The de-junkification of a kitchen

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I promise you this won’t turn into an exclusively foodie blog, but we can’t deny the connection between physical health and the food we eat. Fitness and healthy food go hand in hand, and while you most certainly can work out your body and shape it with exercise, the equation will be complete when you introduce wholesome meals that take care of your insides as much as you take care of your outside.

With this in mind I figured I’d rid my kitchen once and for all of all the stuff I no longer want us to eat. This sounds really easy, and for the most part it is– the only tricky bit is to keep in mind that I share a life with another adult who can very well choose for himself what he wants to eat. Stephen has gotten better and better at trying some of the healthy stuff I make, with mixed results for the most part (he loved the vegetable whole wheat wraps, hated the quinoa-hemp homemade energy bars).

This is what my pantry was like before:

Top shelf:

Canned ‘goods’. And I use the term lightly because really, after reading the sodium contents and knowing that toxic chemicals leech into the food from the can, how good can it be?

I got rid of all the canned soups (yes, even the Shrek one. Or actually, the Shrek one especially. I won’t want my kid eating any of that again) and most of the canned vegetables. Admittedly, I kept two cans of red kidney beans because I felt safe knowing they’re there if I ever need them for an emergency chili or similar. Quite honestly, I’m thinking those will fly out the window soon as well, because with a little organization I can continue to cook and freeze my own dry beans.

Second shelf:

Crackers, pasta, nuts, seeds and grains.

Not a lot of it was bad, though I did get rid of all the white pasta and white crackers, as well as the ever-evil Kraft Dinner. I kept the good stuff like my whole wheat noodles, rye & buckwheat crackers, the walnuts, chia seeds, flax seed, brown rice.

Third shelf, odds and ends:

Got rid of the breadcrumbs and the sugary peanut butter. Kept the almond milk and all the yogurt containers you see, which keep my dry beans and lentils (of course!)

Fourth shelf:

Holy. This one was bad. It has all my baking stuff, so lots to weed out.

I got rid of the white sugar, white flour, chocolate chips, table salt, pre-packaged bread and cake mixes, pancake mix and muffin mix. Whew!

Lower shelf:

This one was something else, too.

Got rid of the bacon bits (why was this ever in my house in the first place? What was I thinking?!), the pre-packaged meals, ramen noodles, and a bunch of  sauces and dressings I had in stock.

 

I know it can be overwhelming for some to transition away from what they’ve always had to eat, from what they’ve always cooked. If it helps, here is my humble list of some of the substitutions I made to replace the bad stuff I won’t be seeing in this house again:

I got rid of                             Substituted with

Canned tomato soup          Fresh tomatoes to make my own

Canned vegetables            Fresh vegetables, for freezing in batches

White pasta                         Whole wheat pasta, brown rice pasta

Small pasta for soups         Barley grains

White rice                            Brown rice, quinoa

Soda crackers                    Wasa rye and buckwheat crackers

White sugar                        Stevia, pure maple syrup, molasses

Breadcrumbs                     Freshly ground flax seed

Sugary peanut butter        Natural peanut butter

White flour                         Whole wheat flour, ground oats

Prepackaged mixes          Google for homemade versions!

Table salt                           Iodized sea salt

White bread                       Whole wheat bread, rice cakes

Bottled dressings             Olive oil with balsamic vinegar

Sugary cereals                 Oatmeal, buckwheat, spelt

Meat                                  Beans, beans, BEANS!

 

 

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