Okay, friends! This last week we reached our 600th visitor…not bad for 2 weeks in business! Thanks for all of your support (the comments and messages have been so encouraging!)
As promised, and as a follow-up to the Spring Cleaning List of what to get rid of in your pantry, here are a few things you can stock up on.
- Unsalted almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, pecans and pistachios that are NOT roasted in oil (Note: this does NOT include peanuts; while peanuts are better than some things for your health, many peanuts have been roasted in oil. Furthermore, peanuts are a walking identity crisis—they are legumes, not nuts).
- Almonds alone help reduce the risk of heart attacks, they lower ‘bad cholesterol, they protect artery walls from damage, provide those “healthy fats” (don’t worry—people who eat almonds are, on average, thinner than people who don’t according to a national Nurses’ Health Study) and they can help provide good brain function (because of riboflavin and L-carnitine—two nutrients that boost brain activity and may decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s)… (One day I will write an entire post about the detailed nutritional data in each nut—but for now, it is safe to assume that all of the nuts listed above are beneficial to your diet, provided you practice portion control and not ruined with sodium. (Almonds, for example, contain approximately 6 grams of protein and 14 grams of fat for 23 nuts. Not bad!)
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, or Sunflower Oil: These oils (along with other essential oils, like Peppermint, * and *) are super foods. I use Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and lemon as a ‘dressing’ on most of the salads I eat—I just love the stuff. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is proven to help lower levels of blood cholesterol (which leads to Heard Disease); the rich antioxidants in it (especially vitamin E) help alleviate feelings of stress (which, let’s be honest, we all have a lot of these days!), and—get this—the phytonutrient in olive oil (called olecanthal) acts like an ibuprofen to the body by reducing inflammation. This is significant because decreases the chance of breast cancer!
- Coconut Oil is another favorite, mostly because it is a gluten-free and paleo-approved baking tool. Though high in saturated fat (ALL of these oils should be consumed in moderation) coconut oil also works to lower cholesterol, book the immune system, and—according to Doctor Oz (or the Wizard of Oz, whichever you prefer)—those who consume coconut oil in their diet generally weigh less than those who don’t. (Note: In addition to all of this—coconut oil makes wonderful cornbread, lemon blueberry cake-muffins, and brownies!)
- Sunflower Oil: Sunflower oil is a natural antioxidant, it promotes heart-health and lowers cholesterol (like the other two), it is proven to help prevent asthma and colon cancer, and it can lower the risk of infections and low birth weight in pre-term infants (moms—that one’s for you!). Indeed, Sunflower Oil is a good thing to keep handy!
- Whole Grain Quinoa: Quinoa is like your favorite dark-wash pair of jeans; it just goes with everything. I love quinoa not only because of its nutritional qualities but also because there are so many ways to make it—and kids and adults like it. Kids like quinoa as “oatmeal”—with a few chocolate chips, some honey and a chopped banana—it’s almost like steel cut oats (but nearly three times the protein and soluble the fiber!) Quinoa can be dressed up with a sautéed sweet potato, red onion, and wilted spinach (I brought this dish to Thanksgiving last year and it was gone before the Thanksgiving prayer was over!). It can be used in a nice Mexican-style summer salad: black beans, tomatoes, a little bit of pico de gallo—(my mouth is watering).
- In addition to being versatile and stylish, quinoa contains iron (keeps our red blood cells healthy), lysine (important for tissue growth and repair), magnesium, vitamin B2 (boosts your energy), and manganese (which is an antioxidant). If this is not in your kitchen pantry, go buy some now.
- Herbal teas & green teas: Full of antioxidants and natural goodness, these are the perfect way to wind down (note: get decaf!) or wake up in the morning.
- Lower sugar instant oatmeal, steel cut oatmeal, dry cereal, Kashi (or other basic, high-fructose-corn-syrup-free cereal bars), and granola: As all moms and dads (and single people out there) know: morning routines can be hectic! I encourage parents who want their kiddos to learn healthy eating habits to stock up on lower sugar breakfast solutions (for the days when you’re out of eggs and out of time)!
- Honey and stevia: I love honey in tea, on fruit (as dessert), and sometimes as a salad dressing (balsamic vinaigrette—my boyfriend’s edition). It’s natural, and though it is high in calories, it can be just perfect when eaten in moderation! Stevia is the safest sweetener that I have come across so far (of course, I continue to research and peel over news articles every day)!
- Coconut flour & xanthan gum (if you’re a gluten-free gal) or whole wheat flour for baking: Why? Because events happen, guests happen, and every now and then your boyfriend (or husband, wife, child, or coworkers) will ask you for a cookie. These are necessities to be able to whip up desserts, breads, cookies, and the like!
(I realize I gave a list of 10 things to get rid of, and am only giving you a list of 7 things to get—but quite frankly I like to keep my house full of fruits, veggies, and lean meats—and none of them go in the pantry)!
I hope this helps!