I read through ETNT, the restaurant version last year and recently picked up the supermarket version. It was interesting to read and pick through what I eat and don't eat, and what Mike eats and doesn't eat. More of his stuff was on the Not that side. Not everything I eat was in there. And I don't agree with all of their picks or that it will help you lose weight. However, I think the point is to make better choices, which is what I am trying to do. I can't go to a very restrictive diet and stay true to it, so I am educating myself. They have an email newsletter that I signed up for last month and some of the items have been different from the book, so I think that is worthwhile. (Not the premium, paid edition.) I have been making a list of items to check out based on the book and emails. Some are good choices or have led me to additional items; some are not good choices for me.
This weekend, I cleaned out my pantry and refrigerator. (Didn't get to the freezer--a little scared of it, there's a lot of Costco/Sam's food.) Here are my criteria for now: No MSG, no High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), and no aspartame/Splenda/Nutrasweet. Do you know how hard this is?! In addition, I am trying to watch sodium, use wheat over white, and watch sugar. When possible/reasonable, I am purchasing organic.
In addition, I shopped at all the stores to see what is where. In the past month, I've been to Albertsons, Safeway, Frys, Bashas, Fresh and Easy, Trader Joes, Sprouts, and Whole Foods. Albertson's is one of my favorites because they don't require a card, have good deals and consistent prices, I can bag my own groceries without any limits, and carry a good selection of products. In particular, I purchase Smart Chicken, Shamrock 1% Organic Milk (local!), and Hickman's local eggs, although I may try another brand with Omega3.
Safeway has a good selection of organics, but does not carry Shamrock. I tried their delivery, which is inexpensive and convenient, but they use plastic bags, when they could use boxes or crates (with deposit?). Their self checkout has an item limit--boo!
Fry's produce and meat selection sucks. Half of the items I wanted from their ad, I couldn't find. They did have the Nature's Own Bread; I will have to see who else carries it. Their double/triple coupons doesn't make up for the horrible selection and shopping experience.
Bashas has good produce and a good selection of healthy items. I have had some trouble finding things; I'm not sure if their layout is weird or they don't have things. It seems hit and miss, but not bad. There is no self checkout.
Fresh and Easy is a store I really like because the size is small and the layout is great. I can browse and read labels and still be out in less than an hour since they have their brand and maybe one national brand. The produce is the first aisle and is labeled with where everything comes from. The downside is that there is excess packaging and you can't buy just one of most items. They have the best price on the veggie lasagna I eat for lunch sometimes. And their organic green ice tea (in the milk/juice case) is the best. They sell the Earth Balance organic butter, really good fig newtons, and banana gelato.
Trader Joes is always packed, seems so busy and crowded! I think they have good stuff, but it's hard to shop there. I just go to pick up a couple things like vitamins, but I'll look at produce and yogurt while I'm there.
Sprouts has a lot of good items but I am still trying to find what I like there, so I am glad it is so small! I have found a lot of good items recently that were not more expensive than the traditional grocery stores. They sell Cascade Fresh non-fat yogurt and Organic Valley 1% Chocolate Milk. I recently found a brand (thanks to ETNT!) called July something or something July for cookies that are YUM! I will have to watch my budget here but think this will be a regular stop for me.
Whole Foods is not convenient for me and I found it to be expensive. I stopped by hoping to pick up spinach for salad and couldn't find it! However, they had a lot of good items and that was the first place I found Annie's Whole Wheat Shells and Cheese, which tastes just like Velveeta Shells and Cheese. If they were close to my office (they used to be but closed), I could see going for a healthy lunch, although plenty is NOT healthy. I did like their packaged baby carrots also.
Costco and Sams are sporadically offering items that I wish were regularly available. Organic frozen blueberries, organic presliced apple slices, Yoplait smoothies (frozen berry mix), Amy's frozen lunch entrees, and Skinny Cows--keep 'em coming!
It is such a struggle, but I feel I owe it to myself to eat healthy. Mike is not too happy about the changes but I'm really trying to accomodate him where I can. There is so much information and it is contradictory and I don't always buy in, so this is going to be a long road!