Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Inspiration from a local Trader Joe's Crew member- Paleo Food list

Post beach walk and Sunday Trader Joe's Paleo Shopping
Okay, so I was shopping at one of my local Trader Joe's (Encintias, CA) and a local crew member (Esther) struck up a conversation about Paleo and Trader Joe's.

Wearing my PaleoFx T-Shirt may have been an ice breaker. 

*Esther if I've remembered your name wrong, I'll update it! ;)

Esther had recently completed a Whole30.  Esther and I thought it might be informative to develop a Paleo Trader Joes list. (Hey, if Nom Nom Paleo can have a Whole Foods list, surely I can pin a list of my favorites staples from Trader Joe's to my blog).

Food Sobriety doesn't have to be a life of dull, boring meals. (My food template does have to be measured and I do have to be careful, I have full respect for recovery.)

 In fact, my food has never been tastier or more nutritious than now. We all have to eat, but I can choose foods that don't trigger over eating that keep me in a normal weight. 

Yeah, after 40 years of obesity and binge eating, I can have nutrient dense foods and recovery, too. Better late than never.  I do think grain free and processed sugar free Paleo/Primal approach is underused in long term weight management. It won't work for everyone, but it will work for many. 

Batch Cooking at home is also key

Of course, my Paleo favorite foods at Trader Joe's will be completely different from a person who

  • Is or is not maintaining a large weight loss
  • Is or is not a person with trigger foods for over eating. 
  • Is or is not insulin and glucose sensitive
  • Is or is not in menopause
  • Is or is not post auto-immune disease
  • Is or is not dairy sensitive (Primal/Paleo)
  • Is or is not cooking for a family
  • Is or is not working full time
 I'll be working a list of my favorites over the week. Will post a link on the blog. Just planting the seed on what works for me.  Adapting what works for you will be different. As it should. We all have different genotypes and phenotypes. Best to customize.

What are your Trader Joe's favorites? Is there a Trader Joe's in your area? If not, where do you shop for your basics.

What works for me right now:

1. Shopping and cooking foods that keep me fed but not triggered to overeating (Paleo-ish food template, lower carb, higher natural fat, moderate protein)
2. Batch cooking on the weekends or during the week, as needed.

What didn't work in the past:

1. Buying snack foods and trying to consume them in small amounts (examples: Popcorn & Pirates Booty & Peanuts) and getting triggered to overeat.

2. Eating out a lot because I felt stressed or overworked and deserved to eat fast, processed foods.


  1. I'm really looking forward to seeing your list, Karen! I absolutely LOVE TJs. It's just a fun store to shop in. Their cruciferous (sp?) blend is awesome...just stir-fry in coconut oil, add some protein, and there you have a full meal. So simple! Which is key for me - work full time, mom to 2 girls (ages 5 & 2), wife whose husband is out of town about 50% of the time. Can't wait to see your list!

    1. I love the cruciferous crunch- that mix of veggies is delish. I've been using the mixture while the broccoli slaw is out of season for a while. Oh, yeah. Who needs noodles when you have a good veggie substitute. Freezes well too after sauteed in coconut or avocado oil.

  2. Hi, Karen. I, too, am looking forward to seeing your list! I would be curious to see if you buy organic vegetables. I currently do not, but I just was talking to a friend, and I now think I should be doing so. I do not live near a Trader Joe's or a Whole Foods, but my grocery store has plenty of organic fruits and vegetables. In addition, we have several local markets where I live. I buy my beef and bison online to ensure that it is grass fed, and now I am going to do the same for chicken.

    It costs more to eat healthfully (I also own more expensive cookware). But I rarely go out so I am not spending money on expensive restaurants (I have no desire). And I am worth it because I want to maintain my health!

    1. PS: I get my beef and bison online from Grass Fed Traditions, and I love the company! It comes packaged in dry ice, and it is very convenient for me.

    2. Ali, I buy organic when and where I can. I want to support organic produce, even if it's big box stores like Trader Joes or Costco. Best case is I buy from local farmers, but I can't always get to a Farmer's market where and when I need the food.

      I'll have to check prices over at Grass Fed. I'm so mixed on buying local vs buying inexpensive imported from NZ or Australia. I do want to support California local, but paying $10-12 per pound.... vs $6-7.50 per pound... well... I often go for less expensive, then buy local sometimes.

    3. Grass fed is still fairly expensive, but I don't have access to TJs or Costco. I so wish I did!

  3. It's fun when you meet out with others who share your foodie ways !! I stick to the basics most of the time and like you, choose not to eat out often. I have so much more control at home and we really do enjoy home cooked food. I find that I can have the odd "off plan" food now and it doesn't trigger me to eat more. I am very careful though what that off plan food is!

    1. Lynda, yeah! Home cooked meals. I've been glutened enough. When your friends ask you "Does pasta have gluten?" after they've prepped a meal for you.... OR if the restaurant worker says " It seems like it would be, tastes pretty good to me"

      Glad you are careful about what you eat. You are very smart. :)

  4. Also looking forward to the list. Our Trader Joe's is pretty small...so I'm wondering if they'll even have your suggestions. I do love their ghee, bell pepper/onion mix, and my husband loves their jalapeno stuffed olives..haha!

    1. Rebecca, We have some smaller and bigger TJ's in our area. Some are harder to shop on the weekends. LOL. I'll be getting busy on the list soon. A lot of our produce comes from Mexico, so I wonder if TJ's sources locally?

  5. I wish we had a Trader Joe's here :(
    I'm so pleased to see that you're doing well. I've definitely come around to the low carb. Just took me a while to believe. No cravings and extra energy!


    1. Yeah Suzanne, glad you are testing what works. I know it's not for all, but for me, low carb is really a life saver for weight maintenance and over all health. I just got a good bill of health (still awaiting labs) from my doc.

      It does take a while to accept any change that's different from what you've done before. Glad you are taking the self experimenting steps of n=1. :)

  6. Hi Karen, I just discovered your blog and I looked at the beach picture and said, "Hey, I know where that is..." I used to live in Carlsbad but now I'm "way up north" in San Juan Capistrano. I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog. I am not strictly paleo but more LCHF. DH and I lost 30 pounds (each) last year--when we were living in Encinitas--and are keeping it off. But more important, we have gotten so much healthier. We'd both like to lose another 10 but the scales are being stubborn. That's okay, we just have to be patient. Seeya around.

    1. Hi Rian!!!! I spend a lot of time up in the SJC area... Congrats on your weight loss and yes- having better, over all health. That is key.

      Weight loss in the last 10 pounds, I found that it goes slowly and yes, patience. :) Keep the the great work. I've been sidelined by a cold virus the last week or so. Many blog posts in my head.