Food makeover: How to set up your 'real food' kitchen
Use the New Year as an opportunity for a new start in your kitchen.
OK, let me just say right off the go that this might not be easy for you if your house is full of processed food. Don’t worry, I’ll break it down into manageable steps. I’ll be your healthy eating guide and help to make this process as simple and painless as possible. There are two ways to set up a whole food kitchen (that’s fancy talk for having a kitchen stocked with real food).Skip to next paragraph
Beyond The Peel
Cookbook author, France Morissette, and her husband Joshua Sprague believe that healthy food should be uncompromising when it comes to flavor. They creatively explore the world of natural, whole foods, leaving no stone unturned in their quest to create mouth watering, flavor packed, whole food meals. Through stories, photos, recipes and their online show Beyond The Peel TV, they're on a mission to help you eat healthy and enjoy every last bite in the process.
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Option 1 – Get It Over With
The first way is like ripping off a band aid. Do it fast in one quick motion, shake it off and move on to the the next step, just getting it all done at once. The pain will pass. This option involves going through your kitchen, taking all the processed food out of the cupboards, out of the fridge and freezer, donating what you can and throwing away everything else in one fell swoop. If this sounds wasteful to you, well so is putting that food into your body. Sound harsh? Well, maybe it is but it’s true. Many of our excuses for making food changes are masks for our addiction to high sugar, high sodium foods, and highly processed foods. If you choose Option 1, then tick off the 5 steps listed below all in one go.
Option 2 – Let Me Ease Into This
The second way to give your kitchen a whole foods makeover is to do it in incremental steps. A little more painful if you ask me, but it may seem more manageable if fear or doubt are controlling factors. These might take the form of: “I don’t know how to cook." "I don’t know how to cook from scratch." "I don’t even know where to shop for that kind of food." "I don’t have the time to cook,” etc. Don’t worry, those fears are the same fears that prevent us from change in any area of our lives and they are just that, fears. Totally normal and you can just walk right through them since these are simple skills that anyone can learn. For this method, follow the Band Aid Technique but instead of dealing with the fridge, freezer, and pantry all at once, split it into three steps. Or if that seems too much, make a plan to exchange four processed foods in your house with four non-processed foods every week.
Step 1 – Box That Junk
Get some boxes and/or bags. For the donate-able items (items that have not been opened and have not expired) you’ll need one box for frozen food, one for dry goods, and one for refrigerated items. Then you’ll need one box for items that will need to go to the garbage (items that need to go to the garbage often come in a container that is recyclable).
Step 2 – Sort That Junk
Start by sorting through your cupboards and getting rid of any food item that has words on the ingredient list you cannot pronounce or you don’t understand what it is. Here are a few examples of things to throw out: canned soup, canned pasta, Uncle Ben’s dishes, Kraft Dinner, most crackers, chips, jello, pudding packages, cake mixes, and candy bars. You’ll still be left with some non-real foods but the majority of the cupboard should be cleaned out of all the nonsense we shouldn’t be feeding our bodies.
What will still be remaining is white sugar, white flour, brown sugar, and dried pasta. These items will eventually need to be replaced with sprouted spelt or whole grain flours, real organic raw cane sugar (or preferably palm sugar, honey, date sugar, and maple syrup), spelt or kamut dried pasta (don’t worry they’re not that much more than regular pasta and I think they taste better than whole wheat pasta). These you may change slowly over the course of a couple of months as you begin to feel more comfortable or go all out and do it all at once. You choose, but don’t dilly-daddle around. Tell that food, "You're fired."
Step 3 – Cold Junk Goes, Real Food Stays
Next the refrigerator. The biggest offenders here will be BBQ sauce, fake pancake syrup, salad dressings, low-fat flavored yogurts, lunch meat, and stir fry sauces. Some things you’ll want to hold onto, however, are soya or tamari sauce, mustard, mayo (it’s so much better homemade but this might be another one of those transition products), butter, pickles, capers, and hot sauce. Again, rely on reading the labels. Eventually you’ll get really good at reading labels and some of the products you see now will also disappear, being replaced with better choices later. Some of the items you’ll want to stock your fridge with will be full fat yogurt, eggs, organic butter (if possible), cheese, bacon (read the labels to find a good one), fresh veggies and milk, to name a few.