Pantry Makeover: 4 Healthier Cooking Ingredients To Stock Up On

As a holistic nutrition and lifestyle consultant, I help my clients optimize their pantry items, tossing out high-sodium seasonings, inflammatory cooking oils, and carb-heavy pastas, then replacing them with healthier cooking ingredients. And yes—they taste just as good, if not better. My nutritional focus is deep tissue cleansing and detoxification, with a penchant for raw alive food and fresh juicing. Often times I take my clients on shopping tours of local health food stores to show them the ropes of mindful cooking. Here are my four of my easiest nutrition upgrades for common cupboard pitfalls:

Toss: Soy Sauce
Try: Tamari

Swap conventional soy sauce for low-sodium and wheat-free alternatives, such as Tamari (cooked) or Nama Shoyu (raw version). The unpasteurized version contains living enzymes, making it popular among raw eaters. Both products taste just like soy sauce, so you can enjoy the flavor but skip on salt-induced dehydration and bloating.

My Picks: SAN-J Organic Reduced Sodium Tamari and Ohsawa Organic Nama Shoyu.

Toss: Wheat pasta
Try: Kelp noodles

This gluten-free, wheat-free noodle alternative doesn’t require cooking, making it an easy addition to both cold (raw!) and warm dishes. The very low-carb, low-fat plant-based noodles are rich in iodine and minerals and virtually tasteless; so, they work with any sauce or dressing. Because they are considered a raw product (although some agree they are heated during processing), kelp noodles are a popular way to add texture and substance to raw dishes; though, using them with cooked sauces works just as well. Soaking and rinsing well before using in recipes increases its wow factor.

My pick: Sea Tangle Kelp Noodles.

Toss: Butter and traditional cooking oils
Try: Coconut oil

Coconut oil has the highest smoke point of any oil, making it the most stable to cook with. Since it can be used in almost any cooking application and at varying temperatures, it’s an ideal replacement for butter and common cooking oils, namely those that cause inflammation, such as corn, vegetable, sunflower and safflower oils. Coconut oil contains unique fats that are efficiently metabolized by the liver, resulting in a long list of potential health benefits, including decreased abdominal fat, regulated blood-sugar levels, and improved thyroid function and digestion.

My pick: This aroma free version doesn’t impart a hint of the coconut taste: Omega Nutrition Aroma Free Coconut Oil.

Toss: Nut butters
Try: Raw sunflower butter

The nutrient-rich spread contains a healthy portion of protein, along with fiber, B vitamins, and minerals. Seed butters are lighter than nut butters, which make them easier to digest. Because the antioxidant-rich super food, sunflower lecithin, is a natural emulsifier, sunflower butter creates a lovely consistency in nutritious salad dressings, dips, and other unheated applications. The characteristic earthy, sunflower taste also makes it great for using as a spread on veggie sandwiches, or making a grown-up version of PB & J.

My pick: Blue Mountain Organics Raw Sunflower Seed Butter.

READ MORE

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Comments

  • Good article. I would love to know why Ms. Geller would toss nut butters?

    • Hi Sondra,

      Thanks for your question.

      Intrinsically there is nothing wrong with nut butters (I recommend raw versions), however the article is framed as “What would be an even more ideal choice?” (basically, in regards to what’s easiest to digest). In this vein, seeds are easier for most to digest than nuts because they are lighter in composition. There are many different theories out there. In ‘The Plant Paradox’, by Dr. Steven Gundry, he outlines how a variety of seeds are actually not digested well and in fact cause harm to the gut lining.

      I also do recommend organic, grass-fed butter to many of my clients but coconut oil takes center stage (and yes, regardless of all the latest junk press around how bad coconut is for us; simply untrue).

      Perhaps going forward I will write a follow-up blog post…

      In the end though, my #1 recommendation is to always follow your own intuition, listen to your own body’s needs, and experiment !!

      xMeredith

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