Hydra Movement: Strength is just the beginning!
Now, the real changes begin. You’ve purged the SAD foods from your life, and now your fridge, freezer, and pantry are empty, your pans and pots are gleaming and ready, and the menus at your favorite restaurants appear off limits. You know what not to eat, and the Primal Blueprint Shopping List shows you what you should be eating, but what’s next? How do you apply your newfound knowledge? How and where should you shop? Once you’re well-stocked, how do you begin to cook Primally? What equipment do you use and where do you get the proper recipes? And when you’re eating out, how do you make good choices? What do you tell the waiters? How do you navigate the nutritional minefield that is the modern restaurant menu? If it seems overwhelming, it’s really not.
Where to Shop
First, go local. The closer you are to where your food is grown, raised, picked, caught, and/or slaughtered, the less time in transit it will take reaching you. Especially in the case of fruits and vegetables, with a few exceptions, nutritional content begins to wane as soon as it’s plucked from the plant or ground. Tomatoes shipped from Chile will taste worse and contain fewer nutrients than tomatoes grown ten miles from your city, every single time. Spinach leaves sitting in a big plastic tub in the deep dark confines of a Costco freezer for two weeks will be less nutritious than the mud-speckled spinach offered up by the gruff farmer from the next county over, no matter how crisp and green and triple-washed the Costco leaves appear. When it comes to food, time is nutrition.
In the case of animal products, staying local means you can look the guy or gal who raised the animal whose remains (or whose eggs or dairy) you’re going to be consuming in the eye and learn about the food you’re paying good money for. Were the pigs pastured? Were the cows grass-fed? Were the hazelnuts that the chickens ate grown locally? Plus, by giving money directly to the farmer, you’re taking the place of the Whole Foods or whatever other specialty grocer who’d subsequently jack up the price; you’re cutting out the middleman, or at least one of them, and saving some money in the process.
“Eating local” sounds hard, but with today’s bountiful, annual harvest of farmer’s markets, it’s getting easier and easier:
If there’s truly nothing local nearby, the grocery store will do. Contrary to popular belief, Whole Foods does not have to be “Whole Paycheck,” so long as you stick to the perimeter of the stores – produce, meat, dairy, eggs, bulk bins – and avoid the inner aisles where most products are, admittedly, insanely overpriced. Traditional grocery stores, while unlikely to offer much in the way of pastured meat and local produce, are also fine choices with plenty of real Primal fare on hand; just stick to the perimeter as always.
Consider getting a membership to a big box store like Costco. More and more, I’m finding that Costco is catching on to the demands of a health conscious consumer base and offering organic produce, meat, and other Primal-friendly products. I’ve even heard tell of big tubs of extra virgin coconut oil showing up in select Costcos!
How to ShopThese are my tips for making your shopping trips bountiful and fruitful.
Meal PreparationCooking is easy, especially when you start with great ingredients. So, before you even begin to think about turning on that burner, get your workspace in order. My suggestions:
First, you have to realize that some places are simply not going to work out very well. The hot wing spot, the Chinese buffet, the pizza joint – these are not easy places to find Primal food. Prepare yourself to eat a lot of salads.
But this just means you’ll have to branch out and try new types of food. Greek, Persian, Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, soul, Korean, Japanese, Mexican, Brazilian, Caribbean, and dozens of other cuisines await you.
My favorite strategies for assuring the food I eat is Primal-friendly, wherever I am:
Thanks for reading, folks, and be sure to chime in with your successful strategies for shopping, cooking, and dining out. Hope your challenge is going well!
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Anurag Gill is the Head Coach at HYDRA Movement in Moonee Ponds.