Starting a healthy life can be daunting – where do you buy all these new ingredients? How do you know which products are good or not? Isn’t this going to be expensive? These are some of the questions I get when I introduce new people to a healthier way of living.
Firstly, do not panic! It is actually much easier (and cheaper) than it seems! I am from South Africa living in the UK, so my advice will likely be specific to these location. However, your local supermarkets can’t be that far off from what I am about to tell you.
Ingredients such as rolled oats (a flat pressed oat that is lower in carbohydrates than regular oats), chia seeds (tiny black seeds super high in protein and super absorbent), almond flour etc can be found at your local Woolworths or Dischem (South Africa) and Waitrose or M&S (UK). They will also be much cheaper at your local supermarket than specialty health stores. Nuts, dried fruits, coconut oil etc can be found almost anywhere – Pick ‘n Pay or Fruit Lovers Market (South Africa) and Tesco’s or Waitrose too (UK). Look around for cheap pop-up markets with these ingredients too.
When it comes to knowing which products are good and which aren’t, it all comes down to READING THE INGREDIENTS! Turn the package around and see if it contains any hidden ingredients such as refined-sugars or simple carbohydrates. If the product only contains the item you are looking for it is good to go, name brand or not.
So what do you need to kick-start your healthy pantry? The following items are on my general grocery list for a standard healthy kitchen:
- Complex carbohydrates including rolled oats, quinoa, sweet potatoes etc
- Fresh fruit including berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries), pawpaw/papaya, watermelon, apples etc – any fruit low in natural sugar
- Fresh vegetables including spinach, kale, broccolini/ broccoli, cucumber, lettuce etc – greens are a must
- Core proteins such as tofu, organic free range eggs, chickpeas, organic free range meats etc – depending on you’re dietary preferences
- Nuts (raw almonds mostly), seeds (miracle mix and chia seeds are great) and dried fruits (goji berries and pitted dates are safe bets) – make sure they are natural with no vegetable oil or refined-sugars
- Almond milk or coconut milk – no dairy!
- Spices such as low sodium salt, pepper, cinnamon, cocoa/cocao, ginger, sage, basil, thyme, rosemary etc – whatever you like as long as its pure and natural
- Essential oils such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil etc – leave that sunflower oil behind
- Natural sauces such as lemon juice and soya sauce etc – make sure they don’t have hidden nasties
- Almond/coconut flour, desiccated coconut – you never know when the baking bug may bite
- Honey/agave/maple syrup/xylitol/stevia – only natural sweetness, I will explain the difference in an article to come
Making your healthy pantry can take time, you don’t have to get everything at once. But with the list above you can rest assured your healthy stock is on the right track.