By Eileen Lorio

Let’s face it, we are all just a little bit ashamed of our pantry. It’s untidy, it’s unorganized and we’re pretty sure there are a few out of date items in there, if only we could reach all the way to the back. My business revolves around a clean green pantry but my focus is more on the quality of the food rather than how prettily it is displayed. I believe that we can all benefit from a pantry clear out because making small changes can ultimately lead to big ones. More importantly, it can make a huge difference to our family’s health.

To see how easy it can be, start by opening the doors, taking a deep breath and grabbing the garbage can. Here are my top 5 tips for making those changes that will impact your family’s health forever!

Clear the Clutter

I’m afraid we have to start with this one. Remove everything shelf by shelf and survey the vast array of wasted food collecting dust in your pantry. If you haven’t touched it in over a year, it has to go. Donate what you don’t want and dump the out of date items (we all have them!).

Clean

Use a non-toxic cleaner or a homemade one (six cups of water, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1 tbsp baking soda and a few drops of citrus essential oil). You can also use the vacuum cleaner to get at all the crumbs.

Ditch the Toxic Food

OK, now that you have a nice clean pantry, let’s look at what’s left and see if the food contains toxins and harmful preservatives. If you do not know what to look for, here are my top 15 worst offenders.  Common foods in your pantry that may fall into this category include: sauces, pickles, mayonnaise, ketchup, corn chips, crackers, cookies, cereals and soups. My preference is to only stock non-GMO and organic food in order to avoid the harmful effects of these chemicals and toxins, many of which have never been studied in combination.

Replace Staples with Organic Versions

Once you have figured out which foods may be harmful; use up what you have and try and find an organic replacement during your next shopping trip. This will effectively remove the most toxic elements from your pantry.

Use Your Pantry Less

Yes! Most people use their pantry as their starting point when making a meal. It reflects the average American supermarket aisle – 80% processed food Vs 20% produce. Make it your goal to use more whole, natural ingredients as your starting point and add pantry items sparingly. Use herbs and spices in abundance, however. This shift in thinking will encourage you to start using your pantry as an accompaniment rather than the basis of your home cooked meal. Try it and you’ll see it is whole new way of thinking, which will ultimately lead to greater health for your family.