Spring Pantry Clean-up: 8 Easy Natural Food Tips for a Healthy Kitchen!

Discover the secrets to a healthy, natural food based Healthy Kitchen!

Anyone who has ever done a store tour with me knows that I have a lot to say about food. I am passionate about health, food, and cooking and I love sharing that joy with all of you.

As I have discovered in my time here at Nature’s Emporium, many people are more than willing to make changes in their health and the food they eat. The difficulty, for most of us, is discovering how to get started.

Celebrate seasonal health and renewal with a true healthy spring clean-up!

I think spring is the perfect time to clean out that pantry and start fresh! After all, many people are looking to do some form of detoxification program in the spring or outside of that, they realize that summer is coming and they want to look and feel their best.

Either way, I’ve put together ‘8 Easy Natural Food Tips for a Healthy Kitchen‘, which you can incorporate to make your pantry a health promoting part of your new spring clean kitchen!

Step 1: White-Wheat is out, Spelt is in!

Kick of your healthy kitchen pantry clean-up by replacing white wheat flour with spelt flour. Spelt is a cousin to wheat and has a large reddish color kernel with a subtle nutty flavor. It’s the easiest place to start if you want to improve the quality of your baked goods!

You can use spelt in any existing recipe for cookies, muffins or loaves.

Due to the overuse of wheat in all its forms, wheat sensitivity is common. Spelt, on the other hand, is typically tolerated well by those with a wheat sensitivity (spelt does contain gluten, however, and is not recommended for anyone with celiac disease).

Spelt is richer in protein, and has all nine essential amino acids (proteins required in a healthy human diet), is high in the B vitamins and has an extraordinary 10 grams of fiber per half a cup!

Use this grain in recipes as you would whole wheat flour. If using whole spelt flour, add 1tbsp of baking powder to lighten up the grain.

 Step 2: Go can-free, or choose BPA and EDTA Free Cans!

Creating a healthy kitchen pantry means replacing your canned beans (with preservatives like EDTA and BPA in can liners) with their dried counterparts, whenever possible. Dried legumes are very economical but do require some preparation with overnight soaking and cooking needed.

Short on time? try Eden Organics canned beans. They are low sodium thanks to their use of kombu (a sea vegetable) to provide valuable trace minerals, rather than salt. Kombu is low in sodium and is a good source of iodine.

Why kombu? The glutamic acid in the sea vegetable acts as a tenderizer making the beans more digestible.

Eden’s cans are also BPA free, which is a welcome find for those looking to avoid the hormone disruptive effects of this chemical.

 Step 3: Choose Healthy, Conventional Peanut Butter Alternatives!

Nut butters are a wonderful addition to the diet but not if they are filled with hydrogenated, rancid oils and white sugar!

A healthy kitchen pantry has no room for these nutrient robbing spreads. Replace them as soon as possible with high quality, organic nut butters such as almond, hazelnut, or sunflower seed butter.

These wholesome nut butters contain a host of vitamins, minerals, fiber, essential fatty acids and protein. They are a great way to start your day, when spread on whole grain bread or added to a smoothie.

Opt for raw nuts and seeds and pitch the sodium laden roasted nuts which have sodium levels that are well beyond being a healthy choice.

 Step 4: Choose a healthy oil!

Inside every healthy pantry, you’ll find high quality oils, and when it comes to oils, cold-pressed is best!

Properly produced, healthy oils nourish your body’s many cells, and support both the brain and immune system.

What makes a healthy oil? Firstly, your typical grocery store oils are rancid, deodorized and devoid of nutrients – certainly not a great place to find good health! Instead, invest in a quality cold pressed olive oil (typically over $10.00 for a 750ml bottle) that is kept stored in a dark, protective bottle. Oils are easy damaged by light (hence, the dark bottles), heat and oxygen.

Staple oils that serve a variety of purposes in a healthy diet are: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Hemp Oil and Coconut Oil. Remember: Hemp oil is very delicate and should never be cooked!

If frying or baking at higher temperatures, opt for coconut oil, which is rich in medium chain fatty acids and well suited to higher temperature cooking. Coconut oil is also highly resistant to rancidity and can be kept safely in your cupboards.

Look for fragrant virgin coconut oil and reap its many benefits outside of your kitchen by using it on your skin as a lotion or on hair as an amazing oil treatment!

Step 5: Skip the Refined Sugars; choose Coconut Sap Sweetener!

Sugar has no place in a healthy pantry; unless you’re using it for a body scrub, get rid of it!

Conventional white sugar (and most brown-sugars) are mineral depleting, hormone disrupting, calorie laden, cavity causing and much more.

Instead, opt for coconut sap sweetener or palm sugar (which is derived from the sap of cut flower buds of coconuts and contains a wide spectrum of minerals such as potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron). When compared to brown sugar, Coconut Sweetener has twice the iron, four times the magnesium and over 100 times the zinc!

Additionally, Coconut Sap Sweetener is rich in B vitamins, while being low on the glycemic index (with an incredibly low rating of 35).

Coconut Sap Sweetener (Nectar) is subtly sweet with a taste reminiscent of caramel. Need I say more?

Step 6: Salt (in Moderation!) With Sea Salt!

Instead of iodized table salt, which is highly processed and devoid of minerals, opt for a healthy pantry essential: high quality sun-dried sea salt or Himalayan ‘rock’ salt.

These salts are rich in essential and trace minerals, which are necessary for maintaining the fluid balance in the body as well as maintaining a harmonious acid/alkaline balance in the body. A note of caution: they are a negligible source of iodine, so be sure to add sea vegetables (kelp, dulse) which are a valuable source of this important element.

You can buy both kelp and dulse as a shaker seasoning by Main Coast Sea Vegetables that can be used as a condiment on the table, or try a Himalayan salt with added kelp.

Step 7: Skip the Margarine – Butter is Best!

Organic butter is a wonderful, traditional food with a long, safe history in the human diet. It has more than earned its position in a healthy, natural food based kitchen. It should be used, in my opinion, long before artificial, chemically created oils such as margarine.

Butter is a source of vitamins A and D, fat soluble vitamins needed by the immune system and essential for strong bones and teeth. It is also a good source of iodine in a highly absorbable form. The vitamin A found in butter is in fact essential for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland.

To add a healthy spreadability to your butter, try making a home-made healthy alternative to margine:

  • Take half of a pound of butter and let it soften at room temperature. Then, blend in a half cup of flax oil and mix until smooth.
  • Transfer to a glass container and store in the fridge.

This healthy margarine alternative tastes delicious and is spreadable, with essential nutrients (including Omega 3 Fatty Acids) that are health promoting instead of health robbing.

A note of caution: do not use this butter for heating, as the omega 3 fatty acids are fragile and do not hold up well to high temperatures. Use it instead as a great spread for toast or over steamed vegetables.

Step 8: Sprout your way to great health!

Last but not least…maximize your healthy kitchen spring clean-up by choosing sprouted grain bread as a base for that delicious butter spread!

Sprouted grains provide more vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and flavor without artificial preservatives. These breads are easier to digest because their starches are broken down in advance by enzymes that are activated by the sprouting process. The result is a nutritionally superior bread, compared to mass produced varieties that keep on the shelf for weeks.

Another notable benefit? They are lower on the Glycemic Index (GI), as they are digested more slowly by the body, which helps to keep blood sugar levels stable and keeps your hunger at bay for much longer (now that’s satisfaction!).

A great sprouted, readily available bread that I really like is Ezekiel bread by Food for Life as well as Silver Hills sprouted grain breads and bagels.

My kids love the Silver Hills ‘Rappleberry’ bagel that boasts 10 grams of fiber, with 15 grams of protein per bagel!

There you have it: 8 easy natural food tips to nourish your healthy kitchen!

This spring clean, I invite you to start fresh! Clean out your pantry and replace those less than perfect staples with some healthier options. Remember: small steps one day lead to big changes. Invest in your health today and watch that investment pay back with improved health, a positive attitude and zest for life!

Discover all of these healthy, natural foods and more – alongside a nutritionist, in store!

If you would like to make the most of your spring cleaning spree, I invite you to explore the many other simple changes you can make today, alongside one of our Registered Holistic Nutritionists on a FREE store tour (a $100.00 value)!

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