If you are trying to make changes in your diet and are committed to healthy eating, it can be extremely helpful to perform a kitchen detox.
This involves removing all unhealthy foods, including some that you might not have known were contributing to your health concerns, and replacing them with healthy options that still get you excited. Over time, cravings disappear and you become even more pumped to stock your kitchen with good stuff and walk away from the not-so-good stuff.
The following may seem a little harsh but, sometimes we need a drastic change to make things happen.
- Take everything out of the fridge and clean it. Throw out everything that has gone bad.
- Discard all condiments and sauces, salad dressings, etc that have sugar in them. They might as well be labeled sugar, but not only that, breaking the habit of putting condiments on everything you eat will be emotionally freeing. Try living without ketchup for a while, you can do it.
- Discard margarine, which contains trans fat, which is not safe for human consumption.
- Discard pop, milk, juice and any other sugary beverages. Water should be your number one go-to when you’re thirsty, with tea as a close second. Kombucha is a great fermented (probiotic) tea beverage that is tasty and fizzy. Eliminate diet pop as well- artificial sugars like aspartame are known neurotoxins.
- Keep dairy products in small amounts only so you can’t go crazy on it, and go for lower sugar options like plain yogurt. Milk is indigestible for most of the world’s population and is a strong source of calories, fat, cholesterol, sugar, hormones and growth factors, linked to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancers. Calcium is readily available from other foods such as leafy greens, salmon, and navy beans. You may have to eliminate dairy products altogether for a while if you can’t control yourself around them- I did.
- Stock up with fresh, organic vegetables and fruit, free range eggs, organic fish, poultry, meats, and butter, nut butter, nuts and seeds (should be kept in the fridge to keep from going rancid), and non-dairy milk.
- Organize so that everything has its place and is easy to see. Not being able to see our food makes us less likely to use it, and therefore more wasteful.
- Discard anything made with hydrogenated oils/fats (this is another way of saying trans fat) as they cause oxidative stress on the body.
- Discard anything with sugar/glucose/high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in the first few ingredients i.e. pop tarts, ice cream, popsicles.
- Stock up on frozen vegetables and berries for smoothies, and organic meats.
- Take inventory of what’s left and use what you have.
- Remove all chips, crackers, cookies, cereals, white bread, and anything with high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners.
- Remove canola oil, and corn oil, which are mostly genetically modified, and highly refined and oxidized, promoting inflammation.
- Stock up on dried herbs and spices, quinoa, rice and other gluten-free grains, pastas, and flours, sprouted grain bread, lentils, dried or canned beads, unrefined and organic coconut and olive oil, vegetable/meat stock, non-GMO popping corn, honey, and vinegars.
- Organize so that everything has its place. Use pretty jars and tupperware to put some of your food items in so that you feel happy every time you look in your pantry.
- Alcohol: liqueurs pack the most sugary punch, as well as pop mixers (but you already got rid of your pop right? ;P).
- Get rid of any mugs and other dishware that you don’t use and give everything it’s place so that the space looks tidy. This will make your kitchen a much more enjoyable place to be.
- Keep as much as possible off the counters- small appliances, dishes, supplements- to reduce clutter. This makes wiping down the counters an easy task.
Purging your kitchen might be easy, but not replenishing what you discarded is the hard part. Grocery shopping should have you walking the perimeter of the store with just a few forays into the aisles for spices, canned beans, alternative milks, etc. Make meal plans and grocery lists in advance and stick to it. Get in, and get out.
Now when you feel a craving, you will be forced to eat a whole jar of almond butter instead of nutella ;D (…it’s happened).
Here are 3 easy sample meals using healthy ingredients:
- Baked salmon (olive oil, salt, pepper), asparagus sautéed in garlic, and wild rice with a drizzle of liquid aminos or tamari.
- One Pot Thai Quinoa Bowl with Chicken and Spicy Peanut Sauce http://withsaltandwit.com/one-pot-thai-quinoa-bowl/
- 30 Minute Vegan Coconut Curry http://minimalistbaker.com/30-minute-coconut-curry/
Here are some of my favourite cookbooks that make healthy eating easy:
- Dr. Annie