Last week we talked about eliminating food packaging in the kitchen by storing grains, cereals and other dry goods in jars. If you actually scoured your kitchen for these items and have them now stored beautifully in sparkling glass jars, it’s likely that there is a whole other category of foods that may still be lurking in your refrigerator or pantry; old condiments, rarely used baking powders and spices, forgotten tea bags and biscuit mixes. Come on, admit it – you still have some culinary baggage to shed.
Contrary to what your Twinkie and Diet-Coke habit might make you think, food does not have an eternal shelf life. I know of few foods, whether they be canned or vacuum-packed or frozen, that can live for more than two years. It can be argued that canned fish and meats will last four years – but come on, do you want to eat 4-year old canned meats? I didn’t think so.... There are several online charts detailing shelf life of various foods. None impressed me very much. The most user-friendly I saw was one on MSNBC. I encourage you to also use your instinct. If a food product has been gathering dust, perhaps you aren’t going to use it. Toss it out and make room for something you will use.
A few years ago the Apartment Therapist and I read a wonderful book by Dr. Andrew Weil called 8 Weeks to Optimum Health. Each week there is homework – the first week’s homework is to go through the pantry and throw out any foods that are not health supportive. And so along with the ancient condiments and teabags, I would urge you to follow the Dr. Weil approach to pantry cleaning and toss out the following: 1) Those containing partially hydrogenated oils of any kind, or cottonseed oil as well as margarine, solid vegetable shortenings, or products made with them. 2) Artificial sweeteners or products containing aspartame or saccharin. 3) Products containing artificial food coloring.
Now the point is to use your kitchen and not just make it look pretty. So after you clean out the shelves, make a commitment to eat at home more, then get cooking… it’s going to be a new you. And let us know how your progress is going. To your health! SKGR of Sarakate.net