10 Foods I’ve Stopped Buying




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sprouts

10 Foods I’ve Stopped Buying ~ and I’d love to know, what’s on your no-buy list?

grocery bag


 

#1  ice cream

In fact I don’t even go down the frozen dessert aisle anymore, and when I have to, I literally avert my eyes (if I catch sight of those flavors, I’m a goner.)  If it’s not in my freezer I’m not tempted to eat it, and if I’m really craving it I can make a pretty darned good homemade ice cream when the occasion calls for it.


 

#2  cold cuts

cold cuts

I grew up on cold cuts from the corner deli and I appreciate all they have to offer…roast turkey with coleslaw and Russian dressing on rye?…Heaven!  Extra thin sliced Genoa salami?  So good.  But I’ve learned that they’re ticking time bombs, and I don’t want them in my body.


 

#3  bean sprouts

bean sprouts

This one kills me.  I adore sprouts, I’ve been using them since I started out on my own after college, a cheddar and sprout omelette was one of the first things I learned to make for myself.  Sprouts are the perfect finishing touch in so many dishes, and I love to pile them on sandwiches, but it turns out they’re especially susceptible to bacteria that causes food poisoning.  Even sprouting your own doesn’t solve the problem entirely, so sad.


 

#4  bagged greens

bagged greens

Even when I annoy the produce managers and methodically rifle through the whole row to find the most recent sell-by date, it doesn’t always guarantee me a fresh bag.  It finally dawned on me that using a sturdy salad spinner isn’t that difficult, and the greens are so fresh and crisp.


 

#5  dairy milk

dairy milk

I’ve made the switch to plant based milks and I’m not turning back.  Unless I need it for a recipe I don’t need to buy the ubiquitous quart of milk anymore.  I make my own nut and oat milks as I need them, the Vitamix makes it so quick and easy, and I don’t miss that sour milk smell one bit.


 

#6  baby carrots

bagged baby carrots

They’re yucky, period.  They get slimy, and they are’t even real babies, they’re shaved down big carrots!  Instead I cut up ‘grown up’ veggies and stash them in the fridge for snacking…much better.


 

#7  Nutella

Nutella

I can’t even.  I love it too much.  And it’s not good for me.  Unless I need it for a blog recipe ;)


 

#8  English muffins

English Muffins

For so long English muffins were my go to breakfast, but after a while I realized I was burning right through them and almost always ravenous before lunch.  The latest breaking health news this month calls out the benefits of whole grains and high fiber for longevity and disease prevention ~ I’m going to go back to my favorite rustic whole grain breads, oatmeal, and bran muffins.


 

#9  fruit juice

Fruit juice

I stopped buying juice long ago but clearly lots of others still do because there is so much real estate devoted to it at the supermarket.  No added sugar doesn’t mean much since it’s naturally loaded with the stuff, not to mention plenty of calories, too.  I’m better off grabbing a tangerine.


 

#10  salad dressing

salad dressing

Commercial salad dressing just doesn’t earn its spot in my (very small) refrigerator.  Why would I buy it when I can get such creative results with my own collection of oils and vinegars?


 

 

 

 

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60 Comments

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  • Reply
    Kathy Ray
    January 14, 2019 at 10:59 am

    My list of “will not buy” include white sugar, canola oil, vegetable oil’s, white or whole wheat flours, sodas, and processed foods. I shop the outside perimeter of the store. I either grow or buy organic veggies and fruits. I have farmer friends and know where my meat and eggs come from and how they’re raised. I do change recipes to accommodate this. Our health is too important. Thank goodness I live in the country…

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 14, 2019 at 11:11 am

      I agree with so much of this, shopping the perimeter is key, I park my cart along the perimeter and make dashes into the aisles if I have to ;) And I am growing more and more aware of buying ethical animal products, that’s so important.

    • Reply
      Berni
      March 19, 2019 at 12:17 pm

      I’ve done the same!!! The big one has been the flavored coffee creamers in the fridge, I love them but so bad for you! I’ve had to stop all sugars, grains, beans and rice. Now, I’m Puerto Rican and living without tostones (fried plantains of grooviness) has been a big change, LOL!

  • Reply
    Kim
    January 14, 2019 at 5:05 am

    I avoid the frozen food aisle because of the same reason as you. I loathe baby carrots and only use them in an emergency and same goes for bagged lettuce. I don’t understand the desire for that one when I have a perfectly good spinner. I LOVE cow’s milk so keeping it in my fridge. Eating old fashioned oats for breakfast in the cold months has been very satisfying and filling and I enjoy a drizzle of molasses over it. I won’t buy cold cuts with nitrates but haven’t switched to NO cold cuts.

  • Reply
    Vanessa
    January 14, 2019 at 4:15 am

    Do you have any suggestions for tasty replacements for the usual deli meat sandwiches which are similarly quick, easy, and kid-friendly?

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 14, 2019 at 7:24 am

      Well, I’m not sure it’s 100% better, but we make quick sandwiches from rotisserie chicken. I just slice it thin. Like some others have mentioned, there are nitrate free deli meats, too. And if your kids are into it, tuna, egg, chicken salad, etc.

  • Reply
    Leigh
    January 13, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    Broth…I keep a supply of homemade in the freezer!

  • Reply
    Kathleen R S
    January 13, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    A very similar list to yours, plus: soda, salty snacks (chips) and sugar-laden yogurt. I purchase greek no-fat instead and add fruit. Oh – and any commercially prepared baked goods…the road to wellville is a long one!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 13, 2019 at 2:38 pm

      …and a winding one :) I veer off the path all the time.

  • Reply
    Nancy
    January 13, 2019 at 6:29 am

    Sue, Interesting post. I truly enjoy your site/blog . Would you say that the hazards pertain to COOKED mung bean sprouts also? ( often used in Asian dishes)
    Congratulation on an interesting site.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 13, 2019 at 6:31 am

      Hey Nancy ~ yes, you can cook sprouts and that will do the trick, my only issue is that I don’t like the texture, and most instances where I want to use sprouts they’re raw. But definitely mung sprouts in Asian dishes etc are fine.

  • Reply
    p
    January 13, 2019 at 6:20 am

    good list!
    I haven’t yet read the comments but I’m adding ketchup which so many consider a vegetable I think :D
    I doubt I’ll ever give up a thin squeeze of Ranch dressing when I have a salad.

    question! I made the best best mushroom soup the other day and it had cream in it. I guess there just wouldn’t be a way to get that rich of flavor from a non-dairy, would there?

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 13, 2019 at 6:39 am

      Ketchup, I can’t give that up :) Ranch I make myself, and as for the soup, I definitely make exceptions when I have a recipe that calls for dairy. Some might suggest a thick creamy cashew milk, but I agree cream works best.

  • Reply
    Karen Fitzgerald
    January 13, 2019 at 3:22 am

    What a fun post, Sue! Your list includes some of the foods I don’t buy – baby carrots (I can’t tell how many friends and family have also crossed these slimy things off their list), bagged lettuce (off-taste), and most cold cuts and, in addition, I no longer buy low fat, no fat, dairy, opting for the full fat versions instead. Unfortunately, good quality ice cream is always in my freezer! Love your blog and recipes!!!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 13, 2019 at 6:40 am

      Thanks Karen <3

  • Reply
    Deb
    January 12, 2019 at 10:50 pm

    Great discussion! I too am an avid reader of your blog and have cooked many of your recipes.
    The list is a fun thing to ponder. I think my list is similar. I don’t buy any grocery store packaged bread unless its a loaf made “in house” of a sourdough/ levain. I don’t buy soda, I don’t buy juice (unless for a recipe or rare occasion), I don’t buy anything with HFCS – High Fructose Corn Syrup, or artificial sweeteners. I try not to buy anything with palm oil. I’ve also recently become really choosey about the fats/ oils that I use. I now only use avocado oil, nut oils for very specific purposes (peanut oil for popcorn), olive oil and grass fed dairy cow butter. I choose whole fat products when buying dairy. I also try not to buy packaged/ prepared foods preferring to cook my own meals from whole food ingredients. We also now rarely buy pasta because homemade is so far superior and we try to eat whole grain carbohydrates. It’s startling to think about how much my diet and shopping habits have changed in the past 20 years. My 2 grown (but still young adult) sons and all of their friends have very healthy attitudes about food. It delights me to see how much more aware they are about healthy diets than I was at their age.

  • Reply
    Lil
    January 12, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    I saw a dietitian for over a year and it changed my grocery cart. No low fat dairy, grocery breads, beans except for black eyed and lima, no grains, potatoes, squash, or peanuts, no peas, corn products, only grass fed meats and dairy, no processed meats. Only stevia sweeteners. No bananas, only berries. Sounds bleak but it works for me after some stalls.

  • Reply
    Shelley Oleksuik
    January 12, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    Margarine! I haven’t used it in years and years, but apparently people are still buying it because there are so many options and varieties out there.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 12, 2019 at 5:21 pm

      I wonder why people are still buying it, strange!

      • Reply
        Leigh
        January 13, 2019 at 4:54 pm

        Usually because 1) they don’t know better, or 2) like my hubs, they can’t have dairy. I love grassfed butter but am about to embark on the low fodmap diet and elimination diet. We actually buy “vegan butter” but it’s still oil based.

  • Reply
    Mardee Costa
    January 12, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    Bottled water!!!!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 12, 2019 at 3:46 pm

      Amen!

  • Reply
    Michael
    January 12, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    Sue your Breakfast Tart is one of my favorite breakfasts. Have to try making my own granola.
    RE. Sprouts, aren’t they just young veggies?

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 12, 2019 at 3:14 pm

      Thanks Michael, I’m glad to hear you actually make that tart, I think some people are intimidated because it looks complicated. As for the sprouts, the issue is that they’re grown/sprouted in warm, humid conditions, which encourages the growth of bad bacteria.

  • Reply
    Elaine Cobb
    January 12, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    I have stopped buying 9 out of your 10 groceries. Fat free milk is the one I still purchase. I do occasionally buy a salad dressing for my husband to be perfectly honest.
    I have been a fan of yours for a long time. Your recipes are wonderful!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 12, 2019 at 2:48 pm

      Thanks Elaine I so appreciate (and depend upon) the support of readers like you <3

  • Reply
    Sabra
    January 12, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    I appreciate this list. In addition, if you have lupus, be aware that alfalfa sprouts are known lupus triggers, and this is another reason to avoid them (see Dr. Donald Thomas’s book, The Lupus Encyclopedia). Furthermore, the possibility of bacterial contamination of sprouts is a risk factor for anyone on immunosuppressants.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 12, 2019 at 2:49 pm

      I didn’t know either of those things Sabra, thanks.

  • Reply
    Kathie
    January 12, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    Hi Sue. New to your blog and absolutely love it—you are one talented cook! Bays makes a multi-grain English muffin which is delicious.
    http://bays.com/multi-grain/

  • Reply
    Gwen Hurd
    January 12, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    I don’t purchase canned soup or pretty much canned anything except for Tomato Sauce and Green Beans with No Salt Added. I don’t drink milk because I am Lactose In-tolerate, so I use milk in cooking and baking only. I don’t purchase store-bought cookies, pies or cakes. I own an online bakery so why buy when I can bake it from scratch and I know exactly what I am eating. I do purchase Ice Cream, but I am very specific about the brand and the flavor. I don’t eat ice cream very often. I throw more away then I eat because it freezer burns. I prefer fresh organic carrots to bagged ones. I do purchase bagged lettuce, but It’s usually Romaine and I re-wash it before serving. I do make my own salad dressing, the ones in the store just don’t cut it. I am very particular about my deli meats and cheeses, I only purchase Boars Head and even that is only their Turkey and their Imported Cheeses. I don’t stock Nutella, but purchase it and use it in certain recipes and even then I purchase just what I need so it’s not in the pantry. I am not a bean sprout fan, so no purchases there. I don’t eat any pork at all and very little beef. Mostly Fish, Turkey and Chicken are cooked in our home.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 12, 2019 at 3:02 pm

      As far as cans go for me it’s mostly beans and tomatoes. But those two things are the base of so many meals, and I really appreciate the convenience.

  • Reply
    Joycelyn
    January 12, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    After a news report about people dying or being incredibly ill from eating assorted bean sprouts and consuming the peel on long English cucumbers we stopped buying them years ago. Ditto for bagged salads and greens as recalls from health dept. are pretty constant with them including organic.
    If I do happen to purchase cucumbers they will be Persian/mini’s but to this day I would never serve them with the peel still on.
    Dislike nut milks of every kind be they homemade or purchased from health food store as I cannot abide the taste or texture. We do keep ice cream in the freezer for grandchildren and great grandchildren visits but it’s otherwise ignored by this grandma and grandpa. Don’t like or buy Nutella or store bought cookies ( with the exception of Oreo’s once in a blue moon )so no problem there. Any deli meats purchased for sandwiches or homemade pizza are hormone/chemical free, they’re more expensive but worth it.
    Don’t drink much dairy milk but have no problem with buying it as Canadian milk unlike American milk is sans hormones and all the other nasty stuff added to American milk.
    Fruit juices are a once in a blue moon purchase for us as one of us has diabetes where a small piece of fresh fruit is a much wiser choice for a diabetic. Only time fruit juice’s are in our fridge would be for family gatherings or BBQs where the adults like it as a mixer in cocktails and of course for the youngsters who enjoy fruit juice instead of pop.

    Although I think your list is inspiring and a great goal to adhere to eventually, I myself would be hesitant to make such a strong decision/promise to myself so early in the new year as it’s far to easy to fall back on that decision/promise on stressful “what the heck can I make for breakfast or lunch or dinner that’s quick and easy” days we deal with so often.

  • Reply
    Laurie
    January 12, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    Canned soup is an item on my do not buy list- too much salt in most of them.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 12, 2019 at 1:59 pm

      Wow, I didn’t think of canned soup because I literally haven’t bought it in decades. I do buy broth and stock, though.

  • Reply
    Lee Hernandez
    January 12, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    I am so happy not to buy any shortening, anything containing aspartame, no margarine, no prepackaged meal things like hamburger helper, no TV dinners ( ever in my adult life. Too many as a fall back for my mom.), no cool aide (not even as a kid). I am surprised now when I read the weekly grocery ads; “no, no, no…” I am so much more aware what is real food and what isn’t. Same is true with food ads on tv. Bad!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 12, 2019 at 1:31 pm

      I’m so with you on artificial sweeteners, I don’t do any of them, in fact, they scare me. I used to over-do it with Tab when I was in college and I’m sure I poisoned myself. But frozen dinners? Guilty. I love them, what can I say?

  • Reply
    Candace
    January 12, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    Except for milk and Nutella (for holiday cookies for the neighbors, wink wink), I’m with you on the rest of the list. Mr. Squash retired from public health and I never heard him say a good thing about sprouts. Once I bought a bag of spring greens and there was some sort of glob in the middle of the bag. He sent it out to be analyzed and they could not figure out what it was. I also never buy hot dogs – a friend once told me how they’re made, not to mention what’s in them! Now that we live where we can grown a wonderful veggie garden, I no longer buy tomatoes at the supermarket. They have NO flavor and I prefer to go without a fresh tomato in the winter.
    Cheers!
    Candace

  • Reply
    Robert Plata
    January 12, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    Hi Sue, thanks for the eye-opening post. I especially want to thank you for the ‘How to make almond milk’ post.

    Go Skinny Pop!

  • Reply
    JoJo
    January 12, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    Love your blog and your recipes. I agree with you on most of this list of what not to buy. However, what is wrong with bean sprouts? Very curious, searched the internet and noticed positive reviews.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 12, 2019 at 12:35 pm

      The problem with bean sprouts is that they are one of those produce items that is prone to carrying bacteria that can cause serious food born illness (the bad stuff like Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli.) It has something to do with bacteria that is already on the seeds as they’re harvested, and then the warm humid conditions that it takes to sprout them. Apparently you can’t just wash off this type of bacteria, so you take a risk buying and eating sprouts, unfortunately.

      • Reply
        Sue
        January 12, 2019 at 12:36 pm

        That being said, we take a lot of risks with the food we eat, and some people are willing to take that small risk. I’m going to look into it further and see if I can find a way to safely sprout seeds at home. I’ll post it if I succeed.

  • Reply
    2sistersrecipes
    January 12, 2019 at 11:35 am

    Yep – I’m the same as you!! And I have more on my list …. great post !! I think I will do one soon!!
    Lol!!

  • Reply
    Karen
    January 12, 2019 at 11:33 am

    Hi Sue, love your food blog. I’m at a point in my life where I want to balance between pleasure and health. While many of those items are on my list, I’m not going to say I’ll never going to buy them (except Nutella, which I’ve never bought before) . I definitely will have ice cream on occasion as well as a toasted English muffin. I have milk in my coffee every day. Stay away for the most part from packaged salad greens because not only do they not taste great, the packaging is very wasteful. I guess I’m over lists and constantly saying “no!” To myself. Sometimes I’m going to say yes…and enjoy it without guilt.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 12, 2019 at 11:47 am

      I’m with you Karen, I have an even longer list of ‘iffy’ foods that I DO still buy, it’s all about choices.

  • Reply
    Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch)
    January 12, 2019 at 11:07 am

    I like your list. I’m with you on those bagged salad greens. I swear all I taste is preservative. Bottled salad dressing – check. Those silly carrots, check. Cold cuts, (except for an occasional nitrate free) check. I can’t remember the last time I bought fruit juice, check. I’ve never even tasted Nutella, check. I read that about sprouts a few years ago, so I haven’t bought any in a long time, check. I still buy dairy milk, I’ve never purchased or tasted any other. English muffins, I will always buy – I love my egg sandwich and benedicts. Things I’ve not purchased in a very long time, Soda Pop. It’s strictly club soda or seltzer water for me. And now Coke tastes so sweet I can’t stand it. Bagged Shredded cheese – never. I suppose I better throw in white bread. Even though every once in awhile I love a chicken sandwich on white bread with lettuce and mayo. And bagged popcorn. I have a stovetop Whirley Pop and we get along very well. :)

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 12, 2019 at 11:25 am

      omg you touched on one of my weaknesses…Skinny Pop Salt and Pepper. Yum.

  • Reply
    Joy Massa
    January 12, 2019 at 10:39 am

    Having eaten my last Gingerbread Cutout Cookie with Royal Icing (per your recipe) just yesterday!…..I must speak up for (most) commercial cookies as a “no buy”…..They promise so much and deliver so little!
    Whereas, even my 3-and-a-half week old Gingerbread Man was so yummy, it outdid any storebought gingerbread cookie out there!
    …just sayin’

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 12, 2019 at 10:58 am

      Definitely packaged cookies, so disappointing. Except Oreo Thins ;)

  • Reply
    Cheryl Kohan
    January 12, 2019 at 10:33 am

    This is a good list! Most of these I don’t buy, either. I don’t like Nutella for some odd reason although I do like hazelnuts and I like chocolate so no problem, there. I’m lactose intolerant no the milk and ice cream. I do almond milk so that’s my choice. I have some good salad dressing recipes but once in a while if I’m in a hurry, I’ll buy that.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 12, 2019 at 11:00 am

      It’s funny about Nutella, I didn’t like it for most of my life, but it crept up on me somehow. And I’m fine as long as I don’t take a spoonful. Once I do that, all is lost.

  • Reply
    Angela
    January 12, 2019 at 10:19 am

    Cheese in plastic bags preshred of any type. A lot of it contains plastic in the cheese- cellulose. Also try to buy things with less plastic packaging. If we want fresh seafood we need to be more cognizant of the junk ending up in our oceans unnecessarily. Why did they start putting veg in plastic even the humble self contained coconut? Eggs are perfectly happy in cardboard I still like milk but buy Canadian that is not pumped with hormones as is done in the U.S.. Deli meat .. we have a local deli that make their own onsite. Not quite willing to give them up yet. All wrapped in paper though ? cheers.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 12, 2019 at 10:26 am

      I have to admit I’m still attached to shredded cheese…I’m obsessed with the new Tillamook farmhouse cut shredded cheese, it’s incredible.

  • Reply
    Louise
    January 12, 2019 at 10:16 am

    Sue, you prompted a very funny old memory about how cheap parmesan cheese smells like old socks. My husband and his family were born and raised in the middle of North Dakota. My FIL was a shoe buyer for Montgomery Ward and it necessitated frequent moves as shoe departments were established all over the midwest. The first time my MIL went shopping in a supermarket, she ran past the deli counter because it smelled like dirty feet! As a Brooklyn-raised daughter of first-generation Italians, I laughed until I cried.
    I avoid most everything you listed in your no-buy list. Since I live alone now, I try to shop for produce and staples when I need them. I just purchased a lettuce keeper from Amazon to kept iceberg lettuce crispy for when I make a wedge salad with homemade dressing (minus the bacon). I am trying to migrate to a plant-based diet, but sometimes those beautiful pork chops or shrimp sing to me.
    Love your blog and have tried many recipes successfully. Look forward to trying many more!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 12, 2019 at 10:23 am

      Thanks Louise, love this! I’m actually fascinated by the connection between some aged cheeses and feet…another story for another blog I guess :) I’m intrigued by the different products that claim to keep greens fresher, I could use that.

  • Reply
    Janice
    January 12, 2019 at 10:07 am

    My list is nearly identical to yours, just gelato instead of your ice cream! You won’t miss any of them one bit after that first fridge purge! Love getting your recipes in my inbox – have tried many and bookmarked others.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 12, 2019 at 10:20 am

      Thanks Janice ~ I’m planning to do a fridge purge post soon, this is fun!

  • Reply
    Donna-Jane
    January 12, 2019 at 9:40 am

    Good Day Sue and thank you! I have only recently discovered you and certainly glad I did. I read through your list and have to admit, all of these except the cold cuts are on my list (there is a slice of rosemary ham in my frig right now gasp!). I think I have to add the greens/spinach you get in those hard plastic containers to my list. Regardless of the date on the side by the time I get to the bottom the remainder is slimy and nasty!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 12, 2019 at 9:56 am

      Hey Donna-Jane, welcome in! Rosemary ham is so good, I know. I think there’s room for discussion on the processed meats, some people think the nitrate scare is overdone, but I’d prefer not to take any risk. I do like the tubs better than the bags for greens, but yes, there always seems to be slimies lurking at the bottom :)

  • Reply
    Renee
    January 12, 2019 at 9:34 am

    I stopped buying regular sandwich meats long ago. I now only buy nitrate free ones! The food I no longer buy is grated Parmesan cheese tastes so much better to buy a wedge and quick grate what I need!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 12, 2019 at 9:59 am

      I agree about the shredded cheese, but I’ll go a step further and only buy the real deal Parm, it’s so $$ but so worth it. The cheaper stuff smells like dirty socks ;)