Stress. Temptation. Overwhelm.
When eating healthy is your goal, these are not the words you should associate with your kitchen. Quite the opposite! Your kitchen, the epicenter of your nutritional endeavors, should be a place you want to be, inspiring feelings of excitement, confidence, and creativity.
You don’t have to settle for the frustrating clutter when you look for an ingredient, the wasted time searching for a gadget that’s never where you think it is, and you definitely don’t have to subject yourself to the psychological torture of resisting those sugary treats stashed in your cupboard.
Instead of an obstacle, your kitchen should be an ally: organized, user-friendly, and overflowing with nutritious, delicious foods, all in alignment with your diet, so making a healthy choice is always easy.
Unlike cafes or restaurants, your kitchen is the one place where you’re in the nutritional driver’s seat, with complete control over the food that’s served. That means in your home, where you spend the majority of your time, it’s totally within your power to set yourself up for inevitable nutritional success!
With these 4 simple steps, you can transform your kitchen from a dysfunctional place of temptation and willpower battles into an environment that actually empowers you to crush your clean eating goals!
The first step is to free yourself of everything in your kitchen that’s keeping you stuck. In order to create the path for a new, empowering relationship with food, you have to clear the existing clutter that’s standing in your way!
By purging, the goal is to break up with everything in your kitchen that’s holding you back from being the healthiest version of you – both foods and gadgets.
It’s time to say goodbye to that addicting can of Pringles, the package of cookies you swear you’ll only eat one of (but then end up eating 5… or was it 10?), the expired foods you’ve put off throwing out for several years, and the massive of amount of cooking equipment that makes your kitchen feel more like an episode of Hoarders.
If your cupboards are full of chips and cookies, don’t beat yourself up! This is a no judgement zone! The food industry has engineered these products to be super addicting so it’s not your fault. By cleansing your kitchen, you are exactly where you need to be!
Okay, so here’s what to do to purge your kitchen.
Go through these four areas – your refrigerator, freezer, cupboards, and shelves – and either throw out or, if appropriate, donate the following:
- Expired foods
- Food that has gone bad
- Foods you know you’ll never eat
- Food you know isn’t serving your health goals (hint: this is where you throw out the Pringles and the cookies 🙂 )
- Food containing refined sugar (hint: if a sweetener sounds more like a chemical than a food, it’s probably a refined sugar)
- Food containing processed ingredients (hint: if an ingredient sounds more like a chemical than a food, it’s probably a processed ingredient)
- Kitchen equipment you haven’t used in the past year and don’t know when you’ll use again!
This purge can be an overwhelming task, so I recommend breaking it up into 3 days and tackling 2-3 bullet points at a time. Schedule time in your calendar like you would an important meeting and stick to it!
This process is about progress, not perfection, so do the best you can! If you’re unsure about whether or not a food contains refined sugar or processed ingredients, do a little research, shoot me a message, or trust what your gut is telling you. Even if you don’t break up with every single food that meets the criteria above, your kitchen will still be worlds better than it was before you began your cleanse – and that is a huge victory!
This step is pretty straightforward. Now that you’ve cleared out some shelf space, it’s time to give your kitchen a facelift and transform it into a bright, sparkling, welcoming space you actually want to be in.
This is where you’ll put in some good old fashioned elbow grease and clean the surfaces you’ve avoided for months… or maybe even years. You’ll remove the dried spills, caked on grime, and all the crumbs and debris that have built up. By the time you’re finished, you’ll have a space that’s a clean as your new eating routine!
If possible, use non-toxic cleaning products. Your skin is your largest organ and absorbs everything it comes into contact with. That includes the potentially harmful chemicals used in most conventional cleaning products. However, you if don’t’ have access to non-toxic cleaning products, don’t let that stop you! A kitchen cleaned with conventional cleaning products is still a massive upgrade from a dirty kitchen.
Here’s what to do. Remove any food or gadgets and sweep, scrub, and/or wipe down the following areas:
- Refrigerator shelves, drawers, and exterior
- Freezer shelves
- Cupboards (including exterior)
- Counter and table tops
- Stove top
- Bonus: kitchen floor
I recommend splitting this cleaning phase into at least two days. Tackle half of the bullet points one day and finish the rest on the day two. Cleaning your entire kitchen in one go is overwhelming, like I’ve mentioned, overwhelming is not what we’re after. By breaking it up into two days, this task becomes a much smaller, more manageable chunk of work!
Once you’ve tossed all the foods that are holding you back and created a clean environment where you can do your best cooking, it’s time to stock your kitchen with whole foods that will nourish your body and fast track your health goals!
In this step, you’ll hit your local grocery store and fill your shopping cart with clean, high quality foods.
You may be wondering what exactly I mean by “real food,” “clean foods,” or “high quality food,” so here’s a sneak peak of one of the handouts from my free, 7-day Total Kitchen Cleanse program with guidelines for the foods to fill your grocery cart with.
Here’s what’s the do to restock.
- Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. As a rule of thumb, the perimeter is most often where you’ll find the fresh, real foods like produce, meats, and seafood – foods you should be stocking up on! The inner aisles mostly contain the processed foods you want to steer clear of.
- Buy food that is grown by the earth, not a laboratory. Apples, avocados, lettuce, grass-fed steak, almond butter, wild caught salmon, broccoli… these are all foods that are exactly the way nature intended them. And your body knows what do with these!
- If an ingredient looks more like a chemical than a food, don’t buy it. You already learned to identify refined sugar and processed ingredients during the purge, so continue to stick to those rules during your restock.
- Upgrade your usual meals with clean eating swaps. Eating clean has come a long way in the past decade, so many of your usual ingredients can easily be upgraded for a healthier alternative. For example, instead of pasta, purchase zucchini noodles or a spaghetti squash!
This again, this is about progress, not perfection. Don’t stress yourself out over making sure that everything you pick is 100% Paleo or totally clean. Follow the guidelines above, trust your gut, and do your best. If you’re questioning whether or not a food fits your new clean eating standards, you probably shouldn’t get it!
You may have expected the kitchen cleanse to end with the restock, but my friends, there is one more essential step. Now that you’ve acquired all this glorious health-supporting food, it’s time to organize it, along with your kitchen equipment, to make your kitchen a place where you’re in total control.
To do this, you’ll group different categories of food and cooking equipment in their own individual locations, making them as easy to find as possible. For example, if you’re looking for a bag of walnuts, you won’t have to search through 3 different cupboards – you’ll know exactly which cupboard to look in – the one that has all your nuts and seeds.
Then, you’ll redistribute these different groups throughout your kitchen so the items you use most are the most easily accessible.
Here are the 3 keys to upgrade your kitchen organization:
- Group similar items in one location. Put all pans in one cupboard, place all snacks on one shelf. By grouping similar items, you’ll know exactly what your options are with one glance versus having to open every cabinet.
- Use clear organizer bins. Organizer bins are one simple method for keeping similar items (especially small, loose items like snacks or spices) in one place. With a clear bin, not only can you can see exactly what’s in it, but you can also pull it off a shelf and look through it.
- Place commonly used items within easy reach. Make the foods or equipment you use (or want to use) on a daily basis as easily accessible as possible by placing them on chest or eye level height shelves. By doing so, you’ll remove a barrier of use by eliminating the need to bend down or dig through a cabinet. Conversely, put items you rarely use on shelves that are harder to access.
There you go! You now have the information you need to create an organized, user-friendly kitchen that makes cooking and eating healthy food efficient, easy, and hopefully even, fun!
If you want to declutter your kitchen to set yourself up for clean eating success, but don’t want to do it alone, I’ve got some great news for you: you don’t have to!
I offer a free, 7-day group coaching program called The Total Kitchen Cleanse, during which I’ll guide you through purging, cleaning, restocking, and reorganizing to transform your kitchen from a dysfunctional place of temptation and willpower battles into an environment that actually empowers you to crush your clean eating goals.
The cleanse takes place in a closed Facebook group where you’ll receive:
- Daily video instruction
- Downloadable PDF handouts that make identifying refined sugars, processed foods, non-toxic cleaning products, high quality foods, and reorganizing your kitchen easy
- Daily action step check lists that break down exactly what tasks you need to complete each day
- A community of enthusiastic kitchen cleansers who will be there to support you and hold you accountable everyday
- And I’ll be in the Facebook group everyday, answering your questions and cheering you on!
If you’ve been thinking about getting on the healthy eating train and aren’t sure where to start, or if you’ve been eating clean for awhile, but have noticed your healthy habits starting to slip, or if you just want to take the overwhelm out of cleaning your kitchen, this free 7-day Kitchen Cleanse is for you!
The next Total Kitchen Cleanse kicks off on this fall and I’ve got space for just 30 people. To grab your spot before they’re all gone, sign up below!