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Stocking a whole foods kitchen

bottle-590_1280Being prepared and having the right tools and ingredients on hand will make living a whole foods lifestyle much easier and help to keep your meals interesting and delicious.

Kitchen tools

Most people are set up with the basic kitchen essentials — some good sharp knives, assorted pots, mixing bowls, whisks, tongs, spatulas, cutting boards, colanders or strainers, a grater, measuring spoons, and baking dishes.

If you‘re serious about adopting a whole foods lifestyle, I believe there are a few additional items that will really help to make your whole foods life simpler, more enjoyable and will provide more healthy options and alternatives to choose from.

My top five kitchen extras that help make eating and preparing healthy foods fun and less time consuming:

1. A heavy-duty blender: I saved up for my Vitamix because yes it’s a major purchase. I use it everyday. It can literally grind anything. I use it for smoothies, to make flours and almond milk, for salad dressings, ice cream and soups. Other comparable brands are Blendtec, Ninja, Kitchen-Aid, Cuisinart and Breville.

2. A food processor: When you are eating this many vegetables it pays to get some help with the chopping, slicing and grating. A food processor will do much of this work for you. For shredding root veggies, mixing grain-free dough, grinding up nuts into homemade nut butters, and blending dates into sweet treats.

3. A spiralizer: When you go grain free, pasta is one of the biggest things missing in most people’s lives. A spiralizer will change all that. This inexpensive gadget will make the most beautiful zucchini pasta noodles in seconds. Comes with other blades for spiralling and ribboning almost any fruit or veggie.

4. A slow cooker: For those cold, busy winters. There’s nothing better that coming through the door after work and smelling a delicious hot whole foods meal that’s ready to eat. Almost any combination of animal protein and veggies can be thrown in before work. A variety of sizes are available.

5. A vegetable steamer: One of the first extra gadgets I added to my kitchen. If you get one with 3 tiers you can cook a few different veggies and steam your fish or chicken in the bottom compartment. A whole foods meal cooked all in the same appliance. No pot or pan to be found.

Other key ingredients

Your whole foods pantry will already be stocked with fresh produce, meat, poultry, eggs, seeds, nuts and nut butters, coconut oil, olive oil and a few canned products like sardines, maybe some beans, and tomatoes. To round out your recipes and make satisfying, tasty, meals I always have a few extras on my grocery list.

Here are five other ingredients I recommend having on hand for some extra taste, variety and seasoning your whole food meals:

1. Coconut milk: Has so many uses. Make creamy soups, stews and curries. Add it to your coffee, tea, and smoothies. For desserts like home made dairy-free ice cream, puddings and whipped toppings. Look for an organic brand preferably in BPA-free cans.

2. Stock or broth: Great to have on hand for soups, stews, and adding flavour instead of water to many dishes. Home made veggie broth can easily be made by saving the peelings and ends of vegetables through the week in a big freezer bag.Then fill a pot with water, boil and strain. Perfect broth. Can also be made from left over chicken or beef bones. Whatever variety, stock is great to sip on when you’re feeling under the weather.

3. Coconut or soy aminos: Cutting out gluten and sugar means most soy sauces and bottled dressings and sauces are are gone. So whether its soy or coconut aminos, both can add some nice salty flavour to your marinades, stir frys, dressings, dips and sauces. Can be found in the natural food section of your grocery or health food store.

4. Vinegars: When salads are a mainstay in your life, you need a little sour tang to dress them up. For the most part I recommend citrus juices for this purpose but it’s nice to have some other options. Apple cider, balsamic, and wine vinegars are all great options to keep on the shelf.

5. Almond flour: For grain free baking this is the number one flour alternative I go to. Bob’s Red Mill is the brand I choose for muffins, cookies, brownies & cakes.

*This post was originally published in the Herald Community on May 14, 2014

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