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Professional shoppers


I was confessing a life full of dietary sins. To teenagers. But we all learned something.

As six Sauk Valley products and I began our roundtable discussion on sports nutrition as Sauk Valley Media, I made a point to tell them "This is a safe place."

Over the next 90 minutes, it became clear these kids didn't have anything to confess. If anything, it was yours truly repenting his dietary sins.

Toward the end of our mock shop at the grocery store that followed the sit-down, I pointed to the bulk packages of Ramen noodles and said, "Yeah, that was college."

But enough about me. Let's talk about what the fearsome fivesome (Alex Cain had to go back to work) had to say as we went from aisle to aisle.

I call them that, because I was borderline intimidated. When presented with an option between bagged mixed greens or the fresh stuff that was being misted to my left. I didn't expect Alex Volckamann's response: "You would never see a bag of salad in my refrigerator."

Tough crowd, eh?

The fivesome said, "No" in unison when I asked if they'd ever buy fruit or veggies in a can. And Mariyah Martinez warned about the pitfalls of buying tuna or other fish, the former often ill-fed in Eastern countries, the latter the subject of bait-and-switch tactics that lead to consumers thinking they're buying one type of fish but getting another.

The only really tough questions for the youngsters was when we reached the organic foods. Tough because of their frustration over how expensive it is to eat organic.

"It's sad. It's so disappointing," Mellott said.

"I think a reason so many people don't eat healthy is the prices," Volckmann said. "If we want to change society, we have to lower the prices."

Watch the video to see more of their insight. And don't feel bad. Lord knows I don't, because of Bryan Frederick's spot-on description of what's going on here: We're living in a bifurcated society. It's not that hard to be educated on healthy living, considering the resources we have at our very fingertips.

But it's even easier to be dumb, to eat what's cheap and fast, to fall victim to the 10,000 food ads we're exposed to every year.

Anyway, watch the video. Let's see if we can't apply some of the lessons that these teenagers grasp so firmly.

– Christopher Heimerman is the assistant sports editor at Sauk Valley Media. Email him at or follow him on Twitter (@CHeimerman_SVM).