Do you find that, despite your best intentions and efforts, you often give in to the devil on your shoulder and resort to bad food choices? Does your Monday morning start with vegetable smoothies and a nutritious salad to take to work and your Friday afternoon end with sandwiches, crisps and chocolate treats and a glass of wine? It’s hard to stay motivated isn’t it? But if your kitchen is host to some of your worst enemies then it could be part of the problem. Why? Well we all have moments of weakness, tiredness, busyness and “oh heck what difference will it make” moments and if you have something within an arms reach that’s on your ‘banned’ list then it’s all too easy to cave in.
If this rings true with you, you might benefit from a KITCHEN DETOX!! If you’ve made the right choices, you’ve decided to change your eating habits for life – not just for a limited period, only to resort back to your old habits. So why hold on to bad food that is no longer part of your life? Throw it out, give it to the dog, find an appreciative recipient such as a homeless shelter or food bank.
Have you given up sugar, or gluten, or processed food? Then get rid of the boxes of cereals, the packets of pasta, flour, bread sticks, the sweets, biscuits, sugary fruit juices and low nutrient savoury snacks such as crisps. Ditch the ready meals, the turkey twizzlers, ready-sauces and tins of baked beans that are lurking in the cupboards and freezer – they’re just not ‘you’ any more!! Don’t hold on to them, thinking that they might come in handy at some point, because if you plan to stay strong in your new regime there will never be an appropriate time. Don’t kid yourself that you’re keeping them in case old aunt Nelly comes round to visit – why give your nearest and dearest something you wouldn’t eat yourself?? Much better to share your new healthy eating habits with those around you so that they can enjoy and benefit from them too!
So how’s your kitchen looking now? Are the cupboards and fridge pretty bare? Great, that’s the perfect place to start. Now RESTOCK WITH GOOD, NATURAL FOOD. Hopefully you’re getting into the habit of doing some food planning and you’ve decided what meals you are going to prepare this week and what ingredients you need. Next, take a trip to the supermarket (or wherever you do your shopping) and look at things a little differently. Don’t automatically go to your usual isles. It’s a good tip to stick to the first 3 or 4 isles, where all the fresh ingredients are. You may need to hunt around for some of the more unusual things, such as coconut oils, nut butters, etc. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in your usual stores you may need to visit some new places or shop online. I have shopped around to find the best priced products and I find www.ocado.com to have most things that I need and be really well priced. www.amazon.co.uk have some of the more unusual, such as coconut aminos and coconut crystals. I get my protein powders from www.myprotein.com because of the superior quality. I also buy bulk where I can in places such as Costco and I make use of my brilliant local health food and Asian food stores, which are great for nuts, herbs, spices and fresh fruit and vegetables.
If you’re buying anything in a packet (and this should be minimal), make sure you get into the habit of reading ingredients labels. Try to buy things with as few ingredients as possible – single ingredient foods being the ultimate. If there’s anything you don’t recognise then ask yourself if you should be eating it. Look out too for hidden ingredients such as sugars, labelled in alternatives ways.
Once you’ve filled your cupboards with the new foods that will form the most part of your new diet, then your weekly shop should predominantly be fresh, natural ingredients (and perhaps some toilet roll!!).
The last part of your kitchen makeover is your equipment. Do you have the right tools for your new life? You don’t need to spend a lot of money, but my top recommendations are to have:
- A good quality blender (I like a multi-functional one which also enables me to chop and slice vegetables for things like chips and crisps).
- A separate smoothie maker if your blender doesn’t have this function.
- I also have a hand held blender for easy in-pot blending and for taking away with me.
- A set of various sized pans including a steamer pan for your veggies.
- A spiraliser (I have an inexpensive hand held one, but I think you can do more types of foods with the larger, more technical ones!)
- Measuring spoons, cups and scales.
- Lots of pots or tubs with lids for storing your leftovers!
Now you’re all set. The next time the hunger monster strikes, you should be well prepared to make the right choices. A healthy kitchen can lead to a healthy you and mean that you can stay on track with your goals.