Zurich ohne Zucker
I could inundate you with countless scientific studies to convince you to give up sugar but there are a million posts already dedicated to that and I’m not in a preachy mood. This post is simply a guide for those who live in Zurich or plan to visit and are already doing their best to follow a diet of minimally processed foods close to nature.
Personally, I started fully cutting out processed food around 2012. Before that I was a typical member of the foodie elite. It was fun but my habits were damaging my health. I’m an all-or-nothing kind of girl so of course I didn't take the sensible and socially acceptable approach and just cut down on refined sugar, nope, I just said goodbye forever! I won’t lie, it wasn't easy, especially since I live in a country that prides itself on having the highest consumption of chocolate per capita. Plus Zurich itself is always running far behind when it comes to wellness trends. So just imagine, when I started my whole health kick, there were no chia seeds in the supermarket, no one had heard of bone broth or green smoothies and not a single person I knew was interested in so-called clean eating. Things have slowly changed for the better. Supermarkets have finally started stocking foods like sweet potato and kale but bone broth is still well off the radar here. Baby steps.
After about a year of experimenting with different elimination diets I found what works best for me and its very simple. Basically my mantra is: eat real food. Not far off from what Michael Pollan suggested in his book Food Rules: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants". "Eat food" meaning to eat real food direct from nature (vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish and meat) and to avoid the so called "edible food-like substances". Sounds like common sense right? But somehow people find the way I eat extremely radical or just plain boring. As Homer Simpson wisely said "you don’t win friends with salad".
Here is a basic guide about where I source my real food in Zurich. I hope it helps you in your wellness endeavours.
Vegetables & fruit
- For fruit and veg, I try to buy organic where possible and I use the dirty dozen list as a guide to save money. Don't waste your money on organic avocados and bananas people!
- For most vegetables Coop and Migros are generally fine and they stock a very good selection of organic and local produce these days.
- Some Migros (eg Stadelhofen) are now selling fresh coconuts. Yippee!
- I frequently order vegetables online from Farmy and I’ve been really happy with the range and quality.
- When I have the luxury of time I try to get to the markets. There are two organic veggie stands at Burkliplatz market (Tuesday and Friday mornings) which are both great. The larger stand is very popular so you have to be patient but when I go with my toddler they kindly give him a free carrot which ameliorates the wait time.
Meat and eggs
- I’m still on a journey to understanding how to source the best meat in ZH and will write a separate post about my findings soon.
- We eat chicken legs every week and the best are from Burkliplatz market. They are from a local farm which they tell me is unofficially organic. Otherwise you can find good local meat on Farmy (but it’s very pricey). The organic chicken from Coop and Migros is not that great especially for the price.
- I have a weekly standing order at Bachser Märt (Seefeld) for chicken liver and a stewing hen (Suppenhuhn) which I use for bone broth.
- I buy local organic eggs from Migros, Coop, Farmy and my local organic shop.
- If you are after grass-fed meat, apparently organic beef in Switzerland (Knospe label) is about 90% grass fed.
- I stick to MSC wild caught seafood that is low in mercury levels.
- I frequently buy scallops, squid, cod, sardines and wild salmon from Migros and Coop. Globus has a great seafood range but its very expensive
- Both Migros and Coop stock MSC wild caught shrimp in the frozen section. Unfortunately only the teeny tiny shrimp but better than nothing.
- You can buy wild salmon eggs in small jars from both Migros and Coop. Salmon eggs are a nutrition bomb that I highly recommend. Salmon roe has the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA in phospholipid form. This is the form that is best taken up by the brain. Compare that to salmon which only contain approximately 1% of its omega-3 in phospholipid form.
- Soy has copped a lot of flack these days and most people tend to avoid it altogether. I still include soy in my diet but make sure its from a fermented source. But occasionally I buy edamame.
- I buy a great tamari from Mueller Reformhaus (Seefeld).
- Raw Miso I get from Reformhaus Seefeld as its in a glass jar
- I get Tempeh from Reformhaus Seefeld and Alnatura.
- I usually avoid tofu since its highly processed but have now found a fermented tofu product sold at Reformhaus Seefeld and Egli which is delicious.
- You can also get frozen and sometimes fresh Swiss edamame from Coop and Migros.
- There are only a few health food stores in Zurich selling proper preservative and nitrate free prosciutto and sausages.
- Reformhaus Seefeld stocks a good range of organic nitrate free sausages and prosciutto.
- They order their meat from Pico Bio so you could just try them directly.
- Bachser Märt has started stocking some preservative free cured meats.
- I order organic bones (beef and pork) and Suppenhuhn (stewing hens) from Farmy.
- As I mentioned I also have a standing order for a Suppenhuhn at my local organic shop Bachser Märt (Seefeld).
- I have also ordered chicken feet from the butcher at Burkliplatz market.
- I don’t eat much dairy but if i do its raw.
- Most health food stores have a good range of raw dairy products. Supermarkets stock plenty of organic raw cheeses.
Some pantry staples
- Lentil or buckwheat pasta and noodles you can find in most health food shops and also now in Coop
- Kelp noodles from iherb
- Sprouted brown rice from iherb
- Bee pollen - I like the brand sold at Bachser Märt
- Raw sauerkraut - I often make my own but Migros sells a great sauerkraut in a tub. Otherwise I recommend a stall at Burkliplatz market which sells wonderful sauerkraut and fermented cucumbers all year round. The organic veggie stand sells sauerkraut only in Winter.
- Unpasteurised apple cider vinegar - all health food shops here sell this
- Dulse flakes from iherb
- Nutritional yeast from iherb
- Nori sheets from iherb
- Gelatin (great lakes) from iherb
- Heirloom popping corn -from Bachser Märt or directly from Aspenhof.
- Matcha green tea - easy to find nowin most health food shops and even Coop now.
- Raw cacao and cacao nibs - Most health food shops stock these now e.g. Mueller Reformhause. Coop just recently starting selling them too.
- Buckwheat crackers - there is a brand I like called Iris at Bachser Märt.
- Chia seeds - you find them everywhere now.
- Himalayan salt - easy to get now from Migros and Coop.
- I use copious amounts of avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil. I also love to use Macadamia oil for cooking but its mega expensive here if you do manage to find it.
- I mainly cook with avocado oil and you can find it in Coop and some health food stores. Since I use a lot I order it in bulk from iherb.
- For extra virgin olive oil I can recommend the Migros organic brand. See the K-tipp review.
- Native coconut oil is now easy to find in both Migros, Coop and all health food stores.
- You can find organic Ghee now in Coop. Its very expensive from health food shops.
- Sparkling mineral water is my drink of choice. Yep exciting stuff! You could save money and go the Soda Stream option but since I don't eat much dairy its a good source of calcium and magnesium. No surprises I am anti-plastic and prefer glass bottles but unfortunately the supermarkets do not stock water in glass bottles.
- I order in bulk via GGF Getränke. After extensively comparing the mineral profiles of all the brands I buy Eptinger and Appenzeller.
- If you intend to eat clean then you have to cook A LOT! So do invest in good quality appliances. I fully recommend getting the following items:
- Dehydrater - I use mine every day for either making kale chips or activating nuts. I have this one.
- Vitamix - Its the Ferrari of blenders. You won’t regret it.
- Spiraliser - so much fun and kids love using it too.
- Slow cooker - I use it every day for either bone broth or dinner.
- Sprouter - I use it to sprout buckwheat and broccoli sprouts on a regular basis. I have this one but you can buy cheaper ones at health food stores
- Green pans - great nontoxic nonstick pans you can get from Migros city
Not essential but oh so handy:
- Popcorn machine - I eat this heirloom popcorn almost everyday drizzled with evo and dulse flakes. yum!
- Crepe maker - We use ours to make buckwheat crepes and tortillas.
Is that everything? Would love to hear any tips from your end.