A Peak Inside my Clean Eating Kitchen
People who like to eat are always the best people. And not only do I like to eat, but I also love to cook. So here’s a peak inside my clean eating kitchen!
I was going to title this post ‘a look inside my pantry.’ But I live in New York City, so there is no such thing as a pantry. It’s just a closet with really low shelves that barely fit any regular sized bottles. And the cabinets are really high above other things because in New York we have to use all of the wall space. And that means I can’t reach a single thing because I’m barely 5 feet and my husband, who towers over me at 6’5 can’t be beckoned every time I need something that’s extremely out of reach.
So what does that mean? It means I can’t have every brand of almond flour in my non-existent pantry, and condiments and oils have to be consolidated into one jar rather than 3 half used ones just sitting around. It means being really organized.
I am the type of person that uses what’s right in front of them! So I need everything on my shelf to be in the front because if it’s hidden, I won’t use it. Now I know this isn’t the best space saving technique, but it definitely helps with clutter. It helps me keep a minimalist kitchen closet and refrigerator. If something is hidden in the back, it will most likely never get used and expire. So for me, having very few things and having them front and center is what works best.
A Clean Kitchen vs. A Healthy Kitchen
When I first started my health and wellness journey, I went from eating healthy to eating clean. There is a huge difference between the two, even though today’s main stream media would having you thinking otherwise. For many people, eating healthy means losing weight, which means eating low-fat products with a minimal amount of calories. For me, eating healthy meant dieting.
To me, eating clean meant focusing on what I was putting into my body and how it effected my mood, energy and overall well being. Clean eating means eating minimally processed foods, eating whole fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and no artificial or hidden ingredients. Eating clean means reading ingredients on labels and not eating anything with an ingredient I can’t pronounce.
Is that really healthy?
Now let’s look at the Fiber One 80 calorie Chocolate Cereal which boasts being a natural and whole grain food product. I used to eat this every single day for breakfast, an afternoon snack, and probably even dessert. I ate it so damn much because it was “healthy.” It’s only 80 calories, and has 9g of fiber, so what could be so wrong with it? But a closer look at the ingredients list shows whole wheat corn, sugar, modified wheat starch, inulin, corn bran, artificial flavor, and sucralose.
Now we all know we need fiber to improve our digestion, but having a packaged cereal is not the same as eating beans, oatmeal, applies, or flax, all of which are natural ways to get fiber into your diet! And the lower the calories, the more sugar there is because they’ve taken away the fat, which is the source of flavor in foods. So low calorie and low fat means pumped with artificial sweeteners all of which has a very negative effect on your body, which means NOT HEALTHY.
Let’s eat clean!
So I stepped away from my “healthy” foods and started eating clean. That meant cooking most of my food from scratch and meal prepping so I could control the ingredients that I was putting into it. That meant being a bit more cautious at the grocery store because one tomato sauce is not the same as the other (read your labels and see which ones have added sugar). My pantry became the most important thing in my meal prep because it contained all of the fats (ghee, coconut oil, avocado oil), natural sweeteners (manuka honey, maple syrup), flours that won’t cause inflammation (almond, coconut, cassava), and of course the occasional snack, because I’m human and need a quick fix every once in a while.
When I started letting go of what it meant to be healthy, I started to feel better. I let go of the boundaries I placed on myself when it came to what I ate and focused on just feeding my body the most nourishing foods. So now that we’ve had this little chat, let’s looking side my kitchen pantry…or the small closet in my tiny kitchen.
I grew up with my mom having something freshly baked most days when I got home from school. So I know the importance of stocking a pantry with all the different types of flours!
- Almond Flour
- Coconut Flour
- Arrowroot Flour
- Cassava Flour
- Tigernut Flour
- Potato Starch
- Tapioca Starch
- Cashew Meal
POWDERED BAKING ESSENTIALS
- Baking Powder*
- Baking Soda
- Cacao Powder
- Flax Meal
- Chia Seeds (and ground)
- Nutritional Yeast
- Chocolate Chips (Enjoy Life is dairy and soy free)
- Wildway Hot Cereal (can be used as a n’oatmeal breakfast or add an egg and water to make pancakes)
- Birchbender Paleo pancake mix (just add water)
- Coconut Flakes/Chips
*Did you know most baking powder contains corn starch, including Bob’s Red Mill! I use Gefen Baking Powder which is made from potato starch. Or you can simply making your own using 1 tsp. baking soda and 2 tsp. arrowroot powder.
This is where reading your labels becomes extremely important. I love the convenience of a canned tuna, but the brand I ate my entire childhood has soy! So that’s a big no no now. I make sure my canned tuna or salmon is wild caught, contains only spices and no artificial sweeteners or stabilizers.
I also use stock/broth when cooking, but so many have added sugar! Make sure you read your labels and get ones with only water and vegetables (and if you’re doing chicken or beef stock, make sure that’s the only added ingredient).
- Bone Broth, Vegetable Stock
- Organic Diced Tomatoes, Organic Crushed Tomatoes
- Tomato Paste, Tomato Puree, Tomato Sauce
- Coconut Milk, Coconut Cream
- Wild Caught Tuna (Safecatch Foods preferred)
- Wild Caught Salmon (Wild Planet preferred)
- Pumpkin Puree (not pie filling)
- Tin Star Foods Ghee
- Coconut Oil
- Primal Kitchen Foods Avocado Oil
- Thrive Algae Oil
- Kasandrinos Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (reserve for low heat cooking and salad dressings)
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Rice Vinegar
- White Wine Vinegar
Clean eating is definitely not boring when you flavor your food the right way. I am obsessed with Primal Palate blends because it takes the guesswork out of combining spices. I use them for everything and am addicted to the Seafood Blend (I love it on eggs), Meat & Potatoes Blend, Breakfast Blend and Steak Blend. And the sweet pack can make everything sweet without added sugar! Try adding Apple Pie Spice to your morning coffee next time instead of sugar!
ALL NATURAL SWEETENERS
You will never see me use refined sugar in my baking or cooking. It has no nutrients, no protein, and is basically just empty calories. And the body becomes completely and utterly addicted to it, making you crave it and eat it nonstop. I will however use these natural sweeteners, because I do love dessert and eating clean is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.
- Manuka Honey
- Raw Honey
- Maple Syrup
- Maple Syrup
- Unsweetened Applesauce
- Medjool Dates (can be added to smoothies for sweetness, or made into a date paste and used to replace honey)
This is one of those things that I probably shouldn’t keep in the house because I have an addiction. Ever stuff a medjool date with nut butter and top with cacao nibs? It’s the ultimate clean eating dessert! Or you can find me just eating nut butter from the jar with a spoon!
- Georgia Grinder (Pecan Butter, Cashew Butter, Maple Almond Butter, Salt Free Almond Butter
- Nuttzo Power Fuel
- Nuttzo Power Fuel Chocolate
- Julie’s Real (Cacao Esporesso, Vanilla Bean Cashew Butter, Coconut Vanilla Bean)
Every clean eating pantry needs some chocolate!
- Cacao powder
- Cacao nibs
- Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips (dairy and soy free)
- Eating Evolved Hot Chocolate with Grass-Fed Collagen
- Eating Evolved Coconut Butter Cups, Keto Cups, Chocolate Bars (Salted Caramel is m favorite)
I love adding collagen to my coffee or smoothies. It is great for the health of your hair and skin, reducing joint pain and healing leaky gut!
- Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, unflavored, vanilla
- Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, Marine
Bone broth is extremely beneficial to a healthy immune system. But when I tell you it takes 24–48 hours to make and you have to go to a butcher shop for all the bones (like pigs feet), you’re never going to want to make it. Thankfully there’s some amazing products on the market that are a powdered broth that you just have to add water to!
- Vital Proteins Bone Broth Collagen
- Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Protein (Pure, Turmeric)
- Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee
- Moondeli Bliss Booster
- Lucuma Podwer
- Macqui Powder
- Green Coffee Powder
- Cacao Powder
Like I said, these are few and far between in our pantry. But this is life and I’m not going to deprive myself of a plantain chip! I’d much rather eat the plantain chip than Doritos! I also stock up on bars that I can easily grab for on the go! These are not meant to be meal replacements, but more of food emergency! Again, I’d rather eat the bar with minimal ingredients, then be forced to eat something processed or not eat at all!
- Paleovalley 100% Grass Fed Beef Sticks
- Epic Bars
- Primal Kitchen Foods Collagen Bars (Hazelnut, Cashew, Macadamia, Dark Chocolate)
- Artisan Tropics (Plantain Chips, Cassava Chips)
- Cassava Crunch
- Siete Foods Tortilla Chips (Nacho, Lime, Sea Salt)
- Simple Mills Crackers
- Jillz Crackerz
- Bare Apple Chips
- Pilli Nuts
Still with me? Let’s move on to the refrigerator!
I do a weekly grocery shop and fill in when needed. Because I meal prep most of my meals on Sunday, my refrigerator is usually stocked with a ton of tupaware containers. But let’s look at some of the essentials before I cook them up!
- Primal Kitchen Foods Mayo and Dressings
- Tessemae’s Dressings
- Chosen Foods Mayo
- Coconut Aminos
- Raos Marinara Sauce
NUTS & SEEDS
Keeping your nuts and seeds in the refrigerator will prolong the shelf life and keep them crunchy! I also keep my granola in the refrigerator to keep it fresh, though it doesn’t last very long!
- Chia Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Almonds, Pecans, Pistachios, Cashews
- Wildway Granola
- Purely Elizabeth Granola
- Kombucha (GT’s and Revive)
- Almond Milk (Califiafarms or The New Barn unsweetened Almond Milk)
- Zupa Noma Veggie Drink
- Cold Brew Coffee
- LaCroix Sparkling Water
Again, I try not to keep too many of these around, but they’re hidden in the fridge, out of sight, out of mind!
- Paleovalley 100% Grass-Fed Beef Stick
- Almond Butter
- Perfect Bar
- Medjool Dates
I eat Vital Farms Organic Eggs which definitely taste better than regular packaged eggs, but also have the best looking container!
After touring Gotham Greens Rooftop Urban Farm, I’ve become obsessed with keeping this local brand stocked in my fridge. Currently hooked on the Blooming Brooklyn Iceberg and Basil!
We try our best to eat seasonally, so we’re stocked up on peaches right now before the summer season ends!
I love vegetables. Now I probably would never have said that a few years ago, but with the right cooking fats and spices, they taste absolutely delicious. My favorites are brussels sprouts, broccoli, green beans and cauliflower!
I eat organic meat and if I can’t, I always choose lean because any harmful toxins are hiding in the fat!
- Chicken Breast/Thigh
- Ground Turkey/Beef
- Ground Lamb
You will ALWAYS find Siete Foods tortillas in my fridge. They are great for breakfast or dinner tacos. Or you can pan fry them until they’re super crispy and then break them up like a crouton over a salad! You can also make a delicious dessert crepe with a tortilla, some nut butter, a banana and cacao nibs!
*I’ve shown you mine, so show me yours! What’s in your clean eating kitchen?
Originally published at www.balancedlife-leslie.com on September 3, 2017.