Confessions of a Shopping Cart Voyeur

Uncategorized Sep 25, 2014

Hmm. . . Perhaps beginning with a confession may not be the most impressive way to introduce myself to the online world and to kick off, this, my first ever blog entry.  On the other hand, you might as well know, first off, who I am, what I stand for. . . and what I simply can’t stand!!!

So, if the truth be told, yes,”My name is Marian.  I am an out-of-control shopping cart voyeur”! 

I can’t seem to help myself.  I don’t mean to look.  But I always do. . .

This shameful behavior began several years ago around the time of the completion of my Nutrition degree, and probably out of boredom as I waited for my turn at the check-out counter.  It started off with a casual glance and my telling myself, “Just ‘a little peak’ won’t do any harm”. 

Famous last words. 

Next thing I knew, I found my eyes wandering lustfully away from the top rack of wholesome fruits and veggies, down toward the main carriage of the shopping cart in front of my own where the forbidden items lay exposed in tempting display.

Bakery fresh bagette… Pepperoni and mushroom frozen pizza, just ready to be popped into the oven for an instant, hot dinner… Black forest ham… Honey garlic chicken wings…Strawberry yogurt… Licorice Allsorts… Creamy double churned French vanilla icecream…

 ICECREAM?  I love icecream!  I WANT ICECREAM! Why can’t I ever have icecream?!!!

Or bread?. . . Or candy?. . . Or any of the prepared meats or boxed and frozen convenience foods? I love all of these things!  Why can’t I have them in my cart? I sometimes whine.

BECAUSE. . . if reason kicks in, I will remember that eating those foods will make me… Sick.  Fat.  Ugly.

They are foods with too much salt or sugar, the wrong kind of fat, little or no fiber, laced with additives and preservatives, and devoid of many of the nutrients and enzymes which sustain life.  MY life.  (And besides, the last time I checked the label, the honey garlic chicken wings didn’t actually contain any honey at all, only glucose-fructose or some other refined sugar.)

As an (often hurried) shopper, it is hard to realize the consequences of food choices such as these when the food industry has done such a bang up job of marketing to our earnest desire to feed ourselves well. They know what we know (or believe) is healthful – and deliver with the lingo that sells: “Cholesterol free”, “gluten free”, “sugar free”,”low fat , and ” 0 transfat”.

However, things are not always as they seem.

Consider this:

Cholesterol free –   Did you know that only a small amount of the cholesterol in our bodies is derived from the cholesterol we actually eat? Most of it is manufactured within our own bodies, usually when we consume an excess of calories in the form of sugar! 

Gluten free - True, gluten is a culprit behind many of the ills so many of us experience, linked to things such as thyroid issues, multiple sclerosis, and psoriasis to name but a few.  Just remember, however, that “gluten free” does not automatically equal “healthy”.  Read the labels.  Many gluten free products are loaded with the same health-destroying ingredients (too much salt or sugar… the wrong kind of fat… little or no fiber…) contained in their wheat-based counterparts!  Also, because of the similarity in nature of their proteins, many gluten sensitive individuals should also avoid dairy products. Beware the gluten free cheesecake! 

Sugar free – If only!  Too often I’ve gotten really excited by this one, only to find that the sugar was substituted with an artificial sweetener — the sweet “brain poison”, as Carol Simontacchi has dubbed it in her book,The Crazy Makers.  You can’t even always trust stevia as an alternative to sugar either because it has been known to include dextrose in its list of ingredients.  Guess what: dextrose is a form of sugar! 

Low fat – Yeah, this one really gets me!  Again, if you read the label and compare it with the regular version of the item, very often you’ll find that the manufacturer has simply compensated for the absence of fat with additional — you guessed it — sugar! So, sometimes one’s earnest attempts to lose weight, for example, are sabatoged by the increased consumption of that weight-gaining sweet stuff! 

Are you starting to notice a theme here?

Okay, last one:  0 transfat. That’s a good thing, right?  Yes, it would be —  if it were only true!  Did you know that a label can read “Zero transfat” and still contain a lot of transfat in it? Up to 0.5 grams per serving, in fact. The nifty way “they” get around it is by creating ridiculously small portions.  For example, the nutritional information on the package of your favorite potato chips or crackers might present a portion size of ten crackers or twenty chips..  The problem is, many people (me included) are likely to far exceed that limit once they tie into its salty, addictive quality. Just try eating only 10 — go ahead.  I dare ya!

So, I bet you’re wondering what food items you might find in my cart if one day you should happen to catch me in the check out aisle in front of you.  Is it all broccoli and beans and brown rice?

Well, that’s a confession for another day.

Live well...stay well,

Marian

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