Friday, January 9, 2009

Those Tongue Biting Moments

I always get a kick out of the first week after the new year in my grocery store. Many would consider my grocery store, although higher priced, the healthier grocery store thanks to its policy of refusing to sell anything with really bad ingredients  and its green reputation.

I was curious this week to see what the turn out would be this week, especially with the economy. Pulling into the parking lot and getting one of the best spaces there, I realized the family budget was higher on the resolution list this year than health.

But that's not to say there were not a few who decided to make this the year they got healthy :)

I can spot them pretty quickly. They look confused and they tend to really linger in produce. And then there is the look-- it's like a nun at Pink Floyd concert. I wait patiently behind them as I see them buying items they have been told are the healthy options.

Blueberries? Check.

Asparagus? Check.

Fresh tomatoes? Check.

And this folks is where I want to run up to them and take the items out their carts. Blueberries are out of season until the summer--they are overpriced, have been shipped from the other end of the world and will taste like cardboard. The asparagus? Honestly, high quality restaurants should be refusing these tasty stalks right now. They are a spring veggie, and like blueberries are way overpriced and will taste limp and give the vegetable the icky taste reputation it does not deserve. Tomatoes? Again, over-priced and shipped from far away. If you like your tomatoes to taste like a watery, grainy mess; winter tomatoes are for you, if you prefer tasty, juicy ones, hold off til August or go for canned (seriously).

My guess is these shoppers with all the best intentions will first fight the urge to keel over when they get the grocery bill, and then go home and find that healthy food is nasty. Soon, the overpriced, out of season food is thrown in the trash; and shopper who wanted to get healthy finds herself running for a Big Mac.

Every time I see these shopper mistakes, I want to take out all the overpriced, under tasty stuff our of their cart and give them a tour of the whole produce department. Right now, citrus is in high season. Blood oranges can add a splash of unexpected red to dull lettuce leaves. Meyer lemons are here! They are amazing--add the zest to fish, chicken, plain yogurt. They are amazing. The apples are nearing the end of their season so take advantage--apples can dress up pork dishes, make a healthy dessert and a great after school snack with aged cheddar or peanut butter. And don't walk past the greens! Kale is amazing! It has been given the honor of one of the best cancer-fighting foods around. And it is in season right now!!! (I really love kale!) In Texas you can get local, organic kale for a little over a buck. Saute it with fish, add it to stews, add it to a pasta sauce. Endless possibilities. 

I seriously wanted to scream these words at new shoppers today. But I'm shy and I held it under my breath. I walked by them smiled and then reached over their carts for all the Meyer lemons ;)


Elizabeth said...

wow lisa...what grat information. i can't wait for those juicy summer tomatoes...but i still buy cherry tomatoes currently b/c i can't help myself. :-)

i will have to keep your info in mind the next time i go to the comissary...not the healthiest place in the world, but they have a small organic section. ;-(

Sonya said...

excellent points...

Bon Appetit has some great soundong kale recipes in their latest issue. I can't wait to try the Tuscan kale chips myself.

Anonymous said...

This is a fabulous post! You are spot-on about being able to spot the "reformed." not that we are picking on them. To the contrary, they are making an effort, more than many others are doing.

The "tastes like cardboard" is *so* true! That's how we describe it also. You are too cool Miss VBMW4, describing the kale!


OHmommy said...

Oh no.... you must have seen me placing the fresh raspberries in my cart. My resolution was to eat more natural sugars, berries, instead of c.r.a.p.


dani said...

you should totally set up an informational kiosk at the grocery, lisa!!! seriously:)

Willow Tree said...

You can't make this stuff up. If you'd been with me when I tried my healthy kick last year, maybe I'd still be on it, lol. But I bought all the wrong stuff at the wrong time, threw it all out and Just. Like. You. Said.... I went to McDonald's. Thanks for all the links; fantastic post!

Blessings, Carolynn

Don Mills Diva said...

It's so hard to eat well in Toronto in the winter - I too hestitate to pay through the nose for crappy veggies grown thousands of miles away...

Brian and Staci said...

Oh Lisa! You are waaay too cute! Can you believe I've never had kale?? (Can I still read your blog? Please?!) Guess I'll have to check some of Sonya's links! This was one of your shining posts girl! LOVE IT! GREAT info!

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

Ok, thanks, Lisa, now you have me positively salivating over the thought of fresh asparagus and blueberries...two of my favorite things. And I'm missing my home-grown tomatoes. I've been eating a lot of apples and grapefruit instead, but oh, I miss those summer fruits and veggies!

Oh, and I've never tried kale either, but it sounds like a great choice.

anti-supermom said...

See, if I just had your knowledge, grocery shopping would be fun for me.

Maybe you should just go shopping with me. There's a Whole Foods just a mile or two away from my house ;)

Emily said...

Ha! I shop at Sprouts for my produce and its the same thing.

Between the gym and the grocery store, there are confused people everywhere. I made the yummiest lemon drop martini's from Meyer lemons just the other night!

Anonymous said...


sooooooooooo been there. I think the next seminar I will pursue will have everything to do with FOOD. WHAT to buy.......and how to fix it.

Amanda said...

I wish we had a place to shop at like that.
I don't know about the US, but when we visited Canada a couple of summers ago i was impressed by the size and taste of the fresh fruit and vegetables.
Good Luck with sticking to your healthy eating ~ but you healthy eat anyway!
Amanda x

Auds at Barking Mad said...

Meyer lemons are amazing! They are nowhere near as sour as regular lemons and I eat them just like an orange. I think they make the best lemon meringue pies ever!

Kale huh? I'll have to give it a try. Who knows, the Little Imp might even like it. One can hope.

Great post Lisa...there is so much information which is truly USEFUL! I mean, not that your other posts aren't great. Oh heck, you know what I mean! said...

I can imagine you people watching at WF. That sounds really kinda funny. I'm not good with food - you know that. Thanks for the advice.

♥spoiled mommy♥ said...

You can point all them tips right here in my direction!! I want to lose 10-15 pounds so if youd like to inform me of all the good stuff, go right ahead. I can use all the help I can get.

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

I know you live further away, but have you ever been to Central Market in Ft. Worth? I've heard good things but never been there.

And, seriously, you should make a suggestion to Whole Foods that they could make a monthly leaflet or newsletter or something to print and leave in the produce department telling buyers exactly these things. It is such valuable information. Clearly, you know your stuff. Maybe you could write it and get paid for it? I'm not kidding - think about it. You'd be filling a need for them, a need they might be willing to pay for. If you don't ask, you never know. And the only upfront cost for you is... well, nothing. Your knowledge is VALUABLE.

And, one more thing, how's the Mark study going? I haven't looked into it, but I"ve been trying to read the bible daily and I'm trying to do a "read the bible in 2 years" plan (but I'm already falling behind).

mah-meeee said...

lisa, you really have a gift there. i wouldn't mind reading a post or two every season from you to remind me what's good and healthy 'right now'.

ps... i seriously didn't know about tomatoes and just bought some this past weekend! rats! thanks for the info!

EatPlayLove said...

so funny! I never noticed the new year health fanatics, our Whole Foods is always packed to the gills no matter when you go!

I can't wait for summer, for seasonal produce to be back. Our WF recently had local apples, gosh were they out of season, blah! They must have found some left over truck somewhere and shipped them to stores!