You have probably heard this since as long as you can remember – “You can only change yourself; you can’t change other people”. While you’ve heard that message from after school specials on t.v. to the many lectures received by the adults in your world over the years, it is also most likely you learned the pain of that lesson repeatedly in one form or another over the years as well. You also likely learned that those words are in fact very true. You’ve got the emotional bruises to prove it!
So lesson learned, you may reluctantly accept that the bottom-line is that change is up to you and only you. So what does this mean in your day-to-day existence? Well it means that if you really want something different to happen in your life than you are going to have to make it happen. It is down to you and only you.
What? You say – “I thought no man was an island?” “I thought all people have a basic need to belong?” Yes, we do have a need to belong, however, it not as basic a need as our need to survive. Our survival need is our most basic of all needs. What is directedly related to our survival? Our health.
So knowing this, how do you protect and preserve your health? You may answer this easily – answers that you can easily see and hear in our daily casual activities like watching t.v.. reading magazine articles, reading a blog, viewing a discussion board or listening to a podcast or radio program. Many of these resources suggest that diet, exercise and stress management techniques are go-to behaviours that greatly influence our health outcomes.
There is one influencer that is often assumed and yet is commonly only addressed briefly. What is that influencer? It is our home environment. If your thoughts go immediately to your kitchen and in particular, your cupboards or pantry in your kitchen, then that is smart common sense.
So what do you include in your pantry purge? Here are some ideas…
- Remove all processed products – these contain sugar, fat and salt – high in calories and low in nutrients (that’s junk food and food disguised as ‘healthy’ and yet is laden with fat, etc)
- Get rid of all oils – oil is the ultimate processed product – even 1 tablespoon can damage our precious endothelium which lines all our blood vessels and arteries (yes, even the spray on versions; Did you know plant-derived coconut oil is 90% saturated fat?)
- Stock whole grains, pastas, rices and breads – ensure the word “whole” is before the word ‘wheat’ or ‘brown rice’
- Select no salt versions of canned beans and legumes or choose raw, dry beans to prepare yourself
- Make or purchase no oil, low sodium pasta sauce (yes, it is possible with careful label and ingredient list readings)
- And remove anything else that will sabotage your health quest
Don’t stop with your cupboards or pantry when purging – now onto the refrigerator /freezer . . .
- Remove fruit juices – all that sugar concentration without any fibre – switch to whole fruits (fresh and frozen)
- Chuck the cheese and deli drawer contents – full of fat, sugar. salt and more*
- Remove all animal products – yes, there is protein in meat and there are lot of other things like lots of saturated fat – there are many ways to get protein through plants – pass the peas – yes they are full of protein (without the fat)!
- Remove the processed foods – like pizza, french fries, t.v. dinners or other entrees – full of fat, salt and sugar
- Get rid of the ice creams, frozen yogurts, ice milks, and so on – dairy has casein* is a known cancer-promoting protein found in dairy products (see T. Colin Campbell’s ‘The China Study”)
- And remove anything else you know will sabotage your health quest
Now onto your kitchen countertops . . .
- Remove that cookie jar (that beckons you impulsively)
- Find a basket or bowl and fill it with fruit you like to eat (also have cut up fruit and prepared veggies ready to eat in a sealed container in the refrigerator for quick and easy snacking)
- Keep clear of food completely; if just finished a meal, scrape food wastes into a food decomposition bucket (so you won’t snack mindlessly on scraps)
- Store leftovers in refrigerator immediately after meals
- And remove or replace anything else you know will sabotage your health quest
Next is the rest of the house . . .
- Bedside tables may hold more than book to read – get rid of any chocolate or other snack stuff (aka junk)
- Make sure that only thing under your bed are dust balls, shoes – no food for bedtime snacking please
- Basements often have little bars for snacking purpose while watching movies – keep them empty or only stocked with sparking or flat water
- The garage – spare refrigerator or freezer? – keep them purged as you did with your inside refrigerator / freezer
- And remove or change anything else you know will sabotage your health quest
You may have noticed a common statement: “And anything else you know will sabotage your health quest”. This is a powerful reminder that you are truly the ‘expert’ of your situation – knowing what foods are triggers that set off overindulging and overeating because they temporarily comfort you beyond the satisfaction of food as enjoyable fuel. This noticing and knowing is a part of your health quest. Just as necessary is remembering that if there are unhealthy products in your house, it will eventually find its way in your mouth! So to safeguard your health, it is important to make your home a safe home.
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