Pantry Intervention Video by Sarah Pope

Florida chapter leader Sarah Pope shares tips for cleaning out your pantry, fridge, and freezer of unhealthy foods.


Hello everyone, Sarah Pope, Blogger and Weston A. Price Chapter Leader here with you once again.

Today I am on a mission!

My mission is to help Alma clean out her kitchen pantry and refrigerator of any unhealthy foods and to suggest alternatives.

Let’s get started ….

The first thing I’m immediately noticing is that Alma’s pantry is very compact.

Having a small pantry can actually be a benefit to your health.

This is because folks with big pantries tend to fill them up with many different boxes and packages of processed foods.

Filling your pantry and refrigerator with single-ingredient foods as much as possible keeps things very simple and encourages you to prepare meals from scratch.

Vegetable Oils/Butter Substitutes

Let’s take a look at what kind of fats Alma uses in her kitchen. I see butter in the refrigerator – that is fantastic!

Butter is by far the most important fat to have in your kitchen and it pays big health dividends to buy the best you can afford. Using any of the butter substitutes on the market is not a good idea as these Factory Fats cause inflammation in the body and contribute to degenerative disease and growth problems in children.

Taking a look in the pantry, I don’t see any liquid vegetable oils like canola or soy. This is very very good. Most people buy these health-robbing vegetable oils so, Alma, you are way ahead of game.

In addition to the butter, I would suggest adding some traditional fats like coconut oil, tallow or lard. You can find places to mail order them in the Weston A. Price Shopping Guide (

The final fat I would strongly suggest that you add to your refrigerator would be high vitamin fermented cod liver oil. Cod liver oil is kind of like an insurance policy for your health. Most people don’t eat liver anymore like they used to, so taking a daily dose of cod liver oil provides the critical fat soluble vitamins A and D to the diet and the delicate omega-3 fats that most people are deficient in.

Refined Carbs

Scanning your pantry I see a few items that would be very good to get rid of, like saltine crackers, organic breakfast bars, and chips.

Eating a few refined carbs every now and then is not a problem for most people, but these types of foods are very very addictive and so it is best to not have them in your pantry.

They are also a big source of calories but offer virtually no nutrition, even if they are organic.

Another big problem with refined carbohydrates is that they are a primary source of rancid, highly processed vegetable oils, so even though you don’t have any vegetable oils in your pantry, by eating these types of foods you are getting a lot of these health damaging oils in your diet just the same.

I see here that you have some microwave popcorn. Popcorn can be a wonderfully healthy snack on occasion, but it is best to make popcorn the old fashioned way, in a frying pan on the stove with a lid using a healthy oil like coconut oil.

Microwave popcorn contains the butter substitute flavors that have been linked with lung problems. Also, microwaving food denatures the food and has been shown to increase carcinogens in the blood.

Natural Sweeteners

You have some brown sugar in your pantry, which is certainly a better choice than white sugar.

Brown sugar is still rather processed, though, so a better choice would be sucanant or rapadura which is just the dried juice of sugar cane.

Another natural sweetener that is good to have on hand in the pantry is Grade B maple syrup, which is rich and full of minerals unlike the cheaper quality and sometimes more expensive Grade A maple syrup or the corn syrup-sweetened maple syrup substitutes.

I am really happy to see that you don’t have any artificial sweeteners like Splenda or Nutrasweet on hand.

Boxed Cereal

There are a few boxes of breakfast cereal in here. Shredded Wheat, Cheerios, and a box of organic cereal.

Unfortunately, all boxed cereals, even organic brands of boxed cereals, should be avoided because they are so highly processed. The processing used to manufacture cold cereals is called extrusion and involves subjecting the grains to very high temperatures and pressures.

These high temperatures and pressures cause the grain to liquify so that the desired shapes, puffs, or flakes can be manufactured.

Extrusion of grains is a very damaging process – it completely denatures the delicate proteins in the grains and they end up being quite toxic and allergenic.

Organic boxed cereals are surprisingly the most toxic of all because they are made with whole grains and are therefore higher in protein.

The best option for breakfast cereals are old fashioned porridges that you cook on the stovetop.

I see you have a box of instant oatmeal here – this is the right idea, but take it a step further and get plain rolled oats and soak them overnight in the pot that you will cook them in with some water to cover and a TBL of cider vinegar or lemon juice. This way, they will cook up quickly in the morning just like instant oatmeal but will be much more nutritious and filling.


You don’t have many canned foods in your pantry, which is excellent. Canned foods are very low in nutrition and can contain chemicals like BPA, which is used in the can lining and can leech into the food. BPA is a hormone-disrupting chemical that has been linked to a number of degenerative disorders.

Soup and chicken broth are almost universally considered wholesome, nutritious foods but when they come in cans, they are basically just water, a lot of sodium, and MSG. Even canned organic soups are loaded with MSG! People don’t realize it because there are over 50 different names for MSG used in product labeling.

I see a few bottled sauces. Soy sauce is fine if it is traditionally brewed, but barbeque sauce is loaded with MSG as are most bottled sauces.

A great use of your time in the kitchen is making your own sauces, which is really quite easy and fast. Nourishing Traditions Cookbook has a number of recipes for popular sauces that you can make yourself without all the additives, chemicals and MSG.

Frozen dinners are another big source of MSG in the American diet. If you took out the large amount of MSG in dinners like Stouffer’s or Lean Cuisine, you would have a tasteless blob of food that no one would eat.

Pastas/Lowfat Foods

A plate of whole grain pasta is considered a healthy meal in America, but nothing could be further from the truth. A bowl of wheat pasta is not only full of anti-nutrients such as phytic acid that block mineral absorption, but it makes for a very carb heavy meal that is sure to quickly spike and then drop your blood sugar, making you sleepy and wanting a nap in short order.

Small amounts of pasta with a nutritious homemade cream or cheese sauce are fine on occasion, but pasta should not be a regular feature on your family’s menu.

I am very pleased to see that you have no lowfat foods anywhere in your pantry or refrigerator! When the fat is removed from a food, it is typically replaced with sugar so eating a lot of these types of foods can exacerbate blood sugar issues much more than the regular versions of the same foods.

Ending Segment

Alma, thank you very much for allowing me to go through your pantry! You are clearly on the right path as you have butter in your refrigerator and no vegetable oils on hand.

If I could give you 3 steps to further improve your pantry, they would be:

  1. Add a few more Traditional Fats in the form of extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, lard or tallow and cod liver oil. Ghee (or clarified butter) is also an excellent pantry-stable cooking oil.
  2. Try reducing or even better, eliminating refined carbs like cookies, crackers, and chips in your home and switch to homemade sweets and snacks as well as breakfast porridges instead of boxed cereal.
  3. Learning to make your own dressings, sauces, and soups would be a big step forward as this will eliminate the sources of MSG in your kitchen.

These three things will no doubt leap frog your health to the next level!

This is Sarah Pope, The Healthy Home Economist and Chapter Leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation. Thank you for watching today and I’m wishing you all the best in the kitchen!

Sarah Couture Pope is a Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude graduate in Economics from Furman University and holds a Master's degree in Governmental Administration from the University of Pennsylvania. She worked for over ten years in the field of Information Technology where she designed and managed the implementation of financial systems for both government and corporate clients. She is currently raising three young children with her husband and has been the WAPF Chapter Leader of Tampa, FL since 2002.

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