Unfortunately, the gluten, sugar, artificial ingredients, and preservatives in our foods may be related to the health issues that are sweeping our nation. Even in the face of mounting scientific evidence supporting the positive role good nutrition plays in health, many people are resistant to make changes. However, eating healthy does not have to mean giving up tasty food. Eating healthy means enjoying foods in their natural forms. Recipes made with real and whole ingredients can not only be very healing for our bodies, but enjoyable to prepare and consume. Sometimes our health issues don’t require a trip to the pharmacy, but rather a purging of the pantry and a trip to the farmers market.
It is difficult to stick with a healthy eating plan if you are surrounded by unhealthy choices. This doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t ever have a dish of ice cream again, but go out for ice cream instead of having a gallon in the freezer to tempt you. Most people will struggle much more with cravings and willpower if unhealthy choices are in the house.
Embracing an eating plan focused on reducing inflammation means you are removing gluten, sugar, processed foods, and most dairy. For some, this may seem like most of the food in their house. Even with a background in health and nutrition, I have to admit there have been times when my cupboards were bursting with convenience foods like crackers and granola bars and my freezer contained a rapidly rotating carousel of ice cream flavors. However, as soon as someone in my life became ill with a condition that could be greatly improved by eating healthier, it became much easier to let go of the convenience and comfort items. The challenge for most of us is making this change before our food choices lead to illness.
Once you make the decision to take control of your health by eating healthier, how do you implement it? The answer lies in my “Great Kitchen Cleanout”. I know many of you are immediately going to have a visceral response to emptying your cupboards, fridge, and freezer because food is expensive and it seems wasteful. First, some of your unopened foods may be able to be returned for store credit. Also, I encourage you to approach it as an act of community service. Contact your local soup kitchen, women’s shelter, or church to see if they would like your spices, crackers, ice cream etc. They may not be able to use your opened foods, but they may know individuals or families that would be ecstatic for your items. You may even have a friend or neighbor who would use your items. Some of you may enjoy cooking up the ingredients and delivering meals to people in need. I know what you are thinking, “If I shouldn’t be eating this stuff why am I feeding it to someone else?”. There are many hungry people in America with no food or living off of convenience store foods like chips and soda, so this is a healthier step for them that they will really appreciate. Once you know your food is going to a good cause, the next step is much easier.
Come back tomorrow to get started on the Great Kitchen Cleanout!
Contact us directly at 707.800.2302 to learn more about our RE:mind program.
Written by Marci L. Hardy, PhD