10 April 2009

April French Friday - The Pantry Purge

Bonjour to all of you lovely French people on this lovely Friday.  This week, I have decided to slow the pace of French Friday down a little and instead of plowing through another section of Dr. Clower's book, The French Don't Diet Plan, I will reflect on my week of food using his guidelines from Step 1.  Last week, you may remember that Dr. Clower recommended doing a pantry purge to get rid of all products containing fake ingredients.  If you would like to catch up, here is a link to last week's post.  As of last Friday, I was unsure that I could actually DO a pantry purge.  I was afraid that there would be too much "food" (Dr. Clower insists that if there are fake and engineered ingredients in it then it is not food)  that I would have to throw out and that I would feel guilty for wasting it all.  I'll show you what I mean.

Here was the state of my pantry as of Monday.  I agree, it IS quite frightening!  I started with the top shelf, a huge black, plastic bag and just the intention of finding out what exactly I was consuming.  First of all, I was amazed at the amount of stale and expired products up there.  (Even with the extended shelf life engineered ingredients gives them, there were still expired products!  Ew!)  Once I started looking at what was in the "food" and chucking things out, it surprisingly got easier to throw things out as I went along.  Could I have been eating all of these chemicals?  Does everything contain corn syrup?
Here is the state of my pantry after the purge.  It is still not yet organized, but as you can see, I didn't have to throw everything out.  On the top shelf, I still have some whole grain cereals, dried fruit, powdered milk.  On the second from the top are my baking supplies, flours, sugars, etc.  On the second from the bottom, there is a bin of grains, the oils, and some more dried fruit, and on the bottom shelf, a bin of teas, coconut milk, tuna, a can of pumpkin and a bottle of lemon juice.

I was not able to part with ALL of the "fake foods" as I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to.  There were eight offenders I just couldn't part with...yet.   They are:

Top shelf:  Sprinkles, Bread crumbs and Bisquick

Sprinkles?  You know, those things you shake on top of cookies to make them pretty?  They contain corn syrup solids as well as a host of other engineered ingredients.  I know that French pastries never have sprinkles on top, but I just couldn't get myself to throw these costly, and pretty, things.

Bread crumbs:  I often make my own bread crumbs, but for those days when I just need to grab something quick, dried bread crumbs come in so handy.  The container I have lists high fructose corn syrup as the second ingredient.  I could easily rid myself of this product, but I think the fact that it was just purchased last week had me feeling a little guilty for wasting it.  My plan for this product is just to finish it and then use the container to house my homemade bread crumbs.

Bisquick:  First of all, I had no idea that Bisquick contained engineered ingredients.  But a check of the ingredient label reveals partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil.  I was unable to rid myself of the Bisquick yet because it used to be my go to helper in the kitchen for those pancakes and waffles my son loves so much.  Although, I have to admit, ever since I started making sourdough pancakes and waffles with my sourdough starter, I haven't touched the Bisquick.  I could easily rid my life of this product, but I think for sentimental purposes I couldn't throw it out yet, plus it is a brand new, Costco sized box.

Second shelf:  Chocolate pudding mix

Chocolate pudding mix...I just couldn't do it.

Third shelf:  Vegetable bouillon

The vegetable bouillon I have contains MSG, hydrogenated palm oil, as well as various other engineered ingredients further down the label.  Again, I think I'm holding onto this for the convenience.  I really don't use it that often, but when I want to throw together a quick soup and I'm out of stock, it comes in handy.

Bottom Shelf:  Shoyu, Barbecue Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce

Shoyu:  This is a flavorful soy sauce used a lot in the Hawaiian islands.  It contains Caramel coloring and Sodium Benzoate.  I couldn't get rid of this one because I wasn't quite sure what real food I could substitute it with.

Barbecue Sauce:  Sadly, high fructose corn syrup is the first ingredient.  It's a brand new bottle so I think that is why I couldn't rid myself of it.

Worcestershire Sauce:  Again, this was a new bottle which is why I couldn't get rid of it, but it contains high fructose corn syrup as the third ingredient.  Aside from being a new bottle though, this, like shoyu, is another product for which I'm not quite sure what real food it can be substituted for.

My homework this week:

1.  See how easily I can cook using real food.  (I'm actually not too worried about this)
2.  Try to find alternative recipes or products for the fake foods I just couldn't get rid of
3.  Read Step 2 and start practicing taking smaller bites and slowing down the pace of my eating.

Thank you so much for indulging this little departure for French Fridays.  The French love to slow down and enjoy little things in life, which is why I felt it was important to slow down and really examine this week in food.  Next week I will be discussing Step 2 from Dr. Clower's book The French Don't Diet Plan, please join me!  Until next week lovely French people, a bientot!


Donna-FFW said...

Thanks for showing me the pantry.. Always love to see whats inside.. As for the Bisquick, if you ever need a quick strawberry shortcake recipe, theres is pretty good.. lmk if you want the recipe:)

Elyse said...

Great job with the pantry purge! I'm impressed with how much is gone. I think it's totally fine to save a few "fake" items...I mean, the idea is to really cut down, not necessarily completely throw out everything...that would be waaaay to hard! I would've saved the chocolate pudding, too :)

Sunny said...

that is one of my goals... to try to tone down all the "fake" foods we eat. I was looking at the ingredients in a bottle of ranch dressing yesterday and there was actually Titanium Dioxide in it, which freaked me out!!

Wandering Coyote said...

Good job. I probably couldn't part with the Bisquick, either. I currently don't have any (I do have an Aunt Jemima pancake mix however, even though I also have a bucket of Nigella's homemade pancake mix on hand, too) - it's such a versatile thing to have around. And sprinkles are OK! Yeah, they contain pretty bad ingredients, but you probably don't use them every day, right?

Karen said...

I think I'll take a look at my pantry to see what's lurking in there! A real eye opener!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

You are one brave girl to show us your pantry. When we lived in the islands I made my own bisquick mix small batches at a time - easy with ingredients you have on hand and recipe is in any general cookbook such as Fannie Farmer or Joy of Cooking. Things like Bisquick draw little bugs in the tropics so it was easier to make my own.
Not sure if I can throw away the Worchestershire although I only use a dash now and then.
Thanks for helping us learn to read food labels - frightening what you eat and don't know it.
Happy Easter to you and your family. Always enjoy your French Fridays. A bientot.

EMC said...

I think I need to do this. I've been trying to remove all things that only *resemble* food, but I'm with you on the pudding--if pistachio pudding mix is wrong, I don't want to be right!

I recently threw out my breadcrumbs and made enough to throw in the freezer for lazy days. But I can't seem to throw out panko since it's the perfect crust coating for mac n cheese...

Cathy said...

Good job on the purge! I've never looked at worcestire sauce for ingredients...how depressing. And for bbq - we buy one for ease but I prefer homemade. I may just have to start making it and jarring it.

Jenn said...

Keep that chocolate pudding!!! (this is coming from a chocoholic)

At least, you've done better than I would have doing a pantry purge.

Superchef said...

great job!! it is quite scary that we actually end up eating so much "fake' food!

N im so jealous of your pantry, i dont have one even half the size of yours! :(

its my first time here and im glad to have found this blog! :) Have a great weekend!

Varsha Vipins said...

Gosh..!! How you used to take stuff outa that dear..The new looks is pretty neat..:)Great work n happy Easter n weekend..:)

Calm In The Kitchen said...

How brave you are to show your pantry! I would have save the chocolate pudding too.

;) amy

mbsshopkins said...

Thanks for your great blog. I've just started reading. If you live where there is a trader Joes or whole Foods market you can get pancake baking mix, soy sauce and worchestire sauce without all the gross stuff. Trader Joes buttermilk pancake mix is great.

Reeni♥ said...

I can't believe there is hfcs in Worcestershire sauce! That infuriates me! It is in things that you wouldn't even think it would be in. Why? It suddenly seems that it is everywhere. Is it some kind of crutch. I am so angry over the way the use of it has escalated in the last few years when a lot of us are being more health-conscious than ever. I hate the trend.

burpandslurp said...

goodness, HFCS sneaks its way into everything! I had no idea breadcrumbs had HFCS too! how horrible.

Lori said...

Great job on your purge! I had to go back and catch up on last week's post. My blog reading has slowed lately. :)

I read this book a while back and was definitely able to pull some good stuff out. Like you mentioned in last week's post, I found it different b/c it was a "plan". I really enjoyed his book The Fat Fallacy though. It initated my interest in eating practices of other cultures.

nutritiontokitchen said...

Oooh! I love the new look of your blog, and congrats on the pantry purge!

Debbie said...

I haven't purged my pantry yet... but just wanted you to know, it's been 10 days without a coke!!! (or pop of any kind) (yes, I say pop, I'm from the PNW. LOL )
anyway.... no "soft drinks".
I might be over the hump.

Chef E said...

I missed this one, since I was busy the past two days...Look how (this is for you) freakin clean that pantry is now, lol...I saw my friends pantry tonight and she already is paranoid about me being a chef and saying anything about her box food, and can good! She tried so hard to open it up with such a small opening so I would not see the contents, but too late...I thought of Ty Florence and how he would come in and make several gourmet meals out of her contents, but then I realized the chili we were eating was out of can goods YIKES for my salt restriction...purge my body now!

Your just as cute, even more so!

Sam said...

Good job clearing out! I really ought to clear out my cupboards, I have no idea what's lurking right at the back!

Jaime and Jen DISH said...

Wow, I'm impressed. I'm clearing my pantry out all the time and throwing away the "crap"...but it always sneaks back in there. I'm shocked about Sunny's comment...Titanium Dioxide in a bottle of Ranch??? That's in the sunscreen that I put on my son! Thank god I hate Ranch out of a bottle. Aren't "food" giants, nuts? But then again, consumers are just as nuts to buy it...me included.

Jaime from Jaime and Jen Dish

Robin Sue said...

Oh wow! That pantry looks nice. I have been purging and reorganizing the BRK too. I like the "Make a Mix" book for all those mixes like pudding mix and pancake mix. You can use your favorite grains and your own favorable sweeteners. It works great for me. I still have many more days before I am done but it does feel good doesn't it?! Have a wonderful Easter.

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

Oh woww..It's a good progress to go through the pantry and throw out stuff. Congrats! The high fructose corn syrup is in almost everything including bread. Just last week, I decided to look at the ingredients of a bread I picked up at the grocery store and had to put it down after I saw the high fructose corn syrup. The Omnivore's Dilemma has been helpful in this sense.

Heather said...

getting rid of fake foods scares me a lot. i really should do some pantry cleaning, but i'm afraid of what i would (or wouldn't!) be left with!

Tangled Noodle said...

You've done an excellent job already! Making such a complete switch will take time until you find suitable substitutes that will also fulfill your need for some convenience. That will be fun in itself - discovering new brands and food!