Spring Clean Your Pantry in 3 Simple Steps

pantryIt’s that time of year.  Open the windows, roll up your sleeves and dig in. Many of us take the time each spring to eliminate old paperwork, magazines and clothes that we no longer need or use. My mantra as I begin the task of spring cleaning is a quote I read by William Morris, “Have nothing in your house you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” As part of a good spring cleaning routine don’t forget your pantry.

3 simple steps to a clean pantry and three ingredients to toss, without exception.

1. Clean Sweep

Completely remove everything from your pantry. And that means everything, even the tiny packets of spices and hidden half eaten goodies that got pushed to the back.

2. Sort and Toss

Once everything’s out of the pantry, separate out items you believe you will use from those that have been around for far too long. Dispose of anything that is expired or that you know you won’t use.  If it’s unopened and unspoiled, donate it. If it’s opened, toss it.  If you are on the fence about tossing an item ask yourself honestly, “Does this item support my health goals?” If the answer is no, send it on its way.

3 items you should toss without exception:

  • HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) and other artificial and refined sugars such as NutraSweet, Equal, Splenda, maltose and cane sugar to name a few.  Sugar and sugar-like substances are often hidden in many processed foods including condiments, salad dressings, granola bars and cereals.  Check out this article in Experience Life Magazine for more on how sugar sabotages your vibrant health and for a complete list of sweeteners to eliminate.
  • MSG – Monosodium glutamate, known to damage nerve cells, has been linked to a surprising number of health issues including; chronic headaches, obesity, high blood pressure and fibromyalgia. It’s used as a flavor enhancer and found in “instant meals”, seasoning packets, marinades, dressings and similar items. Dr. John Douillard wrote a great blog diving deep into the dangers of MSG.
  • Partially hydrogenate or hydrogenated fats and oils are highly processed and are well known to contribute to poor heart health and have been linked to heart disease and nervous system disorders. They are found in margarine, shortening and most processed cookies, snacks and crackers.

Other items you should toss include:

  • Dented cans
  • Any foods that do not support your wellness goals
  • Cooking oils older than 1 year
  • Nuts that are opened and older than 1 year

3. Clean and Organize

Wipe down all surfaces well. Place like items together and the foods you use most often near the front where they are easily reachable. Label and date containers of pre-packaged foods and spices.

Your next step, of course, is to begin stocking a healthy panty. Whole Foods’ website has a great list of healthy staples to have on hand.  Let me know what you tossed and what you kept and if there was any surprising discoveries in your pantry cleanup. Share a before and after picture if you like!

Wishing you Vibrant Living!