a happy soul

how taking care of your body will allow your soul to achieve a higher level of happiness

The Grocery List

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When I started dating Ben, I had to learn how to cook for a picky 5 year old, a very healthy, picky 5 year old. This punk’s discipline is pretty strong. Don’t tell him I told you, but his kryptonite includes starburst jelly beans and cheesecake, especially the white chocolate raspberry cheesecake I make a few times a year. Back to the point, when I eat something less than ideally healthy, I offer to share and he tries his best to not look disgusted. I’m either very perceptive or he is just a bad liar, but I’ll ask him why it’s not good for me and he’ll explain.  Ben does a great job of putting into lay terms why something is unhealthy. Instead of the using crazy terminology I don’t understand, he uses words that can put things into perspective. So below are some reasons as to why we try to avoid or reduce certain items in our way of eating.


Here are some things we try to reduce

White Flour – White flour has very little nutrients but a LOT of calories. Vegetables have a lot of nutrients and not a lot of calories so you get more bang for your buck.

Bread/Pasta Most breads and pasta are fairly processed. It is better if you can get your grains from unprocessed sources like quinoa, oatmeal, buckwheat etc. If you’re going to get bread/pasta get 100% whole wheat or multigrain. Make sure to check the ingredients because if they don’t say 100% whole wheat, it could still contain white flour in addition to some whole wheat (gracias sneaky bread manufacturers)

 Added Sugar/High Fructose Corn Syrup– Your body tries to keep your blood glucose level constant, but added sugar/high fructose corn syrup causes blood glucose levels to spike, which causes a lot of insulin to be released so it can control the blood glucose level. All that sugar isn’t needed or used and so insulin drives it into fat. After insulin does its job, your blood glucose level drops a lot and causes you to be hungrier more often so you eat more than needed.

Trans Fat – Body can’t digest trans fat and it has no nutrients. I’ve learned to think of eating trans fat as eating plastic ziploc bags and it helps me to deter away from things with trans fat.

My junior year of college I decided to stop buying bread and pasta when I went to the grocery. I’m not allergic to gluten but I wanted to force myself to eat more vegetables, lean protein and other WHOLE FOODS. Making some spaghetti or a PB&J sandwich were easy to revert to when things got busy. I eventually realized, bread and pasta were just conduits for other items like cheese, sauces, and cream cheese (Bagels with cream cheese are 100% guilty for what I looked like the end of my freshman year. Ew).

Ben and I’s grocery list is by no means the healthiest list but I think it can give you a good idea of what a healthier pantry and fridge may consist of. The focus of any grocery list should be buying more “WHOLE FOODS.”  Processed foods are harder on your body and have extra things in them that your body doesn’t need. Why eat things that don’t anything for your body? Part of feeling happier is to make sure your body has all the nutrients it needs. Each person is different but if you find a certain kind of milk, cheese, or bread that makes your stomach feel upset, then listen to your body and remove it from the grocery list. For example, Cheez-its make my stomach toss and turn and I can almost feel my body struggling to digest it, but with Annie’s Cheddar bunnies my stomach and my taste buds are happy. I promise if you listen to your body, it will let you know what it doesn’t like.


Ground Turkey Meat


Ground Sirloin










Bell Peppers






Shredded cheese or slices of cheese

Greek plain yogurt

Cottage Cheese


Triscuits/Wheat thins

Protein Bars (Cliff Bars/Zone bars etc)

Blue tortilla chips


Breads (If we do get bread, we will get these)

Sandwich Thins (multigrain or whole wheat)

Pita Bread (whole wheat)

What are some foods you’ve removed from the grocery list? What are some foods you think are the hardest to replace or substitute for?


Author: Erica Van Treese

I live an exciting, adventurous life with my husband Ben (he can take credit for the adventurous part). We live in little ol' Columbus and we just love this city! I'm an organizer with OCD (self-diagnosed). My husband turned me into a crazy water ski competitor and taught me how to jump off a 5 foot ramp going 32mph to see how far I can go, and sometimes I don't land the way I should (The whole ski community is a little coo coo, but I love them). I love pizza, and when I proclaim my love for pizza all my friends go "We know". My favorite thing is when my family and friends gather for a meal, and there is banter and wine. I love art and looking at beautiful things and I believe every item of decor in a home should have a meaning and a story behind it. I love food and exercising, but just like any other person there are days I really don't feel like going to the gym or I just rather throw in a pizza in the oven for dinner (and sometimes I do). This blog is a reflection of my love for being happy and my journey on eating right and exercising to achieve a higher level of happiness.

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