The next time you go to the grocery store, get present to your actual shopping routine.
Do you go up and down each isle? Start with the produce and meats and then hit the middle at the end? Or do you shop the center of the store first so that you don’t squish the produce when you put it in last?
We imagine you don’t notice how methodical your shopping routine is, but try this. Think of what is in the middle of the store: boxes, packages, pouches, bags and cans. Where is the real fresh food? On the perimeter. If you get even more nutritarian about it, more than 90 percent of the grocery store is a waste. There’s nothing real there. Just aisles and aisles of food-like products.
If you avoid everything with ingredients, packaging, and labels and only purchase real plant foods, you can get away with popping into the store, grabbing a basket full of greens and heading home. One could argue a bit for canned beans and grains, but let’s be honest about that, they are often so buried in the chaff of the colorful packages or rubbish near them that you pretty much have to have a map to find them. That is if you can find them without added sugar, salt and preservatives. There is also a bit of use for a microscopic section of the freezer aisle but that’s only if you couldn’t find your berries and greens in the fresh produce section.
There is even a new diet idea that promotes only eating around the perimeter of the store. The perimeter diet. Produce, meat, dairy. I get it. But it still misses the point. The point is that there is an entire store or building dedicated to marketing and selling products that are touted as food. Food.
Food is defined by Meriam-Webster as
“a :material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy; also :such food together with supplementary substances (as minerals, vitamins, and condiments)”
So, the question stands… What are we trying to do here? This stuff isn’t even food by the definition of the word. At most it is an edible food-like product that is manufactured to create a need in the organism that ingests it. A need for more. It’s garbage. It has nothing to do with nutrition and everything to do with the bottom line of mass conglomerate corporations that know how to create and sell products that keep people coming back to the middle for more.