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Ready to shop till you drop?
Because- let’s be honest, I love shopping.
As tedious as shopping can be, it somehow seems therapeutic to me. Whenever I shop for clothes it literally takes hours because it is a pain to have to return an item.
Food is different from shopping for clothing, unfortunately because food is considered perishable the moment it leaves the store. Food waste, which already occurs on a grand scale throughout the world, can be potentially prevented by knowing what to purchase before hand. This will save you both food and time.
Whole food items are not cheap. Anything remotely healthy, especially if labeled organic, hikes up the price tag.
The last thing anyone would want to do is throw such healthy and expensive foods away.
That is why it is important to plan, plan, plan!
One of the best ways to plan is to write everything down and have checklists. Allow me to help you to do so, by signing up for my Funnily AIP email list, you immediately will be sent a free planner printable!
Find the sign-up form on the right side bar of this blog or visit my landing page.
The plan is the first step, read on to get the lay of the land to help you know how to spot your ideal store.
On Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), one must consider a number of factors that this list will detail, in order to make sure your groceries are adequate to fulfill your dietary needs.
Many places, including the ones in My Top 12 AIP Stores, carry a variety of different kinds of fruits and vegetables. More often than not the biggest differences are in the fruit section of the produce.
Whenever you are able to find fruits that are considered exotic, that of being native to other countries outside of yours, that is a good indication that the store may have more AIP options both now and even more in the future.
If exotic produce is seen then be sure to take a good look around the store, especially in that section, because you might find some new potential favorites to try. The run of the mill produce in American supermarkets can get pretty boring after a while, if you are on AIP for an extended amount of time, you will want to try different things in order to change it up.
My favorite exotic fruits are Golden Dragon Fruit, which is available at Fresh Market. The traditional Red Dragon Fruit is available there as well, though the Red Dragon Fruit is considerably more common to find in Asian Markets and seasonally in other stores.
Finding an extensive Organic Foods section is a good indicator as well, though this is not the only one to go by, as some places will allow their organic produce to get a bit old.
A truly good Produce section will have a bit of everything: Organic, Non-Organic, International/Exotic, Roots, Herbs, and Varieties. Having multiple Varieties means there is a presence of five or more types of a particular produce. Examples of Varieties are Apples, Melons, Herbs, and Citrus.
4) Non-Alcoholic Drinks
Due to the Paleo movement as well as Clean Eating, there has been an increase to the availability of compliant products from drink companies to meet this demand. AIP strongly benefits from the rise of simple made drinks.
Such drinks may be carbonated, listing only the CO2 and essential oil extracts. Other drinks may be pure juices, from organic fruits. These fruit juices are commonly carried by the distinct brand R. W. Knudsen that are contained in glass bottles. Many markets are including 100% pure and unprocessed juices in their selection as well which are up for consideration.
Waters as well are gaining momentum from this trend, with Alkaline water being the new kid on the block. Personally I prefer Alkaline water due to its exclusion of additives such as various extracts of sodium that my body seems to react to. Alkaline brands tend to be more Paleo conscious, with many using Pink Himalayan Salt as their source of electrolytes.
As an alternative to aspartame filled flavored waters, the AIP compliant options would be with Organic Coconut and Aloe waters that are making their way into the space. In the case of Green Coconut Water, they are very potent and high in sugar, as with most pure drinks they should be diluted with water to decrease your chances of a blood sugar spike.
Stores such as Aldi, Walmart, Kroger, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s carry the top lines of unprocessed juices and/or flavored waters if not included within their own internal brand.
In my book there is a strong correlation between the availability of organic meats and the frequency with which I visit the store.
Meat is imperative to Autoimmune Protocol due to it being the primary source of daily caloric intake. In order to maintain a satisfactory level of calories as regarded by health experts one must make sure that they are eating enough protein and fat from day to day.
Grass Fed Beef is said to have a better quality of fat, without the negative effects common in regular grain fed beef, in fact Grass Fed Beef is believed by some to contain more minerals vital to nutrition. In order to ensure a balanced diet beef and other meats should be included in your eating regimen.
Ground Grass Fed Beef is the most common form that is offered from nearly every store imaginable. Though this is great at first, eventually eating ground fed beef every day will get exhausting. It is best to be at a place with more variety in different cuts of beef in order for you to experience different textures to go with varying meals.
Aldi by far has the best deal on Grass Fed Beef especially when offered in the Family Value Pack, but as far as a spectrum of cuts, Whole Foods takes the gold in that department. Whole Foods offers local beef that adhere to AIP in there Stage 4 or Stage 5 quality. At Whole Foods a shopper can get different cuts of Steak, Ribs, Chuck, Round, and Sirloin.
Walmart comes third on the list of available Grass Fed Beef Selection and value. Kroger has a somewhat thinner line of Grass Fed Beef cuts which is a slight step up from The Fresh Market.
Beef is not the only factor among meats however, rotisserie chicken is included as well. The only two stores that offer AIP compliant chickens the most are Kroger and Whole Foods.
Organic meats are anything but cheap, and if you are to catch a deal it might be just before the meat is near the “Best By” date. Make sure if you are purchasing meats, keeping them refrigerated rather than frozen, that you will have a recipe ready to prepare them right away.
Growing up there was never a lot of fish in my diet, but since being on Autoimmune Protocol I have truly come to understand the saying “There are plenty of fish in the Sea.”
An assortment of fish are available at many supermarkets, however one must give each pack a thorough look, because even the Wild Caught fish may contain preservatives. Additives are usually not considered AIP, so examine the ingredients label before you even consider purchasing an item.
Aside from preservatives flavor enhancers can be a potential trigger as well, so be sure to keep your phone on you in order to search each additional ingredient, doing this before you leave the store will save you a great deal of hassel.
The more products that you find that are Autoimmune Protocol compliant, the better, that signals that such a store may be a keeper.
An assortment of fresh and wild fish are available commonly in stores such as Whole Foods, Kroger, Fresh Market and Walmart. This includes fatty fish like Tuna Steaks, light filets like Flounder or Cod, as well as shellfish and crustacean.
Aldi even has a set of four to five fish that are consistently stocked in their frozen section, along with occasional other special buy items, to learn more check out my Aldi AIP Shopping List.
The top three oils that are AIP compliant are Avocado, Coconut, and Olive Oil. If you can find a store that carries a selection from each of these AIP oils, then you may have found the place for you.
Aldi actually recently added Avocado Oil to their store selection which makes it one of the few value stores that I know which carries every Autoimmune compliant oils now. Random stores, including ones such as Ross, have had each AIP oil on display at multiple times throughout the year at a decent value.
Purity is the prime quality that must be considered when selecting an oil. Many product lines of AIP compliant oils tout different superiority standards based off of importation, if the oil is unrefined, unprocessed, or cold pressed. The level of importance of each of these attributes depends on what your body is fine with or not, which can be discovered through the process of elimination, be sure to take notes as to which brands you favor and which ones you do not.
Another variation of oils to consider is the quantity available, not only in the matter of it being well stocked on the shelf but also if the content comes in larger sizes. As Autoimmune Protocol prolongs, so will your need for compliant cooking oils, it may be a better value to purchase such items in bulk.
As always if one is unable to make it into a physical store Amazon is readily available so long as you have an internet connection, which you presumably do since you are reading this blog post, it might even lead you to buying at a better value.
Consider the various factors outlined in this post as a reasonable guide. A few stores were mentioned merely to provide objective examples in regards to their product availability. As time moves on, new grocery markets will come to the fore, providing even more competition to the new clean eating lifestyle that is sweeping many nations.
While the number of businesses can be overwhelming, it is not impossible to find the place that is right for you in order to suit your Autoimmune Protocol needs.
It may seem easy to give up sometimes when you feel like there is nowhere for you to go, but each store has potential to help meet at least one of your AIP needs. No store is perfect, believe me if there was I would have recommended it, but each shop shines in a unique way.
If you are in a place that does not have a lot of diversity when it comes to shopping, there is always a way to work things out, especially as far as your goals are concerned.
When I first began AIP everything felt hopeless, but seeing more and more products in the stores that can be included in my eating plan is very encouraging. At the start of my journey I never thought there would be so many stores to choose from, but today there are, hopefully restaurants will soon follow.
There is the saying that “every cloud has a silver lining”, find yours despite whatever roadblocks may seem in your way, after all- you know what to look for.
Have you ever shopped at any of these places?
Tell me about your experience by leaving a comment below!