Kitchen Cleanse and Pantry Purge
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The life changing magic of tidying up for your health


It is not enough to simply learn what to eat and why to eat in a certain way, the path to nAndrea Holwegner as published in Calgary Herald Newspaperutrition success must also be examined from a how perspective. If you are trying to overcome a health challenge, lose weight or get a healthy meal on the table for your family, how you set up your kitchen is fundamental for success.

Marie Kondo’s book The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing changed the way I think about all my possessions. Although the book doecluttered kitchen, tidy up your kitchn and pantry for successs not talk about your kitchen and food storage, the concepts in this book are highly valuable when applied to decluttering and organizing your kitchen and inspiring good health.

You only declutter once (if you do it right)

In order for this to be life-changing from a mindset perspective, declutter all at once. Block off an entire day (or more) to do this process. What is truly magical about this process is future clean ups become quick and easy since you will often buy less and keep your space free of clutter.

My husband and I have seen first-hand the impact of this process as we helped my mother-in-law downsize her home. Although she was overwhelmed when we brought all of her kitchen items into the living room, the intense freedom she felt when we were finished was life altering. She realized it was OK to wish an item well and send to donation when it had fulfilled its purpose or no longer sparked joy. I also know she has been forever changed in how she shops and stores food to minimize food waste (as previously it had been easy to lose track of items because things were stored in more than one place).

Work by kitchen category, not by room

Bring ALL items (including those in your basement or storage area) from a category to make sure they are in one central space. Visually seeing things altogether is important psychologically to make decluttering effective and impactful.

Consider decluttering and organizing by the following five categories:

  • Kitchen gadgets, small appliances, dishes, serving dishes, plastic containers and utensils
  • Pantry foods, dry goods, spices
  • Refrigerator items
  • Freezer items
  • Cookbooks and recipes

I recently spent some time with my sister and brother-in-law helping them with everyday meal planning as parents of two kids with busy hockey schedules. Together they took on the task of doing a pantry purge and freezer cleanout so they could take inventory on what they had and discard what they didn’t need. This change provided them with a feeling of purpose and clarity and led them to create a weekly meal plan they now create in minutes, and a family recipe binder to make weekday meals less stressful.

Start with the end in minda tidy kitchen counter

Imagine the end product of having an organized, decluttered kitchen that inspired you to cook nourishing foods for your family. Imagine having tasty, enjoyable foods that nudge nutritious living and fast meal prep in your pantry, fridge and freezer.

Select kitchen items and food based on Kondo’s selection criterion: Does this spark joy?

As a foodie first and a dietitian second, I believe if there is no joy in what you are eating, you are following the wrong diet. Healthy eating should not taste bad or be something you can just tolerate. Choose foods that spark nutrition joy for your health and enough balance of soulful foods chosen exclusively for taste, enjoyment and socializing (such as chips and chocolate).

Cooking does not have to be a dreaded task. Select and maintain only a few good sharp knives that spark joy because they delicately cut through food with ease. Donate serving bowls you never use that take up valuable space.  Toss chipped dishes that take away from the beauty of a plated homemade meal. Your kitchen needs to be a place that inspires you to want to cook and eat well.

I think Marie Kondo said it best “The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.”

Originally published in the Calgary Herald Newspaper

If your family is struggling with meal plan organization, weekly supper meal prep and how to eat well with a busy schedule, we can help!  Contact us to book a time to speak with Registered Dietitian Andrea Holwegner to discuss our Calgary dietitian nutrition counselling programs (we can also help support you by phone or video conferencing if you live out of town or find this more convenient).

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"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

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I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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