The decision to eat clean was not about following a food trend for Amy Crawford. A former corporate career girl, Crawford was knocked sideways for some 20 years by an undiagnosed condition.
In early 2011, tests determined that Crawford suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. As if that alone was not enough, her toxicity screening levels were off the Richter scale, with Crawford’s body battling against the likes of mercury, petrochemicals, lead and pesticides.
Loaded with things that our bodies are not designed to process, our pantry staples can be doing more harm than good
“My body had literally lost its ability to detoxify,” Crawford says. “I had no idea that my ‘healthy diet’ was making me sick as I downed tins of tuna, chemical polluted vegetables, and sugar laden fruit.”
Upon her doctor’s advice to detoxify her life, Melbourne-based Crawford began what she refers to as her ‘path to wellness’ removing all processed food, sugar, chemicals, gluten, caffeine, and alcohol. Today, well and truly on the road to recovery, Crawford is a certified health coach, holistic practitioner, author of a series of e-books, and creator of the wellness blog The Holistic Ingredient. She also runs a hit Instagram account with over 50,000 followers.
“The most common question I receive from people wanting to turn their health around is, ‘I don’t know where to start,’” Crawford says of how her series of detoxifying events – Detox Your Pantry, Detox Your Body, and Detox Your Mind – came to be.
“When you go into a supermarket there’s so much choice. Unfortunately much of it is laden with chemicals, resulting in us making a poor choice. The great thing about eating wholefoods – food that has not been processed or refined and is free from additives and artificial substances – is that there’s not a lot of choice. They’re easy to find,” Crawford says. “Wholefoods don’t come with numbers on the back; a tomato, a nut, a cow – all wholefoods.”
As consumers we are now encouraged to buy organic wherever possible (foods grown without genetically modified components, pesticides or artificial fertilizers) and purchasing meat from a butcher who can guarantee that it is grass fed (and not stuffed full of antibiotics as with grain-fed animals).
But what about our pantry staples? Unfortunately many of these seemingly healthy ‘go-tos’ (flour, sugar, crackers, canned beans, tins of tuna, jars of ready-made sauces) come with an ingredient listing that reads more like a chemistry experiment than an edible food item, and often readily recognisable nasties such as MSG (monosodium glutamate) have been renamed with the less familiar sodium caseinate, yeast extract, or hydrolysed vegetable protein.
Loaded with things that our bodies are not designed to process, our pantry staples can be doing more harm than good, so it’s time to have a long hard look at what’s on our shelves. Crawford believes that the detoxification process is one that can be done gradually and without waste, thus eliminating overwhelming feelings. “You don’t have to throw everything away in your pantry, simply replace items, as they run out, with a better alternative.”
Start detoxing your pantry now by replacing:
Get rid of
– Breakfast cereals
– Corn chips
– Wheat flour
– Instant oatmeal
– Muesli bars
– White rice
– Steel cut oats
– Buckwheat flour
– Rice flour
– Coconut flour
– Wild rice
Get rid of
– White sugar
– Brown sugar
– Refined honey
– Coconut sugar
– Raw Honey
– 100% pure maple syrup
Nuts and seeds
Get rid of
– Peanut butter
– Honey roasted peanuts
– Almonds (to make almond milk, nut paste, almond meal)
– Sesame seeds
Oils and vinegars
Get rid of
– Vegetable oil
– Canola oil
– Corn oil
– Balsamic vinegar
– Olive oil
– Coconut oil
– Cold pressed macadamia oil
– Apple cider vinegar
Herbs and spices
– Fresh is always best
– Celtic sea salt
In layman’s terms, Crawford’s simple approach to detoxifying your pantry makes the process completely approachable and inspiring. Samples of wholefood dishes that utilize these ingredients can be found on her website www.theholisticingredient.com along with information on the upcoming events Detox Your Body and Detox Your Mind.
Amy Crawford’s top tips for a healthy pantry
• Shop at markets, organic stores, and farmer’s gates
• Keep to the perimeter of the supermarket
• Eat food without labels and focus on perishable foods
• Less than five ingredients for processed foods (and make sure you can pronounce them)
• Avoid the evil WHITE powders – sugar, salt, white flour
• Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
• Be wary of artificial sweeteners
• Eat food grown on a farm, not in a lab
Check out more from Amy Crawford at the Holistic Ingredient.
The next Detox Your Pantry event is in Melbourne on March 20, with other cities to follow.