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Detox for the New Year by Purging your Pantry

The New Year triggers a desire to Detox/Cleanse/Purge and Reset. But what to do and where to start can be overwhelming. The first place I start is in the kitchen. Studies show that visual cues are very important in making the right decisions about health particularly when it comes to what to eat. Even something so simple as putting candy away in a opaque jar instead of a clear jar can steer you away from tempting snacking. The idea is SIMPLE but EFFECTIVE.  So start this new year by detox-ing your kitchen. Here are some tips on how.


Step 1: Purge your Pantry- Take note of what you have stocked in your pantry. Pull up a chair and a brown bag and start purging.

  1. Get rid of items that have “enriched flour” as initial ingredients. This includes wheat, oat, corn, rice and legume flours. When grains are processed the” good stuff” gets removed. Enrichment is an artificial and incomplete replacement of the good stuff. 
  2. Limit items that are high in added sugars. Cookies, cakes, crackers, pastries- these are the obvious ones, right? But also things that contain syrup as first 3 ingredients including the infamous high-fructose corn syrup but also brown rice syrup, maple syrup and tapioca syrup. Other sugars like agave, brown sugar, molasses and fruit juice concentrate are more natural and unrefined sugars but sugars nonetheless and if they are one of the 3 first ingredients they need to be cut!
  1. Limit items high in starch including corn starch, potato starch and modified food starch. Starch is essentially a filler,  processed and devoid of nutrients.
  2. Fried vegetable snacks- this includes beet chips, kale chips and taro chips. Just because it says “kale” doesn’t mean its healthy.


Step 2: Purge your Fridge- You may want to get a trash bag for this one. Here are the things I recommend you dump.

  1. Processed meats- cold cuts including turkey, salami and hot dogs.
  2. Sugary condiments such as ketchup, barbecue sauce, dressings and sauces.  While your at it, get rid of the mayo.
  3. Frozen breakfast items- pastries, muffins, waffles, and pancakes.
  4. Fruit juices including concentrate and whole fruit juice.


Step 3: Raid your Bar- Don’t feel bad to throw these down the drain.

  1. Soda- sugary ones first, followed by diet sodas
  2. Bottled Teas- replace with brewed tea
  3. Juices- whole or concentrate-just eat the fruit


Step 4: Restock the Pantry

  1. Beans- I prefer boxed rather than canned (cans contain BPA which are linked to health problems including obesity) My favorite are garbanzo beans.
  2. Grains- quinoa, barley, farro, bulgur, oatmeal, millet to name a few. You can make a fresh back and keep for the week
  3. Breads and cereals that contain whole grains. Stone ground whole grain is a better option to the enriched flours listed above.
  4. Replace with baked chips if you must but keep in mind that baked does not mean healthy-just healthier.


Step 5: Restock the Fridge


  1. Start by adding color- add produce-fruits and vegetables- that include every color of the rainbow- every color! Here are some examples:


  1. Replace cold cuts with other quick proteins, tofu, pre-cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken, sashimi and canned or bottled fish like albacore, herring or sardines. Veggie, chicken or fish burgers are also quick options to keep in the freezer.


  1. Replace condiments with salsa, pico de gallo, soy sauce, unsweetened vinegars, yogurts, hummus, mustard and oils such as avocado and olive oil. Keep in mind that nuts and oils are calorically dense to but have a better nutritional profile than store bought dressing and sauces. Also stock up on herbs- fresh or dried and spices- to help spice up your meals with antioxidants.
  1. Low fat dairy- greek yogurt or yogurt made from sheep’s or goats milk, Other low fat dairy like cottage cheese and milk.  Hold on the cheese.
  2. Eggs- cage free and fortified with omegas are best.


Step 6: Restock your Bar

  1. Sparkling waters are a great alternative to sodas
  2. Brewed teas- you can ice and  flavor with fruit and herbs for homemade iced tea
  3. Coffee brewed iced or hot – both a great source of antioxidants


Remember that visual cues are huge in promoting unhealthy (and healthy) eating behaviors so here’s to detoxing your fridge and prepping for a clean New Year!

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

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