Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Seven Steps to a Healthy Pantry: Step 7

Step 7: Review & Resources

Quick Review

In our seven steps we have:
  • taken an internal inventory to review our motivations;
  • defined our terms;
  • set a clear goal or goals;
  • rid ourselves of things that don’t serve us well as we seek to achieve our goals;
  • learned creative ways to try to afford healthier options;
  • organized our pantries in a way that sets us up for success;
  • and observed changes in our body as they begin to happen, making adjustments to our food as necessary.

I’ll leave you with a few parting thoughts that have helped me along the way. 

As I was beginning to change my eating habits, my naturopath gave me these sage pieces of advice:

It’s easier to add things than it is to take things away.  If you can’t take something out yet, just add vegetables – fresh and organic is best.  Make sure you get five servings/day.  One serving is either one cup raw or ½ cup steamed.”

She also advised:

“You need to cut out sodas, especially diet ones.  The artificial sweeteners act as a stimulant to your nervous system (among many other not so bueno effects they have on the body).  The high fructose corn syrup and caramel color are really, really bad for you too.  So, if you do nothing else after you leave here, cut out the sodas.  If you have to have caffeine, one cup of coffee/day is okay, though I would prefer that you drank unsweetened tea.”*

Her last piece of advice that I’ll share:

“Every person should be drinking at least ½ his or her body weight in water every day.  You have to do this daily.  So, if you weigh 200 pounds, you need to drink 100 ounces of water per day, plain water.  And if you drink a caffeinated drink you need to subtract that from your tally since it counteracts the hydrating effects of water.  They’ve even found that BPA-free plastics are leaching hormones into our system, affecting our internal hormone balance, so drink water in a glass or stainless steel container that does not have a BPA-free liner.  You can count herbal tea toward your total if you don’t sweeten it.”

*Again, these are pieces of advice that a naturopathic doctor told me, not you.  I’m sharing them here because I honestly believe that they apply to everyone, but know that I am not a doctor.  NOTHING I have written here (or anywhere on my blog) should be misconstrued as medical advice or taken as such.

Resources for Further Reading & Research

Living Without Magazine (hate the name, LOVE the mag and the folks behind it)

Klean Kanteen – a great source for BPA-free, stainless steel water bottles (there are others of course; I just happen to like this one)

Dirty Dozen Guide (see below) – this tells you how to prioritize where to spend your organic dollars on produce, reprinted from a pamphlet by the Environmental Working Group:

WORST: Buy These Organic
Bell Peppers
Grapes (Imported)
BEST: Lowest in Pesticides (okay to buy non-organic)
Sweet Corn
Sweet Peas
Sweet Potato
Honeydew Melon
Why Should You Care About Pesticides?
The growing consensus among scientists is that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can cause lasting damage to human health, especially during fetal development and early childhood.  Scientists now know enough about the long-term consequences of ingesting these powerful chemicals to advise that we minimize our consumption of pesticides.

What’s the Difference?
EWG research has found that people who eat five fruits and vegetables a day from the Dirty Dozen list consume an average of 10 pesticides a day. Those who eat from the 15 least contaminated conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables ingest fewer than 2 pesticides daily. The Guide helps consumers make informed choices to lower their dietary pesticide load.

Will Washing and Peeling Help?
The data used to create these lists is based on produce tested as it is typically eaten (meaning washed, rinsed or peeled, depending on the type of produce). Rinsing reduces but does not eliminate pesticides. Peeling helps, but valuable nutrients often go down the drain with the skin. The best approach: eat a varied diet, rinse all produce and buy organic when possible.

How Was This Guide Developed?
EWG analysts have developed the Guide based on data from nearly 96,000 tests for pesticide residues in produce conducted between 2000 and 2008 and collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. You can find a detailed description of the criteria EWG used to develop these rankings and the complete list of fruits and vegetables tested at our dedicated website, www.foodnews.org.

Headquarters 1436 U St. N.W., Suite 100 Washington, DC 20009
(202) 667-6982
Learn More at FoodNews.org


  1. Hey Jenny! I love your blog and the information is very helpful. We are what we eat. I am finally realizing that after many years!

  2. Hey Jenny,
    I've been following your posts in the midst of moving. I'm excited for you. I've been working towards dairy and soy free. Soy seems to hijack my thyroid. Anyways, I do have some dairy free recipes (that can be easily gluten free too). Let me know if you're interested. The following has been a great resource: http://www.godairyfree.org/
    I actually have the book...loaded with info.