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Yes they are pretty much the same thing. We have both here but BigLots never has anything good in their food section. You are right about canned seafood, there are bargains to be found if one is patient and willing to dig :)

I didn't know you could look up datecodes... you mean they can be wrong, or just easy to misinterpret? I haven't had anything rancid yet (I think!).

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They can be hard to read and every manufacturer makes up their own. And usually you can't just look them up. That cannery just happened to provide the info.

The codes usually involve a Julian day of the year and one digit for the year i.e. 9 for 2009. But not always. There doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason, so I'm going to gather what few I figure out. The last digit tends to indicate the year so a code ending in a 1 was made in 2011. Or 2001, but hopefully the product came from the same decade.

Ocean Beauty, canner of many brands of canned salmon and other fish, actually explain their 2-line code on their website in an easily found place. On the other hand, they use several different code formats for canned and pouched seafood. The canned doesn't involve a Julian date while the 3 different formats for pouches do. I found some canned Sockeye salmon at Big Lots for a very cheap price but wanted to make sure it was good.

The third digit in the first line designates the year that the product was canned. The first three digits of the bottom line designate the month and day it was packaged. For example: if the top line of a code is 265CR - the third digit (#5) means 2005; With 908A for the second line, the first 3 digits (#'s 908) mean September 8th; So here the production date is 9/08/05, making the shelf-life best through 9/08/11.


The below is from Fruit of the Earth Aloe vera gel which I spotted at a dollar store. I searched for a bit on their website with no luck, then wrote customer service for an explanation. They also make aloe vera juice for which they use a completely different type of code.


123-this is our batch number.

023-this is the day of the year the product was manufactured –we use a Julian Calendar(January 23rd)

9-this is the year the product was manufactured (2009)

Our products have a three year shelf life. If you add three year to the manufacture date of January 23, 2009 then the product would expire on January 23, 2012.

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Or 2001, but hopefully the product came from the same decade.
I laughed pretty loud, at work, at that one :D

Wow, I never knew it was such a complex system. You'd think, for simplicity's sake, there would be a standard format. Even if there were a couple of types, such as an exact date format like YYYYMMDD and perhaps a weekly one like the tire code WWYYYY.

You're so thorough! Thanks for posting that, although I admit I feel like I have homework to do now.

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^ The aloe vera gel was expired, btw. And when I pasted that bit about the salmon, I worried that I used the actual code from the cans I bought and if so, they were now past their date. So I checked them and discovered that in addition to the manufactured date code on the top, they had a best by date in normal format on the bottom. So that manufacturer is unusually helpful and I didn't need to do all that searching.

The Bob's Red Mill stuff has best by dates in normal format as well.

Edited by alternativista
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Cool thread! Only thing I'm really strict about is no dairy (acne reasons) and no beef (ethical reasons). I'm an ex-anorexic, so I have a ridiculous amount of nutritional knowledge... so I naturally eat very healthy. I love vegetables! Here's my weekly staples. I shop at Walmart and don't buy anything organic. I'm too poor, lol.

Fresh Produce:

- Romaine heads

- Spinach

- Cucumbers

- Bell peppers

- Carrots

- Grape tomatoes

- Sweet potato OR butternut squash OR acorn squash

- Bananas

- In-season fruit (apples are awesome right now!)

Frozen Produce:

- Blueberries

- Strawberries

- Broccoli

- Cut okra

- Brussels sprouts

- Green beans

- Normandy Blend (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, summer squash)

- California Blend (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots)

- Asian Blend (broccoli, sugar snap peas, water chestnuts, baby corn, red bell peppers)


- Edamame

- Tofu

- Boneless skinless chicken breast

- Lean ground turkey

- Chicken OR turkey sausage

- SALMON (only once every couple months... but I LOVE IT)


- Dry-roasted almonds

- Roasted pumpkin seeds

- Extra virgin olive oil

- Natural peanut butter

- Unsweetened almond milk


- Rolled oats

- Whole-grain rolls

- Whole-grain cold cereal

- Wheat germ


- Unsweetened cocoa powder

- Cinnamon

- Peppermint tea

- Unsweetened apple sauce

- Canned pumpkin puree

- Sesame-ginger dressing from Newman's Own

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Edit: I think it would be handy to have other people's shopping lists in one thread so that others may find some good ideas. So i've changed the title from being my list to hopefully everyone's lists.


Since everyone else is doing it. And this is off the top of my head. I'll come back and organize it. I meant to name mostly staples that make up the bulk of my diet, but have listed stuff as i thought of it.

So, first of all, my diet is not strict. I don't count or calculate anything and don't completely avoid anything unless I am intolerant to it with a noticeable reaction. I just eat mostly real, whole nutrient dense foods, more anti-inflammatory than inflammatory. Keep all meals/drinks/snacks low to moderate GL. Other than completely avoiding the food that causes me to break out in cysts the next day, the only thing I'm strict about is never drinking sugar.

Because other than in the case of food intolerances, it's the habitual consumption of 'bad' foods that breaks you out, not the occasional consumption of a little bit of sugar, wheat, etc. in a diet of quality food.

It's also important to note I am not intolerant to dairy, wheat/gluten or any grains. I just limit them because they should not be a big part of anyone's diet. The positives don't outweigh the negatives. If you are intolerant to them, my lists won't do you much good. I also don't eat much meat. I don't care enough for it to pay for healthy, humane, pastured beef/pork etc.

I eat properly prepared legumes because they make dirt cheap meals that I like very much and allow me to save money to spend on wild salmon, organic produce, free range eggs, etc.

From Whole Foods (I go about once every three weeks):

-Sunflower seeds because they are cheap and protein/nutrient dense and i love them sprinkled on foods. I would be recommending pumpkin seeds instead, but they cost twice as much. They are better, nutrition-wise and flavor, but not that much better.

-Dried Zante currants - the cheapest and lowest sugared dried fruit they have. To add to oats or other grain I sometimes have for breakfast. Or to coconut pancakes, homemade 'energy' bars, etc.

-Giant Peruvian lima beans - because they are delicious, one of the best potato substitutes. I soak and then cook them with lots of onion, garlic and add greens near the end of cooking.

-Lentils- Cook with curry spices, sweet potatoes, etc for a great 'stew'

-Dried unsweetened coconut - For use in place of flour in pancakes and other baking. To add to oats or other whole grain eaten for breakfast.

-Eggs - but I usually get them from the Farmer's market or an acquaintance with chickens.

-Organic milk - which I use to make yogurt. Which is used primarily as a condiment.

-Organic cabbage and some other greens I don't find organic elsewhere. Greens should be organic.

-Frozen wild salmon fillets and bags of wild caught shrimp.

-Sprouted Grain bread which I keep in the freezer and only use occasionally. Or make a big batch of French toast (my favorite) to keep in the freezer to eat occasionally. I buy Alvarado St. Bakery bread.

-Frozen organic spinach and/or collard greens. - great to keep on hand throw into soup, legumes, curry...

-Organic apples, peaches or nectarines when in season/reasonably priced.

--Olive oil from California - because I find it really suspicious that all the oil from our supermarkets claims to be from Italy. Where is all the Spanish, Greek, Turkish, etc oil? Besides, it's a good deal and why buy it from another hemisphere. They grow olives in Mexico too.

Cacao nibs

-chicken thighs or sausage - Occasionally, but at my Whole foods, they only have 'barn roaming' chicken. No pastured chicken. Hopefully, they are healthy enough to actually do some roaming...

-Other dried legume or grain (occasionally) like brown basmati rice, quinoa, black beans, garbanzos, barley, buckwheat. All of which are soaked/sprouted or fermented prior to cooking.

-Almonds and walnuts - fresh fall crop only, if this is the best deal. But I usually find a better source. Stock up and keep in the freezer.

And maybe a slice of their wood oven pizza margherita, if I've otherwise been eating well.

Costco, which I go to whenever I run out of pet food-

Big bag of frozen organic berries

Cat and dog food

-Kirkland brand of canned salmon - packed like tuna. No ick. 6 cans for under $10. I don't really like canned salmon except for making salmon cakes, but this is nice in a 'club' salad in place of ham or bacon which I never buy. I ate these club salads with romaine or spinach and a boiled egg, dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil all summer long.

-A good jarred pasta sauce which they seem to have discontinued lately...

-Parmesan, romano, feta cheese. Because you can keep them for ever while you use small amounts. And just a little bit of strong flavorful cheeses adds lots of flavor.

-I'd get a big bag of frozen salmon fillets here, but I don't have the freezer space. And all their shrimp is farmed so I don't get that there.

Mexican Supermarket (about once a week):

Best source for all kinds of non-organic produce, onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, plantains, bananas, kiwi, avocados, chiles, cilantro, lemons/limes. Mexican tatumi squash aka calabacita which is like zucchini but much better and cheaper.

-Some Mexican cheeses that I use sparingly. Most cheese can be kept in the freezer, btw.

-Hibiscus flowers for tea

-Canned Jack Mackerel - best price other than Walmart which is no where near me. I mostly feed it to my cats, but I eat quite a bit of it. Tastes pretty much like Tuna but a better source of omega 3. Inexpensive, Low mercury, sustainable fish, etc. Cheaper than sardines, salmon.

-Canned Keta Salmon - almost as inexpensive as the mackerel. and they are small whole fish, not a can of ick, like most canned salmon. I use it to make salmon patties.

-Bulk mint (yerba buena) and camomile teas.

-Goya frozen fruit pulp for smoothies and such (black berry and mango!)

-Mexican/ethnic herbs, spices and dried chiles.

-Seafood -

-Mexican cheeses/dairy like Cotija which is a stongly flavored, dry crumbly cheese. It keeps for ever without molding because it's dry. Because it's flavorful you only use a little bit. Freezes well. Tastes somewhere between feta and romano. Queso Fresco is like feta but milder. Crema is a fermented product, pretty much the same thing as French creme Fraiche, but cheaper.

Asian supermarket: (rare visit)

Organic mushrooms of all kinds from California

Dried shitake mushrooms from Japan or other country I perceive as trustworthy.

Lemon grass, but I put the last stalks I bought into a pot and they grew. So don't need to buy it.

Powdered coconut milk. If they have the brand without any additives. I use it like a non-dairy creamer in my cocoa. They also have coconut cream in small packets that you are meant to dilute with water to make milk. Cheaper than a can of coconut milk and good to keep on hand for cooking.

I've considered buy fresh or frozen whole mackerel or sardines, but usually chicken out. I haven't gotten the hang of whole fish yet and am sticking with the trout I can buy by the pound in my supermarket when it's on sale.

Regular supermarket or where ever I find a good deal (sometimes once a week)

-Organic lemons - for when I'm going to use the zest or whole lemon and I didn't get them from my sister's tree.

-Celestial seasonings tea - I use their Sleepytime and one other flavored green tea I really like

-Hershey's Special Dark cocoa - blend of dutch processed which dissolves and tastes better, and natural cocoa which has more antioxidants.

-Ghirradelli's Bittersweet Chocolate chips - best tasting and low sugar dark chocolate.

-Organic greens, apples and berries if they are a good deal and when not in the farmer's market and I can't pick my own as in the case of blackberries which are weeds everywhere. Look for the small apples in the bag. Usually the cheapest and you want small apples. Just make sure that they aren't starting to spoil, something that seems to happen a lot in these bags.

-Sweet potatoes- I eat almost one a day, for breakfast, quick, portable lunch, sweet potato curry, etc. Bake and sprinkle with red pepper flakes, spicy seasoned salt, olive oil and sunflower seeds.

-Bananas - because I don't like very ripe bananas, so I only buy a few small ones at a time.

-Fresh ginger for stir fry and drinks.

-Pomegranates in season which was apparently early this year and over now. I've only found them one place lately.

-Wild Salmon or trout. If it's on sale. But these are usually previously frozen so you need to cook them that day or the next. Keep on ice. Most markets will steam cook it for you while you shop, btw.

Farmer's market: (every couple of weeks, but that depends on the season)


-Whatever produce is in season. Most is organic and expensive.

-Someday I may buy chicken, gulf shrimp, goat milk for my yogurt making, etc from the local vendors there.

Farmer's Market that really isn't. This may be unique to Houston or maybe you have something like it near you. It's been there for decades. They call it a farmer's market, but it's really stuff trucked up from the Rio Grande valley or Mexico.

Cheap produce but little is organic. Local honey and similar products, bulk herbs/spices/teas/legumes. Nuts and seeds. Mexican veggies, legumes, herbs and teas. Vegetable and herb plants.

When I was a kid my mom belonged to a group that took turns going there buying things by the bushel/flat which was way cheap and divying it up amongst the families.

I just went there yesterday. It's the only place in the city I could find pomegranates which I've been told grow year round in Mexico/central America. Maybe not in big enough quantities to export though. Also, the only place I could find hazelnuts. For my grandmother who couldn't find them where she lived either.

Things not mentioned above because they are:

-Staples I don't need to buy often but always have and use, like balsamic vinegar, a good mustard, all kinds of spices, coconut oil, etc.

-Try to buy once a year and store properly: Like nuts, and almonds, but I buy a lot of those in the fall when they are the fresh crop and on sale. Store in the freezer. And I get them from where ever I find the best deal, which lately has been my nearest supermarket. They had 1 lb bags of Almonds for under $4 this year. Last year they were under $3. Otherwise, Almonds usually cost around $7/lb at Whole Foods and most other places.

I grow them or get from aquaintances - I grow herbs and try to grow some veggies, but have a lack of sunlight problem. I sometimes get eggs from friends with back yard chickens. And things I get from my sisters hodgepodge of an orchard like meyer lemons, but it's not recovering from the winters we've been having.

And there are other things I only buy in season like peaches or nectarines for grilling or sauteing.

And things I didn't think of because they aren't appealing this time of year, but eat a lot of in summer.

Can you tell me more about your breakfast, lunch, and dinner? and how do you cook it?
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I like this thread a lot. What a good idea! I'm jealous that some people have successfully able to keep dairy in their diet. I'm an Italian girl and I did love my sharp cheeses, but they just broke me out every time. neutral.gif

Here's my basic shopping list:


Apples, pears, oranges, bananas, berries, grapefruit, pomegranates, avocado, tomato, lemon, lime, mixed frozen fruit (no additives)


Lettuce, spinach, broccoli, kale, arugula, chard, eggplant, potatoes, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, carrots, onion, garlic, parsley, radishes, cucumbers, sprouts, celery, frozen peas, frozen corn


Chickpeas, red beans, black beans, lentils, split peas, whole wheat pasta (I get this great kind at Whole Foods that only has organic whole wheat - no other ingredients!), udon noodles (buckwheat), rice, quinoa, oatmeal, peanut butter, mustard, vinegar, salsa, honey, diced tomatoes, tomato puree, olives, artichokes, coconut milk, veggie stock cubes, tuna, wild-caught Alaskan salmon, chopped clams, peppermint and chamomile tea


Whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, olive oil, sesame oil, spices


Orange juice, almond milk, wild-caught fish, Sunshine Burgers (veggie burgers made with sunflower seeds, brown rice, veggies and spices. I like the BBQ flavor which has a touch of liquid smoke).


Almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, dry popcorn, nutritional yeast, corn tortillas (I bake my own corn chips with olive oil and salt), rice cakes, crackers (Whole Foods 365 brand has one that looks like Triscuits and has only whole wheat and salt), peanut butter cookie flavored Larabars (vegan, soy-free and gluten-free), the purest dark chocolate I can find with no soy or dairy additives

I also buy Whole Foods' store brand of seven-grain bread. As a treat if I'm at Whole Foods, I might pick up a pack of Field Roast vegetarian sausages or frankfurters. They're soy-free - the base is wheat gluten, but gluten doesn't bother my skin. They're the most artificial thing I consume but the ingredients list is actually really good - nothing unrecognizable, chemical or freaky. I like them a lot but have them only occasionally.

You may have gathered it from my list, but I'm a pescetarian. I was a vegetarian for a long time and I loved it, but my diet just got too starch heavy and stressful once I had to cut dairy and eggs (and I can't tolerate soy at all - I'm severely allergic). I use wild-caught fish a few times a week now and it's been a positive change.

I'm still trying to determine if alcohol triggers my skin. I'm a social drinker and beer seems to have given me problems. Harder liquors like whiskey and gin seem to go over well, but I'm taking it slowly, as i'm only a few months into my "eating clean" new lifestyle. I hope that a good liquor and a nice red wine will become regulars on my list as well.

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i eat kinda boring but:


mass eggs ( raw)

alot of steak ( red meat)

natural yoghurt

raw carrots

apart from that i can eat anything really, but i make sure i get those every day. High protein is the stuff!

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