Perfecting a Pleasing and Healthy Pantry

As part of my quest for better/improved health I decided the time had come for me to clean out and ascertain the contents of my pantry, so that I would know exactly what I had to eat.  I wanted to see if there were expired items that I needed to throw out (there were); I wanted to see if there were unhealthy items I wanted to throw out (the verdict hasn’t come in on that one yet), but most of all I just wanted to know exactly what I had, so that I could see how it fit into an eating plan that would give me even more energy and even better health, more stamina in the yoga room, more vibrancy in the classroom, more stillness in meditation, more speed on the treadmill—you get the picture).

During the past two days I took every food item out of my pantry for an evaluation.  (as an aside I have a LARGE pantry, and I want to make better use of it, and not just have it be a junk collection station).  Here are some of my observations, item by item:

1)      Best Foods Light mayonnaise: ever since I moved to this apartment I keep buying mayonnaise thinking I’ll make some egg salad ( I do love a good quality homemade egg salad), but I have yet to make egg salad, so I end up throwing out the mayo when it expires and buying a new one.

2)      Target’s Market Pantry light syrup: who is kidding who here?  I have an addiction to sugar.  When I make pancakes, which isn’t very often, they are more of an excuse to drown them in sugar. After eating the pancakes (aka syrup) I usually go into a sugar coma and sleep for days…..I haven’t made pancakes since I moved to this apartment, and I’m not sure I made them in my last apartment, but I keep buying the syrup, just like I keep buying the mayo……

3)      Trader Joe’s Portobello mushroom soup and Campbell’s mushroom soup (yes, they are both vegetarian): well I bought these thinking I’d cook them with some potatoes and veggies, but have yet to do that, and I think, in actuality, that it might make a rather heavy meal.

4)      Pumpkin Oatmeal: well I pared it down from 6 boxes to 2, so that’s something!

5)      Pickled beets and garbanzo beans and black beans: items hanging around for salads.

6)      Trader Joe’s salsa verde: awesome when mixed with corn tortillas, cheese and eggs.

7)      Ortega green chiles and Las Palmas enchilada verde sauce: yummy for enchilada pie…..

8)      Raw organic coconut butter and raw organic almond butter: arguably the healthiest items in my pantry. The coconut butter tastes awesome plain and the almond butter works well for some extra protein in smoothies.

9)      Artichoke and garlic whipped mustard: bought this in Monterey in June. Haven’t opened it yet, but I remember it was rather tasty.

There are other items in the pictures, but you get the picture! I’m trying to work toward a healthier style of eating, and I’m not always sure where it needs to go. I feel like it’s a constant experiment. I want to eat fresher and healthier foods, but that requires going to the grocery store more frequently, and I have to be careful. When I’m feeling emotional, which is most of the time I tend to stray toward more processed foods, like candy bars. If could eat just one it wouldn’t be a problem, but I tend to eat and want to eat more than just one.

I feel better and healthier when I eat fresh raw foods. My body responds to them more positively. My mood is elevated. My spirit is happier. So that’s more of my aim at the moment, one meal at a time. Sometimes I do okay, and sometimes I just do, but I’m getting there, and, in the end, that’s all that counts.

Oh, and, at the very least my pantry is better organized and clean, so now I do know exactly what I have………

Pantry Before:


Contents of Pantry:


Pantry After:



5 thoughts on “Perfecting a Pleasing and Healthy Pantry

  1. Excellent job! We are all individuals, and “healthy” means different things for different people, because while there are some general, common-sense rules for good nutrition, as individuals, different foods impact us differently. So, what’s “healthy” for one isn’t necessarily a good idea for another.

    I’m hypoglycemic and so I need to avoid concentrated sugars — even naturally occurring ones, such as in really sweet fruits, like oranges — try and keep carbs in balance (I generally shouldn’t eat too many carbs at once), and protein always stays with me longer. When I have pancakes or waffles, we enjoy them either with some sugar-free syrup (Mrs. Butterworth’s is the best, we’ve found), or, which is much healthier, a bit of fresh fruit (or, alternatively, no-sugar or all-fruit preserves) and a bit of fat-free Greek yogurt or dollop of reduced-fat sour cream. Tastes sinfully divine, but doesn’t wreak havoc with our blood sugar the way regular syrup does.

    Good luck!

  2. Another inspiring post. Over the summer I, too, did a big pantry clean out. It’s amazing what clutter and junk, not to mention junk food, ends up lurking in those hidden places. Your before and after photos are great. You even have room for some closet art, as my friend call it, after the clean out. Keep up the good work and keep inspiring the rest of us.

  3. Very inspirational; fall housecleaning is so soul-satisfying, isn’t it? Keep up the good work; keep posting pictures, which will either make me feel inadequate or inspire me, depending on the mood I’m in. 😉

  4. Your pantry looks great – clean and organized. That’s the first step on the path of positive change. Out with the old (Bad), in with the new (Good). I think you summed it up perfectly when you stated, “Sometimes I do okay, and sometimes I just do, but I’m getting there, and, in the end, that’s all that counts.” Enough said. Keep up the great work, Nancy! 🙂

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