Natalie Norman

Number One Rule for Healthy Grocery Shopping


What’s my number one rule for healthy grocery shopping?

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know what I’m about to say:

Don’t bring it home if you don’t want it in your body!

Willpower is a myth. Let’s just get that clear. Check out The Pleasure Trap: Mastering the Hidden Force that Undermines Health & Happiness if you want an in-depth look at how the brain and body function to keep you hooked on unhealthy habits. It’s not easy to change, but it can be done if you apply the proper techniques. The notion that a person transitioning to a new diet can simply use willpower to avoid unhealthy food is grossly flawed. Once those unhealthy yet tempting items are in your home, you’re pretty much finished. You might last a day or so, but eventually your mind will suggest foods and drinks to you in a way that is as difficult to resist as heroin is to a heroin addict. Don’t do that to yourself. Don’t bait yourself and set yourself up for failure. You’ll only start a cycle of guilt, which can lead to spiraling down in the wrong direction.

To stay focused and successful on a plant-based diet, STRATEGY is king. Set yourself up for success by planning to surround yourself with foods that best support your long-term health goals.

Now let’s talk about your cart. Changing what’s in your cart is a key technique to help you succeed.

Visually, your grocery cart should appear filled with nutritious plants. Over time, it is possible to reprogram your mind to accept a new kind of normal. In time you’ll be looking at carts filled with meats, cheeses, milk, chips, beer, etc, and you’ll think, “That’s not food!” Instead, you’ll view a big bright, fresh rainbow of colors in your cart filled with fruits and vegetables, and that will look like your food, the food you want in your body, the food that best supports your health goals.

Oh, and get used to the questions. Because they will come, especially from cashiers as they marvel at all the produce you’re buying. The one I get most often is, “What are you going to do with all those bananas? You got a monkey living with you?” Smile, answer with kindness and compassion, or do what I do and reply, “Yes, they’re all for me, the Big Blonde Gorilla.” Tell people you eat a raw plant-based diet and be as generous with your time and patience as possible. Share your lifestyle, be a lifestyle leader, and be proud of the changes you are making.

Yours in delicious heath,

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