LESSON 23

Grocery Shopping

In a dietary transition, the first step is changing the established habits that we do almost automatically. Most of us grew up on a standard diet that dictates that the daily essentials food-wise are bread and milk. It is easy to go shopping for a standard diet, because you probably witnessed this kind of grocery shopping almost daily while you were growing up, and then later on, you practiced the same yourself.

Chances are you already have subconscious habits around where to shop, what and how much to shop, and you have a picture about prices and how long the food supply would last you.

Now, you need to forget all that and make a new plan. Ah… it is easier to learn something new, than to unlearn the old and then learn new again, but it is doable!

Let’s take a step by step approach…

We are substituting bread with bananas, or some other fruit available in the given season in the given area, but let’s take bananas as an example. We are taking bananas as an example, because they are easily available year-round, and provide a sustainable and affordable source of calories. Of course, any fruit can be the main calorie source for the given season, examples are: sweet cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, watermelon, melons, grapes, figs, persimmons…

From this comes a logical conclusion that the first shopping stop should be replaced as well. So, you forget about the picture of a bakery or supermarket and you change it with a picture of a farmers’ market or perhaps the fruit and veggie section in the supermarket.  

Now, let’s put this into practice. For example, you want to buy bananas for 2 people, for 5 days, totaling 10 bananas for each person per day. That is 100 bananas. You take bananas that are ripe enough to be eaten for the first two days, and for the other three days you take less ripe bananas so that they ripen until the day they are to be eaten. This means, you buy 40 ripe bananas and 60 unripe bananas.

And this principle of calculating and planning shopping can be applied to all fruit and veggies that you shop for.  

A couple pieces of advice for a more affordable shopping:

  • Visit different shopping places in your area, in order to get to know the fruit and veggie offer in the given area, and thus, over time, you will learn which places are the best for shopping and which places provide what you need.
  • Try out different fruit and veggie varieties, subvarieties and cultivator brands, in order to determine which ones you like the best. Learn when your favorite fruits and veggies are available and where, and so get a great price when shopping for your favourite fruits and veggies in bulk.
  • Talk to the sellers, or even better to the fruit and veggie cultivators, make friends with them and tell them what and how much you need, which ones are your favourite fruit and veggie varieties and pay less when you order frequently and buy in bulk.
  • Choose seasonal and local produce whenever available. However, put freshness and quality in front of that local. Sometimes it happens that imported produce is fresher and of better quality, so don’t miss it just because it is not from your local area.
  • Check out the fruits and veggies on sale because it is too ripe or damaged. Sometimes you can find good deals there on discounts.
  • Very important – learn which fruit varieties ripen after being picked and which don’t. The lists are in the 25th lesson. According to this fruit characteristic, make sure that you choose non-climacteric fruit varieties only when they are ripe.

And since the shopping has been done, it is time for storing fruit and veggies, which we talk about in the next lesson.

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