Shortly after I was diagnosed last year, I noticed that my appetite had changed. Suddenly many of the things I'd eaten in the past just didn't taste good any more. Burger and fries? No appeal. Pizza? No thanks. Ice Cream? Eh, not so much. What I really started craving was much healthier foods. Lots of fruit and veggies, a little bit of lean beef and chicken, Greek yogurt, plain pasta, frozen fruit bars. And I can't eat a lot at one time. In fact, often for breakfast and lunch I just sort of snack. Maybe some yogurt for breakfast and a while later a piece of fruit. Then around lunch time, a bit of cheese and some nuts. Later maybe another piece of fruit and a few crackers.
I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the medications that I take, but there was definitely a huge difference. Additionally with the heart disease component of the cancer, I've really had to cut back on the amount of sodium I consume. Which is really a good thing! Honestly, it's quite shocking to find out how much sodium we take in every day. Shocking and scary! Until the edema started last year, I hadn't really worried much about my sodium intake. Now I notice. Trust me. When your ankles become cankles, it's hard not to notice!
Though we've changed the way we eat, we haven't changed what our cupboards hold. Well, technically we've added some things - like lower sodium chicken and beef broth, lower sodium soy sauce, and a wide variety of different snacks - but we haven't taken anything away. And I admit, it's overwhelming to me when I open the cupboards to find something. Rather than sort through what's in the cupboard - which I haven't the energy to do - I choose to pick up whatever we need for a recipe at the market. I know I'm only putting off the inevitable task of cleaning out the cupboards, but at least I'd been able to avoid it just a little longer.
Until last weekend.
We'd been talking about going the 'Graze' snack route, (but creating the snacks in our own containers and taking them to work -- much cheaper than subscribing to Graze or it's competitors) and had been doing so for about 2 weeks. It's worked out well, but the snacks were just sitting on the counter taking up space because there wasn't space in the cupboard. So I did it: I broke down and bought some of these awesome containers...
The cereal and snack cupboard was fun to organize! There were a few products that had expired, or crackers that had gone stale, but overall, it went together pretty well - things were much more organized and accessible. Just what you want when you clean out your cupboards! Then…I headed over to the canned goods and mixes cupboard. Oh.My. When had it become so disorganized and crowded? The cupboard was so full I swear I heard it moan under it's own weight when I opened the doors. Where to start? Kevin took a break from what he was doing to come in to help - and I'm so thankful he did! Many of the canned goods had expired and most of the rest of them, as well as the rice mixes, etc., had SO MUCH SODIUM that we knew we couldn't keep them. We would never eat them, so it wasn't even a question - they had to go. We filled up a large box to donate to our local food pantry and dumped out the products that had expired. We were overwhelmed with the many things that we hadn't used and didn't really need. I decided right then and there that I would never again stock this much stuff in our cupboards. There are only two of us for Heaven sakes. It hurt my poor little frugal heart to see all of the waste we'd created. It was senseless. From now on our cupboards will hold just enough. I don't care if soup is on sale for just twenty five cents a can - we don't eat it. We've become soup snobs and are really only interested in our own homemade soups. Canned veggies? Blech. Bring on the fresh stuff or nothing at all. After we removed all of the things we can't eat, and tossed out the expired items, our cupboards were a thing of beauty. I kept opening them to peek inside and make sure everything was still in its proper place.
Ahhh. So simple and yet so extraordinary at the same time. Be honest - when was the last time you cleaned out your cupboards? Don't you think it's time? Go on, go…clean! It will make you feel better!