Shop, Cook, and Dine Primally
Mark’s Daily Apple
by Mark Sisson: A
Doctor Finds Primal Balance
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.
Here: let me
of you will not be hunting
and gathering your own food, you’ll be forced to do some shopping.
Let’s explore where to shop and how to do it.
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.
local” sounds hard, but with today’s bountiful, annual
harvest of farmer’s markets, it’s getting easier and
To find a farmer’s
market (or wholesaler, CSA, farm, grocery/co-op, or meat processor)
near you, the best directory appears to be Local
Harvest. Simply type in your zip code and see what comes up.
There’s also Eat
Wild, a directory of farms willing to sell directly to the public.
You could also use Yelp
to search for “farmer’s markets” or “CSA”s
in your area, or search for a Slow
Food USA chapter near you (Slow
Food International is also worth a look). And finally, I’ve
happened across great “pastured eggs” and “raw
goat milk” just by typing those terms into a Craigslist
search. These were local-as-can-be farmers whose products weren’t
available at farmer’s markets or anywhere else. They sold
to and traded with their neighbors and turned to Craigslist after
running a surplus. Since Craigslist doesn’t receive a fee
or a cut of the profits, these are often even better deals than
the farmer’s markets.
truly nothing local nearby, the grocery store will do. Whole Foods
is the premier national chain of organic, whole foods (duh) grocery
stores; check their list
of stores to find one near you. 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. Trader
Joe’s is another promising option whose presence
is expanding across the United States. 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.
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!
If brick and
mortar stores just aren’t providing what you need, check out
my list of Primal
Resources for online retailers that ship anywhere and everywhere.
How to Shop
These are my
tips for making your shopping trips bountiful and fruitful.
- Once you’re
at the grocery store/farmer’s market/CSA selection page/online
order form, draw from the Primal
Blueprint Shopping List when deciding what to get.
- Get to know
the meat/fish/egg guy. Whether it’s the lanky beanpole severing
salmon heads and filleting halibut at the Whole Foods fish counter
or the woman slinging grass-fed beef and pastured eggs at the
far corner of the farmer’s market, if you develop a strong
relationship with whomever represents a direct conduit to the
untold delights of delicious animals, you will benefit. You’ll
get deals, you’ll get specials, you’ll get your favorite
cuts saved for you, you’ll get extras tossed in for free.
frozen meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit. Freezing food shortly
after harvest actually preserves the nutrient content quite effectively,
so it’s often the case that the frozen spinach is more nutritious
than the “fresh” spinach that was picked last week.
- Look for
deals and stock up when they present themselves.
not a grain,
oil, or refined
sugar-containing item, you’re essentially good to go.
You’re really not limited on this way of eating, when you
really think about the vast number of real food available to humans
the rest of the article
to Lew's recent podcast with Mark Sisson
September 19, 2012
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