"Curiosity is the most powerful thing you own."

James Cameron

We're opening our eyes to a new awareness of the truth of what really is happening with American food and personal care products.

Huge companies, those with the spending power of countries, or blocks of countries, have taken advantage of the lack of required transparency in how they create their products and are now selling us a lot of stuff that is really good for their bottom line, but really bad for our health.

If you listen to my show, read my blog, or follow me in any way, you might think that my message is that 'everything is bad for you.'

It's not. There are plenty of problems in many best selling products in a lot of different categories, but not everything is bad for you.

It is important to know that some of the most consumed and popular foods, drinks, and things we put on our skin contain known carcinogens and other chemicals or additives that are bad for our health. These are often advertised as healthy products that we shouldn't be living without.

Because of the mixed messages from on one side, the advertising,  and from the other side, advocates for health (like me), it may feel like you have to be a scientist to know what's good and what's bad.

Don't panic

Well, there is good news, and it is that of these products, basically none will kill us quickly. So, it's not like we have to run out and change everything that we buy right away. No need to try take dramatic action, or try to fix everything at once.

Let's not, as they say, try to boil the ocean.

What we should start taking part in is something I call conscious shopping.

Conscious shopping occurs when we go beyond the marketing claims of a product and really decide if it is doing something beneficial for us.

The first step in conscious shopping is to simply examine what we buy, use, eat, and otherwise consume. Then, identify which products are the worse for us? After that, start to consider which areas we'd be willing to make small changes. Finally, find a comparable product that is certified to be safer, and try it out.

  • What do we regularly buy that is harmful to us?
  • What do we regularly buy that isn't serving us?
  • What can we buy in it's place that will serve us?

So, the first step in conscious shopping is to make a list. Then, figure out what on the list is bad for us. Let's keep in mind that things consumed in moderation might not be as harmful as a bad product that we consume every single day.

First, try to eliminate the staple products that may be unhealthy. A staple is something that we use very often, like, every day or more.

So, for example, let's say you start your day with a bowl of sugary cereal and cow's milk, every day.

Here is a great opportunity to consciously shop, learn about why this isn't the best habit, and how it can be changed.

The simple reason why that breakfast, a staple of life as I grew up, isn't good for us is because sugary cereal made with white flour and cow's milk in large amounts just doesn't bring us as much nutritional value as say organic oatmeal with fruit, honey and lemon water.

Still, this article isn't about what is good for us, this article is about how to shop for it.

Okay? Good.

So, we've identified a bad eating habit that is really a bad shopping habit. If we don't buy sugary cereal and cow's milk, we'll stop eating it pretty quickly. Let's stop giving money to the companies that sell us crap, and give it to companies that care about their food and how if affects our bodies.

Cereal and milk are the problem. What is the answer?

The answer is our curiosity. I made a suggestion above, but in every food choice, in everything we put on our skin (the body's largest, very absorptive organ and a great entryway to our body for toxins) we should be curious, and consciously looking to do a bit better for ourselves.

Shopping is one of the best times for us to consider our health

When we make our health decision at the point of purchase, and shop consciously, we not only do something for ourselves, we do something for our planet and other people because we send the only type of message that big companies really listen to. When we let them know we are only going to buy things that are good for us, they realize that in order to sell anything, they'll have to make it beneficial to us.

It can feel so overwhelming to feel like everything is bad for us and it's impossible to keep up with what's good and what isn't, but there really is good news, and that is that eating, shopping, and living consciously is actually much easier and cheaper than the alternative.

The reason I cited a quote about curiosity in the beginning of this article is because being curious about what we are consuming and what it is doing to or for us is the beginning of conscious shopping, living and taking a bit of control over our own health and well being.

The idea is to examine our eating and personal care behavior, identify which areas that we can buy a healthier option, and do it. Replace the old, bad habit with a new habit by letting the supply of the old one run out and buying the other next time. Our power over our diet happens at the point of purchase so when we get it home, it's what we have.

I insist on finding comparable pricing, and I do, pretty much every time. If it costs a little bit more, I chalk that up to something I am doing for me. The extra 10% or whatever it costs is because I am purchasing a better fuel, a better protectant, something that will serve me better, and therefore the money will always be worth it.

If you are buying sugary foods, or ten fast food chicken nuggets for under two dollars because they are cheaper, there will come a time when all that you saved adds up to poor health. Fixing that will probably be much more expensive than the better food choice would have been.