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Friends Don’t Let Friends Eat Junk – the Cleanout

When my friend Jenn called and said she was ready to make the big move to the Paleo lifestyle, I was so excited for her and her family!  Getting rid of everything non-paleo was going to be a really big step, so I went over to help.  Let’s look at her pantry, before and after, and discuss how we went about getting rid of the junk……

Does this look like your pantry?

Jenn’s family is the typical American couple raising two little kids.  She works part time and is busy with after school activities, just like the rest of us.  Her husband is home most nights for dinner and menu planning is always a chore.  Jenn was kind enough to let me tell you about the kinds of things she and her family ate before the big switch.

The kids:

Breakfast – cereal with milk, waffles with syrup, instant oatmeal, occasional donuts, milk (sometimes chocolate)

Lunch – school cafeteria lunches, packed lunches would include Spaghettios, canned soup, PB&J on wheat bread, ham and cheese on wheat, some sort of snack crackers, apple sauce, yogurt

Snacks – after school snacks would include goldfish, graham crackers (plain and chocolate), Scooby Snacks, chips, koolaid, water

Dinner – corn dogs, fish sticks, chicken nuggets, canned green beans, corn, mac and cheese.

Dinner for Jenn and Hubby would typically be something pretty healthy and usually consisted of a meat, a veggie and a starch or two.  Pasta and bread were common.

The family usually had dessert of ice cream or some other sweet treat.

They ate out fairly regularly, usually at a sit down restaurant where the kids would order chicken strips and french fries from the kids’ menu.

Admittedly, Jenn loves her junk food, chips and hot sauce, crackers, sweet and salty snack bars and diet soda.   We all do because it’s ADDICTING!  She knew she needed to go through with the cleaning out process but had great reservations about giving it all up at once.  We came  up with a plan she could live with which started with getting rid of the junk.

The BAIT AND SWITCH – how we did it.

We encouraged the kids to play outside.  Once they were distracted, we got busy emptying the pantry. We began filling trash bag after trash bag with cereal, crackers, sweets, and other non-paleo items.

In the end, we established a shelf above the eye level of the kids on which we left those items she couldn’t part with yet.  Jenn agreed to really try to avoid those items and to eventually throw them away  also.  It became apparent this was an emotional undertaking for my friend, partly because of her  addiction to these items going into the trash and partly because of the money represented by the bags of stale, spoiled, unhealthy junk food.

She did her best to dump the emotional baggage associated with the food in the trash and replace it with delight in her newly organized pantry!  Not only was she going to get healthy, she was also going to get organized!  She’s getting a personal shopper too, but that’s the next post!

We made a special place in another part of Jenn’s kitchen for those things necessary for baking. Like me, Jenn loves to bake and often bakes for others.  I have found it very difficult to bake something full of flour and sugar and serve it to anyone I love, but we still have an occasional pie or cake for a special event.  Thus, the “baking cupboard” was established.  Honestly, I have not made anything from that cupboard in a long, long time and I bet Jenn won’t either.

We organized her spices, vinegars,and oils and made it convenient to grab the ones she will use most often in Paleo cooking.  We cleaned out the freezer and refrigerator as well and rid them of packaged, breaded foods.  The kitchen was pretty bare when we finished, but Jenn was excited about replacing the tossed items with healthy goodness for her family.

Armed with the shopping list from this web site and a week’s worth of meals, we set out for the grocery store the next morning.  Next  I’ll show you what she bought, how much she spent, and what she’s cooking.


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