Spring cleaning your pantry for a healthy year

The pantry can be a place for high quality food – canned wild-caught salmon, almond flour noodles, high quality cooking oils, and all your favorite sauces and condiments that are made without sugar. The pantry can also house the usual carbohydrate suspects – french fries, cookies, crackers, pasta, cereal, and bread. If you’re not careful, this cool and dark room can ruin your efforts to eat the foods that make you feel best.

Follow these 8 simple steps and you will be well on your way to a pantry that will feed your body the way your genes expect you to be fed.

1. Discharge the junk food

The first step towards a primary minded pantry is to rid it of the wrong foods.

Sure, the original lifestyle involves flexibility, but the pantry is a place where you can be a little more rigid so that you can leave your flexibility for situations where you may have less control (e.g. travel or business lunch).

Throw out everything that:

  • You have decided that this is not part of your lifestyle right now
  • Overly processed
  • They feel tired, slow, or cause other physical changes
  • You consider your “weakness”

When you get rid of things that could trip you, it will be easier to stay on track in your daily life. They remove the load of groceries that you call every time you pass the pantry. After those are no longer at home, the only thing left to do is make informed decisions at the grocery store.

That doesn’t mean you have to be wasteful. Deliver your unopened items to a grocery bank or other charity that would appreciate a food donation.

2. Top up nuts and seeds

After removing the non-working items, load up quick snacks that work. Raw almonds, walnuts, macadamias are some fantastic options that will stay fresh for at least a few months. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are some other great options.

As with everything, watch out for the flavored varieties. Certain natural flavors are fine, others introduce industrial seed oils and sugars into an otherwise high quality snack. Keep an eye on the ingredient labels.

3. Replace industrial seed oils with better culinary fats

Keep your pantry well stocked with olive oil and avocado oil. You will be using it every day. However, fat goes rancid. So only buy as much oil as you can finish in a month.

Not sure which one you will use the most? Read the definitive guide to fats.

4. Be ready for your sweet tooth

We all have sweet teeth. We like sweets because it’s quick energy that can be stored (as body fat – evolutionarily a good thing, not so good for modern life). So it’s normal for us to want some candy in the pantry – just don’t drive yourself crazy and stick to acceptable sources. Honey is easy to have on hand, as is semi-sweet dark chocolate (choose good quality, mostly cocoa, low-sugar chocolate bar).

It’s also a good idea to stock your pantry with alternative flours and sweeteners that you can use to make healthier versions of your favorite baked goods. Some recipes to try:

Primal and Keto Brownies

Keto chocolate chip cookies

Keto Blueberry Muffins

5. Fill your cup

Tea and coffee absolutely have a place in your pantry. In the primordial community, we love our morning coffee. Black, green, and herbal teas are great mid-morning or afternoon pick-me-ups, as long as you don’t sip so late that you struggle with your sleep.

I also always have chai collagen mix and matcha collagen mix on hand to get a serving of collagen through a slightly sweet, frothy latte.

6. Taste, taste, taste

Healthy, clean food often has a bad reputation for being bland and tasteless. Herbs, spices, sauces, marinades, and dressings will keep you from getting tired of eating the same thing and inspire you to create new dishes based on ingredients you already use frequently.

7. Jerky

Have some jerk ready for a quick protein snack – beef, buffalo, salmon, turkey, deer, elk. Better yet, do your own jerk so that you can choose what goes into your body. If you’ve never tried pemmican before, give it a try. It’s a fan favorite recipe.

Keep in mind that most homemade jerks (or quality jerks bought in a store) are less processed and therefore go rancid much faster than what you get at the truck stop. However, I kind of doubt if you eat your jerk on time it will be a problem.

8. Canned food

You threw away the canned bean and cherry pie filling, but didn’t avoid the can entirely. It’s a good format for vegetables, and its convenience just can’t be ignored. Canned tomatoes are just as good as most fresh tomatoes (unfortunately it’s hard to find a good tomato these days). Sugar-free pasta sauce or industrial seed oils will help make a quick dinner if you need to. Artichoke hearts in a jar, canned pumpkin (no pumpkin pie mix), canned salmon or sardine and canned coconut milk are also staple foods.

About the author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Marks Daily Apple, godfather of the Primal Food and Lifestyle movement, and the New York Times best-selling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, which describes how he combines the keto diet with a pristine lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is also the author of numerous other books, including The Primal Blueprint, which is credited with the growth of the Primal / Paleo movement in 2009. After three decades of researching and educating people about why food is the key component in achieving optimal wellbeing, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real food company, the Primal / Paleo, Keto and Whole30 friendly kitchen staples manufactures.

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