The Trader Joe’s Dilemma

You walk the aisles, faintly hungry, tired, and harried by the craziness of the parking lot. MUZAC-appropriate lyrics drizzle over the line-up of cellophane veggies: iceberg lettuce, broccoli, shredded carrots, broc-o-slaw. In the freezer section you’ll find faintly exotic items like the veggie dumplings and everything tamales. These are warm-up and eat items. And like much in Trader Joe’s, everything is packaged–apart from bananas and apples. Even limes get a netting of containment, leaving you with the sensation that nothing need be messy or in disarray. This German-owned chain is the office worker’s dream. It’s truly the greatest market to hit the earth, because no mess means no headache. And everything can be microwaved–or almost everything. Even the “10 minute” barley packets that recently slapped the shelves are no-brainers. What a dream. And still, amid all that fantastic convenience, one wonders why kale–the wonder vegetable which has risen to an all-time high in local markets from $0.89 to almost $2.00 a bunch–should be packaged as a “wasabi” or “cheeze” drummed chip. Do we need every healthy alternative to become another packaged alternative? If this kind of commodity grabbing continues we’ll no longer be able to purchase our daily vegetables from the fresh bins at our local stores. Everything will cost twice or three times as much, all in the name of convenience. Meanwhile, those kale chips–inside bags made to look and crinkle like potato chip packaging–will certainly fall short of “healthy.” Because, let’s face it: once you mess around with nature to improve shelf-life, you’re going to mess up the whole-healthy-point.

So, we all love Trader Joe’s, but come on. Let’s keep the fresh stuff fresh for everyone.

Next time: shop for fitness.

 

Baby Steps

Getting into shape doesn’t mean you have to abandon life’s comforts. In fact, over time, fitness and good nutrition provide the active person with more comfort and relaxation–not less. With this in mind, begin to change your habits by defining what you’d like to change.

To begin, determine your long-term goal. For instance, in the next year you would like to: cut out sugar, lose twenty pounds, start jogging every other morning, grow your own vegetables, etc. etc. Write these large goals down.

Now get more specific. Pull out one of your goals, and decide which one you will focus on today and the next day. If you’re really ambitious, commit to the rest of the week. By chunking down your long-term goal, you are giving yourself a realistic game plan.

So, let’s say you decide to tackle the goal of cutting out sugar. After you’ve written down today’s date and the goal for the day, take action. To break the habit of pouring a packet of sugar into your frappuccino or of munching on M&Ms at work, provide yourself with an alternative. Bring some Baby Carrots to the desk. Fill a thermos with coffee and milk. Avoid the sugar bowl at every junction. Don’t go near the M&Ms. If you can get through a single day without sugar, reward yourself with a $1–which will be put towards a new outfit or a vacation you’ve never been able to afford because you’ve spent so much on frappuccinos.

When the urge to down sugar becomes too great, distract yourself. Go for a short walk, or listen to a song you love. Getting some fresh air is an excellent way to overcome craving, but if these tricks don’t work, call someone dear to you and tell them you love them. Do whatever you need to do to rid yourself of this craving. If you can get through day one, then you can get through day two. There’s no end to your strength!

To be continued!