Is Your Kitchen Making You Fat?
OCTOBER 5, 2017 by OLIVIA NEELY, RDN, LD
Keeping a minimalist kitchen will do more than declutter your mind. It could help you make better food choices.
As many of you know, I have been harnessing my inner “minimalist” over the past few years. You can read more about my journey here.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the minimalist movement, it’s really a sort of feng shui concept where a person sits down and thinks about the THINGS that occupy their space with them. Do these things really give us joy? What do they mean to us? Is most of it just junk that clutters not only our space but our mind, too?
If you are interested in the minimalist movement, or have started doing some clean-up on our own, you may have heard of two modern-day leaders in the movement named Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. They were recently in Philadelphia for their Less is More tour and I was able to attend their show! You can check out their tour dates here. I have learned a lot from these guys through their show and their podcast, which I listen to on a regular basis.
Adopting minimalist concepts does so much more than just clean up my space. It helps relieve anxiety by taking the confusion out of decision-making. Packing for trips and getting ready for work in the morning are a breeze because I’m not sifting through piles and piles of clothes to choose from, and it has even helped me in my eating and cooking habits.
Another leading light is Joshua Becker, an American father who, with his wife, writes a popular blog called “Becoming Minimalist” in which he recently shared his “7 Reasons to Minimize Your Kitchen“.
In his article, he suggests getting rid of duplicate kitchen items (do you really need 5 ladles?) and clearing off countertops of less frequently used bulky appliances.
He cited the research of famous food psychologist and behavioral economist Brian Wansink of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab. The 2016 study “Clutter, Chaos and Overconsumption: The role of mind-set in stressful and chaotic food environments” showed people were more susceptible to snack on highly calorific foods in times of stress if they were in a chaotic environment.
Sound familiar yet?
In the study, over 100 female undergraduates were placed in two different cooking environments – one that was all clean and tidy and the other not so much. They were then primed to be in a either a stressful, a calm or a neutral experience and left alone to complete a taste test of three different foods, with no limit of the amounts – cookies, crackers and carrots.
In the tidy kitchen environment, there was no difference in intake between participants who had been put into a stressed or non-stressed frame of mind. However, in the cluttered kitchen, participants put into a stressful situation ate 103 calories more from the cookies than those primed into a calm state.
“Less cluttered, less distracting, and less chaotic environments may lead people to snack less than they would in a more cluttered and chaotic workplace,” the researchers concluded.
How to Declutter Your Kitchen for Weight Loss
- Get rid of single-purpose kitchen items. Yes, I’m looking at you avocado saver, mini garlic grater and kale de-stemmer… really??
- Clear your counters. Clean counters mean clean thinking. How many times have you really used that juicer in the past month?
- Practice MACRO-trio grocery shopping and meal prep. When you only need to worry about having three things in a meal or snack – it cuts down on so much meal-prep stress!
- Eat the leftovers instead of going out to eat again. This not only cuts down on food waste and saves money but keeps food moving out of the fridge so you’re ready to stock up with more fresh produce.
- Don’t buy something again until you are completely out of it. Please use the entire jar of almond butter before buying another one. That jar should be scraped clean and in the recycling before you buy another one.
As Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus of The Minimalists say, “love people and use things, because the opposite never works.