Spring Cleaning your Pantry and Kitchen!

As we dive into spring cleaning, I want to bring attention to spring cleaning the kitchen and pantry. It’s a great time to start with a natural slate!

What does natural mean to you? Perhaps, it means eating organic and non-GMO, choosing natural house-hold cleaners or body-care products. It might be a combination of things in the food you eat to what you use on your garden.

With the contstant inventions man makes, it’s not strange, but it is interesting that we are surrounded by a lot of artificial things.

Only you can decide what feels best to you in the quest to limit toxic or artificial things in your life, but the first step is always knowledge that can help us make informed decisions and become aware of the available options.

If you’re looking for ideas, I have compiled a list of Food Labels and Ingredients and what they are so that you can choose if you want to include them in your diet. Next week we will discuss alternatives to these 12 items and then we will move on to household products!

Let’s begin!

Food Labels/Ingredients to Avoid

There are many ingredients on food labels that are best to avoid.  By staying away from these ingredients, your body will thank you by running smoothly and performing all the normal bodily functions with ease.  All of these items are best kept to a minimum to maintain a healthy body that can heal from the inside and that has a better chance of bouncing back when our health shifts.

Here are twelve ingredients to consider when cleaning out your pantry; if you’re replacing foods that expired, choose foods without these ingredients going forward:

  1. Sugar: Sugar is in almost every single processed food you can buy today. Such a massive intake of sugar can influence an irregular metabolism, high blood pressure and eventually have a negative impact on the liver.
  2. High Fructose Corn Syrup: High fructose corn syrup can be found in just about any sweet processed food. Aside from it being made from genetically modified corn, high fructose corn syrup can cause accelerated weight gain, insulin resistance and even diabetes when consumed in large quantities over a long period of time.
  3. Low-Fat or Fat-Free Products: Low-fat or fat-free products are not the healthy items they appear to be. Manufactures compensated for flavor by adding massive amounts of sugars and artificial sweeteners to give the taste of a full-fat food. Check the labels for these other ingredients because you might find them there!
  4. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG): MSG is commonly found in all processe foods, everything from canned goods to potato chips. When you ingest MSG it sparks your appetite, causing you to eat more. (MSG is found in many restaurants, so find out ahead of time if they use this ingredient and avoid that place. It will help you honor your fullness when you’re eating out).
  5. Hydrogenated or Fractionated Oils: These oils are man-made or so severely changed from their original form, there is nothing natural about them. It’s basically eating plastic… so yuck.
  6. Canola oil/Vegetable oil: Be mindful in selecting oils. We will talk more about the healthiest oils for cooking foods next week.
  7. Sucralose: Sucralose is a not a good choice. Also called chlorinated sugar—sucralose contains chlorine, which is prevalent in bleach and disinfectants.
  8. Soy/Soy Lecithin: Soy can disturb estrogen in women and it interferes with the uptake of thyroid hormones. Most soy is genetically modified and therefore not natural, but pesticides are another huge concern. Soy is in so very many products, that we just have too much in our diets. The only soy that is good to consume is organic fermented and whole organic soy products (those with thyroid imbalance should only chose fermented like tempeh to reduce the interaction with the hormone replacement they take).
  9. Table Salt/Sodium Chloride: This becomes a man-made ingredient after processing. Know what’s in your salt and how it’s drastically changed from the source!
  10. Aspartame: While aspartame is 200 times sweeter than conventional sugar and only has four calories per gram, it is man-made in a lab.
  11. Artificial Flavors: Found in a majority of foods today, artificial flavors are just that, artificial!
  12. Artificial Coloring: Remember that candy scare in the eighties? Well, need I say more?






The Dose

Every person’s depression and thyroid-disease story is different. And if you have been impacted by thyroid disease, you might be able to relate that there’s not really a beginning, middle, and end:

I have made a lot of slow, but perfectly beautiful changes in my health over the last nine months and, well, as I like to say, “little hinges swing big doors.” These changes have culminated into decreasing my needed thyroid medication by 38 mcg and maybe more still. I don’t have a thyroid gland and was placed on medication in infancy—at seven months.

So there begins a long list of symptoms if we have too much or too little. My biggest personal struggles: fluctuating estrogen hormones, depression, and slow bowels, dopamine, cortisol, escapism. I am petite so weight gain for me takes a while for anyone to notice, but my body will begin to suffer with just 5-8 lbs extra—too little T4 and my bowels are in a standstill, my metabolism crashing. Add inadequate stress management with fast-paced, no-room-for-error jobs and you likely have a recipe for pain and grief.

One of my noted beginnings was as a teen with shifting hormones. When I was thirteen a doctor suggested I didn’t need the Synthroid. I was too “normal”, he said. This was based off of his training, I didn’t fit the hypothyroid description. Synthroid worked really well for me as a child. They took me off of it and about two weeks later I battled sliding into a coma for a few days. While this ended up being a really good lesson in what would happen to me if I didn’t take my medication, it was also the instagator of major depression and a waking nightmare for my family when soon after this event, I became suicidal. I learned how to get help when it got bad, but I had lurking suicidal thoughts until the year of my 40th birthday—the year I finally fell in love with myself and suddenly, whole-heartedly, could live forever.

Over this last year I have had my labs tested every few months… I am grateful I have a doctor that understands how sensitive the endocrine system is.  The biggest shift is being able to feel my body. Since 2008, I have focused on natural choices in all areas of my life. I have always been a cook, rarely ate fast food, I cook a lot of veggies and pretty-close-to balanced dinners, learned about herbs, studied mindfulness and crystal healing, and all these are wonderful things… but I still had ground to cover in order to feel good mentally, physically, and emotionally.

For years my body had been overloaded with toxins from daily sugar, alcohol, eating too much, not eating enough greens, eb and flow of getting enough exercise, and a four-year span of chronic abdominal pain from inflammation and a not-so-great appendicitis recovery, plus a myriad of female organ issues.

I have been on a really high dose of thyroid (for my body weight) the last six years. Then in August, suddenly all my tests started coming back too high! When we started decreasing it, I was scared of becoming depressed and constipated, so this last time when the labs were still too high, I began to meditate with the intention of discovering why the decrease was happening. I was totally amazed by what my body said to me “It’s okay, Brandy, without all those toxins and inflammation, I can UPTAKE so much better.” And I immediately felt relief in the truth and wisdom of hearing my body talk. There was less interference.

Oh—that’s a new thing—my body has a few voices that were hiding behind coping mechanisms for a really long time. There’s another story about how I reduced toxins. It didn’t happen for me overnight, and I have a feeling there’s more change to come.

My thyroid journey will never end and menopause is only about ten years away, ready to add its very own dynamic. Thankfully, I know I should find a health coach when I get to that stage! I feel like I am finally on the right path. My plan to live with vitality until I’m 102 will succeed if I maintain the path I am on, listening to my body wisdom, slowing down, changing the way I handle stress, creating beautiful rituals of self-care, presence & planning, meditation, and loving and honoring myself.

With you in realizing, chasing, and achieving the dream,

Brandy Bell, CHC