Posh Shopping

When we lived in Libya we were the healthiest we’d ever been in our lives. We shopped at the bakery for bread, the vegetable stand for produce and the butchers for meat. Any thing else came from a small grocery store. It was back to basics. There was no McDonalds, no Pizza Hut, we were pretty well preservative free, and of course, there was no pub on the corner. Shopping involved a little more work  but bloody hell, our skin looked fantastic.

I remember moving to North America and standing open mouthed at the local Safeway. The choice was bewildering. I had just been through two years of relying on seasonal produce only to find myself in a building full of abundant fresh fruit and vegetables, outside the snow fell on the ground. How did that work? In the world of international vegetable travel, some of those vegetables had more stamps in their passport than I did.

And then there were the discoveries.

I saw jars of something called “Cheez Whizz” and genuinely wondered who the person was who decided that cheese would taste so much better if it was reprocessed, made orange, liquified with stabilising agents, and finished off with citric acid. Hungry anyone? There were aisles of Kraft products. Mac n cheese in a packet, hamburger helper in a packet, and it was cheap. Really cheap.

When I found the aisle that had the fresh organic produce, it was the opposite of cheap.

Has anyone else noticed that if you want to be healthy you’re going to have to pay for it?

G and I went through a stage in our lives where money was very tight. We had a budget for everything and the most exciting time of my week was shopping at one of those bloody awful monster discount hyper-markets. You know the ones, they usually have concrete floors and a warehouse feel to them – because they are a warehouse. If I could come in under budget it was a major celebration.

Every now and then we’d grab a coffee at the boutique supermarket near our house. It had funky music, good looking staff and everything was organic. While waiting for our coffee’s we’d covet other people’s overflowing shopping trolleys/carts and then ask each other the same question every time “how can they afford to do their weekly shop here?” Yes, that’s how tragic we were. I’ll own up to it. We were jealous of people’s grocery shopping!

Those days are over now. I still have a budget but it’s not as dire as it once was, but I can’t help but shake the feeling (particularly after our last visit to London) that a healthy trip to the supermarket perhaps requires a healthy bank balance.

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