live it active

Food items that shouldn’t be in your home

We are now well in to spring time which is commonly associated with cleaning, throwing away, ‘out with the old, and in with nothing’…oops, I may have added my own twist.

Joking aside, spring time is a wonderful time to clean out your pantry and/or cupboards. A lot can accumulate there without you really knowing it. A half bag of old noodles, 6 cans of green beans (yes, cans – all Evan), a hardened granola bar, a multi-colour apple sauce – you get the picture. No, not all of the wonderful treats you may find lining your cupboard bottoms are bad, but they aren’t really all that good either. So ditch the old, wipe the cupboard bottom with a clean cloth, dry, and reorganize.

In addition to ditching, cleaning, and reorganizing, there is something else I would like you to do. During the cleaning process take stock of how many packaged items you have in the cupboard. And yes, of course everything is going to have a package (thought you could sass me, no?), but I mean the really processed packaged stuff.

If you have any of the following, an evaluation of whether you need it is in order:

  • Granola bars – of any kind, flavour, brand
  • Soup. Unless it’s homemade or sodium-reduced, it shouldn’t be there.
  • 100 calorie pre-packaged snacks. Chuck that preservative-laden junk
  • Hot Rods. I honestly love hot rods. The saltiness makes me frighteningly happy. A once in a while treat is just fine, but having them on a regular basis is concerning. They are not only salt-laden, but chalk full of nitrates.
  • Delissio Pizza or any frozen pizza. I have one word – nitrates (and sorry, this will be in your freezer).
  • Stock pile of jams and spreads. This is my weakness. I adore jam and red pepper jelly. Yet, both are full of sugar. While I struggle to give both up, I limit the red pepper jelly to special occasions (as best I can).
  • Fruit snacks. News flash: there is very limited fruit of any kind in these little bite-sized pieces of sugar.
  • Gatorade/Vitamin Water/Energy drinks: High-fructose corn syrup, unnecessary vitamins, and sugar and caffeine. Yummy.
  • Frozen dinners (Michelina’s, Lean Cuisine, etc.) – Please just read the package before your next purchase. They may be calorie controlled, but they aren’t fueling your body with the good stuff. And once again, these will be in your freezer.
  • KD. It pains me to write this. I love KD. I love it so much. My mother will testify to this as my love developed at a very young age. However, you and I both know it isn’t good for you.Once and a while is OK, but by that I mean once per month.

Some of you may hate me right now. Some of you may be jumping for joy as your cupboards and/or freezer do not host any of the aforementioned products. Over the course of my independent living years, my cupboards and freezer have held everything listed above. And if I am being honest, I love most of the aforementioned products. How could I not? They are full of everything that we humans are biologically programmed to love – fat, sugar, and salt.

Yet, we must remind ourselves that they aren’t good for us. That if we want to lead a healthy and fulfilling life, we need to eat food as close to its natural form as possible. As Michael Pollan states, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants”. And his definition of what constitutes food is very similar to mine, food should be as close to its natural form as possible. So eat an apple instead of apple sauce. Make homemade tomato sauce instead of buying it in a jar. Chop and eat a carrot (those things with the green stem) instead of enjoying the pre-packaged and pre-sugared mini-carrots. Yes, the packagers of mini-carrots coat them in sugar to make them more palatable. Thus, it’s not just the convenience that you like, but the added sugar. Surprise, surprise!

I encourage you to do a cupboard/pantry clean out with a few adjustments to your fridge and freezer this week and/or coming weekend. Give as much away as possible. And while it may pain you to throw some items away, you will be thankful in the long-run.

Happy purging.



Photo courtesy of srboisvert


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