Spring is a time for renewal and new beginnings. A lot of us use the springtime to get rid of the old and welcome the new, whether that is through spring cleaning, healthier habits, or something else. If your goal involves improving your health or decluttering your kitchen, we have seven items that you can ditch right now with your spring-cleaning. These seven items may help improve your overall health and help declutter and reorganize your kitchen to lower your stress and improve your healthy living success!
1. Deli Meats
Individuals who choose to eat meat should be informed that processed meat is linked to chronic diseases and negatively influences the environment. Processed meats often have added salt, sugars, saturated fats, and can have chemical additives. The recommendation from multiple organizations, including the American Cancer Society, is to reduce the amount of processed meat that you consume. This includes deli meats, bacon, and sausage. The high amounts of sodium and saturated fat found in processed meats have been linked to obesity, heart disease, and cancer. For your health, it is best to buy a chicken or turkey breast, which is nitrate-free and low in sodium, cook it yourself, and then slice it into lunchmeat portion sizes. By preparing your own this way, you know exactly what is in the meat you are eating.
2. Old Plastic Containers
Toss anything made of clear, rigid plastic and stamped with a 7 or “pc” (which stands for polycarbonate). These containers likely contain BPA (bisphenol A). It is also a good idea to toss warped or cracked containers. Many new containers made with polycarbonate have the BPA removed, but this is not true for the old containers you have been collecting from years ago. Trips to the dishwasher or microwave in these old containers can lead to chemical leaching. For the safest containers, go for glass. Some research has shown that BPA can affect the brain and prostate gland of fetuses, infants, and children and affect children’s behavior. Additional research suggests a possible link between BPA and increased blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
3. Diet soda stash
We do not recommend the use of diet sodas while on the Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating program. The research is controversial and often with mixed results but we have been amazed to hear the stories from customers who trash their stash of diet sodas. Some research points to the sweet stuff as increasing your sweet tooth, impacting gut bacteria, glucose intolerance, preventing weight loss, increasing the risk for metabolic syndrome, and slowing metabolism. It is best to steer clear of these overly sweet drinks full of artificial sweeteners.
4. Old Spices
Using herbs and spices when cooking can help boost the nutrition content of your foods and provide amazing flavor while cutting back on fat and salt. Expired spices likely will not make you sick but they will likely not add any flavor to your food. Tossing out your old spices and getting new fresh spices can help provide better flavor and help you avoid bland meals that make it hard to stick to your goals.
5. Take-Out Menus & Flyers
We all have been in a place where we are tired and do not feel like cooking. However, that can be a very dangerous place to be. Taking the easy way out of picking up the phone and ordering food can lead us off the road of our healthy eating goals. If you have a kitchen drawer full of menus and restaurant flyers, it is time to get rid of them. Having the temptation and easy access to order your favorite take-out can make you lose your progress, start bad eating habits, and with the large portions they provide it could affect more than just one meal. Of course, sometimes ordering take-out is okay but making the path to it a little harder will only benefit you. Throw those menus in the recycling and stick to your healthy eating plans.
6. Items in the RIP drawer
Have you heard of the RIP drawer in your refrigerator? If you haven’t, I am sure you still have one! You know when get home from the grocery store and throw your greens, fresh fruits, and vegetables in the produce drawer and then you NEVER take them out! This drawer has been renamed the RIP drawer. We recommend going through your RIP drawer and throwing out the items that look rotted or spoiled. A better idea is to keep those items in a place where you frequently see them. Such as a bowl of fruit on the counter. Or a fresh green salad on an eye-level shelf in the refrigerator. The research shows that keeping healthy foods in more visible places increases the chances that you will eat those items.
7. Anything with Trans Fat
We have come a long way with trans-fat in the diet since manufacturers started decreasing their use of this ingredient, but they are still found in some items. Trans-fats are often listed as partially hydrogenated oils on the labels and are synthetically engineered. It is best to avoid them because trans-fat increase your bad (LDL) cholesterol and decreases your good (HDL) cholesterol levels, which can increase your risk for a heart attack or stroke. Items you might find trans-fat in include:
- Baked goods (cakes, cookies, pies)
- Frozen pizza
- Microwave popcorn
- Fried foods (French fries, doughnuts, fried chicken)
- Refrigerated dough
- Nondairy coffee creamer
- Stick margarine
Have you started your spring cleaning yet this year? It’s time to think about adding these 7 items to your spring cleaning list to declutter and improve your health. The time has come to throw out these items that are not doing your health any favors and move forward with a new beginning focused on health and wellness. Need help? Try one of our healthy meal plans today, which leaves out unhealthy ingredients, has BPA-free and recyclable containers, never contains any trans-fat, and makes following a diet easy!