We talked about spring cleaning our health habits in the last post, and today it’s time to get a bit more specific. Having a healthy pantry, stocked with items that help you reach your health goals, is key to prioritizing your health and feeling your best. Do you know what’s lurking in the corners of your pantry that may be sabotaging your health? Read on to find out!
Top 7 Things That May Be Sabotaging Your Healthy Pantry
- Carageenan. Something derived from red algae or seaweed sounds healthy, right? Think again – this additive is often labeled as “all natural,” but it is a hidden cause of inflammation (it’s even used in laboratory studies to induce inflammation in rats!). If consumed in excess, it can cause bloating and GI discomfort, and has been linked in some studies to things like ulcerative colitis, insulin resistance, immune suppression, and more. It is used as a thickener and stabilizer, so find it in dairy products, dairy alternatives (like almond milk), dips, dressings, and sauces. Here is a list of some brands that do and do not use carrageenan, from the Cornucopia Institute.
- Hidden added sugars. We talked all about how to find hidden added sugars here, and now is a great time to hit “reset” by taking out anything that contains hidden added sugar and committing to only bringing in items with no hidden added sugar. Of course, if you’re buying candy or cookies, you can assume there will be sugar, but do you really want it lurking in your ketchup, bread, or salad dressing? Pay special attention to products containing “high fructose corn syrup” on the ingredient list … most companies are moving far away from that, for good reason!
- Artificial sweeteners. Look for sucralose (this is another name for Splenda, which is basically chlorinated sugar!), aspartame, acesulfame potassium (or “Ace K”), saccharin, sorbitol, Equal, or NutraSweet. A bit of (pure!) stevia is OK, as is a small amount of erythritol or xylitol if you are sure your body tolerates it. Want to learn a bit more about why to avoid artificial sweeteners? Here is a great article by MindBodyGreen!
- Hydrogenated oils. You may have heard of “trans fats,” and one of the major sources of these is hydrogenated oils. Once touted as healthy (because they’re often vegetable oils, which sounds healthy!), they’re used in baked goods, fried foods, and sweets instead of butter or higher quality oils. Unfortunately, these fats have a negative impact on your cholesterol, cause inflammation, and can contribute to chronic disease. Most manufacturers are taking them out completely, but some processed foods still have them. Look at the ingredients – anything that says “hydrogenated” (like hydrogenated corn oil, hydrogenated vegetable oil, or hydrogenated soybean oil) is better off in the trashcan than in your stomach. Beware: you can’t just look at the line for “trans fats” on the nutrition label, because there’s a loophole that allows food manufacturers to include small amounts of hydrogenated oil while still putting “0g” in the trans fat line.
- BPA-containing cans or containers. Often used in aluminum cans and plastics (originally to keep the aluminum from leeching into our food supply, which sounds like a good idea), BPA can mimic estrogen in your body and “confuse” your endocrine system. It is also linked to increase insulin production, which can make you gain weight and become insulin sensitive, and to difficulty detoxing. Look for cans (especially those containing acidic foods like diced tomatoes and tomato sauce) that say “BPA-free,” and choose BPA-free plastics or, better yet, glass containers.
- Condiments with mile-long ingredient lists. If you cook regularly, you likely have dozens of bottles of condiments, sauces, and ingredients that you bought for one recipe (“sure, I’ll use that Thai chili vinegar wine again, right?”). Fine, if they’re not expired and are healthy ingredients in the first place. But turn over the bottle and look at the ingredient list. If it has more than 4-5 ingredients, and you don’t recognize most of them, it’s probably something to clean out. I love buying condiments from Thrive Market, which carries only cleaner, healthier products. Use my discount link for 25% off your first order here!
- Your personal kryptonite. Do you know that every time you buy Oreos, you eat the entire sleeve? Do you always promise yourself that this time, you’ll buy Lay’s potato chips and only eat them on Fridays … but find half the Party Size bag gone in a sitting? I work with my clients on strategies to enjoy the things they love in moderation, but if you’re just not there yet, know yourself well enough to pre-empt a situation that won’t make you feel great mentally or physically. Use your willpower to not bring those things into the house … so you don’t have to use your willpower every single time you step into your pantry.
Need to spring clean your health, ditch the sugar cravings, boost your energy, and get back to feeling your best? My 10-Day Reset could be your answer! Join the hundreds who have gotten great results (100% report improved overall health, 96% report weight loss, 96% report increased energy, 91% report better digestion!). Sign up today at www.thelyonsshare.org/resetnow!
Now it’s your turn … Which of these items are lurking in your otherwise healthy pantry? What other things would you add to my list?