3 Foods to Eliminate to Clean Up Your Diet

Two things happened this week - spring and the annual health screening at my work. Yeah for one and yikes for the other. I’m sure you can guess which is which.

Without the gory details, it’s time to for me to clean up my eating and spring is the perfect oppotunity. I made a list today of three things I need to get rid of in a “spring cleaning” of my diet. These three are not revolutionary steps. They’re ones we all know we should eliminate (or at least cut back on), but sometimes we just need reminders.

Now I’m not good at making big, wholesale changes and sticking to them. I’m really glad I never started smoking because I would have been terrible at the whole “cold turkey” thing. I’m better at smaller changes that I try to make habits, although that doesn’t even always work. Will power is not my strong suit.

That being said, I’m going to try to spring clean my diet, clearing out and starting fresh on some top areas of concern. I know, I know, there is no “try,” there is only “do.” But I’m always going to strive to be honest with you and realistic about what most of us resolve and stick to, so here goes my three “tries.”

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PROCESSED MEATS - I’m going to admit something to you, my readers, who I don’t even know that well yet. I eat a fast food breakfast sausage sandwich on my way to work almost every morning. This is something my husband (whom I work with but drive separately from) doesn’t even know. It’s not that I wouldn’t happily buy him one as well. It’s that I’m embarrassed, more like ashamed. I struggle mightily with this and the sad part is, I don’t even know why I get them. They’re not all that good. They’re not that tasty and they’re terrible for me. The amount of saturated fat in that one morning sandwich is enough to explain the problem with some of my “numbers.”

So that’s where I’m starting. In the morning, I am going to start packing a healthier breakfast of granola and fruit to take with me and eat along the way. That’s the key for me because I like to have something to get me going on my way to work. Having something prepared that I’m already eating when I pass the temptation is going to be strategy number one.

Strategy number two is no more buying bacon to have for weekend family breakfasts. I have found that when I don’t have it, I do just fine. I don’t miss it, but when I’m at the store I end up grabbing some “just to have around.” Bacon is not the thing you can just have around.

Processed lunch meats aren’t something we eat often, but I do love pepperoni pizza. But again, just like not having bacon, when I have cheese pizza, I don’t even miss the pepperoni.

So for me, it’s mostly about breakfast, but for you it might be completely different parts of your diet where processed meats sneak in. Evaluate your diet and clear out those meats.  

DEEP FRIED ANYTHING - My husband is a musician and has a monthly gig at a club with the best deep fried green beans you can imagine. What could be so bad about those? They’re green beans, for goodness sake! When my friends and I go see him play, we split an order and then, since we’re being so ridiculous with those, we might as well add an order of deep fried pickles. And if someone has a sandwich with a side of fries, it’s all over.

And over winter, we got into a bad habit at home of frying way too many things because, hey, it was a snow day. We needed a way to make ourselves feel better in the midst of the bitter cold.

There is an unfortunate cumulative effect of all this golden brown, salty, tastiness. You don’t really need me to explain it, do you? You know it well if fried foods have found their way into your diet on a regular basis.

Since deep fried foods, especially potatoes, are ubiquitous at fast food restaurants and are a common side with meals at sit down restaurants, eating out is one of the most challenging places to eliminate them. If you can clean them out of that part of your diet, you may find that solves a huge part of the problem.

If you do cook deep fried foods at home, try frying up smaller batches. Deep frying is such a mess you probably won’t go back and make more once what you cooked is gone.

Even though we all know the reasons to reduce deep fried foods, hopefully, refocusing on the importance of eliminating them will help us as we spring clean.

SODA OF ANY KIND -  There are encyclopedic amounts of information on why these bubbly pops, colas, sodas or whatever you call them are not good for us. We’ve seen the studies on both sugared and diet sodas and know the issues with both. I’ve tried removing sugary sodas by replacing them with diet, then decide to get rid of diet and end up drinking lots of calories. I know as well as you do that neither of these is a good option.

Just like other areas of nutrition struggles, I have tried moderation and cold turkey. Neither has been successful. So, I’m climbing back on the wagon today with fresh, lovely lemon water. All I can say is I’ll try to do as well as I can and encourage you to do the same.

These three items are, at least for me, no brainers. They shouldn’t be in my diet in the first place, and I’m betting you know they don’t have a good place in yours. These three are not a definitive list of areas that need to be improved, but they’re an obvious place to start.

You may not struggle with these particular foods (or drinks), and if these are not problems for you, find the top three culprits in your diet and start with those as you spring clean. Along with all the Marie Kondo-inspired clearing out we all seem to be doing to make our homes feel better, let’s do the same with our food.


Important note: I am not a nutritionist not a dietitian nor any kind of medical professional. This information should not be considered a substitute for professional advice on any medical condition or guidance for any specific health issue. It is only meant as general thoughts on well-being.