amazon.
Although it is wonderful if your food budget allows grass-fed, pasture-raised and organic meats and produce, you do not have to have these things to be successful with any eating plan, even the likes of Paleo or Keto. Regular produce, meats and eggs are fine. When you start to save money on your grocery bills you can roll over the savings into better-quality foods or you can go on a trip to Hawaii wearing that new bathing suit you will soon fit into! You do not need top-shelf expensive food.
Regarding the second half of the list, if you are buying more meats, cheeses and produce for yourself and loading up on junk food for the rest of the family, your bill might be a little higher. The problem is not the eating style or diet you have chosen. The problem is what you are buying for your family. How about less pre-frozen meals, cereals and other standard breakfast foods? How about fewer snacks and instead prepare hardier meals so the kids won’t be looking to eat all the time? We cut down on going to bakeries for pastries and fresh bread. I stopped the take-out coffees with bagels and muffins. I brought lunch to work instead of take-out and fast food. I planned for dinners (and meal prepped quite a bit on the weekends) so I would have something ready when I got home from a long day at work. Your intention to have Bolognaise sauce with zoodles is not going to happen if you have to start chopping vegetables and cooking after an eight-hour day at work and a one-hour commute, with or without kids waiting for you when you walk through the door. All these savings can be rolled back into your grocery budget.
You will also find that as you are really into the swing of eating a healthy way (and not some diet that is extremely calorie restrictive), you will not be as hungry and will automatically buy less food. I threw out a lot of fresh food: vegetables, berries, fish and even salami and cheese which you would think do not spoil, but they do.
The last thing I want to address are all the cookbooks and all the recipes. I bought so many specialized baking ingredients and I ended up giving them all away. This followed suit for every plan or diet I was ever on, from Weight Watchers to Keto, from Whole30 to Paleo. I even paid for postage to mail things to friends in other parts of the country who were doing whatever plan I was on at the moment. Trying every new complicated recipe might not be your best way to start out.
7:37. Why do we make these mistakes?
What follows is my own experience with Keto and low carb baked goods and sweets. It is also my take on starting with complicated recipes. I am giving you this run through but see if you can identify with it no matter what plan you are following.
· First of all, I hadn’t learned yet Whatever you do, never run back to what broke you. When I first started Keto, I was excited about the Keto breads, Keto cookies, Keto cakes, Keto candy and Keto ice cream (God help me…I bought an ice cream maker!). I was thinking that as long as something was Keto, I could eat it. After all, the experts said that it was the food itself that causes you to eat. At some level this is true. When you eat foods that trigger your insulin, your ghrelin (which is one of our hunger hormones) goes up and your leptin (which is the fullness hormone) goes down. If you eat Keto, you will not be hungry. This is true. However, what I neglected to understand is that I have a two-pronged problem. Yes, I had high fasting insulin and I was insulin resistant. That means that if I ate a slice of bread, my body craved the whole loaf. If I ate a cookie, my body craved the whole bag.
· I thought my forever happy ending would be to eat Keto and never crave or overeat certain foods again. What I didn’t realize that no amount of Keto eating would solve my head hunger and “concept cravings.” What I mean by “concept cravings” is that I wanted the cookies because they were cookies. The fact that they were high in fat and contained no wheat had no effect on my head hunger. I had a friend who suffered only from physical hunger. She could eat one artificially-sweetened, high-fat treat and not want to eat for hours. I, however, saw it as candy and was driven to eat the entire batch. If this issue resonates with you, this is one reason I would tell you to stay away from all the recipes and cookbooks until you have your physical hunger under control and maybe do some journaling around this if you are a journaler.
· Another reason I would recommend staying away from all the recipes and cookbooks when you are starting out on Keto (or any other plan) is so you can learn how various foods feel in your body. It is important to learn how the elements of a recipe work for you. For instance, a high-fat recipe might not sit comfortably with you. Or some people never know they have dairy or egg or nut sensitivities until they start eating something like Keto or Paleo. Eating foods in their less complex state can give you a chance to really tune into what makes you not feel well, as opposed to tuning in to what makes your body hum and fills you with energy.
· A third reason I would suggest you stay away from complex recipes at the start is my deep belief in my Dancing and Kissing approaches to learning new ways of eating. The dancing approach was in Episode 12, and you will learn all about Kissing in the next one!
· What I truly want for you is to learn to live your life without weighing, measuring and tracking. The simpler you keep things at the beginning, the faster your trajectory will be to reaching your goals.
· Dispelling the myths about what you must buy (such as organic, pasture-raised and grass-fed), cutting back on take-out, fast food and junk snacks, learning how much food you really need to eat, and slowly building your pantry with unusual items for cooking and baking, will all go a long way to stretch your food budget and make shopping for any food plan no more expensive than if you just ate all the food in all the quantities that you usually do.
11:46. What are the costs of making these mistakes?
· First of all, the cost is the cost. When starting a new plan, we spend much more than we need to and there is a lot of waste.
· But the cost I want to talk about here, is the overwhelm that happens if you don’t keep it simple while you are learning a new eating plan, not only because you are buying too much but because you take on too much which gets in the way of being organized with your grocery shopping.
· As I said in an earlier episode, your good-better-best decisions are made one food at a time, one meal at a time, and one grocery shopping excursion at a time.
· If you don’t take the time to do the work on the front end, you will be confused, overwhelmed, and not make the best decisions, at whatever point you are with them.
12:39 . I want to call out a new way of grocery shopping, starting with the front-end work.
Let me start by saying I still do everything with pen and paper, but you are welcome to do this on the computer.
· Print out any meal plan you may have made for the week, even if it is only for the next two or three days.
· Take a blank sheet of paper.
· Every time a food is on the meal plan put the ingredients for it on the blank sheet of paper.
· Then arrange it according to food types and add quantities.
· I basically have the same breakfast every day. I might vary how I made eggs or have a plate with cheese, olives and sliced vegetables. When I was working, I would generally take the same lunch every day – that big salad I talked about in Episode 8 about protocol meal planning – but my protein might be whatever I had for dinner the night before.
· To save you some time, I am not going to read the entire grocery list here, but it is in the show notes transcript for this show if you want to see it in full.
· A preliminary grocery list that takes care of breakfasts and lunches (but for brevity here I did not list dinner ingredients) for the week would be:
| Eggs | Cream | Butter | Bacon
| Mushrooms | Onions | Bell pepper | Baby spinach
| Chopped walnuts | Black olives | Feta cheese | Cherry tomatoes
| Mesclun mix | Romaine lettuce | Ranch dressing | Unsliced salami
| SB bouillon | Cheese wisps | Avocado oil | Olive oil
| Blueberries | Strawberries | Pickles | Greek yogurt
| Celery | Cucumbers | Blackberries | Radishes
| Leeks | String beans
This list – which I have in the transcript so you can see my example – takes care of my breakfasts and lunches for the week if I am basically taking the same thing every day. I include snacks and other ingredients that I might need to replenish like butter and olive or avocado oil. If you feel overwhelmed with planning and shopping for an entire week, then just do it for 2 or 3 days. You would list what you need for everything for those few days, including snacks for other days and variations on your breakfasts and lunches.
· For the second, and maybe final, list, put the items under headings. I use Dairy, Produce, Meats, Other, Household. The Other category would include items that might be spices or snack items that I am buying for the family. For the final list I add a Household category that would be for things like laundry detergent and sponges.
Here is the second list which includes chicken thighs for one dinner meal:
1 dozen eggs
1 quart heavy cream
1 pound butter
Greek yogurt (No need to add a quantity for Greek yogurt. For instance, if I always buy the same size it is understood.)
Blackberries (add quantities needed)
2 packages bacon
Chicken legs and thighs (8 pieces total)
· Include quantities in this version of the list. As I said, when doing the draft list, put individual quantities as the foods come up, such as, 1 onion for this recipe, 2 onions for that recipe and 1 onion for salads, so that your final list would have 4 onions. Take the time to do this so that you aren’t running out because you are short on something.
· Now, take that list and look at your fridge, freezer, cabinets and pantry. Cross out anything you do not need. Nothing is worse than two bottles of Worcestershire sauce, or lettuce that will go bad if it spends one more day not in a salad.
This is the front-end work I am talking about. It can be stressful, or you can make it leisurely, such as when you are having coffee in the morning or watching TV at night. Many of my clients make this a dedicated activity. They might plan their meals and write out their grocery list on a Friday night, because a lot of circulars come out on Thursday and show the sales for the upcoming week. They might go grocery shopping on Saturday and do some preparation or batch cook on Sunday, especially if they have to prepare lunches for the week. There is no need to give meals or grocery shopping a second thought for the rest of the week once you have done this. You can spread the meal planning and grocery shopping front-end work over a couple of days if you like to look through recipes during the week.
· You will save time
· You will save money
· You will save your sanity
18:25. HERE IS THIS WEEK’S ACTIONABLE COACHING ADVICE
· If you regularly meal plan, then you are ready to tackle my front-end grocery list work. If you don’t regularly meal plan, then this week’s coaching advice is plan for three days of breakfast and lunch this week, and dinner if you feel you can.
· After you have planned for your meals, I would like you to look at three recipes that you are interested in making.
o If you are keeping it simple, like roast chicken and side vegetable, just put that down for dinner, but be specific about what you would like that side vegetable to be. And, it can be based on what you see for sale in the circulars.
· Take those three days and write out everything you will need to get, including quantities. See where you can use leftovers. Will that roast chicken make a great chicken salad for lunch?
· Put the items into categories.
· Go through the list and check your fridge, freezer, cabinets and pantry.
o Cross out anything you already have.
o Add anything you notice you need, such as, are you down to your last sprinkling of oregano?
o These could be things not even in your meal plan but you use them regularly and notice you are low on them. Might as well get them, especially if they are on sale.
· You can take the list as is with things crossed out, or you can make a fresh list.
o I find that working with a large index card works out well. I put the recipes with page numbers, or the general meal plan on the other side, just as a reminder of why I am getting something that I don’t usually buy. Also take a pen and cross out as you get items.
· If you are a circular shopper, check those and note anything that is on your list with a check mark. If you are a coupon shopper, get those gathered.
· If you find this an easy (or in my case, pleasurable) task, feel free to do it for more than 3 days.
· Remember: Stay away from complicated recipes when you are just starting out, even if you are an experienced cook and have the time. In the next episode I will talk more about the importance of keeping things simple when you start a new plan
· Last step: Go shopping!
o If it is hot or you have a distance to drive, remember to bring a couple of insulated bags with ice packs.
o Remember to bring your own regular bags if the store charges for theirs.
o Eat before you go. It is true that you should never go shopping when you are hungry. Even with a list in hand you might start looking sideways if your mind is on being hungry instead of on your list.
21:22. VFO (Valuable Free Offer)
With this episode, I am giving you Five Steps to Diet Freedom and Four Lists You Need at miriamhatoum.com/five-steps. The direct link, as always, is in the show notes and transcript. I originally gave you this with the Low-Carb episode because it is a step-by-step list of how you can move towards any low carb eating lifestyle. It is helpful here as well because instead of avoiding things on it, you can use it as a springboard of how to stock your pantry with variety, if the food plan you have chosen allows the food. Tired of rice? Maybe stock up on quinoa, barley or buckwheat.
And, if you like what you hear, please like and subscribe, and remember to leave a review wherever you listen to your podcast. It helps other people find the show. Also, don’t be a stranger. Come on over to my Facebook page, Breaking Free From Diet Prison, and let me know if there is anything you would like to hear on the show. I always look forward to hearing from listeners. You can also email me directly … email@example.com. I would especially like to hear about episode ideas you are interested in.
22:45. Next week’s episode
Okay folks, you have learned about Dancing in Episode 12, and now it’s time to learn all about Kissing. No, not that kind of kissing… Along with my many methods of keeping you out of diet prison, another strong tool in your arsenal will be to Keep It Simple Sweetheart. I touched on it a bit here today when I talked about staying away from complicated meal plans and recipes when you are first starting out. But, even if you are a veteran at this, I have even more ideas for keeping your meals simple.
So go share the show with your friends, let them know that’s coming up in the next episode, and invite them to tune in with you and learn how to become free from diet prison with my Roadmap to Diet Success.
Until then, go live free from diet worry — I’ll see you back here next time.