Taking inventory of your refrigerator, freezer and pantry is the first step to the Kitchen Cleanout. You’re looking to throw away expired food items, spoiled food and food items you don’t use anymore.
What should you look for?
Opened and unfinished foods and sauces
Forgotten frozen foods
Keep in mind that even bulk foods like nuts and seeds, flours and spices don’t last forever. For example, most herbs like dried oregano, dried thyme, ginger powder, and turmeric powder have a shelf life of two to three years while raw nuts and seeds may only last a few months before turning rancid if not stored in a cool, dark spot, like your fridge. The fresher the ingredients, the more nourishing they will be.
If you’re unsure if a food is still good, toss it. It’s better to be safe than sorry and definitely DO NOT taste it to help you determine if it’s spoiled or not.
Foods that are harmful to your health and your progress should be reduced or eliminated altogether. This includes foods that you may be allergic to, sensitive to or that you’ve been advised to stay away from. If any of the foods that you intend to discard include unopened, non-perishable food items, consider donating them to your local food bank instead.
Foods that commonly cause food sensitivities and food allergies include:
Wheat and gluten
Cow’s milk and dairy products
Shellfish and fish
Tree nuts and peanuts
There are many other common ingredients that can cause adverse effects depending on the individual. Here’s a list to look out for if any of them don’t agree with you:
Food additives (artificial flavors and colors)
High-fructose corn syrup
Caffeine and coffee
GMOs (genetically modified organisms)