I found the perfect activity to prepare for the new year – purging my kitchen of unhealthy food.
I accidentally stumbled upon this the other day when I was getting some herbal tea from the cupboard. There, in the back of the same shelf, sat an old jar of Nestea ice tea mix (the powdered kind), proudly proclaiming “with NutraSweet” on the front label. Ugh! NutraSweet. I gave up artificial sweeteners many years ago, so I could only imagine how long that thing had been around.
Now, I’m not one to waste, so my first thought was to bring it in to work, since I know there are others who do not adhere to my rigid dietary standards. But then I told myself no one should be using artificial sweeteners (stevia is a great no-cal, natural alternative), so I dumped out the contents and rinsed and recycled the jar. There. Now there was more room for real tea.
Later that day I reached for something in my fridge and noticed an unfamiliar bottle in the door, behind some other things. I pulled it out and found a very weird product that I must have thought sounded like a good idea at one point in my life. In fact, it’s so weird I don’t even know what to call it, other than “flavoring.” You’re supposed to add it to a glass of milk (hot or cold) to create a coffee shop beverage. Why not just make a pot or cup of coffee? This odd product didn’t have a single natural ingredient in it, so out it went, down the drain.
That felt so good that I opened the refrigerator again to see what else I could find. I had just been planning how I would clean up my diet in January, after months of holiday overeating. This was a great start.
Aha! There, behind the extra virgin olive oil, sat a bottle of spicy brown mustard. Now, mustard is fine, but this bottle expired back in 2006. And the scary part was, it looked and smelled perfectly fine. I can only imagine how many preservatives were in that thing.
Out it went, too. This process continued and spread to other areas of my house: the medicine cabinet, my closet, my spice cabinet. The great part is, you don’t have to set aside a large amount of time to do it. While you’re waiting for a friend to arrive or water to boil, you can open a random cupboard and see what old, moldy items might be lurking there. Then toss them while you’re feeling strong, and you won’t be tempted to use them sometime when you just need a little mustard on your sandwich.
Out with the old and in with the new! A happy, healthy new year to one and all.