Kitchen Clean-out

What’s NOT In Your Kitchen is as Important as What Is

While it’s important to have healthy ingredients on hand at home for easy, nutritious meal prep, it’s equally important to keep items that have negative health effects, including weight gain, out of the kitchen as much as possible. Key foods to eliminate from your kitchen include those with added sugars, chemicals, and emulsifiers & stabilizers.

With the average supermarket carrying 40,000 products, it’s tempting to buy lots of items especially when they promise greater ease of meal preparation and excitement for your palate. I get it – I love roaming the aisles to see what’s new and to get recipe ideas.

But many products are not produced with health in mind so checking labels for ingredients is essential. Doing so allows you to avoid buying and keeping products that do not support your health and weight loss goals.

Cleaning out your kitchen keeps your meals healthy – and removes foods that could tempt you to overeat. And while throwing away food can seem wasteful, doing so preserves and fortifies the health and wellbeing of your body – it would be more “wasteful” to miss out on opportunities to feel your best.

Set yourself up for cooking success by cleaning out your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer of foods containing the following ingredients.

1. Added Sugars

Fact: sugar is associated with negative health effects including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, fatty liver, systemic inflammation, and weight gain.

Yes, it’s a pleasure, and perfectly fine, to enjoy something sweet once in a while such as cake at a celebration, a drizzle of maple syrup on oatmeal, or a daily square of dark chocolate. However, because sugar lurks in many everyday foods like sauces, dressing, prepared meals, bread, “healthy” breakfast cereals, nut butters, soup, and canned baked beans, we often consume far more than we realize.

Toss out as many products as you can with the word “sugar” or other sweeteners such as sucrose, barley malt, dextrose, maltose, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, cane juice, turbinado sugar, brown sugar, molasses, honey, and maple syrup.

2. Chemicals

Fact: Food chemicals can increase your risk of cancer, damage to the nervous system, hypertension, cognitive dysfunction, mental health issues, and weight gain.

Food chemicals maintain or improve shelf life, texture, appearance, and taste. Examples include sodium nitrite, monosodium glutamate, trans fats & hydrogenated oil, artificial food coloring such as Red Dye No.3 (ands any other substances with numbers), aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, erythritol, BHA, BHT, potassium bromate, propyl paraben, and titanium dioxide.

Basically, get rid of and avoid anything that contains an ingredient you don’t recognize as a food. There are plenty of alternative foods to eat.

3. Emulsifiers and Stabilizers

Fact: Emulsifiers and stabilizers are harmful to the gut microbiome. An unhealthy biome increases the risk of digestive issues, systemic inflammation, dysregulation of glucose control, weight gain, and impaired cognition & mood.

Emulsifiers and stabilizers are found in creamy sauces, butter alternatives, mayonnaise, yogurt, dressing, and sauces. By preventing separation of the oil and water components of food, they impart a smooth texture. They also preserve shelf life. Examples include soy lecithin, mono- and di-glyderides, polysorbates, carrageenan, xantham gum, guar gum, gellan gum, algin, and agar.

Say goodbye to products with these ingredients. Instead, try preparing simple salad dressings, homemade mayonnaise, and sauces like teriyaki and BBQ – they’re easy to make and often much tastier.

The Bottom Line

Read labels.

Eliminate or significantly reduce foods with harmful ingredients from your kitchen and your diet.

Be willing to prepare simple recipes at home.

And aim for whole foods that don’t come in packages or wrappers – there are plenty of options to choose from in your local market, especially in the produce section and the organic foods aisles.

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  1. Marjie Cahn says:

    Mostly done years ago.
    I don’t eat anything with artificial anything if I can help it since my throat will close up from artifcial sweeteners and some chemicals. For a sweetener I often use
    maple syrup.

    • NIna says:

      You are wise to avoid artificial substances – I applaud you especially because it takes consistent attention and effort. Whether one has significant responses like yours (which sounds frightening!) or reactions that are less immediately detectable, chemicals, additives, and excess sugars definitely impact us negatively.

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