Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen for a New Start


Aubree Steen, FNTP   

     Spring is here! You know what that means: Spring Cleaning. 2021 so far has us all wanting to clean out pretty much everything: food, our habits, our mind - you name it. Cleaning out your kitchen is the first step you should take while transitioning into a clean lifestyle. We’re aware of the addictive chemicals in ingredients like sugar, natural and artificial flavors, and other additives, which means we need to be continuously conscious of what we’re storing in our house.

            ​Keeping an addictive food product 
or food you know isn’t healthful/a benefit to you in the home will only set you up for failure. You’re working so dang hard on progressing, why hinder it with a constant tease waiting for you in your pantry? Out of sight, out of mind. It’s so much easier to avoid temptation when those stupidly delicious cookies aren’t luring you in every time you walk past the pantry door.

          The main goal of cleaning out your pantry is to remove all major culprits that can cause inflammation, illness, weight gain, fatigue, and much more. These bulk items are breads, pastas, cereals, granolas, bulk rice, vegetable oils, refined sugars, and processed food. This can be very intimidating, but I have faith in you. Yes, even from behind this computer screen. I’ve found that spending a dedicated amount of time to the purge may seem daunting, but it’s setting you up for success in the long run. Taking everything out of your pantry, then only putting food back into there that will support your healthy journey is the most effective.

First steps of purging:

  1. Find all food that older than a few months old. 
    1. There are foods lurking in our pantry/fridge that haven’t been eaten in quite some time. We all have the strange sauce or packaged food that we aren’t quite sure how to cook, yet. Ditch it. The more clutter you have in your kitchen, the more clouded your choices can be. Minimalism is best in a transition, so you can focus on creating whole food based meals.

  1. Find all expired food.
    1. This should be self-explanatory, but sometimes we forget about food items. Find all expired food, and compost, recycle, or throw it away.

  1. Find foods you intuitively know are unhealthy.
    1. We all know those Susie-Qs and old Halloween candy shouldn’t be kept on the highest shelf away from the kids (we have the better reach, right?). Throw it away. Find any processed candy, sweets, “cheat” meal ingredients, sodas, and other items you know aren’t healthy. Yes, it’s like ripping a band-aid off, but you’ve got this.
    2. Donate any food items to a food bank. Although we don’t want them in our bodies, there are people in need who don’t have access to food. Sharing is caring.

  1. Find foods that you aren’t able to identify what is.
    1. If you have foods that you sometimes look at and go, “What the heck is this?!” Throw it out. It could be some strange packaged dinner or ingredients used to make a strange dessert for New Years Eve 6 years ago. Regardless, let’s purge it. Clutter is what we want to avoid.

  1. Separate foods into categories on your table, or whatever surface you’ll be using to organize and start this swap:
    1. Oils
    2. Bread
    3. Snacks (crackers, chips, trail mixes, protein bars, etc.)
    4. Sweets (cookies, baking mixes, etc.)
    5. Baking ingredients (sugar, flour, etc.)
    6. Canned goods

  1. Take the time to clean your pantry and fridge in this process. 
    1. I know this sounds like an insane amount of extra work, but it’s only going to help set you up for a beautifully organized kitchen. What better way to see your rainbow of vegetables when there isn’t old ketchup stuck on the side of the fridge, or a tumbleweed rolling across your pantry floor?

  1. Bring all organization tools to help.
    1. This can include your bins, baskets, dividers, glass food storage containers, and other organizational items that keep your pantry/fridge neat and tidy.
    2. Organizing the fridge and pantry helps you identify a clear separation of food groups. When you have your cooking oils separated from your paleo protein bars, you don’t have to constantly search for items. Aesthetically pleasing areas help us feel more calm and collected, which is needed to make wise decisions around food and lifestyle.
    3. Bring labels! They will be your best friend in this. It may seem a bit over-the-top, but labeling your food helps you remember when you opened it, when you cooked it, and generally which foods/meals take priority.

Choosing Foods to Purge:

Pantry:

  • All ingredients that contain dairy and gluten, or the list of toxic ingredients listed in the “Reading Labels” blog.
  • Baking ingredients ( high fructose corn syrup, flour, sugar, cake/brownie mixes)
  • Bread
  • Bagels, english muffins, donuts, pastries
  • Cereals 
  • Candies
  • Chips and corn products 
  • Crackers 
  • Cookies
  • Granola bars and energy bars that contain whey, gluten, dairy, or other processed ingredients.
  • Pasta
  • Prepared meals (mac and cheese, microwave popcorn, etc.)
  • Snacks (trail mixes, beef jerky, dried fruit mixes, etc.) that contain corn, dairy, gluten, and other processed ingredients.
  • Soups that contain dairy, corn, or gluten.
  • Vegetable oils (corn, soy, safflower, sunflower, canola, etc.)

 

Fridge:

  • All ingredients that contain dairy and gluten, or the list of toxic ingredients listed in the “Reading Labels” blog.
  • Butter, margarine, and butter substitutes.
  • Cheese
  • Creamers (dairy coffee creamers, heavy whipping cream, buttermilk, etc.)
  • Condiments that are processed (ketchup with high fructose corn syrup, jams with added sugars, dressings with dairy/added sugar)
  • Egg replacements
  • Fruit juices, sodas, sports drinks, sweetened teas and milk, milk alternatives that use sugar, soy, or other toxic ingredients.
  • Frozen foods that have loaded processed ingredients.
  • Ice cream
  • Milk (this includes any milk-based products such as whipped cream)
  • Yogurt



Replacing Food Staples:

All foods that are reintroduced should be free of gluten, dairy, and all of the toxic ingredients I discussed in “Reading Labels.” While there are an infinite amount of incredible replacements, here are some suggestions on clean, healthy staples to keep on stock during your transition.

 

Pantry:

  • Organic and non-GMO as much as possible.
  • No gluten, dairy, or highly processed foods.
  • Baking ingredients
    • Arrowroot starch, almond and coconut flour, cassava and tigernut flour, flax seeds, baking powder/sodas, cacao powder, honey, maple syrup, pink himalayan salt.
  • Bread
    • Sprouted nut and seed bread.
    • Gluten and/or grain free.
    • Paleo friendly bread mixes (pancakes, waffles, bread, pizza dough, etc.)
  • Canned Goods
    • BPA free lining with no added sugars, gums, preservatives, gluten, or dairy.
    • Coconut milk 
    • Coconut water
    • Organic, whole-foods based soups 
    • Organic diced tomatoes
    • Pumpkin puree
    • Olives
    • Wild caught salmon and tuna
    • Wild caught sardines
  • Cereals
    • Gluten-free and/or grain-free.
    • Paleo cereal with no added sugars, hydrogenated oils, or preservatives.
    • Sprouted if possible.
  • Chips/corn products
    • Opt for grain-free if possible, with no hydrogenated oils.
    • Chips made with sweet potatoes instead of russet potatoes and avocado or coconut oil.
    • Tortillas that are made with almond, cassava, chickpea, or coconut flour.
    • Popcorn that is made with paleo ingredients such as cauliflower or cassava. Multiple brands have found “popcorn” style of foods that are nutritious and super delicious.
  • Crackers
    • Gluten-free and/or grain-free.
    • Sprouted if possible.
  • Cookies
    • Whole-foods based cookies with no refined sugar.
    • Gluten and/or grain free.
    • Look for organic maple syrup or dates as natural sweeteners.
    • Nut based flours.
  • Oils/Vinegars
    • Extra-virgin olive oil
    • Avocado oil
    • Coconut oil
    • Walnut oil
    • Macadamia nut oil
    • Apple cider vinegar
    • Balsamic vinegar
    • White wine vinegar
    • Paleo style salad dressings with no added sugars
    • Clean condiments (mustard, ketchup, etc.)
  • Spices
    • Organic, no sugar added.
    • Look for no anti-caking agents like calcium silicate
    • Look for no maltodextrin
  • Snacks
    • Gluten and/or grain free.
    • No preservatives, natural or artificial flavors, or coloring.
    • Paleo friendly protein bars with no added sugars
    • Ingredients to make your own: sprouted nuts and seeds, dates, etc.
    • Nut butters 
    • Pastured beef jerky
    • Dried vegetable snacks (kale chips, beet/carrot chips, toasted coconut, etc.)
    • Paleo versions of “cheat” foods (paleo puffs, pretzels, chips, trail mix)
  • Sweets
    • Monk fruit or stevia
    • Whole dates and maple syrup
    • Organic dark chocolate





Fridge

  • All ingredients that contain dairy and gluten, or the list of toxic ingredients listed in the “Reading Labels” blog.
  • Cheese/butter
    • Cheese made from whole, plant-based ingredients.
    • Cheeses that are free from lactose, casein, gluten, soy, and added oils.
    • Cheeses made from raw, organic cashews, almonds, coconut, and other healthy nuts.
    • Cheeses with enzymes or probiotics.
    • Cheeses that use coconut oil or fresh vegetables for their bulk and consistency.
  • Creamers 
    • Nut-based creamers (almond, coconut)
  • Condiments
    • Organic, sugar-free/clean condiments (ketchup, mustard, avocado oil based “mayonnaise,” paleo salad dressings, capers, coconut aminos, sauerkraut, pickles)
  • Egg replacements
    • Pasture raised, organic eggs
  • Drinks
    • Organic kombucha 
    • Sparkling water
    • Organic vegetable juices
    • Unsweetened organic tea
  • Frozen foods 
    • Organic vegetables and fruit
  • Ice cream
    • Plant-based ice creams with no refined sugars
  • Milk 
    • Non-dairy nut based milks
  • Produce
    • A rainbow of organic, fresh produce. Fill your fridge with these!
    • Avocados, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, green onions, leafy greens, lemons and limes, mushrooms, spinach, sweet potato, squash, onions, garlic
    • Blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, honeydew, peaches, pears, strawberries, apples, bananas, coconut, mango, oranges, pineapple
  • Meat/protein
    • Organic, pasture-raised organic eggs
    • Grass fed, pasture-raised beef
    • Wild caught salmon 
    • Organic, pasture-raised chickens
  • Yogurt 
    • Coconut/almond milk yogurt with no added sugars



One more thing to remember: variety is key. When refilling your fridge and pantry with these bountiful foods, make sure you have a wide range of food items. This is your chance to set the foundation of your diet in a way that can give you ease and comfort. Everything you put into your fridge or pantry should now be crucial for your health. If you question it, don’t risk it.

 

You’ve got this! Go make your kitchen a work of art.


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