March 7th

theresa albert - my friend in food


Life and Grocery Shopping


The Nine of Spades

I love grocery shopping. Seriously. I am not just saying that to impress Theresa Albert. I am not just writing a first sentence to a blog post. Dear reader, I kid you not, I love to grocery shop. And here is why:

Many life lessons can be learned at a grocery store
It is a necessary evil, might as well embrace it
Grocery shopping holds a world of possibilities

Life Lessons

Lesson #1 – a little kindness is a great thing

I remember grocery shopping with my mom when I was a little girl. As a single working mom she had little choice but to bring along my sister and me. We would ride in the cart while she shopped for the week. She made it fun and always tried to find ways for us to help. At the checkout, mom was always gracious and kind to the woman behind the till. Her kindness never went unnoticed – by me or by the checkout person. My mom would often put a smile on a weary face. From mom and her grocery shopping trips I learned the importance of being nice to people.

Lesson #2 – food is good, choices are bad

May sound silly to you, but for me and many women, knowing food is not the enemy is an important lesson. Sure I have eaten poorly in my past and carry extra baggage around my middle – heck, I’m an Ace Blogger for goodness sake, I need some help. But, I have never had a bad relationship with food. Only with choices.

It is my wish from the bottom of my heart that my daughter loves food as much as I do and does not obsess about her weight. When she is older, I will take her shopping with me so she can learn about making life-long positive choices when eating or purchasing food.

Necessary Evil

I admit there are many other things I would rather do than haul my ass over to the grocery store, the farmers market or the specialty food shop. But I also know if I don’t shop, my family will starve. So I choose the lesser of two evils.

Tim, my husband could do it, but in all honesty he is not the best choice to send out for food.  He’ll come home with nacho chips, pizza, and a shawck of ingredients I have no idea how to use. “But honey,” he’ll utter in defence, “it looked interesting.” Sure, but sweety, you um, forgot the MILK! So Tim and I have an understanding, I grocery shop, he fixes things. May seem very pink job/blue job but it works for us.

As such grocery shopping is a necessary evil. A chore that must get completed to starve off bad consequences. I chose my times wisely. Or so I thought. I go Monday morning, all by myself. Clever? Nope. According to Theresa Albert, those grocery store moguls know that is my time and lure me in with soft music and warm air.

Heavens to Betsy, she is right! I do slow down when inside. My mind can become a tangled mess of what to buy. Some days, clear headedness is lost at the doors and while I do buy lots of healthy items, I sometimes come home and find odd items in my bags. And I think, what possessed me to buy them? Now I know – the music.

Back in Vancouver, I had found a fun way to shop. I went with a girlfriend. We’d grab a cup of tea and catch up on gossip and parenting horror stories and then we would shop together. It was the only way I could see my dear friend Jackie on a regular basis. It took a bit longer, but we killed two birds with one stone. Now I live in Toronto and am grocery-buddyless (hence the Monday mornings). Anyone want to become my shopping BFF?

A World of Possibilities

From childhood fantasies to dating to new tastes, grocery shopping holds a world of possibility.

When I was little, grocery stores had metal bars near their exits. My sister and I use to swing on them, pretending we were the next Nadia Comaneci. In our minds we would dismount to tremendous applause, in reality it was puzzled stares from passerbys. But at that moment in our imaginations, we were the next great thing.

I’ve actually met a guy while grocery shopping on Granville Island. He worked at a stand I went to all the time. And one day, he asked me out. Was good while it lasted but boy it sucked when it ended; I had to avoid that stand for months. I certainly missed my homemade soups until he quit and I could face returning.

But really, a grocery store opens up a world of cooking and eating possibilities. Varieties of food unseen in many countries in this world. You can find Mexican, Italian, Middle Eastern and Chinese food ingredients. Organic. Healthy and not-so-healthy. Recipe possibilities and premade dinners.  A grocery store is the first step in creating wonderful meals for you and your family/friends. Open up to it and see what you find.

As a short aside, I want to mention two things. When I travel to foreign places I love finding local grocery stores. I scour their shelves for unique and interesting ingredients. I have also vetoed buying a house because it was not conveniently located near good food shopping. I now live within walking distance of a farmers market, three vastly different grocery stores and a couple of small specialty food shops. I love it.

My basket does follow Theresa’s guideline, but I have to be honest dear reader, I spend way longer than 20 minutes inside the store.

Here is my weekly challenge – these are all foods you may find in my fridge, freezer or pantry but to be honest, I usually make my own lasagne and pizza.

Item Brand Calories/Serving Serving Size Fibre Sodium
Cookies Christie – Oreo 120 2 cookies/24g 1g 95mg
Dare – Bear Paws 200 2 cookies/50g 1g 170mg
Lasagna President’s Choice Meat Lasagna 420 283g 4g 1080mg
M&M Meats Meat Lasagna 260 227g or 1/8 tray 3g 390mg
Pizza Dr. Oetker – Ristorante Formaggi et Pomodori 200 89g or ¼ package 2g 350mg
Dr. Oetker – Ristorante Speciale 200 83g or ¼ package 1g 510mg


Heather Lochner is a mother to two wonderful and energetic children and a freelance writer. Together with her children, husband and dog, she has recently relocated to Toronto after spending 15 years on the West Coast – many of which were spent living aboard her sailboat. Heather loves to exercise but always finds a reason to sit on the couch. While she knows carrots, whole wheat pasta and lean meat are good to eat, Heather loves to munch on a burger, chicken wings and poutine. Heather loves to cook, but is notorious for ruining every batch of chocolate chip cookies. She looks forward to seeing what’s in the cards during this Ace


6 Responses

    February 16, 2011 at 6:12 am Reply

    thnx bro

    February 16, 2011 at 10:55 am Reply

    I miss my grocery shopping BFF!!!! Seriously though, Superstore and Costco are not the same without you…

    February 16, 2011 at 6:39 pm Reply

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Heather Lochner and sleepdoula, Theresa Albert. Theresa Albert said: Yes! RT @HeatherLochner: grocery stores and life lessons…. Do you agree @theresaalbert #AceYourHealth [...]

    February 17, 2011 at 1:23 pm Reply

    look at the huge swing in brand comparison! holy Moses, reminds me to read the labels!

    February 17, 2011 at 2:17 pm Reply

    i love grocery shopping too! wish we lived closer to each other. maybe we could meet up for a costco shop although i’m thinking of going there less as more in house means we tend to eat more. hmm, will mull that over. thanks for stirring up the shopping memories. (^8

    February 17, 2011 at 4:50 pm Reply

    Katarina – the joy of a grocery BFF is the check and balance when shopping. So, Costco is a good thing to do together. And, knowing the two of us, we will be Farmer Market BFFs this summer! Organic and grown close to home. Perfect.

    Theresa, I know! I was amazed at some of the differences when completing the chart and felt a little ill to my stomach when I thought about it. Homemade is best.

    Jackie – I miss you too!

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