Be Smart at the Supermarket

I decided to spend a few hours in the grocery store this week – as a bagger!

I decided to spend a few hours in the grocery store this week – as a bagger!

Going undercover was a brand new experience for me, but it was equal parts enlightening and entertaining. For the most part, I was unrecognizable. The Clark Kent glasses might be a look I could go with, but bagging bags of potato chips and pints of ice cream didn’t make me feel super.



We spend so many hours and so much money at the supermarket, but we fail to realize that the purchases we make are investments in our health.

The amount of packaged foods and carbonated beverages people brought to the checkout line absolutely floored me. Even more alarmning, this is happening all across the country. Americans are flocking to the grocery stores and loading up on frozen dinners and salty snacks. Last year alone Americans spent $12 billion on carbonated beverages. That’s about 15 billion pounds of sugar going into the gut of America!

The remedy is simple enough: Know when and how to shop. Having a certain strategy when you go into the grocery store is key. It’s crucial to avoid unnecessary sugars and carbohydrates and you can avoid them by only shopping the perimeter of your store, where fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products are kept. You will find all the unhealthy packaged foods and sodas in the middle aisles. 

A second tip is to consider going into the supermarket with a list and a time limit. This will prevent you from idling into many of those all-too-tempting middle aisles and save you from splurging. It might also be beneficial to use your phone or other mobile device to create and store your grocery list throughout the week, so that you aren’t listing whatever comes to mind at the last minute.

Finally, never go to the grocery store on an empty stomach. It’s a recipe for disaster. Have a healthy snack 15 to 30 minutes before you go to the store, or carry a bag of walnuts or raisins with you so that you’re not salivating in front of the cookies and chips.

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For those of you who love murder mysteries, there just may be a silent killer wreaking havoc inside of you. Untreated hypertension, or high blood pressure, can go undetected for a long period of time, mainly because most people with elevated blood pressure do not experience any symptoms. In fact, about one in five people with high blood pressure are walking around unaware that they even have high blood pressure. Left untreated, hypertension can place you at a significantly increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, aneurysms tearing open, heart failure, kidney failure, blockages in your legs, dementia, vision problems including blindness, and sexual dysfunction (I bet that last one got some of your attention).

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Your blood pressure is made up of two numbers. The top number, called the systolic blood pressure, is the pressure inside your arteries when your heart contracts. The bottom number, the diastolic blood pressure, is the pressure inside your arteries when your heart relaxes. Both numbers are important and should be monitored. As people age, both numbers tend to increase, mainly due to increased stiffness in large vessels. Frighteningly, many studies have demonstrated that just a 20 mm Hg (units used for blood pressure) increase in the systolic number, or a 10 mm Hg increase in the diastolic number, doubles one's risk of death from heart disease or stroke.

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