This is a concept I'm introducing to my clients and other people in my life.
If your "food" has an expiration date printed on it, chances are it doesn't belong in your body. There are a few exceptions--like yogurt...um...kombucha...bottled oils (coconut, olive and sesame)...
I can't think of too many other exceptions that are real food. Things like fresh greens, fruit, whole grains, beans, veggies---these don't have expiration dates because they don't last long. A few days, maybe. Like Michael Pollan says, "don't eat anything that won't eventually rot." If what you're eating won't eventually rot, think about what it's doing inside your body.
What makes it keep its shape, texture and color? What are those things doing to your blood and organs? If you can't pronounce it, why are you ingesting it?
If your food doesn't expire in a few days and isn't packed with preservatives, it still has a shelf life. Whole grains and beans--if you buy them fresh in bulk and don't use them in about 4 months, toss them. Bottled oils? Give them a whiff to make sure they haven't turned rancid from being exposed to the air each time you open the bottle. Rancid oils smell something like turpentine. If you don't know what that smells like, visit a local paint store.
Fresh veggies and fruit? If you aren't eating them within the week, freeze them or ditch them. If they are on sale because they've been sitting around too long--please don't buy them. They aren't alive anymore. They are of no use to your body. These foods are to be consumed for the many vitamins and minerals they contain. Time, air quality, dust, etc. affect the quality of the product. Practice some radical self-love and throw out anything that isn't fresh, vibrant, colorful and perky. That's right--perky. Ever try eating limp lettuce? Or an overripe apple? What is enjoyable about either of those experiences? Nothing. Correct. It's not hard to see why more adults have a hard time getting veggies into their diets...maybe they are eating CRAPPY, OVERRIPE, GROSS VEGGIES!
Let's think of your friends the same way. If food has a shelf life that runs its course, the same goes for your friends. Do you have someone in your life who's been around for a while but you feel depleted every time you see or talk to this person? Or maybe facebook reports the same complaint from the same people day after day after day. I had a few who never have something positive to say--only negative, biting, judgmental banter. I deleted those people from my list.
If I don't eat food because of what it contains, I don''t surround myself with people who are filled with qualities that bring me down, bring out the worst of my own character traits or treat me with disrespect. I know a few people like this. I'm doing my best to be patient because my spiritual practice calls me to do so. I am learning to draw a fine line between being patient and drawing a healthy boundary that involves telling someone, "our time as friends has come to a close".
Sometimes it doesn't even have to be that blatant. You can simply clean out the cabinets and closets of your life---toss tired carrots along with the people who complain every moment of the day. We all have it hard. We all struggle for love, peace and understanding (for ourselves and others) but we have to balance positive and negative. If someone you know doesn't seem to seek that balance, what is that person bringing into your life? How are you growing and thriving from that relationship? How is it making you a better person?
Toss out the garbage. And every day, work on not being garbage yourself.