CLEAN OUT YOUR FRIDGE!
Everyone wants to start their new eating plan on Monday, after an all-out weekend food orgy or some other type of dietary debauchery. It always seems easier to start something tomorrow than today. Yet as the Chinese proverb says: “The man who waits till tomorrow to take the first step spends his entire life on one leg.”
Let’s take that FIRST step today. Are you ready? I will walk you through the first few steps in changing your nutrition habits – steps you CAN take today. No waiting till Monday. No procrastinating until you think your life is better suited to starting. No concern with perfection. Just a few minimal steps today that lead to a giant leap tomorrow.
SO GET READY!
Fact: If a food is in your possession or located in your residence, you will eventually eat it.
Think of all the siren calls that confront you every day outside your home, constantly testing your willpower and discipline: Chips and dip at social events. Brownies and birthday cakes at work. Pizza and hot dogs at the game….And more.
With all this temptation, you need to have a safe place where the temptations don’t exist. Why not make that safe place your home?
Some people might argue that developing a good nutritional lifestyle means developing the willpower to say no to these types of foods even if the foods are nearby. They suggest that instead of avoiding these foods, people should control the impulse to eat them.
I agree that internal control is critical. However, it takes time to develop. And until it does, the only way to minimize consumption of the foods you know you shouldn’t be eating often is to simply decrease the external temptation.
And even if you have built up that internal control, why tempt yourself? After all, no one brings alcohol to AA meetings as a mean t improve the attendees’ self-discipline. Likewise, you shouldn’t try to “test” your willpower with trigger foods at home.
So let’s get started at the fridge, shall we?
Depending on the state of your fridge, you might want to invest in some of those triple-ply trash bags that can hold a lot of weight. That’s right, it’s cleaning time! Let’s make some room for the good stuff you need to stock in your fridge.
HERE IS WHAT TO THROW AWAY – YES – THROW IT AWAY
I have compiled a list of a few common no-nos that have no business being in your inner sanctum. I am not saying you should never eat these. After all, I do recommend having the occasional treat. Just eat them infrequently and when you do eat them enjoy them and then get right back to your usual intake. No guilt needed.
Soft Drinks and Fruit Juices
Calorie-containing drinks are one of the biggest contributors to climbing obesity rates in the Western world. In fact, some people have created entire diets based on one single principle – excluding soft drinks. But it’s not just soda that’s the problem. l Think that cranberry cocktail is healthy? Think again. After water, the second ingredient is sugar. Drop the fruit juices and soft drinks; stick with water, green tea, and even a bit of coffee.
Most Commercially Available Dips and Dressings
These usually contain at least 60% oil by weight, and that oil is poor quality (not the recommended healthy fats). The end result is a fatty-acid profile that’s too skewed toward omega-6 fast and away from omega-3 fats, plus a lot of calories and artificial ingredients. And why keep low-value foods in the house at all when you can make your own healthy, delicious dips and dressing? You can find a host of great recipes in the Precision Nutrition Gourmet Nutrition Cookbook. I recommend this book! If you prefer to buy pre-made options, find ones that have minimal ingredients and use extra virgin olive oil or canola oil as the main oil.
Many types of sausage, bacon, and related products are loaded with undesirable types of fat, tons of sodium and even carbohydrates.
Frozen Desserts and Ice Cream
Sorry…Toss-em. Even the low-fat frozen desserts are sugar bombs waiting to sabotage your physique. Food manufacturers sneak sugars in everywhere, so keep an eye on the labels.
Sugar and Oil-Laden Sauces and Dressings
Many bottled sauces are nothing more than spiced high-fructose corn syrup (e.g. barbecue sauce, ketchup, marinade), or spiced vegetable oil (e.g. horseradish sauce, hollandaise). You don’t stock your pantry with corn or soybean oil as this type of fat isn’t ideal. And we don’t like these fats in our salad dressings either. However keeping a little ketchup or barbecue sauce on hand is unlikely to be a problem, as long as you keep the intake reasonable.
There are, of course, some sauces that can be incorporated into a healthy diet, such as salsa, pesto, hummus, low-sugar marinades (using healthy oils). You need to learn how to spice up your meals naturally without all the extra sugar and calories. Instead of stocking the fridge with sauces and dressings, stock it with different vinegars and healthy oils (flax and olive) as well as veggies that can be turned into healthy salsas or guacamole dishes.
Most Processed Foods
Forget processed foods packaged in colorful wrappers, boxes, bags, or containers. The “healthiness” of a food generally declines in proportion to its degrees of processing – even (or especially) when “health” claims are made on the label.
Your goal is to get as close to original, whole food as possible (most of the time). A rule: If the food is separated from its original source by more than 3 steps, minimize its contribution to your diet. For example:
Broccoli: grows in the ground; 1 step; excellent
Chicken Breast: protein from a chicken; injected with water; 2 steps; excellent.
Whole Grains: grown in the ground then ground; 2 steps; excellent.
Chili Mac: pasta (ground grain, bran removed), high fat composite meat, tomato concentrate, spices; more than 7 steps; poor.
A short list of processed foods (to throw out) includes:
- Snack foods (like pretzels, chips, crackers, granola bars, cookies, cakes)
- Frozen foods (like TV dinners, fish sticks, waffles)
- Instant foods (like mac and cheese, instant mashed potatoes, instant pancake mix)
- Whitened foods (like breads, rice and pasta – yes sorry)
- Deli foods like lunch meat: and
- Boxed cereals (yes, even the “healthy” ones)
OK – now that you have cleaned out your fridge – WHAT TO ADD? – coming in the next post!