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Quick kitchen detox

Detox your kitchen in four easy steps

Detoxing the body is the new buzz word. Today I would like to speak about detoxing your kitchen as an integral component of detoxing your body.

For most people the word detox make them think about something their body does to lose weight, support the liver and improves the way they feel and look. But to ensure your body is detoxed, it is important to detox your kitchen as well. If you make your kitchen a safe haven that contains nutritious rather than harmful foods, it will automatically assist you in making the correct nutritional choices. Basically, if your kitchen is full of crap, so will your tummy be. And in my experience, no matter how much willpower you possess, it is only a matter of time before you succumb.

So first of all let’s stop stocking the kitchen with crap and junk food and clear out whatever junk is piled in your fridge and pantry. The basic rule is that if it’s not reachable, you won’t eat it. Simple in theory but if you’re thinking of detox you know you didn’t get here by eating a healthy clean diet.

To simplify things for you, I’ve listed below a few simple steps that I hope you will find helpful.

Step one: Make some time (about an hour) for a clear out

Diarise it if you need to. It is as important as a business meeting or an appointment with your hairdresser. Prepare some bin-liners or cardboard boxes to rid of the junk. A lot of this is an exercise in reading food labels. So it’s going to take some time. If it takes you over an hour, it means that you have a lot of junk (or read very slowly).


Step Two: Inspecting labels

The purpose here is to chuck anything questionable and replace it with fresh or whole foods (ideally organic and without labels). If you think about it, fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and meat don’t have any labels that specify their ingredients. However, if you decide to keep some of the foods which are labelled, you better follow these rules:

  • Scrutinise the ingredient list and NOT the ‘nutritional facts’. These facts were mostly put there by the manufacturers to mislead you to thinking you’re getting healthy ingredients. Be aware that some ingredients may not be on the label because the manufacturer doesn’t want you to know or the food contains exempt ingredients (depending on where you are). If in doubt, get rid of these foods.

  • You should be able to pronounce it: if the ingredient name is a ‘mouthful’ and you cannot recognise it or pronounce it. Get rid of it.

  • Be aware of what you’re eating: make sure that what is contained mostly in the food by weight is the healthy stuff.

  • Don’t let buzz-words turn you on: When manufacturers use these buzz-words they usually mean to fool you into thinking that these are healthy choices. This is merely a marketing ploy. Don’t be fooled by it. Words such as sport drinks, energy bars and even multi-grain bread (which often contains High Fructose Corn Syrup) all intend to side-blind you.


Step Three: Get rid of the following foods

When you detoxify your body you eliminate harmful toxins. When you detoxify your kitchen you want to make sure to prevent access to these toxins.

  • Sugar (no. 1 enemy of healthy eating): we all know that sugar is bad for you but we’re not all aware that sugar may ‘hide’ in many foods such as processed food, salad dressings, soft drinks and even in ‘healthy’ foods such as bread, cereals or wheat. There are over 250 different names for sugar which may be contained in foods. Therefore, examine the labels very closely and avoid any that suggest any type of sugar (more often than not, the main culprit is High Fructose Corn Syrup).

  • ‘Bad’ fats: Fat doesn’t make you fat. Unless it’s the wrong type of fat. Get rid of any foods containing highly refined cooking oils (including the oil bottles themselves) such as corn and soy, margarine or shortening. They all contain transfats which cause inflammation and heart disease. You should be looking for words hydrogenated fat (which is just another term for transfat), and when you find the, toss them aside.

  • Artificial sweeteners: basically a no-no and should be discarded. You can read more about it here

  • Food containing questionable ingredients: Generally speaking if it has 5 or more ingredients of the names of the ingredient are not recognised by an 8 years old (such as water, oil or salt), it’s shouldn’t be in your kitchen. As mentioned above, focus on the ingredient list, not the “nutrition facts.” Make sure you recognise the ingredients (and can pronounce them). Apparently safe foods such as spices and seasonings can also contain maltodextrin, autolyzed yeast extract and even high-fructose corn syrup that don’t belong in a healthy kitchen.


Step Four: Stock the following

Now that you’ve gotten rid of the rubbish you want to fill up the empty space created with fresh, wholesome, healthy foods. These are the ones you should be loading up on:

  • Fruit and veg: if it’s non-starchy veg, you can eat as many or much as you want. There’s no limit. It’s a nutritional free-ride. Fruits, however, should be limited to one or 2 portions per day because of the fructose (sugar) content which will increase your insulin levels. Berries are a safe bet. For best choice choose organic and locally grown wherever possible. Avoid those that contain a lot of pesticides.

  • Herbs and spices: buy organic when you can. You will want to have a large variety of those. They include, extra-virgin cold-pressed olive and/or coconut oil or butter, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and other spices. But don’t forget to read the label for those hidden sugars and other no-no additives.

  • Dry food: these include raw or lightly roasted nuts and seeds, legumes, quinoa and gluten-free grains. They all have long shelf life.

  • Fresh foods: fill up your fridge with these. They should be the staple of your diet. When choosing meat make sure it’s grass-fed or organic. Egg and chicken buy organic or free range/antibiotic free.

  • Healthy protein: source yours from organic or free range chicken or turkey, grass-fed beef or lamb, omega-3 enriched eggs, whole forms of non-GM soy food such as tofu, tempeh and gluten-free and (of course) organic sourced. Fish and seafood should be wild or sourced from sustainable farming. Avoid fish that is high in mercury such as tuna, sword fish and other large fish.

There, you have it all in black and white so there’s no more excuse for rubbish in our kitchen or pantry. We all eat away from home from time to time where we have less control over what is served to us. Therefore it is essential to balance it with food we can vouch for and that is under our control.

If you found any of this helpful please share it with others, and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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