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Baby Step #3: Get Rid of the Bad Stuff and Snack Well!

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Close your eyes and imagine yourself only eating real, whole foods that are good for you. Flavorful vegetables, succulent meat, fresh fish, creamy avocados, crunchy nuts, sweet fruit, etc. Seems pretty easy, right?

Now open your eyes. Look around you. You can probably walk or drive less than a half mile and see a fast food ad campaign, neon-signed chain restaurant, or a ‘convenience’ store filled with processed junk that is parading around, looking like food. All of these things are bad for you. And you already know that. But, all of the sudden, for some weird reason, you are drawn to them. You want them. You crave them.

All healthy habits are EASY to stick to, unless you’re battling with the temptation of the unhealthy habits. That’s because most of us are literally addicted to eating unhealthy foods that we’ve been eating for our entire lives. Sugars that are found in all processed foods and desserts cause out bodies and brains to have chemical reactions similar that mimic that of a response to opiates. ( So consider this your intervention). Baby Step #3 is to get rid of the bad foods in your house. All of them!

Does your snack drawer look like this?

So what do you do? You do all that you can to minimize your exposure to the ‘bad things’. Since we’re taking baby steps here, let’s just start with your own kitchen. If you’re making an effort to eat only whole foods, then you shouldn’t have ANY non-whole foods in the house. Makes sense right? A person trying to quit cigarettes probably wouldn’t have much success if they kept a pack in their drawers or on their counter tops. The same idea applies to you and your food.

A proper burial

So our suggestion is to raid your fridge, pantry, drawers, ‘secret junk food stash’, desk drawers, and remove all of the non-foods. Be honest with yourself, and remember to check all labels on questionable items ( ingredients that you can’t pronounce are probably not whole foods, or good for your body). This process should feel liberating, simplifying, and a little overwhelming. Step away from the pantry, breathe, and realize that this is the first step to really making a radical change to the way you think about food. The word “food”, in your future, will be defined as something perishable, locally grown if possible, grassfed (meats), and unprocessed.

You may think that your pantry is bare, and subsequently wonder what you’ll be able to buy in order to fill it up again. Since most real foods don’t have a long shelf life at room temperature,  your fridge should become your new pantry – the place you go to first thing in the morning, when you are preparing for dinner, and when you want a tasty snack.

A "Real Foods" Fridge

If your bare pantry looks a little depressing, try cheering it up with a few minimally or non-processed foods such as Larabar, almond or sunflower seed butter, canned fish, raisins, and all-natural,  low sodium chicken broth. They are the closest thing to fresh real foods as you can get, and they are great options for ‘on the go’ snacks. ( Not the broth – save that for soup, silly!)

A Happy Pantry. (Notice the lack of crappy foods)

Now that the bad stuff is gone, you can clear your head, go food shopping for all real foods, find new recipes, and start making food that you body was actually designed to eat!

Here are a few suggestions for Real Food snacks to keep in the house. Keeping foods like these on hand will make it simple to avoid making excuses.

Hardboiled Eggs

High Quality Turkey Breast from the deli counter

Cooked Spaghetti Squash

Boiled Sweet Potatoes with cinnamon

Carrots

Blueberries

Fruit  (just one piece per day)

Beef Jerky (check out Steve’s Original)

Guacamole ( eat with cucumber chips)

Kale Chips (bake kale in the oven with some olive oil on baking sheet until crispy)

Larabar

Roasted Squash, Zucchini and Eggplant with seasonings

Chicken Salad (boil the chicken, drain, add olive oil, a bunch of chopped up veggies, some raisins, and some finely chopped almonds)

Tuna (straight from the can, with some olive oil and sun-dried tomatoes)

Sardines

Homemade Salsa

Bacon and veggies

Smoked Salmon

Pulled pork, chicken, or beef ( cook in slow cooker and pull apart)

Bottom line is that if you replace all of the Bad Stuff in your kitchen with Good Stuff, you’ll find it next to impossible to eat badly, make a bad decision, or to panic and get fast or fast(er) food.

Hope this has helped!

Please comment below if you’ve had success with this ‘clean out the pantry/desk/drawers/fridge’ method.

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8 Responses to Baby Step #3: Get Rid of the Bad Stuff and Snack Well!

  1. Eric says:

    Have you guys ever tried a “nut crunch” snack from a company called Mareblu? I just got some today, it’s Gluten free with almonds, cashews, pistachios, and dried fruit. It was so good I went and ordered a box of their blueberry pomegranate nut crunch bars.

  2. Karl says:

    Man that’s a clean fridge! Thanks for the great posts.

  3. @Eric, No, we haven’t tried that yet – it looks good! It’s sweetened with evaporated cane sugar, so it would probably have to fall under a ‘cheat’ snack for us, rather than an everyday thing. We usually just buy almonds and macadamia nuts from the bulk bins at Wegmans and mix them with raisins at home, if we want something sweet and filling.

    @Karl. thanks! It’s just my husband and I at home, so it’s easy to keep things relatively neat around the house and in the kitchen. Plus, we usually eat things before they have a chance to clutter up the shelves!

    Great blog, by the way. I hadn’t read it before, but I’ll add it to my list – looks like there is some good content there.

  4. Eric says:

    Ya I saw that. At least it’s only 5 grams. Good for a grab and go for work for me.
    But ya I need to start having some more stuff like what you mentioned around for at home snacks.

  5. Kim Gerber says:

    Great list. Thanks for all the tips. You guys rock.
    May I also suggest:

    Nori (Japanese dried seaweed) is tasty, comes in little packets (1×3 in) in Asian stores.
    -If you do ever get to Thailand they have an awesome “fried Big Sheet”. Not the best snack as I’m sure it’s full of sat. fat, but probably more nutritious than a potato chip.

    Jicama

  6. Alycia says:

    Thanks, Kim! We’ve been meaning to check out Jicama, and there are a bunch of Asian food markets right near our house, that I’m sure carry Nori, as well.

    We’re looking forward to many snacks with you once you guys are back in the US. Good luck with your training and eating well!

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  8. George G says:

    Agreed.. This is my 1st visit to your website. Greatful for sharing this. I must revisit this site. I am a home decoration specialist for five years. My home decor hint of the century is this: Please don’t clutter a house. A good walking area is essential. Farewell!

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