3 Items to Remove From Your Kitchen (and What to Replace Them With)

Before I realized that good health could be had simply and naturally through diet and quality natural remedies, I ate like … crap. How I was raised played a part – most food was beige and veggies were few. (Though I did get my fill of tasty Mexican food you couldn’t find replicated in a restaurant).
3 Items to Remove from Your Kitchen

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Still, though, when I became an adult and learned more about good nutrition, I chose “food” from a box over fresh fruits and veggies. Finally, after years of saying, “I don’t feel very well,” every single day, I wised up to the fact that what I was eating was affecting my health. 

I was determined to make the changes I needed to to feed my family more nourishing food. But where to start?

As you may know, I’m quite fond of keeping things simple, and this was no exception. I started by replacing a few nutrient-deficient foods with more healthy, nourishing ones.

If you’re trying to make healthy changes in your home, these three ideas are a great place to start.

1. Replace Processed Foods with Meals Full of Fresh Produce

I was a fan of processed food. Boxed meals, frozen dinners, packaged mixes – nothing was off limits. (Except Hamburger Helper, but that’s a different story). I quickly realized that these foods were not only expensive, but they were full of harmful additives like MSG, high fructose corn syrup, unhealthy fats and excess sugar.

High in fiber, essential vitamins and minerals, fresh fruits and vegetables are a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. Fresh produce also contains high amounts of phytochemicals, some of which act as antioxidants.

Antioxidants are those wonderful things you hear about all the time that protect us from free radicals (which cause cancer).

Fresh produce (preferably local) is the best source of these vitamins and minerals. Raw fruits and vegetables also contain live enzymes to aid with digestion. However, cooking vegetables that contain fat soluble vitamins in coconut oil, will actually help your body to digest and assimilate them into our bodies.

So how much should you aim for? Nine servings of fruit and veggies a day (heavy on the veggies, preferably) is ideal. If you’re just starting to incorporate produce, aim for five.

2. Replace Vegetable Oil with Coconut Oil

Many cooking oils have been heavily processed with added chemicals and come from genetically modified plants that were sprayed with pesticides. When these oils are heated to very high temperatures (like during processing – think vegetable and canola oil) they become oxidized. 

Oxidation produces free-radicals (remember those?) that roam our bodies, causing irritation and breaking down tissues. People with diminished immune systems are more susceptible to the effects of free-radicals.

Staying Healthy with Nutrition cites inflammatory problems, allergies, cardiovascular disease, tissue damage and mutated cells as being free-radical side effects. Hello cancer.

Instead, we now use coconut oil for the majority of our cooking. Coconut oil is a heart-healthy food that is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. It also increases thryoid function, increases digestion and aids in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. (Mmmm, stir fried veggies in coconut oil).

3. Replace White Table Sugar with Raw Honey

Sugar is devoid of any nutrients whatsoever. Typically, nourishing food contains vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that aid in the digestion of that food, helping your body to process it. Not so with sugar.

Because sugar has no nutrients, it pulls from your body’s own energy stores to be processed. This leaves your body temporarily depleted, compromising your immune system and leaving you prone to illness. Sugar also lowers your white blood cell count.

(Can you see how the combination of these types of food would make you feel awful all the time?)

That said, I have quite the sweet tooth (it’s getting better, really). We use raw honey to sweeten most things. Honey is nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory and a powerful anti-oxidant.

Like coconut oil, it has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties (which is why you don’t want to use it to make kombucha – it will mess up your SCOBY). It’s also much sweeter than sugar, so you can use less of it.

Simple, right?

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Nina Nelson

Hi I'm Nina. Healer. Writer. Wellness advocate. Mama of four. Former bus dweller now focused on exploring simple hospitality. I love Jesus, simple natural living, coffee, and Shetland ponies.

Comments

  1. says

    Great ideas!

    We’re also learning to replace empty carbs (pasta, rice, potatoes), with nutrient-rich options like butternut squash, yams, shredded cauliflower (cooks up like creamy white rice!), and spaghetti squash.
    Seems weird? But here’s the honest truth:
    As I’ve cut back on empty carbs, & added these healthy foods, not a single member of the family has complained, or hardly noticed – from my teens all the way down to my 2-yr old!

  2. says

    Our oldest was gone the other night at a friend’s house and we made spaghetti squash with marinara and sausage. Since our chief complainer was gone, everyone else chowed down. And went for seconds. Ella went for thirds and then started scooping squash out of the rind. She finished the night with maple syrup and squash for dessert. Our challenge comes from our oldest who got the most processed food and is pretty resistant to change. He’s coming around slowly, though. He’ll eat quinoa with too much complaint now and will eat sometimes eat sweet potatoes. I’m looking at trying the GAPS diet on him because of other behavioral things – I think he’s got some serious gut issues. And I digress…

  3. says

    Question: So I’m curious about raw honey. I’ve started using it, and it’s delish. So no complaints there. But I’ve read a little bit about honey becoming toxic when heated above 120F (according to ayurvedic medicine). Also, I understand that heating honey robs it of its beneficial characteristics. If this is all true, then how do you use honey??? Sweetening my coffee is out. Baking is out. What are my other options for using it?

  4. Liv says

    I really enjoyed reading this article! I love me some raw honey. I wash my face with it too and my skin just glows. And I was just thinking tonight after I greased my dish with coconut oil how nice it is to just rub the excess off onto my hands and arms! ha.

  5. says

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  6. Stephi Anderson says

    @Amy Marquis: I’ve come to the same conclusion: why use my more expensive raw honey in recipes or anywhere it will be heated beyond effectiveness, when I could just use regular store-bought local honey for that? (Turns out most store-bought either has HFCS, or is from bees that were forced to consume it before making honey, so I don’t even use it for baking now.) I use the raw honey to sweeten already-cooled iced tea and iced coffee, and those are now my sugar-fix for the day. I didn’t know about it being toxic above 120 degrees, just that it isn’t much better than refined sugar once you take away its beneficial properties.

    I did just read this article the other day…maybe it helps?
    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/08/the-4-best-and-3-worst-sweeteners-to-have-in-your-kitchen.aspx

  7. Lynn says

    Great article. We’ve been making healthier choices, and still have a long way to go – yet we already feel so much better! We’ve used honey for a long time in our coffee, but I had been unaware of the damage that heat does to its nutritional value; we now also like xylitol as a natural sweetener, using an amount equivalent to sugar but without an aftertaste like stevia which is another natural sweetener. I have found a lot of helpful natural health info at http://www.maximizedliving.com/NutritionDetox.aspx.

  8. Patty says

    I hear so much about coconut oil, use it. What if you cannot stand the smell or taste of coconut oil? Also, I already have an over active thyroid, I don’t need that extra oomph. I use canola oil or extra virgin olive oil, is there anything wrong with either one of these. I really am trying to do the healthy thing but there are just some things that I cannot tolerate. The smell of coconut oil makes me physically ill.
    Please send advice. Thank you,
    Patty

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