The Woman of Proverbs 31

I first came in contact with today’s guest poster, Laura, through her site Joshua’s Tree, where I was impressed by the creative ideas to help families focus on glorifying God through fun and thought provoking activities. This post is a wonderful reminder to me to stop striving (and it fits well with my earlier post this week).

Guest Post by Laura

Calla lily
If I told you that the rest of this post was going to be about a woman of the Bible, what would you think?  What if I told you it was about a woman who wasn’t even given a name?  What if she was the Proverbs 31 woman?  If you are like most women I talk to, you are probably doing one of the following:

Response #1: You are squirming with discomfort. The woman of Proverbs 31 is too much to look up to. When does she sleep? Can someone possibly do that much? She must be Superwoman. If I just ignore she exists, my life will be much happier.

Response #2: The Proverbs 31 woman – now she is someone to look up to, someone I strive to be like. And then you make a list of all of the tasks she has accomplished and plan to be just like her.

Those may not be 100% accurate, but I have to admit that I frequently jump between the two responses.

No matter what your feelings are towards this particular chapter in the book of Proverbs, the reality is that it’s there, and there are so many practical lessons we can learn from her.  Here are just a few of the things God has been teaching me.

Point #1: Jesus is our ultimate example. While the Proverbs 31 woman is pretty cool, and we can learn a lot from her, we must never place her example above God’s example.  I often need to remind myself of this when I study Bible characters, people in history, or even when I see others around me.  They are all flawed – except for Christ.

Point #2: It’s in the principles. Just as with most Biblical characters and stories, God often chooses to teach us principles. There are many in the Bible whom God specifically called to follow Him. Yet when the healed demoniac asked to follow Jesus, he was told to stay where he was and tell others about how he was healed. Yet in cases of both followers and the demoniac, the principle is the same – we must be willing to give up everything, including our own desires, to be obedient to God’s callings.

Here are some of the principles we can learn from the Proverbs 31 woman:

  • Diligence/Hard work
  • Care for family
  • Stewardship
  • Compassion
  • Wisdom
  • Fear of the Lord

Point #3: We can’t do it ourselves. This is so crucial, and is something I’m learning in so many areas of my life. We must allow Him to work in us. Then life becomes less of an issue of a list to check off, and more a life of surrender and dependence on God’s strength to follow through with His plans for our lives.

Can you relate to me when I become stressed out by asking myself these questions:  What do others think about my house, my work, my life, etc? How do they perceive me? Am I doing things the right way? Am I making the right choices? I often feel that my life has to look perfect and pristine – just like the Proverbs 31 woman. So I try . . . really hard.

Yet it is in this striving that we go wrong (check out Exodus 14:14). I cannot let social constraints determine what is important or how I should live my life. I cannot base my choices on perceived expectations of others. I must allow God to have all of my heart and my life. He can then work in me to make me more diligent, caring, compassionate, wise and a better steward. He can also help me to learn to grow in Him and give Him higher priority.

Why don’t you join me and the woman in Proverbs 31 and pray that God will daily help us to depend on Him so that He can work in our lives and transform us?

Laura great passion is to lead kids and their families to Christ. She loves her role as wife and is eager to add the mother role to her description someday soon. You can read about her adventures through life at her blog At Jesus’ Feet or learn about Joshua’s House, the family ministry God has called her to.

Nourishing Portable Food

Nourishing portable

I'm actually so thankful for this carnival, as it comes at a great time for me. I'm really struggling with what to send with my husband for lunch lately.

I think the reason I struggle with making lunches is because it is not consistent. One week he may only need one lunch, the next he might be home for 3 days, and need a lunch 2 days, another week he may be gone all week and be unsure of exactly where he will be each day for lunch (so leftovers may or may not work).

The unknown factors make it a source of frustration for me, and I am sad to say that I have not given it my all to find a solution that works for my husband and I. Many times I have had to toss together a lunch spur of the moment (not always the best, as you can imagine), many days he has had to eat out, and occasionally he has even just skipped lunch and had a few snacks here and there. Not ideal at all.

Since I desire to learn to serve my husband better in this area, it has been a good activity for me to think through the options I have and start to be more purposeful in this area. I haven't had the time these past two weeks to do any experimenting, but I thought I would at least give it some thought and suggest some of the things that we enjoy taking with us for lunches on the go.

Lunch Entrees:

Our favorite sandwich variations- rolled in tortillas, in pita pockets. on buns or biscuits or bagels, and of course, just plain old bread. My husband loves it when we have our favorite nitrate-free sandwich meat, but when we don't, it's any combination of lettuce, sprouts, pickles, cucumber or tomato slices, and definitely always cheese.

Salsa, guac and tortilla chips- not necessarily completely filling, in and of itself, but combined with something else, it's a nice, fresh lunch.

Rice and bean salad- This tangy salad is quite filling, and won't go bad easily in a lunch bag. Other salads that would be nice are Greek salad, this Black Bean and Avocado salad, or Tabbouli.

Homemade meatballs (these just feel like a very portable and easy finger food, but they're yummy and filling)

Samosas (these are tasty little pastry-like pockets that come from Indian cuisine, filled with a rice, veggie and meat filling, and then baked. I love using the Nourishing Traditions recipe and making a huge batch for the freezer!)

Meal salads (usually a garden salad, topped with either diced or sliced meat or chicken, canned salmon, chunks of cheese, or hard boiled eggs, with a small jar of dressing on the side)

Soup or stew in a thermos (we haven't always had a nice thermos, but now that we do, this will be a great option in the winter, and so easy to just make a larger dinner the night before)

Crackers, with meat and cheese slices (sometimes I buy nice nitrate-free deli sausages, and these are really nice in little cracker "sandwiches")

Hummus (with veggie sticks, with pita, with organic tortilla chips)- here's my favorite recipe:

Amazing Homemade Hummus (from a Lebanese chef)

28 oz. can chickpeas (or equivalent amount of your own cooked chickpeas)
7-8 cloves garlic
2 1/2 lemons, juiced
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp tahini
(sesame seed paste- available in most ethnic food aisle and health food stores)

Put 1 28 oz. can of chickpeas in a pot and boil until darker, then let cool (since I cook all my own beans, I just make the approximate amount, and overcook them slightly)

Food process or blend the chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, salt and tahini until smooth. If needed, add small amounts of water to help blend, until you reach a consistency that you like.

This recipe freezes really well, too!

For many more fantastic healthy and portable food ideas, make sure you check out the Nourishing Portable Food Carnival, over at The Nourishing Gourmet!

Help me out: Grass-fed steaks

Cow in field2
 Here's a quick question that came up from our meal on Sunday afternoon… are we the only ones who are finding our grass-fed steaks to be incredibly tough and practically impossible to eat?

Up until recently, we just haven't really bought steak, and have stuck to more utilitarian (and cheaper) cuts like ground beef, roasts, stew meat, etc. A couple of months ago, we decided to purchase a 1/4 of a cow, and with that came a large amount of steaks (t-bone, chuck, sirloin, everything).

Now, I will openly confess that I am not a great steak cooker. In fact, any tips you have would be very welcome (by not only myself, but my husband as well!). However, it does not seem to matter what we do with these steaks. They are just not pleasant to eat!

I talked to my SIL about it today, as they buy their meat from the same place, and they have had the exact same experience. So I'm curious, are others of you out there buying portions of grass-fed cows and finding that the steaks are tender and enjoyable, or are they tough in general? We prefer to only buy the most naturally raised meat, but we want to enjoy it, too!

What to do with all that zucchini…

Spaghetti zucchini bake
 Wondering what to do with the gigantic zucchini that are taking over your backyard? Or perhaps you have friends who garden and keep trying to slip a zucchini into your purse each time you visit?

For your sake and mine, here is some inspiration for using a plentiful zucchini harvest, as my Kitchen Tip for the day:

Zucchini Bread (this great recipe originally comes from Sue Gregg's Whole Grain Baking, one of my favorite cookbooks that uses the soaking/sprouted techniques!)

Farfalle (pasta) with Zucchini (a friend just sent me this link today- looks sooo good!)

Spaghetti Zucchini Bake (truly good- we've had this twice, and loved it both times! I used ground beef once, and diced chicken another time, and always use fresh onions. It's the casserole in the photo above.)

Roasted Zucchini with Garlic (haven't tried this yet, but it looks yummy)

Grilled Vegetable Salad (on my meal plan for this week)

Quinoa and Grilled Zucchini Recipe (I discovered this as I was looking around today- so interesting! As soon as we are eating grains again, I think I'll give it a go)

Janet's Tomato Sauce (my MIL's recipe, that I add shredded zucchini to)

Crispy Potato Pancakes (I altered this recipe, much to the delight of my Korean students, who said it tasted like home. I tripled the recipe and added a few cupfuls of shredded zucchini and carrots, and used less oil in my frying. Very tasty!)

And I had to add in one that really isn't all that healthy, but it looks so scrumptious…

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

(and, if you substituted honey, or even Rapdura or another brand of raw, unrefined sugar, and used the coconut oil or real butter, and sprouted grain flour, you could make the recipe pretty healthy. If you don't, and you just indulge in it as is, I won't judge you. :)

Seeking simplicity

Simple window and orchids

I've been feeling really worn out lately.

I'm not sure when I started to feel this way exactly, only that it's been quite some time now. I wish I could put a handle on the causes and find a simple fix, but I'm not sure that it's that easy.

I can think of several things that have probably contributed. Starting this blog very shortly after my husband finishing his cancer treatments and then moving into a new house was probably a bit too ambitious. Doing several different types of cleanse and restrictive diets over the past year and a half (for myself, my husband and my son). Having two months of huge technical blog issues that practically consumed me. Choosing to take in two sets of homestay students this summer, one after the other, and unfortunately having a difficult time with both (and eating poorly during that time). Planting a fairly large, organic garden for being the novice that I am. Struggling to discipline well and consistently, leading to many challenges with disobedience and my own sinful heart as a result.

It's probably not any one of those things, though, and maybe not even the combination of them. There's nothing spectacular about my circumstances or situation, nothing that's especially hard.

The fact is that I put a lot on myself, and have quite high expectations. I tend to over burden and overwhelm myself and my schedule with all that must be done (or so I think), and then struggle with guilt and frustration and anger when it doesn't happen the way I think it should. In my frustration and tiredness, I then lack the organization to stay on top of things and life begins to unravel even more.

I don't think I am alone. Most women I know tend to feel over committed, frazzled, lacking in time to do all that they need or want to do, disorganized (to some degree), and just plain tired. Whoever told us we needed to be Superwomen? Why did we believe them? What makes our lives so busy and out of focus?

Crystal's book recommendations a month or so back sparked something in me, and I realized that I needed to pursue this area of my life. Because it wasn't just an area- it was spreading into every nook and cranny of life, affecting my health, my marriage, my mothering, my relationship with God, my disposition, my care for others.

My reading for the next couple of months is focusing in on my desire to find simplicity in my day to day life. To learn where I can scale down, minimize, do with less, say no to commitments, get organized, declutter, prioritize and just renew myself and my focus. To learn to simplify, and to spend time on what is truly important and valuable (glorifying God, loving my family, having an orderly and peaceful home, serving others).

Here's the list I'm working my way through:

Better off
Better Off – Flipping the Switch on Technology (Two People, One Year, Zero Watts) (thanks to Kimi for the recommendation)- Eric Brende

Clutter to clarity From Clutter to Clarity: Simplifying Life from the Inside Out- Nancy Twigg

Worn out womanThe Worn Out Woman: When Life is Full and Your Spirit is Empty- Dr. Steve Stephens and Alice Gray

Don't waste your life
Don't Waste Your Life- John Piper

Quest for more
A Quest for More: Living for Something Bigger Than You- Paul David Tripp

Does this topic strike a chord with anyone else? I've actually been feeling like it's a bit of a theme in many of the blogs that I've been reading lately.
Simple Living Series- Passionate Homemaking
From Exhaustion to Rejuvenation- Overcoming the Worn Out Woman Syndrome- Biblical Womanhood
Living a Simple Life- Frugal Granola

I've also considered opening this up as a carnival each week, as I share things that I am learning about and doing to simplify and re-focus my own life, and wondered whether others might be interested in joining me. Would the idea of "Living Simply Saturdays", where you can share your own pursuit of simplicity and add your link on my blog, appeal to anyone?

Image Credit- allposters.com

Frugal Family Vacations!

But if you want to read it, you'll have to hop on over to The Motherload blog at MomAdvice! It's my first guest post for the lovely Amy, and I'm so excited to see if up there!

Beach holiday
I wrote a lot of the tips and tricks that I've been discovering through planning our recent trip to the Grand Canyon this September (as well as a few other things I've learned from my time in Japan, my trip to Europe, and a few other more local jaunts).

Our trip is really coming together! So far I've scored some really cheap flights to Phoenix on Travelocity, this private hostel to stay at in Flagstaff, 2 nights at the Crowne Plaza in Phoenix through Priceline, and an excellent price on a rental car through Dollar Rent-a-Car. We're also going to be signing up with Entertainment Online, to get lots of 2 for 1 coupons while we're there.

All that's left is finalizing our itinerary, and planning for snacks, what to pack, etc. The kids passports arrived on Friday, I can pick mine up next Friday, and my hubby's should be arriving shortly. Whohoo!

What I’ll be doing tomorrow…

…having my long awaited garage sale!

I mentioned a few months back that I was planning to do a lot of decluttering and simplifying, just trying to get rid of all our excess "stuff". I intended to have the sale in July, but life was too hectic with the students, so I bumped it to this weekend, now that all our students are gone.

I've tried to go through every area of the house as much as possible, and I can't believe the amount of stuff that I have piled up in my garage! Who knew we had so much unnecessary stuff? (I'll try to take a picture at the sale, if I remember). I can't wait to get rid of it and hopefully make a bit of $ to contribute to our Grand Canyon trip in September.

Needless to say, I'll be busy this weekend, but I can't wait! Clearing out my house just feels soooo good.

I love gardening!

If I've said it once, I just may have said it a hundred times this year… I love gardening!

More precisely, what I love at this very moment is reaping the rewards of all my efforts, as I bring my delicious, organic produce in to my kitchen!

Abbie-and-pickling-cukes

Here's my sweet little girl, showcasing our first 8 pickling cucumbers for you. Yesterday we washed and cut these little babies up, and made a batch of genuine pickles (as in, the old-fashioned fermented ones, a la Nourishing Traditions). We've done this once before, and I didn't post about it, because it was a flop. The reason it was a flop, however, it because I apparently don't like to follow directions well.

The recipe said to leave the jar of pickles out in a warm place (on the counter, in a pantry, etc.) for 3 days, no more, no less, and then put it in cold storage (ie. the fridge). Sounds simple, right? You'd think I could handle that.

But noooooo, I decided that 3 days couldn't possibly be enough, and set out to leave them for a week. Well, I forgot and left them for 2 weeks! What were supposed to be crunchy dills turned out to be soggy, mushy, yucky cucumber slices. Not so appetizing. This time, I actually put a little sticker on top of the jar reminding myself of what day to transfer them to the fridge!

Zucchinis-on-counter

These 3 bad boys are from my extremely productive zucchini plant. I've tried to pick my zucchini smaller than this, but it was cold and rainy for a bit, and by the time I remembered to go out and check for zucchini, there were three big ones already!

That's okay, because I'm going to use one to make a zucchini lasagna for us since we're on Phase 1 of the Maker's Diet and are not eating grains (does anyone have a good recipe?). The rest will be grated and frozen. Did you know you can do that with extra zucchini? I had no idea, but I was talking to one of the older women in my care group the other night (I hope that's not insulting- she's not old, just older than me!), and mentioned my proliferate zucchini, and she told me that's what she always does. I am going to have enough bags of shredded zucchini to make bread and muffins and spaghetti sauce and meatloaf all year long!

Watermelon

I wish very much that I could say this was from my garden, but sadly, it is not. I do have a plant that's growing this very variety of watermelon (sugar baby), but all of my seedlings died in our June cold snap, and had to be replanted. It's growing well again now, but I'm not sure I'm going to see any fruit that actually matures.

I just had to show this watermelon anyways because the amazing produce market I go to had several different varieties, aside from the typical hybrid watermelon that everyone else sells (which I find mildly bland). Not this heirloom, though. Oh no. It is bursting with flavor and it has real watermelon seeds (not the wimpy ones that you can just chew) that make you want to have a spitting contest. This is the real thing. Hooray for heirloom varieties!

May I also just say that whoever told you when you were 7 that you couldn't eat watermelon seeds because one would grow inside your stomach was so very, very wrong? Trust me. They don't grow that easily. I think we're all safe.

Aside from all of this bounty, I've got yellow onions drying underneath my porch stairs, carrots waiting to be picked, oodles of gorgeous heirloom tomatoes getting ready to ripen, Lemon and Japanese Long cucumbers getting bigger every day, corn that has ears growing (I can't believe I'm growing corn!), hordes of winter squash taking over my yard, and even two little teeny peppers on the plant!

A couple weeks ago I planted more carrots and broccoli. Today I ordered some spinach and garlic (oh yes- if you want garlic for this fall- go order it tomorrow- I'm not kidding, or you will miss out as I almost did!), and I've got more pea, beet, turnip, radish, lettuce and carrot seeds awaiting. Too. much. fun. :)

Where are your gardens at? What are your plans for fall gardening? I assume I'm one of the latest ones for being in the midst of my summer harvest, being so far North. What have you all been harvesting and preserving so far?

CFL bulbs might not be such a great, green option after all

Clf bulb
When we realized the savings to be had and the energy efficiency to be gained by switching over to CFL light bulbs, we were sold and decided to make the switch. Though the process isn't complete, we've probably transitioned more than half of our home.

Problem is, in the past few weeks I've begun to read reports that concern me.

The deal is that these bulbs contains small amounts of mercury. Mercury is a highly toxic element, that should be avoided, particularly by children and pregnant or nursing mothers, but really by everyone. It has very dangerous neurotoxic effects, which is why there is such a huge concern with mercury in silver tooth fillings, vaccinations, etc.

If a bulb breaks, guess what you'll be dealing with? You guessed it… a mercury spill. This is bad news!

Check out this great post from Blissfully Domestic (might I take this opportunity to say that I am thrilled to be a new contributor to their Family section?).

As well, this is an important link to the EPA with information regarding clean up and spills, etc. (which is also linked to in the above post).

I'm getting ready to make a case to my husband for ditching our new bulbs, in favor of returning to plain old incandescent ones. Am I the only one?

Nutritional Foundations- Making the best of the regular grocery store, Part 2

This is the part of this series where I start to get really practical. Last week I discussed how it is possible to do well (nutritionally speaking) with only a regular grocery store, primarily by focusing on a whole foods diet and by shopping the perimeter of the store.

This week I'm going to begin to take you on a more detailed tour of the store, working through each department individually and offering some suggestions and tips (once I'm done this, I'll start working on individual questions that have been asked). Let's get started!

Produce

Pepper and tomatoes
 I know that this is one area where conventional grocery stores can wildly vary. One may have it's own organic produce section or carry lots of fresh and local vegetables and fruits.

Others may be more isolated, perhaps up North, and you may be lucky to find wilted iceberg lettuce, the only peaches you ever see are canned, and they think Kale is a trendy boys name. That's okay. There are still plenty of things that you can do to maximize the nutritional benefit of the produce that you are buying for your family!

Use the Dirty Dozen

I've linked to a previous post of mine, where I outline how you can use this list of the most highly sprayed vegetables and fruits to help you prioritize your buying decisions, and make the most of your budget. Read the post- I think you'll find it helpful, especially for those of you who do have some organics available (for generally ludicrous prices), but also for those who would like to know which foods to avoid or eat less of if organics aren't available.

Keep your produce colorful

Fruits and vegetables come in a dazzling array of colors, and the beauty of it is that it's not just for aesthetics. The color pigmentation in produce are an indication of the nutrients (the vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, etc.) that the food contains.

By making sure that your family eats a wide variety of colors, from the purple of beets and cabbages and the reds of peppers and tomatoes, to the greens of spinach and broccoli and the oranges of sweet potatoes and mangoes. The more colorful your diet, the more likely that you are getting a solid balance of the nutrients your body needs for abundant health.

Wash it well

See this post for a detailed discussion on the why's and how's of washing your produce. When you are only able to purchase conventional process, washing it well and peeling when necessary is very important to avoiding pesticides and other toxins.

Go darker

When you're given the option, choose produce that is darker in color, rather than lighter. A good example of this is lettuce and other greens. The darker the leaf, the higher the nutritional content. Grapes are another one. Choose dark purple grapes over the green variety (and additionally, choose domestic over imported, as the imports tend to use more sprays, and ones that are more highly toxic).

Antioxidants are your friends

These amazing nutrients and enzymes actually help your body to protect itself from the effects of damaging free radical cells, which cause disease. The more that you can include in your diet, the more that your body will be able to defend itself against free radicals (which can come from things like pollution, toxins, alcohol, cigarette smoke, etc.).

Vibrantly colored produce tends to have the highest levels (for example, cherries, blueberries, kale, broccoli). See this post for some more information on antioxidants, and a great list of which foods to find them in.

Consume liberally

Regardless of whether you are able to buy fruits and vegetables that are organic or not, they are a crucial part of a healthy diet, because they provide important vitamins, minerals and fiber. Make every effort to learn to include as many as you possibly can in your families meals and snacks! I aim for a solid 5-7 servings of fruits and veggies per day. We have our off days, but generally I would say that we eat close to that amount, so I know that it's very possible!

Seafood

Salmon
There are so many contradicting opinions on seafood out there these days, and I don't feel that it's worthwhile to get into the various arguments and debates for the purpose of this post. However, I will say that although I think it is necessary to use discretion with some of the options that exist, in general, fish is an excellent source of protein and good fats, and should definitely have a place in your diet. We aim to eat fish a minimum of once a week, and try to change up the types that we eat whenever possible.

Here are a few basic guidelines:

Avoid farmed fish– There is really nothing redeeming about farmed fish. It usually has contaminants and toxins, may contain dyes (to make salmon more pink, for example), and does not have the highly beneficial fatty acid content of wild fish. If a package does not specify that the fish is wild, then assume that it is farmed.

Unfortunately, we cannot even fully trust the labeling that tells us a fish is wild. Check out this article. I liked the article's recommendations to consider whether you are buying the fish off season (my local grocery store only carries wild west coast salmon in the spring and summer- otherwise it's the expensive Alaskan salmon, or else it's farmed), and also if in doubt, you can purchase canned sockeye (red) salmon, because it is always wild.

More than one type of wild

To continue with this thought, it's worth mentioning that not all "wild" fish is created equal, so to speak. Wild fish that has been caught further north, in more pristine and unpolluted waters (such as Alaskan sockeye salmon) is a healthier choice than your typical wild pink salmon. However, it is also prohibitively priced for most regular families, including ours. I will very occasionally splurge on it, but we often stick to the wild pink. Sometimes, you just have to do the best you can. If you can afford to buy the better quality stuff, do it as often as you can, and watch for sales!

Frozen is fine

I know that many of you do not live in places where there is fresh fish in abundance. If you can find wild frozen fish, this is a perfectly fine substitute, practically as good as fresh. The only thing is to check whether the frozen fish has preservatives added. I was in denial that there was anything added to my frozen salmon filets I had been purchasing, until a friend mentioned it one day. I had been trusting that it was just plain old salmon, but when I read the ingredients I realized I was wrong. Check the ingredients, and avoid any sulfites/sulfates or any other preservatives.

Avoid shellfish

I'll likely get comments from people telling me they disagree (probably because they don't want to give up their shrimp and lobster!), but here's my personal opinion, based on much research and reading. There's a reason that God made shellfish off limits in the Levitical food laws. The basic reasoning is that shellfish are like vacuums in the ocean. Put them into contaminated waters, and they will purify the water. Guess where the toxins go? Into the shellfish. This is likely why so many people are either highly allergic or sensitive to shellfish, and why so many people get food poisoning and other illnesses from eating them. I'm not saying they don't taste good. I'm just saying God is smarter than us.

What to buy?

Whole salmon (fresh or frozen) and canned salmon usually top my list (though recent BPA concerns in canned foods have minimized my use of canned fish). I personally avoid tuna due to high mercury levels, but that is a debate with many loud voices on either side. We eat plenty of white fish as well- trout, cod, snapper, pollock, halibut- the possibilities are endless! Fresh fish prices are a bit exorbitant (although it is wonderful if you can get it), so I usually buy frozen and get fresh only when it goes on sale or just for a treat.

We usually either bake the fish with a sauce or herbs, lemon and butter, etc. or simply fry it in a pan with a bit of butter, salt and pepper, and maybe some spices. Sometimes I make a homemade tartar sauce, which is delicious. Sometimes I add fish to a curry, or to a chowder. Any way you do it, fish can be a wonderful addition to a healthy diet!

Next week we'll continue on with the grocery store, taking a look at the deli and dairy sections. 

What types of produce and/or seafood do you purchase from your regular grocery store? Any tips to share with the rest of us on buying foods with the most nutritional value? Any particular issues you'd like to me to address?