Lauren’s Healthy Alternative Grocery Shopping List

1. Get your calcium from whole food sources verses supplements!

There are many poor-quality forms of calcium on the market, not to mention that it is very hard to absorb calcium in a pill form.  You’re almost always better off getting vitamins and minerals in their whole food form.  One of the best sources of calcium on the planet is seaweed.  An easy way to get seaweed is to enjoy some sushi! If your doctor does recommend additional calcium go for New Chapter's Calcium.

2. Use sea salt instead of traditional table salt.

Again, processed foods are the main culprits in unhealthy eating.  Table salt is a highly processed form of sodium chloride, which is treated with anti-caking chemicals like potassium iodide and sugar, and helps cause many people to over eat.  Sea salt, on the other hand, tastes great, is all natural, and strengthens digestion, stimulates the kidneys, promotes bowel action, and counter-acts toxic substances found in our food through processing and preservatives.

3. Eat sprouted whole grain bread that is preferably gluten free instead of whole wheat or white bread.

Many people are sensitive to wheat and gluten but don’t even know it.  The protein found in gluten (which is in wheat) signals to our body to produce antibodies. These antibodies then create inflammation. On the other hand sprouted, gluten free whole grain breads have higher levels of nutrients, but more importantly, they have done some of the work of digestion for you already, making the nutrients and bread highly absorbable without causing inflammation in the body.

4. Instead of white pasta, go for quinoa or rice pasta.

Quinoa and rice pasta don’t have the wheat and gluten of regular pasta and are very low-glycemic.  What’s more, quinoa is a grain with one of the highest levels of protein.

5.  Replace your coffee with yerba mate.

Coffee is very acidic and tends to strip the body of essential vitamins and minerals.  Yerba Mate (which slender South Americans have been consuming for centuries), has 24 vitamins & minerals, 15 of the 16 essential amino acids, and gives you a nice boost without the crash of coffee.

6. Instead of Splenda (which is an artificial substance), try organic coconut palm sugar mixed with stevia .

Despite the popularity of Splenda (which is chemically derived from sugar), it is still highly processed and we’re just not sure of the long-term effects on the body.  A general rule of thumb is the less processed, the better.  A healthy and natural alternative is a “low glycemic” sweetener like agave nectar or better stevia and coconut palm sugar.  Extracted from food these sweeteners have nutrients and may have healing properties.

7. Instead of cow’s milk, try goat’s milk and other goat dairy products

Studies have shown that goat’s milk more closely resembles human milk, which makes goat’s milk much easier to break down than regular cow’s milk.  In addition, goat’s milk is almost always treated with far less hormones and other chemicals during production.

8. Change your diet soft drink to Organic Diet Steaz soda or carbonated beverages that are free of artificial sweeteners.

No two ways about it, artificial sweeteners are highly processed chemical compounds, and some studies have shown that they only increase the craving for sugar.  Stevia, the sweetener used in the organic soda Steaz, is a medicinal herb 200 times sweeter than sugar (so you only need a pinch), which is an all natural sweetener with almost zero calories.

9. Instead of a caffeine-infused energy drink, try bee pollen.

Bee pollen contains nearly all the nutrients required by humans, including Vitamin B12 and protein in the form of free amino acids, which are instantly used by the body for energy.

10. And finally, for a healthy dessert, try bananas cooked in butter on a fry pan (with cinnamon on top)!

Most desserts are extremely high in refined sugar and hydrogenated oils.  Bananas are naturally sweet, and very high in potassium.  Contrary to popular belief, butter is far more nutritious than margarine or butter substitutes, which are made from assorted vegetable oils that have been heated to extremely high temperatures, making them rancid. Deodorants and colorings are then added to remove the rancid margarine's horrible smell.

And if that is not enough, in the solidification process, harmful trans-fatty acids are created which are carcinogenic and mutagenic. Most importantly try to do your grocery shopping on the outer edges of the store where you have fresh produce, fresh nut milks, butters, cultured beverages, meats and bulk foods. Once you get into packaged foods companies need to add preservatives to make them shelf stable.