And no, I'm not talking about the stomach flu that ripped around our house in the days before and after Christmas! I started this post on Dec. 28, but I wanted to finish the thought before I move on to the New Year topics on my mind. After everyone in my house was finally feeling better last week, I was left itchy to get a head start on my fresh start. In preparation for a year of establishing healthier eating habits for myself, I decided it would be best if I went through all of the food to clear out, inventory, etc. It was an amazingly cleansing and refreshing process! My kitchen is tiny and I do not have a pantry, so our food storage has always been a frustrating Jenga-style system of stacking and stuffing food into a couple of cabinets with limited airspace remaining. This makes it very difficult to find anything, no matter how carefully it is stacked and organized. So, when I go to shop for or use food, things I have in stock often either get missed or forgotten, which aggravates the problem because then I am likely to buy them again.
I try to go through our food supply on a regular basis, or so I thought, but usually it is more for the purpose of reorganizing it rather than purging it. Likewise, the fridge and freezer get cleaned out periodically, too, but this time it had been a while and was for a more purposeful mission.
Bottom line, I ended up throwing out about half of our food. And before anyone goes feeling badly about such waste, I would never throw away any food that was good enough to be donated to someone needy. So, ??? HALF OF MY FOOD WAS SO OLD IT WAS EXPIRED, most for half a year or more!! Sounds crazy, right, because dry foods and cans tend to last for a REEEEALLY long time. But yes, apparently I had gradually been buying so much extra stuff that wasn't all getting used or remembered for so long, that it was past its date. Pasta, boxes of cereal, canned food, all kinds of stuff was done for. So, after throwing out several trash bags worth of frozen, dry, and canned outdated food, I felt a huge uplifting! I am beyond happy with the results. My cabinets are much more open now, and I can see the food I have and even get to it without draining the cabinet! I also made sure that the stuff which remains is healthy stuff, and I feel like it will be so much easier now to plan nutritious and light meals and snacks without buying extra stuff I don't need. Which considering we need to save money is also hugely beneficial. Definitely an important step for kicking off a healthier meal program- you should try it!