Processed Food (8) - Pantry Makeover
If you're old enough, eliminating processed food might be as easy as returning to the food of your childhood. For others, you grew up on processed food, so you might not know where to start. What we want to do here is return, as much as possible, to eating real food.
Ahhhhh... real food. It's such a simpler way to eat. Real food equals food with only one ingredient. For example, easy peasy to eat an apple. No other ingredients to think about. No big decisions to make. Or if there are several ingredients, you, at least, want to choose ones with real food as the other ingredients too. Here's the one and only rule for our pantry makeover:
How to start
First, take everything out of your pantry and line all the items up on the kitchen table or counter.
Next begin your elimination process as follows...
- Choose all the real food (such as bags of beans, onions, etc). Put these items back in the pantry if it is something you'll eat on your newly devised eating plan.
- Carefully read the labels of the items left on the table/counter.
- Do the ingredients contain a higher level of salt, oil/fat, and/or sugar than you want? If so, put it in the discard pile..
- Does the item contain enough real food to make it acceptable for your new way of eating? If not, put it in the discard pile.
- Is there a preponderance of additives, chemicals, and/or long words not in your vocabulary in the ingredients list? If so, put it in the discard pile.
- Do the nutritional values on the food label meet your requirements? If not, put it in the discard pile.
The remaining items are acceptable to you and it's time to return them to the pantry.
The final step of the pantry makeover is to make a shopping list of replacements. Since most of you have adopted a plant-based diet, you may have lots of extra room in your pantry from now on. I know I do. You don't have to fill it up. Since most vegetarians, vegans, and plant eaters eat mostly fresh foods it's only natural to end up with extra storage. But, be sure to stock up on quinoa, dried beans, dried peas, and whole grain pastas to keep on hand. As far as snack foods are concerned, I'll leave those decisions between you and the food labels you encounter in the grocery store. It's good to establish criteria before you go to the store for what will make it into your pantry.
be kind - be the change
be the healthiest version of yourself