What is the best place to start changing your life and your diet? It’s in the kitchen, of course.
You don’t necessarily have to give up all the foods you’re used to eating to become more healthy. However, eating more organic, locally-grown, whole foods, reducing exposure to toxic products — coupled with healthier food preparation techniques — are key to improving your health.
Proper planning and preparation will make a big difference in your success! You don’t need to make a huge investment. In fact, you’ll probably save money by cutting back on pricey, highly-processed convenience foods.
1. Do your homework. Familiarize yourself with healthy menu planning, choose some recipes and list the necessary ingredients.
2. Search for healthy recipes online or get a healthy vegetarian or vegan cookbook.
3. Consider reading a book or website about raw foods book so you can learn about eating and preparing more nutrient-rich, raw foods.
4. Go shopping with your list in hand.
5. Don’t go to the grocery store hungry. (Make sure you can resist those Oreos and potato chips on this shopping trip.)
6. Look for farmer’s markets and health food stores in your area.
7. When you’re shopping for your food, enjoy the process and make it an aesthetic experience as well.
8. Load up on fresh (preferably organic) fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans.
9. Reduce or eliminate meat consumption. Look for safer, organic, grass-fed, lean meats, eggs and dairy.
10. Ask about safer, less toxic, wild-caught fish at your local fish store.
11. Stock up on organic dried fruits and nuts for snacking.
12. Stock up on natural, organic dried herbs and spices so you have them on hand.
13. Replace table salt with a good sea salt.
14. Replace white sugar with stevia, raw honey or agave.
15. Replace white rice with whole grains: brown rice, quinoa or couscous.
16. Buy a spray bottle of fruit and vegetable wash or learn how make your own.
17. Buy non-toxic cleaning products for your kitchen or make your own.
18. Clean out your refrigerator and cabinets.
19. Clean out those crisper drawers to get them ready for an influx of new organic and raw foods.
20. Throw out the half-empty bags of snack foods, white flour products and sugary sweets.
21. Put any microwaveable foods in a dark bag and stash them somewhere in the back of the freezer. Out of sight, out of mind.
22. Replace aluminum pots, pans and utensils with stainless steel or green cookware.
23. Toss the non-stick pans. Teflon, Silverstone and other coatings emit harmful perflourochemicals (PFCs). The EPA classifies them as carcinogens.
24. If you don’t have a steamer, invest in one of those too, so you can lightly steam your vegetables to preserve nutrients.
25. Reduce plastic storage in your kitchen. Invest in glass storage containers.
26. Invest in some good knives including hunting knives and kitchen knives.
27. And do invest in a new cutting board. You don’t want to use the same cutting board for all your fresh new foods that you’ve used through the years to cut up chicken or other foods.
28. Add a water filter to your tap water. (Even a pitcher-style filter will help remove some of the impurities in your water.)
29. Buy a powerful blender.
30. Add a food processor, if you don’t have one already, and learn how to use it.
31. Consider buying a good quality juicer.
32. Pamper yourself with those square white dishes that are good for serving sushi. It’s easier to arrange small portions of different foods that way. And getting new white dishes will be symbolic of this new, purer way of eating. (Or choose any natural dishes that make dining more pleasurable.)
33. Select some lovely reusable chopsticks so you can take your time eating.
34. Buy (or locate) a big vase and a bunch of sunflowers for the table to symbolize letting the sun into your diet/life — or whatever seasonal flowers you enjoy.
Are you getting hungry just thinking about all this?
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
There are many more steps that you can take to make your kitchen healthier.
Start by putting these basic steps into action and you will be well on your way toward transforming your kitchen from a processed food haven to a healthy ‘urban natural’ oasis.
Living healthier is a lifelong journey.
Enjoy the ride!
What have you done lately to make your kitchen a healthier place for you and/or your family?
Share your comments and suggestions below.