By Dr. Daniel Amen

As part of The Daniel Plan educational video series, my wife Tana and I, were invited to explore the cabinets and refrigerator of a typical family. The home was beautiful, the woman kind and warm, who obviously loved her family, who was mostly a vegetarian, except for some fish. I was expecting her kitchen would be better than most. Not.

Our job was to praise the healthy food we found, and to eliminate the unhealthy food. We were prepared for an Extreme Food Makeover.

We first started in the kitchen cabinets and took food out one package or container at a time. If it was healthy food we put it on the left side of the large center island; if it was not healthy it went on the right side. The 80/20 rule applied here. Which way do you think it went?

Healthy food was defined by The Daniel Plan’s rules for Healthy Eating which include high quality calories, water, lean protein, complex, low glycemic, high fiber carbohydrates, healthy fats, natural foods of many different colors and brain healthy herbs and spices.

Unhealthy food was defined as high sugar and bad fat foods, such as those containing any hydrogenated or partially hydrogentated fats, and those containing high levels of omega 6 (pro-inflammatory fatty acids).

Even I was surprised. By the end it was about 20% healthy and 80% that needed to go!

Healthy foods included red wine vinegar, canned tomatoes, tomato paste without sugar, figs, raw popcorn, capers, artichoke hearts, and even a little real maple syrup, which has some minerals.

Unhealthy foods were abundant, including fake maple syrup, made with high fructose corn syrup, sodas, fruit juice (yes, way too high in concentrated sugars), high sugar cereals, like Captain Crunch, Hershey bars, chocolate popcorn crunch, hydrogenated popcorn, many white pastas, which turn to sugar very quickly in the body, pretzels, lots of white bread, white flour and hidden sugary treats.

As a treat for the family’s cooperation (and because most of their food needed to go, Tana brought 7 grocery bags of healthy food to replace the food we trashed. The healthy food included coconut water, lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, healthy snacks made with flaxseeds, guacamole and hummus.

I wonder what is in your cabinet?