Not much left of the canned pasta and sauce department.

Grocery Shopping in Times of Panic

In times of near-apocalyptic crisis, it is natural to go into survival mode. For example, fearing the end of the world, people will go to the store in a panic and buy as much food and other household necessities as possible. In these times of COVID19’s swell, surge and spread, people are running true to expectations. We anxiously enter the grocery store. It is overcrowded with people. We check the aisles. Cookies – Gone. Ramen Soups – Gone. Deli Meats – Gone. Pancake Mix – Gone. Kids’ Cereals – Gone. Boxed Instant Meals – Gone!

This was my shopping experience today. I saw a man’s cart which was heaped high like the other overfilled carts in the store. What caught my attention was that his cart was loaded with several frozen pizzas, and cheese pastries, boxes of prewrapped snack cakes, fruity artificially colored cereal, and refined flour crackers, lunch meat, 2 30-can cases of beer, 2 bottles of wine, and a half dozen boxes of toaster pastries. All this along with boxed mac ‘n cheese, fruit snacks, and a case of high caffeine soda. Looking at what this gentleman planned to purchase kind of took my breath away! My first thought was, ‘Is this your idea of feeding your tribe for the next 15 – 30 days?’ My second thought was, ‘Is this how your tribe eats every day, even without panic in place?’

Some people believe old maxims are trite and overused. That may be true, but they also accurate. Our entire lives we have heard “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” “You are what you eat” and “Food is medicine.” Sadly, judging by the purchasing patterns in the grocery stores these days, the value in these sayings has been ignored since the panic began to rise. Need more proof? Just take a look at the produce department. It is fully supplied. Granola bars (real ones, not the disguised dessert/pastries) are also well stocked. There are no empty shelves in the health food aisles.

You may be thinking, ‘Well we have to buy stuff that won’t rot and go to waste.’ Yes, this is true, but does that mean fruit and vegetables don’t hold up well in the freezer? Don’t whole grains and dried beans have long shelf lives?

Hopefully, none of these shoppers will catch the coronavirus. However, if they do, we can only hope that a dose of frozen pizza or sweetened cereal with their small percentage of some of the necessary vitamins and minerals will make a healthy difference. May the ramen soups and canned spaghetti provide all they need to fend off and recover from any illness. It is not likely of course, but we can remain hopeful.

Produce aisle is still stocked

Or, or, or…

Just maybe, in our panic, we could pause to re-think this. We could remember those old truths about food and its connection to health and long life. We could use this time to learn and practice the lost art of preparing healthy food. Food that would nourish, sustain and help us recover. Junk food will not fit that bill. Whole foods, fruits and vegetables, grains and legumes will.

Remember. Food is medicine. Eat to live, not live to eat.