As I’ve been planning different posts and recipes for the blog, I’ve realized that many of these include a lot of the same pantry items. Rather than repeating myself in every post, I wanted to outline some of my pantry essentials to reference. This way, I’m not talking about the benefits of coconut oil in every post but I’ll have a place to go if you need a reminder or if it’s your first time here.
I also plan on adding to this list as time goes on as I learn more about nutrition and have new favorite pantry essentials.
Collagen Peptides are the one thing on this list that I use without fail every single day. I use them in my morning cup of coffee (or matcha) but also have been known to add it to smoothies, oatmeal, and soups. Collagen helps support healthy hair, skin, nails, bones and joints, digestion, muscle recovery, and over-all gut health. I get my collagen from Vital Proteins, but there are plenty of other options out there. It’s important to note that this is an animal product and may not fit a plant-based lifestyle (they do make a pescatarian-friendly version, made from snapper scales).
Although coconut oil has gotten a bad rep recently *eye roll emoji*, I am not about to remove this one from my pantry essentials. Coconut oil helps lower blood pressure, protects the liver, reduces inflammation, and in general serves as a healthy fat source. It has also been known to help build muscle and lose body fat. See, fat is not evil! I also will use it topically on my hair and skin every now and then, and I also ‘oil pull‘ as part of my oral health regimen once or twice a week. I prefer cold-pressed virgin coconut oil, which is the least processed and the most ‘raw’.
Coconut butter has a lot of similar benefits to coconut oil, but also has a bit of fiber in it as well, since it is made from blending coconut meat until it is smooth. It is smooth and has a sweeter taste. I could eat this from the jar. I use this in my coffee or matcha in the morning or use it to make some no-bake treats.
Adaptogens rely on the healing qualities of various herbs and mushrooms. They’re known for helping to balance our hormones and restore certain parts of the body and mind. When they make an appearance in my recipes they are definitely optional, but I truly believe in them and their healing qualities. You can swap these adaptogens out in a variety of recipes, based on how you’re feeling. I buy these from Moon Juice, but Sun Potion also sells adaptogens that are just as high in quality.
Ashwaganda: An Indian root that is known for relieving stress/anxiety, balancing thyroid/hormones, boosting energy, and keeping the brain sharp.
Reishi: A Chinese mushroom that is known for boosting immunity, relieving stress, taming inflammation, supporting brain function, protecting the liver, and relieving stress. Can alleviate long-standing ailments some may suffer from (allergies, insomnia, anxiety, high blood pressure, and asthma).
Cordecyps: A nutrient-rich mushroom that supports the kidneys, immunity, and brain function, and can lead to increased energy.
Chaga: This medicinal mushroom is an antioxidant that regulates the immune system, supports anti-aging/skin elasticity, and reduces inflammation. It also helps keep cholesterol and blood pressure steady.
Feeling overwhelmed? If you’re going to buy one, go with ashwagandha. If you’re going to go with two, add reishi.
Ghee, or clarified butter, is just butter with milk proteins removed. While sometimes I make this at home with Straus pasture-raised organic butter, I also am in love with the Fourth & Heart grass fed ghee. Ghee is lactose free and can be used wherever butter is called for. Use it to fry up some eggs, spread it on some toast, or to sauté onions.
Avocado oil is my cooking oil of choice because of it’s great for high heat, unlike olive oil. Best used in stir fry or when cooking vegetables/meats in the oven or on the stove. I have completely replaced olive oil (when cooking) with avocado oil.
I use protein powder in recipes that would otherwise lack protein, like in oats or smoothies. While you can really use any protein powder, I enjoy powders that are plant based and generally ‘clean’ (meaning it is not processed, and it contains just a few ingredients). Moon Juice’s Blue Adaptogen Protein is a low-glycemic plant-based protein. It is made with sprouted brown rice (and a total of five ingredients). It is the cleanest protein I’ve found so far, and I spent a long time looking for a protein to call one of my pantry essentials.
Local honey is great for combating pollen-related allergies. Since I moved to a new area recently, I found that my allergies were hitting extra hard. Local honey quickly became one of my pantry essentials. Whenever I call for ‘honey’ in a recipe, I’m using honey that is local to the South Bay area.
Pink Himalayan Sea Salt/’Real Salt’
When seasoning, I like to use a high quality sea salt. Two options are Pink Himalayan or this ‘Real Salt‘ brand sea salt). Both are refined and are incredibly pure (and the ‘salt’ is their only listed ingredient. Spoiler alert: most table salt has sugar in it). Pink Himalayan salt is also known for reducing the signs of aging, strengthening bones, improving circulation, and lowering blood pressure.
I’m looking forward to continue to add this this post as I discover more and more new products. What are some of your favorite pantry essentials? Do you have a favorite item already on this list?