Stock Your Pantry with Healthy Foods
Toxic food ingredients are everywhere, and it can feel impossible to know what to avoid and what’s safe. You might be surprised to hear that your pantry is likely full of toxic food ingredients. These come not only from the additives to the foods themselves, but the packaging as well.
Processed foods contain a number of preservatives that maintain shelf live, but also lead to neurological and behavioral problems, cancer, diabetes, and hormone disruption.
Avoiding Toxic Food Ingredients Doesn’t Have to be Hard
Ideally, your pantry will be where you stock whole, dried goods like grains and legumes, as well as packaged treats with a few recognizable ingredients. To do this simply, you don’t necessarily have to do a clean sweep of your cupboards filling garbage bags with all your food stores. Just gradually swap out the items with toxic food ingredients for whole foods and your snack foods for items that meet the following standards:
- The word “artificial” is not in the ingredients, and neither is high fructose corn syrup
- Trans Fat gets a 0g on the Nutritional Label
- Organic, especially in the case of corn or soy products
Phase Out Canned Foods
Besides having minimum nutritional value, canned products are often lined with Bisphenol-a (BPA). BPA is a synthetic estrogen or “endocrine disrupting chemical” capable of blocking or mimicking natural estrogen in the body. BPA-Free does not always mean it’s safe, as the replacement chemicals (BPS, or BPF) are proving to be just as bad, if not worse than BPA. These chemicals have been attributed to:
- Weight gain
- Reproductive issues
- Insulin resistance
- Thyroid disorders
- Neurological/behavioral issues (like ADHD)
Look for enamel-lined cans (like Eden Organics or Native Forest), or foods stored in glass jars instead. Opt for beverages in glass containers, as canned beer, soda, and sparkling waters contain these toxins as well.
Time to Take Action
If this all feels overwhelming, remember you don’t have to replace everything with toxic food ingredients all at once! Here are the steps I recommend:
- Remove from your pantry anything that’s canned or heavily processed and you know is unlikely to get eaten. Toss it out or donate it to a food bank.
- Put aside an hour to visit your local health food store and wander through the aisles, read labels, ask employees for recommendations, and choose one or two items that fit the standards above to try.
- As you use up the foods currently in your cabinet, gradually replace them with healthier options.
Enjoy the process. Getting the cabinets cleaned up and finding new foods can be a fun and rewarding experience!