Pantry organization might not be the FIRST thing that comes to mind when a patient asks, “What can I do today that will have a positive impact on my health journey?” but it’s a common response from our practitioners.
We love to meet patients who are motivated to take control of their health and implement even the smallest lifestyle changes to start moving the needle in a new direction. Something we can suggest to patients is to go home and take inventory of what’s in their fridge and pantry.
We encourage patients to start bringing awareness to the foods they’re consuming, the products they’re using and generally what types of things they’re exposed to in their everyday environment.
Here are some common items you might find in your pantry, and swaps we’d recommend making today.
Pantry organization: what to ditch today
Inflammatory seed oils
This is a pretty broad category, because you would be shocked to learn how many common foods include some type of inflammatory seed oils! Oils like canola oil and vegetable oils derived from sunflower, safflower, soybean and corn are high in omega-6 fats. While we need some omega-6 fats and lots of omega-3 fats, the standard American diet has a much higher ratio of omega-6:omega-3 than our ancestors had in the past. This study found the ratio consumed used to be 1:1, but because seed oils are used so frequently, we’re now closer to a 15:1 ratio of omega-6:omega-3 consumption. Since we know as a society we’re over-consuming omega-6s, it’s best to limit the amount we’re consuming at home!
RELATED: What IS chronic inflammation?
Now, we’re not suggesting you go home and throw away every single item that has seed oils in the ingredient list. An easy approach is to look at the oils you use to cook food in. Are you using canola oil? Nondescript vegetable oil? Try swapping those out for something like olive oil, or avocado oil which has a high smoke point and doesn’t go rancid as easily as other oils!
Drinks high in sugar
It’s widely understood that a diet high in sugar can lead to serious health conditions like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. One of our biggest suggestions for patients is to avoid consumption of drinks that are high in sugar content. This includes soda, juice, some types of kombucha and energy drinks. For example, one 12oz can of Coca-Cola contains 39 grams of sugar. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 24 grams of sugar per day for adult women and no more than 36 for adult men. When one 12oz can of soda contains almost twice the amount of daily sugar for women, this is an easy area to work on cutting back and then cutting out entirely!
RELATED: What do my food cravings mean?
Our favorite swaps for soda include plain or sparkling water with fresh fruit, coconut water or flavored electrolyte powders. LMNT is our favorite!
Conventional salad dressing
Now that we’ve touched on overconsumption of seed oils and sugar, we’re diving into an area that contains a lot of both. It would be shocking to some people to learn how many of your favorite salad dressings include both seed oils and a high amount of sugar! Some of our favorite better-for-you brands include:
Coffee that hasn’t been tested for mold and other toxicities
Most of us drink coffee every single day, right? What you might not want to think about is all of the organisms and toxicities that don’t get filtered out of the coffee before it’s ground up and shipped to the grocery store, or shipped right to your house.
Purity Coffee, a brand committed to providing the healthiest, purest form of coffee for consumers, conducted massive third-party testing on over 60 brands of coffee. Some of the data points tested include Ochratoxin (mold) levels, antioxidant levels, acidity and yeast. While they don’t call out the brands by name, you might be surprised to learn how the average cup of joe stacks up to Purity.
Another great option is Danger Coffee, created by Dave Asprey.
Take it one step at a time when it comes to pantry organization
The last thing we want to do is overwhelm our patients or give them a blanket recommendation to throw away every last thing that is already in their fridge or pantry. So this is where we’d start! Common household items that most people have their fridge or pantry but are easy to replace with better-for-you options.
Katie is our champion of member experience. You’ll meet her at our admin desk, or chat with her over the phone answering all your questions and making sure your patient care with us is seamless. When she isn’t running our office, she’s buried in a good book, shopping local vintage stores & baking delicious treats!