Report: Grocery Shopping

Hi Gnomies – it’s Ponzarelli again. Long time, no write. I’ve been busy cruising and making sure your geek leader is fed and happy. I’m sure you’ve read that we are trying to lead a healthier lifestyle – trying to exercise a little bit more and eat a little bit less. Chris has always been a low-carber, and I’ve seen the pictures of him to prove that the lifestyle changed his physique tremendously (five or six years ago). Personally, I can’t think of eating the rest of my life without rice or fruit. I’d rather trade in some high fat / high calorie meat for some fish or chicken and be able to allow myself more tender morsels – for the calorie exchange. After seeing Bodyworlds, Chris decided to give my idea a shot. We decided on a Gazelle for cardio and an Ab Lounge to help with our targeted tummy area – since we both agree on the stomach being our area of need. We also picked up some hand weights for strength training. He decided on 2 fifteen-pounders, and I on 2 eight-pounders. All hail Sportmart – woo hoo! Exercise city, here we come. It all began a month ago.

Chris has been very dedicated, and his perseverance is really starting to show! He’s lost over ten pounds and a few inches – IN ONE MONTH, I SWEAR! He has let me re-introduce fruit into his diet, which I believe has helped him energy-wise. I mean, seriously people – fruit is the most perfect food on Earth; it needs nothing and it tastes great. He usually grabs a sixteen-ounce Jamba at some point during the day. Anyway, here’s the formula: (a) Chris cut out coffee and heavy cream, removing at least a good 500-600 calories a day; (b) he’s burning 400 a day aerobically; (c) with a more varied diet and supplements, he is feeling wonderful and looking great. We are trying our best to go back to ‘earth foods’ – eating stuff that’s as close to natural as possible. I do all the shopping and cooking, so that part has been left to me. I’ve found that I need to juggle a few stores to pull it off successfully. It’s taken up a lot of my time lately, but good health is all worth it – right? Here are my latest shopping lists and at what stores. Maybe y’all (yes, I’m from the South) will have a suggestion on how I can condense my shopping experiences to fewer locations? I know Whole Foods is Southern California’s grocery Mecca, but I need to work on a budget in this house. So, here’s the latest strategy I’ve come up with.

Costco – it’s imperative to stick to your list here or you will leave with a $300.00 bill every time! Eggs, Perrier, Roman Meal Carb Aware Bread, paper towels, toilet tissue, chicken breasts, and lean beef.

Ralphs – I try my best to shop only on the outside aisles of the store; if it’s on the inside aisles, it is typically processed. Sliced fresh meats and cheeses from the deli (for sandwiches), meat as needed, dairy items as needed. *confession* I occasionally sneak in a bag of Doritos and a six-pack of Mountain Dew. I know, I know – EVIL… but I’m from the school of moderation; as long as I have it in small quantities and not every day, it’s okay. Chris is definitely more enlightened in this area; he believes the devil himself has created these two items to tempt me.

Vallarta – a Mexican grocery chain. Here, I primarily get vegetables and fruit (the selection is unparalleled and the prices will make you look twice). Sometimes, I check the prepared meats – daily, the butchers prepare fajitas packages that are seasoned perfectly and ready to throw in a pan and serve.

Trader Joe’s – Cookies (with no trans fats), frozen edamame, frozen Dim Sum, seasonal veggies (artichokes were featured today for $1.99!), neat stuff you can find from all over the world (like mushrooms in brown sauce from Italy, or stuffed appetizers from Thailand). They also have a nice collection of cereals – some include flax seed – which contains one of the essential fatty acids. We call the Omega 3-6-9 series “brain fat.”

Whole Foods – Ground spices (fresh, on the spot), real cream, oil (Almond, Avocado, Sesame, Olive, etc.) fresh herbs (more expensive, but always the best variety), popcorn (Newman’s Own non-hydrogenated), specialty sausages (for my cabbage soup), seafood, specialty cheeses. Like I said: Mecca. If I could shop here exclusively, I would – but dang… I just can’t see paying $4.99 for the same veggies I can get for $1.99 somewhere else.

Well, that’s the current list of food stuffs and where I’m currently shopping. Anyone else have better methods? Shoot me an e-mail, because my little feet are dragging from all this running around town! I will close with saying that I love shopping and cooking for my family – even if I complain and joke about it. This way, I know love was put into every bite that is eaten in my home. If it has love in it, you can remove 15 calories from each plate – they are burned by the smile muscles!

The owner of my favorite Chinese restaurant in Orange County gave me a cup on Chinese New Year. It has the following written in English on one side and in Chinese on the other. I will cherish this gift of wisdom always, and now I pass it to you, my friends.

Ten Ways to Good Health

Less Meat. More Vegetables.
Less Salt. More Vinegar.
Less Sugar. More Fruit.
Less Eating. More Chewing.
Less Riding. More Walking.
Less Worry. More Sleep.
Less Anger. More Smiles.
Less Hatred. More Love.
Less Talk. More Deeds.
Less Greed. More Giving.

Hugs, Ponzi