Ready to start eating more cleanly but don't know where to start?
It's easy to get overwhelmed at the thought of having to "revamp" your entire kitchen to start eating cleaner, but it doesn't have to be that way. I remember a few years ago, feeling the same way... wondering how I would ever remember what I was supposed to look for, what I needed to get rid of and what I could replace it with instead.
So, I am here to make your life a little easier! :)
First of all, you don't have to get rid of everything all at once. Yes... it's true, the quicker you change the foods you are putting in your body, the quicker you will start to feel healthier and stronger. But I know the reality is healthy food costs money, plus you may still have containers that are full or almost full, so you may want to wait until you run out of something before you replace it and that is fine.
Just don't wait too long!
Okay, so now that that's out of the way... let's talk about what you DO want in your pantry. The good news is there is pretty much a healthy alternative for everything you love and enjoy, so you don't have to completely give something up in order to eat cleaner. You just have to make some adjustments.
First, let's talk about baking. If you have a sweet tooth (like me) but want to switch to a healthier gluten free and refined sugar free diet, you will most likely have to start making most of your goodies at home since the market hasn't really caught up yet (hopefully soon!). So, here are some basics you will want to keep on hand:
- Almond flour or meal (my favorite!)
- Coconut flour
- Rice flour
- Tapioca flour (good for thickening in soups and gravies)
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Stevia (powdered or liquid)
- Coconut sugar (great substitute for brown sugar)
- Coconut nectar
- Agave nectar
- Vanilla extract (with no alcohol)
- Carob powder
These flours and natural sweeteners will give you everything you need to make some amazing gluten-free and sugar-free recipes that are much healthier but are still DELISH! Just be sure to double check the conversions on the package or look them up online, as some convert 1-to-1 with regular flour or sugar, while others require you to use less or more.
Now, let's look at some other healthy alternatives you will want to keep on hand for cooking:
- Coconut aminos (instead of soy sauce)
- Apple cider vinegar
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Himalayan sea salt
- Black pepper
- Other spices such as cinnamon, turmeric, thyme, rosemary, garlic and chili powder
- Nutritional yeast (instead of cheese)
- Brown rice
- Gluten-free pastas such as rice pasta, quinoa pasta or black bean pasta (my favorite!)
- Black beans
- Canned fresh-caught salmon (great for topping salads!)
And for snacks...
- Nut butters such as almond butter, cashew butter or walnut butter
- Sweet potatoes
- Berries such as strawberries and blueberries
- Protein bars (without added sugar or artificial sweeteners)
- Nuts such as almonds, cashews and walnuts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Dark chocolate
- Gluten-free crackers
- Gluten-free bread
And since I still highly recommend a smoothie every day for breakfast (you can check out what I put in mine here), you can also keep these ingredients on hand as well:
- Plant-based, no sugar added protein powder (like this one from Nuzest)
- Maca powder
- Non-dairy milk like coconut milk, almond milk, flaxseed milk or rice milk
But if you're feeling super motivated now (which I know you are!), don't stop there! Here are some staples to keep on hand in your fridge too:
- Free range brown eggs (for hard boiled eggs)
- Antibiotic free, hormone free turkey or chicken breast (gluten free)
- Leafy greens like spinach, arugula or kale
- Zucchini (another great pasta alternative!)
- Tomatoes (as long as you're not allergic to nightshades)
- Red, yellow, orange and green peppers
- Fresh herbs
- Antibiotic and hormone free cheese (if you choose to eat dairy)
- Organic butter (if you choose to eat dairy)
And if all of this talk about food has made you thirsty... don't forget to keep these clean drinks on hand as well:
- Decaf or non-caffeinated organic teas
- Drinking vinegar (it actually tastes good!)
- Alkaline water
And there you have it! A super healthy, power-packed pantry (and fridge) that will keep you on the right track and more importantly, keep your body feeling GREAT!
Remember, take your time and try different things to find out what you like. It will take a little bit of adjusting here and there, but I promise you, the results are well worth it! And your body will THANK YOU!
Good luck and til next time... keep your worries tiny and your dreams BIG!