how to stock your pantry with healthy goodness
This list is in order with the most life-changing products at the top (solely my opinion of course) so you can prioritise if needed. I've also added a couple of cosmetic products if you're interested.
**Note** Often people comment that these ingredients are more expensive than unhealthy ingredients. You can buy a loaf of bread for $1! Yes, but check out what it is made from. I saw a loaf of bread last week that contained fish, soy flour, peanuts and canola oil! Yuck! That isn't bread in my book. Also, products like coconut flour and kuzu last a long time because you need so much less of them than you would flour or cornflour. Once you stock your pantry, the recurring cost will decrease. Another great benefit is that you actually end up eating less - the ingredients below fill you up much more than what we normally use. So instead of eating a whole cake, you feel satisfied after one piece. Win!
1. Coconut oil. (Click here for an explanation) I always buy the virgin, cold pressed to get the most health benefits, but if you really don't like the taste of coconut, use expeller-pressed. Same healthy fats without the taste.
2. Butter. (Click here for an explanation) Anchor is the highest quality if you live in NZ, or Kerrygold is the best if you live in North America/Canada. I cook with it, slather it on vegetables, and use it in Fat Burning Coffee.
3. Natvia. As I've mentioned previously, stevia is the only natural sugar substitute that doesn't raise your blood sugar. One of the questions I am most asked is about alternative sweeteners - coconut sugar, agave nectar, raw sugar, rice malt syrup, honey, maple syrup... the list goes on. These sweeteners all cause your blood sugar to rise and may cause weight gain. Artificial sweeteners (think Equal or Splenda) are simply chemicals which actually are toxic to the brain, and cause sugar cravings. There are many stevia-based sweeteners on the market, just watch out for additives which are worse than sugar. Stevia combined with a sugar alcohol like erythritol or xylitol are the best. There's another sweetener called Norbu on the market in New Zealand which is also great. You can use Natvia or Norbu as you would normal sugar in recipes (i.e. 1 cup of sugar = 1 cup of Natvia) so it makes substitution very easy. Pure stevia is very concentrated, and challenging to use the right dose.
4. Coconut flour. This is a fantastic substitute for regular flour because it contains healthy fats and no gluten. It absorbs a lot of moisture and the amount of liquid and eggs in the recipe needs to be increased. Not a 1:1 substitute for regular flour.
5. Almond flour/meal/ground almonds. Also a great substitute for regular flour if you're not sensitive to nuts. This is more of a 1:1 ratio with white flour, and produces beautifully moist baking. I recommend to store it in the fridge so the nuts don't go rancid. Makes a delicious sponge cake for trifle too!
6. Psyllium husk powder. This is pure fibre, made from the Plantago tree. It helps keep you regular in a more natural way and also increases feelings of fullness. It's great for gluten-free baking because it binds the ingredients together. Essential for making bread to get a similar texture to regular bread. Ask for this one in your health food shop (but make sure it's the powder and not the whole husk! this will produce extremely different results)
7. Shirataki noodles. For the pasta lovers, here's an amazing alternative that won't raise your blood sugar or cause weight gain. These noodles are made from a Japanese yam-like root called konjac. They contain 0 carbs and come ready-to-use: just rinse and go (no cooking required). Ask for these at your Asian foodstore, and I have recently seen them in the Health Section of some supermarkets. Healthy fettucine alfredo, anyone?
8. Kuzu. Instead of using cornflour, try using kuzu to thicken sauces, jams, jellies, custards, etc. It's much more potent than cornflour (you need less) and doesn't contain bleached GMO corn. Ask for kuzu at your health food store
9. Himalayan Salt. Regular table salt is full of chemicals and doesn't contain any trace minerals. Especially in New Zealand, where the soil is deficient, we need all the extra minerals we can get! Himalayan salt is a great alternative, or even regular Celtic sea salt is a much better option.
10. Cacao powder. (Explanation here) regular cocoa powder is put through a chemical heating process which destroys all its benefits like magnesium, iron and zinc. It's more expensive, but worth it.
11. A non-fluoride toothpaste. Regular toothpastes contain a huge number of dangerous chemicals including fluoride (a brain toxin) that actually weakens teeth (ironic I know). Fluoride has been known to cause birth defects and mental disorders, which is why toothpaste manufacturers state do not swallow on the package. Health food shops sell great alternatives in a range of flavours, containing only natural ingredients.
12. A non-aluminium deodorant. I personally sweat a lot (and I'm a fitness instructor) so this was a big change for me. Aluminium is a toxic metal and is stored right inside your cells, making it hard to lose weight (your body doesn't want to release the toxicity into your blood stream and make you sick). Anti-perspirants actually block the sweat glands, which plugs one of our bodies biggest detoxification systems. Choose a natural deodorant which works for you. I've tried so many before I found one that worked, but again, I have high demands on deodorants! I use Biologika's "Live It Up!".
Extras for the already initiated:
1. Hydrolysed gelatine (say what!?) This is a wonderful source of collagen and protein. It helps to repair connective tissue (eg bones, skin, hair, tendons, etc) - i.e. it actually slows down ageing! It is much, much more effective than putting an anti-wrinkle cream on your face (without the nasty chemicals). I add it to fat-burning coffee in the morning. Great Lakes is the best brand in my opinion.
2. Egg white protein powder: I use this for smoothies, pizza bases, pavlovas, and much more. It acts like egg white (binding ingredients together) but in a concentrated form so works very well when using flour substitutes. Recipes to use this ingredient are in my book Fat is Your Friend. It is a great source of easy-to-digest protein. I personally don't eat massive amounts of meat and this is an easy way to boost intake. I use the unflavoured powder because it's versatile enough to use in sweet or savoury recipes. Click here to shop where I do.
3. MCT Oil. MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides, and it is derived from coconut oil. The oil is refined to contain only the best fatty acids - it gives you instant energy and facilitates faster weight loss. It is also tasteless, and liquid at room temperature so no need to melt it like you do with coconut oil. I add it to Fat Burning Coffee, and it makes an amazing mayonnaise! I get mine here (along with Bulletproof Coffee Beans)
Do you have anything to add to this list? I'd love to hear from you!
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