New Year, New You #2: The Great Pantry Toss

So, here is installment number two of my “New Year, New You” journey.  If you missed number one you can find it here.

The very first change I made had to do with food.  I decided that it would be easier to eat better if I didn’t have stuff around I was trying not to eat.  Thus began the Great Pantry Toss.  If pantry cleaning was an Olympic sport, I would be wearing the gold medal!

I started with simply getting rid of everything that was out of date (in the pantry) or unrecognizable (in the freezer).  I found more than a few mystery packages in the freezer.  You know, all those things you didn’t want to waste 5 seconds labeling because you know exactly what it is?  Because you know, that’s 5 whole seconds of your life you’ll never get back!  Then you spend an hour letting it defrost enough to be able to tell what it is, and it’s not what you thought it was so you toss it back in the freezer, again without labeling, because you’re not gonna forget what it is now after all of that!  So now you have all those sad, lonely, unlabeled surprise packages being tossed around the deep freeze as you search for something that is labeled to feed the hungry hoards.  I am happy to report that the sad, lonely, unlabeled surprise package population of my freezer is now a big fat zero.  Yeah me!  And, in an effort to maintain population control I even bought some cute little freezer labels and put them in a convenient place in my kitchen so I’ll actually use them.  I am also happy to report that all of the stray Y2K supplies that I found while spelunking in my panty met a similar fate.  Seriously, I don’t know what I was thinking; Spam?  Does anyone really eat that?

As I said earlier, one of my goals this year is to eat healthier.  I’m not talking about going on a diet and I’m not talking about some hard to find, esoteric “health food”.  I’m simply talking about eating more in line with what my body was created to eat.  So I’m going to be focusing on unprocessed (or at least less processed), organic (where possible), whole foods.  I am giving myself much grace in this process, because it is a process.  Will I ever eat 100% unprocessed, organic, whole foods?  I really don’t know.  But if I don’t, I’m not going to beat myself up about it.  What ever changes I do make will be positive and I will celebrate those changes no matter how small.

Ok, back to the pantry.  At the top of the 10 Most Not Wanted list was high fructose corn syrup.  As I began reading labels I was both shocked and amazed at everything that had HFCS in it.  I gotta tell you, reading labels ain’t for wimps!  Some things were pretty obvious like pancake syrup and cold cereal.  Some things surprised me, like “pure” vanilla extract and Lipton onion soup mix.  Seriously?  Onion soup mix?  So I made a decree that henceforth HFCS would no longer find respite in my dwelling place.  I made similar decrees about artificial sweeteners and MSG.  And loudly proclaiming things like, “Off with their heads”, they were unceremoniously tossed across the kitchen into the trash.

To be totally honest with you, though, I didn’t toss everything that should have been tossed.  And I’m ok with that for now.  There is grace in the process.  Some things were purchased by or for my teenagers and I’m not going to toss their stuff.  We have had some discussions about things I don’t want them to bring home anymore though. J  There are some other things that I will not purchase again once they are gone and others that will be phased out as I find healthier alternatives.  I’ve been making my own vanilla extract for about a year now, so the “pure” vanilla extract with high fructose corn syrup did get tossed! 🙂

Next time I’ll talk about #2 on the 10 Most Not Wanted list.  Until then, why don’t you share the weirdest thing you’ve ever found that had HFCS in it?