Spring is here, which means for a lot of us that it is time to do a big house-wide clean. It can be very therapeutic to get rid of things that you no longer need. According to The Guardian, we should view spring cleaning as “a gentle reminder to de-clutter our homes and rethink the patterns of consumption that invited the clutter there in the first place.” When making dietary changes, it is always important to clean out your pantry in order to get rid of all the inflammatory ingredients we might be keeping around. The act of throwing things out might even help you avoid purchasing new, unwanted items in the future.
We suggest going through everything in your pantry. Here’s a list of things that you should move out of your kitchen during your purge:
Go through all of your canned goods and remove anything that doesn’t follow the anti-inflammatory guidelines. These include cans of corn, lentils, peas and all kinds of beans (even green beans). Here’s some things that you can keep: tuna, chicken, sardines in olive oil, water chestnuts, organic pumpkin or yams, artichokes, pickles, olives and organic tomatoes and tomato sauce. Choose organic foods to ensure you aren’t ingesting heavy metals that could be hiding in the pesticides used in non-organic products.
How long have you had that bag of flour or box of pancake mix? This is a great opportunity to get rid of any boxed mix or dry ingredient that has grains or sugar and might be hiding in the back of your pantry. Set aside all pasta, oats, oatmeal, flours made with grains, and all sugars besides pure Stevia. If you like to have rice or grains with your meals, try using cauliflower as a substitute. Some of our favorite recipes include mashed cauliflower and cauliflower rice. It is just as filling but has fewer carbohydrates and is a good source of vitamin C, magnesium and fiber. You won’t miss those old dry ingredients, so get rid of them.
Do you find yourself sneaking into the pantry between meals for a snack from an open bag of chips or crackers? Don’t keep those poisonous snacks in the house! Throw out all ultra-processed foods. The Washington Post reports that ultra-processed foods make up about 60% of the average American’s calories. Registered Dietitian Cara Rosenbloom states,”People who consume more ultra-processed foods have a greater risk of obesity, hypertension and high blood sugar levels, which can lead to heart disease and diabetes.” This is because many are filled with unhealthy oils and fats, salt, sugar and preservatives. Removing these foods from your kitchen is going to help ensure you are working towards a healthier life instead of heading towards disease and decay.
Sauces and Condiments:
Don’t forget about the condiments! Be sure to read the labels on BBQ sauce, ketchup, and salad dressings. It is not uncommon for sugar or some form of sugar to be among the top three ingredients in the sauces in your pantry. Why is it important to rid your pantry of sugar-heavy sauces or condiments? Researchers at Harvard announce that “Consuming too much added sugar can raise blood pressure and increase chronic inflammation, both of which are pathological pathways to heart disease.” In order to really get your inflammation down, cut out as much added sugar as you can. Your sauces, dressings and condiments can also be made from inflammatory oils such as Canola oil and Soy Bean oil. Be sure to use dressings and condiments that only use olive oil, avocado oil or coconut oil. You can find these at your local health food store.
If you have a hard time throwing away food, check the expiration date. If it is not out of date and the item is unopened, donate it to your local shelter or soup kitchen, that way you can be on your way to leading a healthier life and help those in need. We wish you the best of luck with your spring cleaning this year!