#35: Buzzwords, Shmuzzwords – How to Actually Grocery Shop! with Maria Marlowe


If you’ve ever gotten lost in the grocery store, this episode’s for you. Because my guest Maria Marlowe is a grocery store guru…if that’s a thing. I mean, she has a whole 260+ page book on how to buy real food at the grocery store, so I assume that makes her a grocery store guru! Last time Maria was on the show, she spoke about how our food affects our face, and stressed the importance of eating clean shiz to clean up your skin. Well that’s all well and good, except if you don’t know how to purchase clean shiz to eat, you and your skin and your gut and your SELF are shiz out of luck. But no more do you have to feel like a foreign tourist in the grocery store or get home and try to spiralize a cucumber that you bought instead of a zucchini, because Maria dropped some knowledge bombs on how to be the bomb dot com at grocery shopping!

Oh, and here’s the awesome trailer I helped Maria make for her book:

Also, a major thank you to Sunwarrior for sponsoring this episode! If you don’t already know, I’m a die-hard fanatic of Sunwarrior’s plant-protein powder (their ‘vanilla classic’ is my favorite and what I use to make my daily protein waffles!). To hear about how adding Sunwarrior protein into my diet has radically changed my health and physique, read this! <<

Sparknotes of Our Chat

Maria’s my first repeat podcast guest! Her first episode “How Food Affects Our Face” is one of the most popular episodes!

But right now, Maria’s focused on grocery shopping. Her first book, “The Real Food Grocery Guide” is AWESOME. In a nutshell…

“It’s the most practical, easy-to-use guides to selecting the healthiest foods in every aisle of the grocery store without going broke”

The book was born because she used to take her coaching clients on grocery store tours and realized there are just sooo many questions and overwhelm people experience in the grocery store with all the confusing crazy buzz words.

Ex: gluten free. Gluten free simply means a food does not contain gluten. It doesn’t necessarily mean that food is healthy!

“Certain foods develop this healthy halo around them because marketers are using these buzzwords that we think, ‘oh! That must mean it’s healthy!’ but no – a gluten-free cookie is still a cookie.”

So it’s really figuring out what all these words mean and deciding if a product is really actually good for you.

Kind of weird that a book like this didn’t exist till now…but thanks to Maria for bringing it to life!

I think her animal section is one of the most important sections of the book because there are so many more words that pop up when we choose animal products than when we choose produce. (And even if you don’t eat animal products, it’s helpful to know what you should be buying your loved ones, right?!)

Maria always rolls her eyes at “organic fish” on a restaurant menu. Organic fish doesn’t really mean that the fish is given organic feed. Most important for fish is “farmed.”

For dairy, organic is the way to go! The biggest confusion Maria sees people have with dairy is with low-fat dairy. To make something low-fat, you remove flavor. So something’s gotta go back in to make some flavor come back in! Usually, that’s SUGAR. And that’s BAD.

“Once you know what to choose and how to select things, you know that for the rest of your life!”

Maria believes the best sweets we can eat are fruits! I believe that too! (You know I love my banana ice cream and stuffed dates.)

On cooking, Maria says:

“If you basically chop any vegetable up, and saute it with garlic and olive oil, it’s going to taste good. You don’t need a very complicated recipe, you can just simply roast it or saute it and it will probably taste good.”

^ plus some pink or sea salt!

Speaking of oil – avocado oil, anyone? Have you tried it? I haven’t yet! But Maria explains that it’s a very neutral oil so it doesn’t have a specific flavor – it’s great for high-heat cooking and making dressings.

The most common areas of confusion in the grocery store:

  • A lot of people don’t actually know what not-so-common produce are.

“We’re so used to getting food out of packages that we don’t really know what it looks like in its natural form.”

  • How to read a label! It’s not about calories, yo! It’s about ingredients.

“Calories aren’t all created equal. If you think about 100 calories of kale or almonds versus 100 calories of a gluten-free cookie, they’re not going to do the same thing in your body.”

“They metabolize differently, they affect your mood, they affect your satiety, they affect everything about your health differently. So simply looking at the calories is really an incomplete picture.”

Remember this podcast episode? How to read food labels like a lawyer! I walk you through my strategy 🙂

Maria’s earth-shattering tip for storing avocado:

  • If you’re only using half, use the half without the pit and store the half with the pit.
  • But store the half with the pit in a covered container in the fridge with some chopped onion!!!!!

Maria asked me if there were any plants new to me and I admitted I haven’t hung out with ‘shrooms all that much. Then she said that they’re very good for immunity and weight loss because they’re pretty low-cal and very filling.

I also said fennel and I haven’t been as intimate as I would like. I’d like to change that!

The fresh paper produce saver sheets we mentioned that can help keep our produce fresher longer!

On making plants cheap:

“You can pay the farmer now, or pay the doctor later.”

Frozen produce is LEGIT, my friend!! I’ve always said this (and eat frozen plants a lot) but Maria backed me up – frozen plants are picked at peak ripeness (ie when their nutrition is at its peak).

Note: I think Maria’s book is like “a best case scenario” manual. Meaning: don’t freak out if her book says to steam your frozen veggies and you boil yours! At the end of the day, as long as you’re eating more plants than crap and doing your best, that’s all that your body could ask for to thrive!

Her spices and herbs chapter got cut from the book!!!! And it’s ironically one of her favorite chapters, haha. So she’s offering it as a free download if you buy her book and then go here! <<<


The incredibly fun trailer for Maria’s vid (which I make a sweat-stained cameo in!):

Maria’s current fav plant-party restaurant: ABCV. Wut wut! She’s actually friends with the chef of ABCV, Neal, whom was on the show last week! Listen to my chat with him here 🙂

Maria’s current favorite plant: Chickpeas! She makes a chickpea burger, hummus, anything with chickpeas.

Here’s her chickpea burger recipe. <<

Maria’s most-used kitchen tool: still her chef’s knife (same as last time she was on the show). The brand she loves is Misen.

Maria’s fav health-focused documentaries: Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and Food, Inc.

A book that’s inspired Maria as she was writing her book: Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson


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