December 13, 2011

What Does an Ancestral Shopping List Look Like?

Sorry if you’re disappointed, but I don’t go out and hunt/gather my food. I go to Safeway. I’ve also ordered some grassfed meat from US Wellness but frankly, I’m on Social Security and I can’t afford to buy grassfed meat exclusively so I also buy a lot of chuck on sale.

So, the shopping part of ancestral eating is the easy part. You walk around the outside of the store and you buy produce, meat and dairy. More on dairy in a minute.  You duck quickly into the aisles for a few things and you’re done.

In the produce section, the best choice is organic to the extent your store has it and your budget can handle it. If you have to compromise, there are lists available online of which organic foods are most important. I buy salad greens with rich color, fresh celery and cucumber. I also rotate a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits. With the exception of corn, there isn’t much in the produce section that will get you in trouble. It’s okay to grab a bag of nuts as long as they are unsweetened. Raw nuts are best if available.

Moving on to the meat section, your first thought should be marrow bones, roasts with bones in, soup bones, etc. Making bone broth will keep your bones as joints as happy as they can possibly be. You should have bone broth in the form of broth, sauce or stew liquid every single day.

For muscle meat, beef is my staple. I supplement with seafood, either fresh, frozen or canned and I occasionally eat poultry. Poultry is not preferred choice because the type of fat in poultry isn’t as desirable as beef or seafood. When I do buy poultry, I buy Cornish Game Hens, duck or turkey because I like the flavor better of both the meat and fat. I buy bacon, normally uncured, but I avoid hot dogs and sausages unless they say “no hormones, etc.” In general, buy what YOU like and just remember to avoid meat choices that lack a normal level of fat (skinless, boneless) or are highly processed. Try to rotate in some organ meat such as liver or heart or kidneys.

Okay, now we reach the dairy section. Most people in the ancestral lifestyle eat at least some eggs and many eat butter. Some add heavy cream. Beyond that, many avoid dairy. In my case, I am lactose intolerant but I do fine with heavy cream, butter and home-made, full-fat yogurt. I’m more interested in healthy nutrition than exactly what people ate 10,000 years ago and I find home-made yogurt  (without all the commercial additives) is a rich, wholesome food. The main problem with milk and other dairy products is that they have lists of ingredients that are sweeteners, stabilizers and/or preservatives. They’re not ancestral unless you can find real, whole products and preferably organic. Even organic products may have additives so be careful. For butter, look for Kerrygold or any brand of butter made using milk from pastured cows.

Okay, now comes the scary part—going into the aisles that hold all the tempting and forbidden “Neolithic” foods. I buy coffee, honey, vinegar and olive/coconut oil. End of food list. In my case, I don’t buy any cleaning or hygiene products either (don’t panic, I use soap nuts and vinegar which can be the basis of a future post.) If I weren’t already getting my water from a well, I’d also buy spring water for the minerals.

I should mention here that I visit health food stores for a few things: I buy unprocessed salt, kelp powder (for the iodine) and cod liver oil. I’ve bought some other things but those are the 3 I actually use frequently.

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