Mindful grocery shopping

Shopping- I really try and buy the weekly groceries as organic, locally produced, Australian owned, as little added numbers/preservatives etc,  minamally packaged as possible, and still within a budget. This can be a really time consuming thing to do, due to checking and rechecking – (well up until recently it has been.) I can usually alternate between two different main supermarkets, and know now which ones regularly have the products that I want. Add in some farmers markets, fruit shop and health food shop and we are away!

This has been no easy feat! I think it has taken the best part of the last year for me to now know most brands which fall in to my buying categories. For a long time it was reading the backs of EVERYTHING, checking out ingredients, where its made, who the company is owned by etc etc. Shopping could take a really long time.

Last weekend  after a  shop at the local main competitor super market (that will see us through the week), groceries for 4 people, $150 dollars spent, only one item made out of Australia- toothbrushes were made in Singapore. Thats pretty good I thought.

So what is my point with all this? (bit tired today but I’m getting there…)

People have become completely removed from what they are buying. .

I don’t want to just buy my packaged meat, neatly cut up in stir fry pieces with no idea where it comes from. I don’t want my pears to come from China, when perfectly delicious ones are grown in Victoria. I don’t want my chocolate ingredients to come from 4 different parts of the world to be put together in a factory that is still on the other side of the world and then shipped to me and bought for $4.50 a block on the supermarket shelf (thats not good food miles!)

What I would like is for people to be a bit more questioning of what is actually in that jar of food they have just bought, question where the meat is from, is the dairy from free range cows, and does the supermarket offer a more locally produced chocolate product? If people even slightly changed their buying habits, super markets would follow suit and produce on the shelves what is selling the most. Look at how far fair trade coffee has come in recent years.

Its really easy to look at a shopping list and just go bang bang bang in the trolley and dashing out the checkout with not a clue of how many food miles you have just clocked up, and how many additives and preservatives you have just added. Every one does this as its easy! Its convenient. We all lead busy lives and at the end of the day when your knackered, the kids are whingey, you still have to make dinner and 50 other things to do after that, that you think “as quick as possible please”.

So, how to change current habits? Even if you started off small it would make a difference.

Animal Vegetable Miracle- a book that tells the story of how our family was changed by one year of deliberately eating food produced in the place where they lived. Loved it!

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5 thoughts on “Mindful grocery shopping

  1. We do think along a similar line, but what I’d like people to do is to make informed decisions with their shopping. I don’t really feel too strongly about what their decisions are, but I think too many of us shop for convenience rather than paying close attention to what we’re actually putting into our bodies. I have friends who, like you, are trying to adopt the locavore approach, but for me, the focus is to try and bring as much of the processing of my food into my own hands as possible. It’s not always feasible, but we keep trying to edge our way further and further down the production ladder.

    I was very very pleased recently when, after several of years of doing this, I realised how many “numbers” (ie. preservatives) we’d dropped from our daily diets. With the exception of dining out, we don’t eat any cakes, cookies, breads, yoghurt, jams that aren’t homemade, we process our own tomato passata, and all the meat we now eat is free range. It gave me a warm fuzzy glow! 😀

    Sorry to carry on so, this is a topic quite close to my heart. There’s an interesting discussion at Real Food Has Curves which you might enjoy as well!

    Cheers, Celia

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    • Carry on carry on! Sometimes I get tired of hearing myself talk about these things. My husband has got the ‘yes yes’ nod down pat by now. But it really does give me a warm and fuzzy feeling too. I get a huge buzz out of it. Last week we were on holidays, so out of our usual foody environment and were sitting round the table and everything we were eating was either healthy, no numbers, hand made and produced within a 50km radius. That makes me happy! I will check out Real food has Curves.

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  2. Ah it is so nice to read something written by like minded people. This approach to food is one of the things that attracted me to Celia’s Fig Jam and Lime Cordial blog. And it is nice to find yours as well! Celia put me onto baking my own sourdough bread about 5 months ago and we have bought almost no bread since then. I make a lot (most?) of our food because I like it – it tastes better and is healthier. I do feel guilty about food miles of some of the ‘essentials’ I buy, and I try to avoid the cherries and oranges etc that come all the way from the US. How do they sell them cheaper than locally grown versions?!! Those US farm subsidies I guess. I don’t have great ‘local food providores’ in the area of Sydney I live in, or I would do better at shopping for local stuff. We were buying our beef from friends who have a farm and don’t use hormones on their cattle; and lamb from a farmer who is trying to go organic. Gotten out of that habit lately though. Busy lives means I do what I can, when I can. And then I don’t feel guilty about the Belgian chocolate (somethings I can’t compromise on!! :))

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  3. Thats great that you had the opportunity to buy meat from friends. I know what you mean about busy lives. I just try and do whatever I can within the time and money restraints.
    Sourdough I have wanted to give it a go for a long time now, but haven’t done it yet. Was given Bourke Street Bakery Cook book recently and that has some great looking sourdough. In the mean time I just keep making the bread maker bread.

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