Healthy Pantry and Spices

Spice rack with spices in small mason jars

In my quest to get back to being healthy I have been on this search to find the most healthy alternatives for my diet, that includes the holidays. This time of year most of us love all the food and the amounts of food is astronomical. I dont want to spend all my time dieting the weight back off after the holidays. So to stay ahead of the game I am doing a healthy version of the holiday foods.

So, lets start with the spice the cabinets. Read all the labels of every single spice that you can. Many of your spices have gluten in them. Gluten is one of the things I personally am trying to eliminate from my diet. You would be surprised to learn just how many things you eat have gluten in them. The other thing I do at least once a year is to check the expiration dates on the spices. Get rid of anything that is out of date of course. On a side note I am interested in growing my own herbs and preserving them. I will go into depth on the subject on a future blog article.


Next, I would get rid of in your pantry is SUGAR. This is the number one thing to eliminate from your diet. Start with the obvious things like cake, cookies and candy. Those are the easy ones. Dont even have them in the house at all. Once you start reading labels you will find sugar is in almost everything you eat. Apparently in the United States we are fed sugar so much that we are now addicted to it like a drug, which it sort of is. The studies I have read about state that sugar is addicting as cocaine. That is sad. I have been trying to share with everyone how bad sugar is for us humans. Replace the sugar with Stevia. You need so little of it. I would suggest very much that you stay away from Sugar substitutes as they do not digest well and I personally and not fond of the taste.

I would suggest you get rid of is white flour. To go further into this subject here is an article on processed flour. Happily Unprocessed. My suggestion is a couple of alternative flours. Start with Almond or Coconut. Buy everything organic when you can. For your flours start out with one or two kinds. You will see that some recipes taste better with one kind or the other. I currently have both of these flours and adding more. I keep smaller quantities also because I do not bake or cook with flour that often. Less spoilage and throwing away of bad flour.

On another note when I buy flour or sugar or anything in bulk I put the date on the container then I put it in the container to help me get rid of stuff by its expiration date. Here is a list for you if you are just getting started in a healthy pantry.

Olive oil high quality extra virgin olive oil
Vinegars choose your favorites like red, white, champagne, or balsamic.
Black peppercorns you must get a pepper mill if you dont already have one so that you can grind this fresh.
Sea or kosher salt high quality salt is essential to cooking tasty organic foods.
Red and white wine cook with wine that is drinkable rather than cheap tasteless wine since the flavor will permeate your food.
Flour I use Almond flour, coconut flour, Tapioca flour. I would suggest that you try them all and find one that you like the taste
Sugar stevia is what I recommend
Molasses a healthy addition for many baked and savory dishes.
Locally produced honey support honey bees!
Sun-dried tomatoes add a punch of flavor to many entrees.
Baking powder and baking soda look for organic varieties. check the gluten also I go non GMO where ever I can.
Vanilla choose Fair Trade and organic whenever possible.
Yeast for many baking applications.
Rice with so many varieties, and many organic ones, youll travel around the world as you discover new tastes and textures. I look for organic wild rices. I do not use white rice. My favorite rice is Lundberg wild blend. It is gluten free, whole gran, non GMO and Kosher.

Beans and lentils like rice, there is a whole world of these high-protein, high-fiber staples. You can buy them dry or canned.
Tea get organic, shade-grown, Fair Trade whenever possible. I drink a lot of Arbonne Green Tea.
Herbs (dried) dried must be used and rotated; herbs that have sat on the shelf for over 6 months to a year must tossed and replaced. Use fresh when you can, much better for you. Dried may have gluten in them.

Butter this is preferable to margarine and adds flavor and depth to any dish.
Citrus including lemons, limes, oranges or grapefruit to make your favorite spa water. Add a few berries while youre at it!
Eggs get free-range, organic . Studies are showing organic eggs are lower in bad cholesterol and higher in antioxidants.
Herbs (fresh) add lots of vibrant flavor to your dishes with these (you can even grow your own!).
Mayonnaise make your own mayonnaise to have on hand. (recipe below)
Mustard perfect for many casseroles, dressings, and marinades. (recipe below)
Garlic keep several bunches always on hand in the fridge.
Lettuce organic of course!
Nuts add them to salads, pasta, and pesto dishes. Almonds are the best. Nuts are high in fat.
Stocks chicken and/or vegetable work well to add flavor to many dishes. Best if you make your own.
Nut butters these can be used in baking, in tonights dinner, or spread on sandwiches and crackers and provide extra nutrients and flavor. Instead of peanut butter.
Vegetables, including carrots, shallots (the secret to fresh salad dressings ), onions (red or brown), avocado (high in omega fatty acids), tomatoes(for roasting, mashing or thickening soups).

  • Apple Cider Vinegar: This is your go-to for salad dressings and necessary acid (replacing baking powder) in baked goods. Its also a good idea to start your day with a glass of water and 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar its alkalizing for the body.
  • Coconut Aminos: Oh, how I love coconut aminos!Use this in place of soy sauce, as itsboth gluten-free and soy-free. It also add flavor toglazes, sauces and marinades.
  • Coconut Oil: This is your new vegetable oil! Its exceptionally heat stable, so use it for all your frying and high-heat cooking. Its also frequently used in baking items when melted just above room temperature.
  • Coconut Milk:I like to make coconut milk from scratch (which is super easy in my Vitamix!), but sometimes you just want simple. Thats why canned coconut milk is essential in your pantry. Look for brands without thickeners and BPA

Homemade Mayonnaise

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 Tbs detox mustard ( see below)
  • Cup neutrally flavored, detox friendly oil (grape seed oil or avocado oil)
  • Sea salt to taste

Place the egg yolk in the bowl of the food processor and add the lemon jice and mustard. Season with salt, to taste. Turn the machine on and very slowly start to drizzle in the oil. Drip, drip, drip until the mixture starts to look like mayonnaise, then a slow steady stream of oil can be added.

Cooks note: If the mayonnaise is too thick add a few drops of water or it it is not thick enough, with the machine running, add a little more oil.

Homemade Mustard

  • 1 Cup ground mustard
  • 1/3 Cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 Cup water ( add more water for a thinner mustard, less for a thicker mustard)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbs coconut nectar

Mix all the ingredients together and let sit overnight, covered at room temperature to mellow.

Note: The longer it sits the mellower it will be. This produces a sharp mustard.

If you would like more information about clean eating and how to get started. Please contact me and check out my other website about the 30 day Challenge to better health. I will be your coach.

Storing your spices and herbs is up to you on how. They need to be in a dark, cool place. Having said that, here are a few ways you can store your herbs and spices. Your spices and herbs if bought them in the store they can be put in other containers to fit your lifestyle.

My next project will be growing my own herbs from seeds where possible. Our growing season here is so short that I get need to either start seeds in February and March or buying the largest herbal plants available. It makes it feel like our growing season is always hurry, hurry, hurry. I hope to share with you some of my upcoming garden projects soon. Till then.