Part 2: The Great Kitchen Clean-Out

You made the decision to change your eating to a plan that optimizes health and reduces inflammation, but aren’t sure how to implement it. The Great Kitchen Clean Out can seem daunting, but I divided it into four phases that can be completed in a day or 2 or paced over several weeks. If finances are an issue, you don’t have to replace all your foods at once. I recommend starting with the refrigerator first if you are going to move slowly, as many items in the refrigerator are consumed and replaced every few weeks. This is the least costly spot to start since you were going to need new food anyway in a few days. Then, work down the list of items to remove as your time and budget allow.

Phase 1: Gluten removal


Phase 2: Sugar removal


Phase 3: Foods with ingredients that you can’t pronounce or aren’t available in nature. You should be able to pick, dig, or catch all the ingredients in the foods that go into your body.


Phase 4: Foods with more than 5 ingredients on the labels


Bonus: Dairy


Phase 1 begins with removing the items in your cupboards and refrigerator that contain gluten. Gluten shows up as wheat, rye, barley, malt, brewer’s yeast, triticale, spelt, durum, semolina, farro, farina, and graham on the food label. The Celiac Disease Foundation is a great resource on sources of gluten.1 Just remember, this does not mean you should run out and purchase a bunch of gluten free crackers, pastas, and cereals to replace the gluten items with.

Phase 2 involves getting the sugar out. Remember that sugar can come in over 60 sneaky forms on the labels of food, so look for key words like: malt, cane, caramel, and syrup, especially high fructose corn syrup. Also, be weary of words ending in –ose, such as sucrose, maltose, glucose, and dextrose.2

You may be surprised at what you find gluten and sugar ingredients hidden in… soy sauce, seasonings and spices, salad dressing, French fries, yogurt, and even salsa. It is ok to take a break here and live with these new changes for a while before moving to Phases 3 & 4.

Phases 3 and 4 are easiest to do simultaneously, as you will be looking at labels. First, look at the label to assess whether the ingredients are things you can find in nature either growing on a tree, vine, bush or right out of the soil, swimming in water, or running in a field. (I know some people choose an entirely plant based lifestyle and there are lots of health benefits for this too. However for this exercise, we are focusing on a meat and plant based eating style for our kitchen clean out.) Also, if the food has more than 5 ingredients it is likely highly processed and not a great choice.

Dairy is listed as a bonus because for many people dairy can be inflammatory, leading to gastrointestinal discomfort, eczema and more. Dairy can be difficult for some to let go of at first, as they are getting used to not having candy, ice cream, chips, and bread in the house. You may need to give yourself some grace with this final step and get used to the other changes for a while.

Now there is plenty of room for staples that will nourish your brain and body. Come back tomorrow for Stocking Up on Staples.

Contact us directly at 707.800.2302 to learn more about our RE:mind program.

Written by Marci L. Hardy, PhD

  1. Celiac Disease Foundation. Sources of Gluten. Accessed on October 14, 2016.
  2. American Institute for Cancer Research. The Many Names for Sugar. Accessed on October 13, 2016.

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