Question of the day: How am I ever going to be able to go grocery shopping with kids for a diet like GAPS, SCD, Paleo/Primal, or whole foods?
A monkey-like figure hangs by its legs over the edge of a shopping cart. A young girl in the seat of the cart cranes her neck around to look at the acrobatics, clapping. Another child skips in wide, arcing circles around the cart, nearly colliding with an elderly shopper and taking her out. A fairly young woman, dressed in sweat pants, a smart black coat, and worn tennis shoes stands nearby, deep in thought, perusing the labels of spice bottles for any hidden sugar or preservatives, for just a split second oblivious to the antics going on around her.
The little monkey throws her hands backwards like the circus trapeze performers she has seen, “Look, mommy! Look at me….Ta-d–…whoa…whooaaaa…whooooooooaaaaaa!” as the cart begins to tip precariously to one side. The briefly remiss mother snaps back to attention, snatched from her searching reverie.
“Oh, my. Stop that. Stop! Get off the cart! You know better than that! And no skipping. You are going to knock somebody down and break their hip! Stop! Oh, goodness, guys. Come on. Let’s get going. Good grief.” And she throws the vanilla in the cart and moves on down the aisle.
Our family is overhauling the kinds of food that pass our lips, thus helping allergy-type symptoms, asthma-type symptoms, headaches, stomach aches, focus problems, and constipation. The learning curve associated with a whole foods, unprocessed, low/no grain type diet for me was enormous, requiring lots of label reading and locating needed items. Yet grocery shopping with kids is a nightmare.
I have always admired those lovely, docile children who sit in the grocery carts quietly while their mothers choose between the orange peppers or the green ones. Who are still sitting mildly while the mom pores over yogurt labels and fields a phone call. Yep. That kid is even sittin’ still at checkout. While mine are begging. Pushing. Hanging upside down on the cart. Screaming. Laughing. Running down the aisles.
I just smile blissfully trying to evoke the image of a patient, easy-going mother who is thinking, “Isn’t childhood wonderful? Oh, to run down these aisles again! Who would ever want to put a stop to this fun? Oh, childhood!”
Back to the question of the day.
How am I ever going to be able to go grocery shopping with kids for a diet like GAPS, SCD, Paleo/Primal, or whole foods?
1. You will stick to the outer aisles.
♥ Rest assured, outer-aisle shopping will happen naturally if you are following one of these nutritional lifestyles! You won’t be wasting too much time reading labels as you pick up carrots, spinach, bananas, apples, and fresh cuts of meats! Trust me, it’s much easier than standing there figuring out if a BOXED or PACKAGED item is dairy-free or gluten-free! And, in fact, you don’t even need to wander much further than the front door, right where they keep the produce and meats! How is that for fast food? I know, with kids, even that isn’t fast enough–but it’s better than having to traipse all the way to the chip and soda pop aisle! Too bad they wouldn’t move the eggs up by the meat.
♥ I go to the grocery store about once or twice weekly now, and the longest process is the cashier trying to figure out the name of kale, celery root, and parsnips.
2. Those things you do have to leave the outer aisles for at the supermarket, you will shop for many of those items on-line in the solitude of your own home while the kids trash the house!
♥ Almond flour, coconut flour, coconut milk, condiments, spices, dried fruits, and nuts are all available on-line! How cool is that? Shipped right to your doorstep while the kiddos are napping!
♥ Consider investing in Amazon Prime membership. It’s about $79 a year. I know that’s a lot up-front, but it gets you free shipping on LOTS of items (and also you have access to Amazon’s movie/TV lists, like a Netflix). The savings I get really add up. Plus, I have family and friends all over the country so having free shipping and handling saves us a lot at Christmas and birthday time! Can you believe all of those items I mentioned above are available through Amazon! I never would have known. I always arrive late to a party. And not fashionably.
♥ Check out Azure Standard. It’s a company specializing in organics of all kind: produce, meat, nuts, etc. You can buy in bulk. You order on-line once a month, and it is delivered. Mine is delivered to a drop-off point in town so I have to go pick it up. But at least it’s all boxed up for me. I order lots of fruit from them and some free-range chicken products.
3. You will say “no” to everything your kids ask for when first beginning “The Change”. Make it easy on yourself. “NO.” “Mmmm. NO.” “Nope.” As if you and they didn’t hate going to the grocery store enough already.
♥ After some months on the diet, you WILL figure out if and where you can infringe! We never bought juice for a few months or Lara Bars. Now, we can try those things in a controlled manner and see how we do with them. So I get to feel like the best mom on earth when the kids say, “Mom, can we get some juice?” “Mmmm…sure. Just get the right one.” Hugs. Over juice. Crazy. Like how excited Laura Ingalls Wilder was in The Little House Books when she got an orange for Christmas.
4. You will shop at 9 am after morning drop-off, a pretty empty time for the grocery store, and avoid the 3 pm after school and work rush.
5. You will go to the one store that has most of what you need that week and not drive all around town getting kids in and out of car seats (otherwise known as parent torture devices).
♥ Sometimes it’s Wal-Mart. Sometimes it’s the local grocery. And sometimes it’s the organic store. Or whatever you may have in town. But I make a running list of stuff that I need from the organic store, and I only go about once a month. I’m not lucky enough to have a Trader Joes, Whole Foods, or whatever here. And my local supermarket does okay with organic produce.
♥ Over time, you will learn the best sources of where to get what. You may drop your rules and expectations a little for convenience. You may not. You may rotate weekly which store you shop in.
6. You will strongly consider finding money and space for a deep freezer because it will save you lots of money in the long run and cut down hugely on trips to the grocery store!
♥ Evidence is coming forward supporting grass-fed and free-range animal products with regard to fatty-acid profiles, and these “nutritional lifestyles” really support eating grass-fed and free-range. Unless you are lucky enough to have a great organic food store in town, you probably won’t be able to find grass-fed meat/poultry, and if you do, it will cost you your first-born son. But buying from the farmer cuts cost tremendously. I think we bought “half-a-beef”, grass-fed, and our average price per pound was about $3.50-$3.99 (receiving roasts, steaks, ribs, ground beef, liver, tongue, heart, soup bones).
♥ The more produce you have stored up from the summer, the less you have to shop! Buy that organic produce when it’s cheap, ripe, and in-season at the farmer’s market or at the store, and you have saved yourself time and money.
8. Consider buying some on-line meal plans. They provide shopping lists for you.
♥ http://www.healthhomehappy.com/menu-subscriptions There are more out there. This is just the one I used and liked.
9. If it seems difficult and overwhelming at first, it is because it is new. It gets much, much easier as it becomes a lifestyle. And if it helps you and your family feel better, the benefits really keep you motivated. Once you start feeling good, you don’t want to go back–and surprisingly, my kids don’t want to either on a day-to-day basis. They’re okay with birthdays, holidays, and vacations. And that works for us.
When we started GAPS, I did grocery shop a lot more. Way too much. It took me awhile to figure out “my new pantry” and our food intolerances. Once figured out, though, I don’t feel I shop any more than before. Maybe less because I’m not fighting the expiration dates of milk and bread.
I hit the supermarket about 1-2 times a week, order on-line products about once a month, and keep frozen meat in the freezer. In the summer I make it a point to go the farmer’s market, but that is crazy with the kids. It’s just cheaper, fresher, and from a more reliable source. Every now and then I’ll drive to the farm to pick up some milk because it’s fun to go there, play with the animals, get out-of-town, and visit with the farmer. But dairy doesn’t suit some of us in the family, so we don’t do that weekly or even monthly.
If you are doing an introduction diet for any of these plans, that changes things a little. It’s kind of easier because you start with meats and vegetables, so you don’t have to worry about stocking up on almond butter, coconut milk, and so forth. But the fact that it’s still new can make it overwhelming.
A couple of sites I looked at while typing: