1. Use it or lose it: Plan on consuming any expired items within a week or two.
It can be difficult to figure out “Best by” and “Sell by” dates, and what they mean. “Best by” dates are guidelines for the store, and “sell by” dates are for you, the consumer. Keep in mind that the only food with a legally regulated expiration date is infant formula. There are some foods that you can keep past the printed “best by” or “sell by” dates, but please use your best judgment when deciding when to throw food away.
2. Keep the good fats
Get rid of any vegetable oils in your pantry, such as canola, safflower, sunflower, cottonseed, soybean, corn, peanut, rice bran, or margarine. Some oils are simply labeled “vegetable oil,” and you can ditch those too. Eliminate anything that has the previously mentioned vegetable oils as an ingredient. If you’re not ready to give up some of your most coveted foods, take a break from this step and come back to it later. Or you can choose to keep 2 or 3 items with these ingredients and consume them sparingly. Pay close attention to how these foods make you feel after eating them.
Replace your vegetable oils with healthy fats such as grass fed butter, ghee, olive oil, tallow, lard, etc. Your nutritionist can guide you on what fats to use that are specific to your cooking style.
3. Keep it Clean – Get Rid of Chemicals!
Get rid of any food that has an ingredient you can’t pronounce. Read labels carefully. Any ingredient that is not real food, such as food dyes, thickening agents, or fillers – get rid of it. Again, you might not be ready to do this. Keep 2-3 items that you have the most difficulty parting with. Monitor how you feel after you consume these foods.
4. Be a Sugar Detective
Did you know there are 60+ names for sugar on food labels? Examples include: high fructose corn syrup, Aspartame, Sucralose, dextrose, maltose, and invert sugar. Look them up, scope them out, and toss ‘em. Some natural forms of sugar can be kept, depending on your goals. Examples of these are: demerara, sucanat, turbinado, honey, and date sugar.
5. Say Goodbye to Refined Grains
This is THE toughest one for me. This is the one you might not be ready to implement right away, but is important to be mindful of the effects of refined grains on your body. Get rid of the bleached white flour or swap it for a sprouted version. For my family, my kids still love bread, and I love to make them homemade French bread with healthy additions. I will partake once in a while. Again, implementing this step is based on your individual health goals!
6. Get Cooking
Transforming whole foods into a healthful meal is not only enjoyable, but nourishing! If your lifestyle is too crazy, a meal service will do just as well while you are easing your way into the kitchen.