Joke of the Day
Q: “What is the ideal pantry?”
Though a hyperbole, this response does echo some truth. In our last entry, we covered the ideal “Eat Clean” fridge. We purged the toxic foods out of it and replaced them with wholesome and/or minimally-processed ones. The ideal “eat clean” pantry is a harder endeavor. Let me explain why.
We know the typical Standard American Diet (SAD) is flawed and is not working. Cancer, heart disease, chronic ailments are all increasing. Medications mostly mask the symptoms and never cure the underlying cause. The main reason we contract these maladies like a very aggressive form of pink eye may be attributed to our diet. We have veered away from the fresh meat & vegetable hunting/gathering form of our diet, which has been wired in us in the 10,000,000 years of human history, to packaged, processed foods. Why? Ostensibly because they are convenient and last longer. “Big Food” has infused unnatural additives into our food to enhance taste, color, satiety, and preservation. Think of the “bliss point” mentioned in the dining out article where food scientists have concocted the perfect ratio of salt, fat, and sugar.. But this comes at a cost to our quality of life.
How pervasive are processed foods? Look at the aisles of our local grocery store. 60-70% of the space is occupied for these Frankenfoods. The middle aisles of grocery stores are replete with chips, cookies, pastries, baking foods, pastas, and alike. For Big Food it means more profit since processed, packaged food cost more. In fact, Big Food would go out of business if we stopped purchasing them altogether. They know this. Grocery stores intentionally place the meat, dairy, and produce on separate sections of the store so you must venture through the processed food middle aisles where impulse buying beckons you. If we returned to Paleo-inspired foods of just meat, nuts, seeds, natural oils, & produce our health would improve dramatically and Big Food companies like Kraft, Nestle, Lays and alike would simply go out of business. Seems like a win-win situation!
To attain the ideal “eat clean” pantry, processed foods with the following ingredients must be purged.
- Refines sugars (including High Fructose Corn Syrup)
- Processed flour
- MSGs (Read our article on MSGs.)
- Artificial flavors
- Artificial Sweeteners (including Nutrasweet & Splenda) (Read our article on sweeteners.)
- Food Dyes
- Soy Lecithin
- Potassium Sorbate & other preservatives
- Industrial-grade Vegetable Oils (Read our article on vegetable oils.}
Items to Purge.
So, where do we find these ingredients? Don’t faint….
- Canned Soups
- Most Baking Items
- Boxed Riced
- Raisins & Dried Fruits
Now you are probably thinking “Gregory, what is left?! That is my entire pantry right now?! “ Unfortunately it is true. The problem with these foods is most are grain-based mixed in with inflammatory grain oils. This is a Molotov Cocktail From Hell! The grains, in particular wheat, have been stripped of their bran fiber, which is arguably the only healthy part of it. It has been processed down to flour. The body sees flour essentially as pure simple carbohydrates and, as such sugar. Sugar initiates the insulin response and fat storage and from there it is “Game Over, Man…Game Over!” as the immortal Hudson says in the movie Aliens.
Moreover, grains have anti-nutrients, or natural toxins inherent to them which protect them from predators. The problem is that since we have only been ingesting grains for 10,000 years or so we have not evolved to process these anti-nutrients. Lectin & gluten, the most omnipresent anti-nutrients, are found in wheat. Estimates are that close to 50% of Americans are sensitive or intolerant to them. A diet high in foods with anti-nutrients lead to food allergies, food sensitivities, “brain fog” and a host of digestive ailments.
We are all pawns and slaves to Big Food from a combination their incessant bombardment of advertisements, food scientists hitting us with the bliss point perfection of sugar, fat, & salt. Plus they rely on us either being too busy or too lazy to make our own foods. It is a perfect combination of disaster. We fall for it. We get sicker. Big Food profits from our weakness. We get sick and then Big Medicine and Big Pharma comes to profit from that. Not to place images of men in dark suits smoking in dark rooms…but it smells like a conspiracy to me. Let’s get back on topic!
Similar to sucking out the fat from dairy and putting in flavor enhancers to compensate, the processed foods are the crème de la crème of Frankenfood manufacturing. Now that they have extracted the bran, we have tasteless yet malleable flour. With flour, you can make the world! Big Food then throws in all the fake flavor enhancers, vegetable oils, dyes, artificial sweeteners, and addictive additives to get to that prefect bliss point ratio. (They also throw in Soy Lecithin as an emulsifier (to glue the food together) so you can get that nice GMO aperitif. Spend an afternoon at the grocery store to peruse the ingredient lists of packaged foods. It will blow your mind how many cookies, crackers, and alike have Soy Lecithin and some form of vegetable oil (canola, corn, palm, cottonwood) in it.
Ideal Clean Eating Pantry
Now apply the adage “If God doesn’t make it, don’t eat it” when imagining your ideal clean eating pantry.
- Nuts (preferable unroasted and soaked (See article on Nut Soaking) (No peanuts)
- Seeds (ideally pumpkin or chia)
- Quinoa (no gluten, no anti-nutrients, yet high in protein and fiber)
- Wild Rice
- Homemade or Nitrate-Free Beef Jerky(See article on problems with nitrates.)
- High Percentage Dark Chocolate (See article on chocolate’s benefits.)
- Teas & Coffee
- Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, or Balsamic and most other varieties of Vinaigrette
- Blue-Corn, Kale, Broccoli, Carrot or Beet Chips (preferably fried in Avocado or Coconut Oil) (Be careful many “Veggie Chips” are just potato chips with a tad of veggies. These are all pure vegetable.)
- Wine and small amounts of “hard liquor” (e.g. vodka, whiskey, etc.)
Now before you jump off a bridge remember nice easy alternatives exists:
- Yank out the flour…use Coconut & Almond Flour for Baking
- Yank out the white rice and use wild rice or cooked-an-cooled rice to make it a resistant-starch prebiotic. Or better yet try making rice out of Cauliflower.
I know it may be disconcerting to think about removing the aforementioned foods from your pantry. But like the Ideal “Eat Clean” fridge, you will save money in the long run. We really don’t think about it, but processed packaged foods are very expensive.
You might think that making savory food will now be difficult. It isn’t. I suggest investing in a Paleo recipe book or peruse Mark’s Daily Apple for great “Eat Clean” Paleo-inspired recipes. You would be amazed how much you can do with meat, vegetables, and healthy sauces.
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A. Gregory Luna (call me Gregory!)
(We would appreciate your comments below.)