Ready to ditch the diet culture and eat more old fashioned nutrient-dense food? Here is my pro metabolic grocery list and list of pantry staples to help you get started first thing. I try to have all of these on hand every week so if you are starting out on this journey towards food freedom, this will give you an idea what to buy next time you go shopping.
Although there is much more to pro-metabolic eating than just the foods, prioritizing quality and nutrient-dense foods is just as important as the principles of “pro-metabolic diet”.
What I share as far as the food I buy, is in no way suggesting that this is the perfect solution for you. If you have been in the pro metabolic world for any bit of time, you know that eating pro metabolically is unique to each individual.
What works for me may not work for you and your health goals that you were trying to achieve. What works for my budget may not work for you. You might even have a higher food budget and be able to afford things that I cannot.
What is listed here is what I currently know works for my family as far as our budget and the pro metabolic principles that we are trying to adapt, too.
What is a pro metabolic approach?
A pro metabolic approach to grocery shopping and stocking your pantry is to buy organic whole foods that you enjoy, that are bioavailable (easy to digest and absorb the nutrients from), and nutrient dense. Food freedom is the name of the game so I buy all types of foods.
You want to buy foods that are in their natural state because organic whole foods are unrefined and free of additives, preservatives, and chemicals.
If you are wondering why you should buy organic produce, here are 3 simple answers.
They Provide Better Nutrition
Organic whole foods are packed with nutrients that are essential for good health. These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which are necessary for optimal body function. By consuming organic whole foods, you are providing your body with the nutrients it needs to function at its best.
The possibility that some non-organic produce might be more nutritious is there, but because the produce is sprayed with chemicals that our bodies struggle to process, we take in the extra nutrients at the price of introducing the chemicals into our digestion.
Reduced Exposure to Chemicals
Conventional foods are often treated with pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals during production. These chemicals can be harmful to human health, especially if consumed over a long period. Organic whole foods, on the other hand, are grown without the use of synthetic chemicals, making them a safer and healthier option. By choosing organic whole foods, you are reducing your exposure to harmful chemicals and promoting a healthier lifestyle (and immune system).
Supports Healthy Farming
Organic farming practices are more sustainable and have a lower impact on the crops and soil compared to conventional farming. Organic farmers use natural methods to control pests and maintain crop health, which reduces the need for synthetic chemicals. Additionally, organic farming practices promote soil health and biodiversity, which is essential for maintaining a healthy soil and much more. By choosing organic whole foods, you are not only benefiting your health but also supporting a more sustainable food system.
Buying Organic Foods on a Budget
Although buying organic foods whether it is labeled organic or from uncertified farms that practice organic methods through regenerative farming, it can be very expensive.
Here are some ways to cut the spending without compromising quality.
- Don’t or limit what you buy from health food stores. Many grocery stores still have good quality food for a cheaper price. You just have to know where to look and what to look for. My favorite place to shop is Aldi because they have cheaper food that is still really good quality. I still buy a few things from Sprouts or other stores like Walmart if Aldi does not carry what I want.
- Go inside the store. Using order pickups or purchasing food online has its benefits, but it can cost extra.
- Buy seasonal produce. Not only will seasonal produce be more ripe and more nutrient dense, but because there will be an abundance of it, it is usually cheaper or goes on sale frequently.
- Trade. If you buy from local farms, many times they are open to trading goods instead of selling.
- The EWG “Clean 15, Dirty Dozen” list. This is a list that is updated every year with a scale of a lot of produce. At one end of the scale, the first fifteen item on the list are the clean. This means that you do not have to buy these organic because the part that you eat does not come into contact with pesticides. On the other end are twelve items that you should prioritize buying organic because the editable part comes into contact with pesticides. In between these two is the middle ground that is up to your discretion. The closer you get to the dirty side, you might want to consider buying organic if you can afford it and vice versa. If you cannot buy organic, try to avoid buying the dirty dozen and only buy the things that you know will be safe from pesticides. The rule of thumb here is that if you eat the skin of the produce then buy it organic.
Pro Metabolic Grocery List and Pantry Staples
At any given time, I have these things on hand. I may not have to buy each of these things every week, but I try to stay stocked up on them because I use them every week.
Range Free Eggs
There are so many labels for eggs. I stick with range free eggs or pasture raised eggs. If I could, I would buy farm fresh eggs. The main thing to look for in eggs is the color of the yolk when you crack it. Egg yolks that are more nutrient dense will be more orange and the less nutritious egg yolks will be more yellow.
Because onions grow underground, they are less likely to come into contact with pesticides. I buy regular onions and do not worry about buying organic ones.
The same thing applies to garlic that applies to onions.
This is a root so I don’t buy these organic. It is also one of the “Clean 15” this year.
This is another one of those root vegetables that is safe to buy non organic. Currently, I buy russet potatoes because that is what fits into my budget. Maybe someday, I will look into other types, but for now this is the cheapest option and I have had no problem with them.
If you are interested in finding raw milk, there is a raw milk finder online that you can search to see if anyone near you sells some. You might be surprised to find that some health food stores will sell raw milk.
Consider raw goat’s milk as well as cow’s milk. This is what I get and it doesn’t taste too different from cow’s milk. Sometimes it is cheaper.
The next best thing if you cannot get raw milk or if it is illegal in your state is a pasteurized, but not homogenized whole milk. Pasteurized milk has been heated but it has not gone through the homogenizing process which separated the cream from the milk. Homogenized milk can be harder to digest. It will say on the back in the ingredient section if it is only pasturized.
Kolona Supernatural is a brand that sells this kind of milk and other dairy products in stores as well as online. I like this brand for their whipped cream when I want to make some ice cream.
If this is still too expensive, find some A2 milk. This is easier to digest than milk that has A1 proteins in it. If you happen to be in on of the few states that has Braum’s, then this is the best place to find A2 milk at a good price. They have a rotation of sales where you can get it even cheaper that lasts a month or so every couple of months.
Nut milks are not very nutritious and have a lot of additives in them.
PIN IT FOR LATER!
This is the just the cheapest higher quality cheese I can get. For awhile, I could get cheese made from raw milk for a decent price, but it hasn’t been in stock for awhile.
If you can afford raw dairy cheese, that is the best. The next best option is to find a higher quality cheese (usually in a block) that has minimal ingredients and that does not look like it has dyes in it.
I buy block cheese because shredded cheese usually has some sort of anti-caking agent in it.
You don’t have to get cheddar. This just happens to be what I get. As long as it is good quality, go for it.
Any of the natural simple sugars work well. I have used maple syrup on occasion, but honey is cheaper. Someday I might find a local bee keeper that I can buy raw honey from or find a less expensive one in the store, but for now we buy honey in bulk at Walmart and I haven’t had an issue with it.
Organic cane sugar is a great budget friendly alternative as well.
We buy the Countryside Creamery Pure Irish Butter made with milk from grass fed cows.
Olive is a healthy fat, but it is best used for dressings. It changes into a harder to digest form when heated.
Unrefined Organic coconut oil is also great for cooking and baking.
Most importantly, you want to make sure that you are avoiding vegetable oil, margarine, and all the seed oils. They are harder to digest. Saturated fatty acids that are from animals is the best way to go!
You can get Organic OJ, but I go for non organic Oj that has no added sugars and is not from concentrate. It has a thick skin that we do not eat so the fruit is less likely to be affected chemicals sprayed on the trees.
Grass fed collagen is your best option and we use it like protein powder. Here is the one from Amazon that we get. There are many options, but if you know of a cheaper on Amazon, please let me know. I try to save a few pennies here and there and be as frugal as possible.
Try to find organic apple cider vinegar that has the mother in it. We use this for bone broth, cooking rice, and a bunch of other things.
Because this is also a root, I get regular whole carrots and prefer not not to get baby carrots that have been peeled and are in some kind of water solution.
Organic unbleached unenriched wheat flour is what you want. Buying quality wheat flour is what has allowed me to eat gluten again after being gluten free for 6 years. This is the brand I buy to make sourdough recipes with. Someday, I will buy the whole grains and grind my own, but for now, this is what we can afford.
I buy regular quick oats and make oat sourdough recipes with it.
Organic Grass-Fed Beef
I no longer buy organic chicken. After calculating it out, buying enough good quality ground beef was just as expensive as buying an organic chicken. There are less harder to digest fats and it is much easier to cook with.
If you have the freezer space, buying a portion of a cow would potentially be cheaper than store bought. It would probably be more fresh and better quality.
I found a list from a local universities agricultural program that says what is in season for my state. I use this and the EWG list to determine what I get.
Himalayan salt works well, too, but because it is a rock salt, there are more impurities in it. The point is to get non iodized salt.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions.
If you are interested in meal plans, Fallon has some for sale on her blog. I’m not the meal planner type and have always done a simpler eating plan, but here are a few of my recipes that I make with these foods. You can also find more recipes in my article about Pro Metabolic Breakfast Ideas.
(Fallon and Kori Meloy also have a podcast if you want to nerd out on all the different things about Pro metablolic.)
This list is what I have found works well for my family. It is a constant journey of experimenting as our lifestyle changes and the seasons change as well as far as what will be available.
I know it works for me because I have balanced my stress hormones, reduced my rosacea, started eating gluten every day after being gluten free for almost 6 years, have avoided weight gain and actually had some weight loss even thought I am eating more than I have in a long time, slept better, and all of these while being a nursing momma! This is why I prioritize pro-metabolic foods!
Want to learn more about the Pro Metabolic “Diet”? Read this article.