A rant about supermarkets

Posted: February 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

Something really started to piss me off since Christmas and has carried on to this day. We’ve all seen that stores go all out for special events and seasons. Some stores had their Christmas goodies up before Halloween had come around. At the time of writing this (started in December and dragged out till 23.02.2015) stores have already started stocking chocolate at special rates for Easter.

What has really gotten my goat is the BOGOF, or buy one get one free, deals that we tend to get in abundance. We all love a good bargain, but lately all I keep seeing is that these bargains are for the things that are ‘not good’ for you. It’s the ready made pasta/curry sauces, ready meals, frozen pizzas, alcohol, yogurts, confectionery items etc.  It just seems like all the best BOGOF deals are for the shit that’s really bad for you and wouldn’t belong in a human body.

Just looking at the offers in Sainsbury’s website (on 8.12.2014), they include things like Save £10 on bottle of Russian Standard Vodka (what better way to spend Christmas but pissed out of your head and maybe argue with your spouce), buy any 2 for £2 on 1.75l of Coca Cola (because kids aren’t getting enough sugar as it is). In fact of the 18 offers on the site only two have any real nutritional value (and that is after skimming some of the fat off).  At least under the “Fresh & Bakery” section on the offers, you can get a deal on chicken breast fillets and fine green beans. Finally some vegetables on offer!  Hooray! Admittedly, it doesn’t get much better for the other stores either. Their front offer pages are filled with similar crap.

Come to think of it, I have not seen a BOGOF offer on things like broccoli, sweet potatoes – or any of the so called super foods – in ages. There has been a lot of talk over the past few years about obesity and countless of reality shows being done around it. Even though a report that was published at the end of January saying that childhood obesity is down, however it (obesity) is still a problem. Many health experts tell us that we need to eat more organic foods, but the problem is for most people the cost of your weekly shop would double if not triple if you went all organic. It’s all well and good to tell people to eat healthy, but if the food industry – including the supermarkets – are not on board with lowering the prices then it’s a pointless exercise. People, in the current economic climate, make purchasing decisions on price, not the health factor. Even if it means that they’ll ply themselves and their families full of sugars (without checking the labels on the jars of pasta and curry sauces they buy).

Whilst I’m on about the above topic, do many people actually understand what the nutritional values are and how much of what they’re supposed to be eating? There needs to be a lot more education around food in general. I remember back in Finland home economics classes were a real drag, but looking back on it, at least the schools made a concerted effort in teaching us what was good for us and what wasn’t.

Then, whilst I don’t doubt that their causes are noble, Tesco has teamed up with the British Heart Foundation and Diabetes UK to promote healthier life styles. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for people getting healthier as some heart problems and diabetes can be fought by easy lifestyle changes (note: they are easy if the person is committed to making those changes). However, what I find a bit hypocritical is that – apart from Tesco’s charity page – there is very little advice, let alone offers on the stuff that they say you should be eating. I remember when I decided that I needed to change my eating habits, I struggled with the nutrition side of things i.e. what to eat and more specifically, when to eat. There is literally no advice, there are no leaflets in store (that I have seen) promoting healthy recipes or examples of meal plans and when to eat and what to eat.

Retailers are a devious bunch. They lay out their stores in such a way that they lure you to buy stuff that you don’t really need and the stuff that’s supposedly good for you is hidden in the shelves. Recently I found that a UK retailer had started to stock protein quark, a nice low fat, high protein snack. Firstly it was nigh impossible to find it on the shelves as it was hidden in the midst of other yogurts that ‘pretend’ to be healthy. A 200gram pot of the Arla protein quark has less sugar than a tub of regular yogurt, it has more protein and less fat compared to the normal yogurts. But yet, the shelf space is relatively minor in comparison to the shit that Danone and Nestle want us to buy.

Countless times I’ve overheard people talk about buying “fat free” yogurts or “fat-free-fucking-whatever”. OK excess fat is not good, but looking at the nutritional facts, there is still huge amounts of sugar in “fat free” yogurts. But because we have created such a taboo over the word fat, people are going for the ‘fat free’ options thinking that those are the healthy choices, where in many cases they are not as healthy as they would seem. A pot of Activia yogurt (supposedly good for you) still has 16.6 grams, or approximately 64 calories worth of sugar in it (that’s  7 cubes worth of sugar, though admittedly  only 3% of your daily allowance of carbohydrates). Let’s not forget that ‘good’ fats are still an essential for humans and you can get the good fats from various healthy choices.

I don’t claim that I am a nutritional specialist, or that I am all goody fucking two shoes about what I eat.  I do, however, look through the nutritional facts about everything I buy and put in my mouth. Yes, I do have weaknesses for certain things that aren’t good for me. I have no problem admitting that my favourite cheat meals are pizzas or doughnuts. Or Skittles. But just because I like those above unhealthy food items, doesn’t mean that I eat them every month. In my opinion it’s about moderation.

The worse culprit for excess sugar that your body will turn into fat is soda and fucking energy drinks. I am the worst when it comes to energy drinks. I have managed to cut down the amount I consume, and I am trying to kick the habit for good, but it really pisses me off when I see kids that are under ten years old buying up-to six 500ml cans of the shit for themselves and the people at the checkouts in stores not doing two shits about it. But at the end of the day, it’s all money in their registers isn’t it?

I realise that the modern society is a busy one and that it can be a real drag to start cooking dinner after hard day at work and while your kids are demanding your attention. I know, I’ve been there more times than I care to think, but it is through these little choices of eating protein from healthy sources and getting the right amount of carbohydrates complemented by greens. It’s easy to make a few adjustments in your diet and you’d be surprised how quickly the weight will start to drop off. It is also about eating like an adult. Like Brandan Schieppati said in one of his pod casts, if you’re over 20, Lucky Charms and Chunky Monkey ice cream should not be a part of your diet.

That’s it, I think my rant is done.

Eat healthy, train hard and dirty.

Comments
  1. sportsgrl says:

    Good points all. Never having previously had to concern myself about losing weight, I am actually more concerned about ingredients than when I was training regularly. A competitive athlete until my late 20’s, I just ate a ton of carbs and burnt them off. Energy drinks aside from Gatorade didn’t exist. But I admit a large weakness for soda.
    With support from my partner who has struggled with her weight for years, I am reading labels and cooking from scratch a lot more. Not to say there aren’t any prepared foods in my pantry or freezer but I’m trying to create my own ready to eat meals with raw ingredients, controlling the amount of stuff that goes into them.
    Education about how to make meals tasty without tons of salt, sugar and prepared sauces would definitely be a start. How and what to buy without going broke is another key. If you want to eat meat, but a larger cut and cut it into manageable pieces for several meals – people don’t need a pound of beef at each sitting.
    Smaller portions of better food. Teach yourself to cook some easier meals. Don’t eat one huge meal for the day, spread things out and move about in between meals.
    There are lots of small things one can start with a little guidance.

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