Updated: May 4, 2022
Perimeter shopping is a concept that more and more people are becoming aware of. During some of my lectures, I will ask people if they’ve heard of it. At first, I didn’t see a lot of acknowledgment, but now I see hands go up all over the place!
As the name implies, perimeter shopping is about going into the supermarket and you focus on buying foods from the outside aisles and cases.
The outside aisles of a grocery store are filled with fresh produce, meats, and dairy. Almost all grocery stores are set up this way because it allows it allows convenient access to refrigeration and it allows the grocery store employees to restock fresh goods quickly.
These products like meat, milk, fruits, and vegetables, haven’t been changed much from their source. So we call them whole foods. The term perimeter shopping is defining where whole foods are most likely to be found at the supermarket. There are implications of some things not necessarily being as healthy as they could be, but by and large whole foods are nutrient-dense.
Access to whole foods and how they are included in your lifestyle can vary depending on where you live. People living in inner cities or in small rural communities tend to have a small selection of whole foods to choose from. In some areas, access to fresh produce might be limited by the season, or how often the product is rotated, based on decreased demand. People that grew up in these areas often have more processed foods in their diet.
What makes this concept really important is that your brain is driven by energy. The brain essentially runs on sugar and oxygen. Sugar comes from the foods that we eat.
Processed foods, which tend to be found on the interior of the supermarket, are made either by breaking down whole foods, or ingredients extracted from whole foods. Most of these products incorporate chemical processes or chemical preservatives to extend their shelf life. As a result, processed foods tend to have less nutrient density and lower quality sugars. These are foods that you usually find in a box, can, or bag.
The further something is from the original source, or its original form, the harder it is for our body to break down and our brain to get adequate fuel from that food.
The whole foods found at the perimeter of the supermarket are the most efficient, readily available sources of fuel for our brains. If we intend to train our brain with any degree of success, we need to make sure that we have the proper gas in the tank.
Contributor Author: Dr. Michael Trayford is a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist and Founder of APEX Brain Centers in Asheville, NC. For additional information, and to learn more, please visit our Author's page.
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