As you open your pantry door does Tony the Tiger, The Helping Hand (think crazy glove guy from Hamburger Helper), or any of the Hershey’s characters greet you with a huge toothless grin? (Rant: why do none of these characters have teeth, hes a freakin’ tiger for goodness sake)
No? Save yourself some time and just skim through, you will probably find a nugget or two, 70%+ cacao nugget with just a hint or orange and ginger of course.
Yes? Get your garbage bag ready, its pantry makeover time.
FIRST, MY RANT
It’s not your fault, for the most part. On a daily basis, million dollar-marketing campaigns bombard us with how great their products are. They are convenient, last forever (not a good thing) and cheap. For the thrifty shopper, what’s not to love? Well, a lot actually but we will get to that in more detail. Read on.
As of right now you get a free pass for pantry nutrition illiteracy and being sucked in by ridiculously clever industry marketing. After this post though you will know better, so there can be no more blaming it on the industry but instead a little more sticking it to the man.
First and foremost, you are responsible for your own health. You need to seek out trustworthy sources to educate yourself. If you choose this blog, great, if not find someone you trust.
You don’t live with mom anymore — even if you do, I am not judging — so make your own decision whether or not you should eat your vegetables.
As much as billion dollar corporations might say they care about your health, the products they consistently produce don’t exactly put their nutritional content where their mouth, err money, is.
My advice is simple:
EAT FOOD THAT IS ALIVE!
If you can pick it, grow it, gather it, or kill it you are probably pretty safe eating it. You don’t grow a donut plant and skittles don’t fall from the sky no matter how many “Taste the Rainbow” dances you do.
Plus, when people start to be cognizant of their decisions and stop blindly consuming, the world seems to have a tendency to improve. Crazy, right?
Another great aphorism comes from the infamous Jack LaLanne, the godfather of fitness.
Jack LaLanne’s Advice
“IF MAN MADE IT, DON’T EAT IT.”
Simple, right? Now, think about if you ate every meal based on this one principle. You would probably have the body of your dreams, no questions asked. Now only would you look sweet but your health would flourish. According to Jack’s saying what foods does that leave us with? Naturally, whole foods. Think meats, vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts to name a few.
Most of the foods in your supermarket were thought up and created in a laboratory. They are strategic combinations of sugar, hydrogenated oils, some cereal grain (usually wheat or corn), artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, and salt. Most are stripped of all nutritional fortitude so they need to be fortified again with synthetic vitamins and minerals before putting them on the market. Does this sound crazy to anyone else? Strip the vitamins and minerals then add them back in, huh?
Have we really evolved that much as humans in the last 100 years that we know more about food and our diet than thousands to millions of years of eating directly from nature. This whole “food in a box” thing (not to be confused with the SNL skit) is actually a pretty recent invention.
Why are nutritional diseases more prevalent now than ever before? Looking at the Standard American Diet (SAD), things become pretty clear: lots of sugar, hydrogenated fat, grains and very few natural, unprocessed foods.
As consumers, you control the market. Your demand determines what grocers carry and what manufacturers produce. Your decisions at the supermarket or choice to support local farmers steer the market in very distinct directions. Essentially, you as the consumer have the power. Use your power wisely.
NOW, LETS GET DOWN TO BUSINESS
Enough with this rah rah mumbo jumbo let’s start taking some action.
First, grab a large plastic bag.
Seriously grab one.
Now throw everything that is in your pantry in the bag. If you eat the Standard American Diet, then yes, throw everything inside. Instead of talking about all the things we should throw away (chips, candy, granola bars, cookies, crackers, regular peanut butter, instant mixes, dried bread products, anything else in a box, and anything that will keep longer than a few months – or even a few weeks– sitting on a shelf), lets get to the things we should be including.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it will get you going in the right direction.
• Whole Oats
• Whole-Grain Pasta (I suggest rice pasta and usually advise against wheat –think gluten)
• Natural Peanut Butter (you know the stuff with oil on the top, and make it organic too, peanuts equal loads of pesticides)
• Mixed Nuts
• Dry Beans (black, kidney, lentils, green, etc…)
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• Vinegar (Apple Cider, Red Wine, Rice, etc…)
• Green Tea
• Protein Supplements
• Fish Oil Supplements (I actually prefer Krill Oil)
• Greens Supplements
Take a look at the list again. If you looked at the labels of these foods, how many ingredients do you see?
First, you wouldn’t see any labels. You don’t find labels on carrots to tell you that the only ingredient is………carrots For some of the packaged items that would require labels you should only see one (ie: brown rice, quinoa, black beans) and possibly salt too. The list should be straightforward and not require a degree in Biochem to understand.
These foods come from nature. They are created by nature and harvested by man.
1. Genetically modified to resist pesticides by man
2. Nourished by nature
3. Harvested by man
4. Ground down by man
5. Chemically engineered by man
6. A whole lot of crap added by man
7. Reconstructed by man
8. Finally, laboratory vitamins added back in by man or woman of course.
Don’t try to outsmart nature. You might not lose right now, but life is a marathon not a sprint, and nature has been running since the beginning of time. Good luck keeping up! Better yet, hitch a ride and benefit from her wisdom.