It can be intimidating to stock a kitchen for plant based living, especially if you don’t have a lot of cooking experience or a health coach guiding you. One of my number one tip as a plant based living educator is this: set yourself up for success. If you have a well-stocked pantry, you can be prepared to make all kinds of amazing plant based meals – with just the addition of fresh produce – without a lot of fuss! Read on for my top ten must-have vegan pantry items.
10 Must-have foods in my plant based pantry:
- Beans: Inexpensive, filling, and versatile, beans are a staple in my kitchen. I keep both dried and canned organic beans on hand, and I often cook a batch in the slow cooker on Sunday for use in various dishes throughout the week. My favorites are black beans, green split peas, and pinto beans.
- Lentils: Did you know that lentils are “pulses,” the edible seeds of legumes? They are good sources of fiber and protein and also contain high amounts of calcium and vitamins A and B. The most common varieties are brown, green, yellow, and red lentils. The yellow and red ones break down a lot during cooking, while the brown and green ones hold their shape. Make your choice based on your desired outcome, in terms of texture! I use the red ones for my Red Lentil Dal.
- Jarred or canned tomatoes: Tomatoes are an excellent base for a variety of soups, stews, and sauces. I keep a variety of them on hand, both canned and jarred tomatoes . Diced tomatoes, spiced or not, are preferred for some recipes, while whole or stewed tomatoes may be better for others. I also keep sun-dried tomatoes on hand for some recipes, as they have a depth of flavor and a richness you don’t get from regular tomatoes.
- Whole grains: Whole grains contain all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed in their original proportions. When processed, meaning cracked, crushed, rolled, or cooked, the grains deliver the same rich balance of nutrients found in the original grain seeds. Brown rice and quinoa are my go-to grains. They are great on their own or with a little sauce/dressing, and they can be incorporated into tons of dishes, like soups, stews, vegetable stuffing, and cold salads.
- Nuts: Nuts are versatile in the kitchen and contain healthy fats. Cashews are probably the nut I use most often. With just two base ingredients – raw cashews and water – and whatever spices or flavoring you prefer, you can make cashew cream cheese (enjoy plain or add your preferred flavors – I add walnuts and agave nectar), cashew sour cream (add lemon juice and garlic powder), cashew creamer, and cashew milk. For the creamer and milk, I usually add a little agave nectar and a little vanilla.
- Seeds: My favorites are flax, chia, and sunflower. I use the first two in smoothies and breakfast dishes, and I use sunflower seeds in a variety of ways! My favorite way is to soak them and make a white sauce for pasta that is absolutely divine. You can also put them on salads, roast them with spices as a snack, or incorporate them in a stuffing – the possibilities are endless!
- Plant-based milks: You can find plant-based milks in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, but I prefer the aseptic (shelf-stable) packaged milks. They aren’t as perishable, of course, and they come in smaller containers! My personal favorite is hemp milk, as it tastes good and hemp is a nutritional powerhouse – packed with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
- Nutritional yeast: Affectionately known as “nooch” in the veg community, this is a deactivated yeast in powder or flake form that is sold commercially as a food product. It contains folic acid, selenium, zinc, and protein, and it is often fortified with vitamin B12. It has a nutty, “cheesy” flavor, so it’s an excellent substitute for dairy cheese in many recipes. I like nutritional yeast best on organic popcorn and as a pasta topping in place of parmesan.
- Tahini: It’s hard for me to imagine that just a few short years ago, I had never heard of tahini. Now, it’s one of my go-to ingredients for salad dressings and sauces! It’s simply ground sesame seed paste, and it is commonly used in North African, Greek, Iranian, Turkish, and Middle Eastern cuisine. It is remarkably versatile, and it packs a ton of flavor. It’s usually my dressing base instead of oil – this Tahini Lime Dressing is my absolute favorite!
- Agave nectar or maple syrup: I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but a lot of savory recipes need just a touch of sweetness. Agave nectar and maple syrup are my preferred sweeteners. I use one of the two in my plant-based milks when I make them from scratch. I also use one or the other in veggie chili, in some salad dressings, and in a lot of the soups and stews I enjoy.
If you stock your pantry with these staple ingredients, an easy, plant based meal is at your fingertips every day. Just add fresh produce, and the variety of dishes you can make is limited only by your imagination. Bon appetit!
I will admit that I love the taste of coffee. I love the smell, I love the rich dark color, I love the energy boost it gives me. Unfortunately, my body doesn’t love it as much as my taste buds do. I’m far too sensitive to caffeine to have a morning cup of coffee so I’ve learned to replace it with other organic drinks instead. Along the way I learned that I really don’t need coffee to wake up in the morning and I actually feel better without it. Even if you tolerate coffee well, you might want to try one of these seven organic drinks to start your day instead and see how it feels!
Seven Organic Drinks To Start Your Day
1 – Fresh Squeezed Organic Lemon Water: Squeeze a half a lemon into a 16oz glass of lemon and drink it first thing in the morning and reap the benefits. The vitamin C in the lemon will give your immune system a boost. It will help detoxify your liver by encouraging the production of bile. The potassium will give your brain a boost, helping to lift depression. The alkalizing effects of lemon water help decrease systemic inflammation. Drinking lemon water first thing can even help decrease your appetite.
2 – Organic Green Smoothie: If you have a hard time getting all of your veggies in, this is a great way to start your day. As simple as a handful of spinach, some almond milk and a frozen banana whizzed in a blender, you’ll be starting your day ahead of the game nutritionally, fueling your body right from the start. Try these Green Smoothie Recipes if you need ideas.
3 – Organic Chai Tea: If you let Starbucks make your chai latte, not only will you be overpaying, you’ll get way too much sugar in your morning drink. Brew your own organic chai tea at home and let the spicy aroma and flavor wake you up. You’ll get antioxidant benefit of the black tea, and the spices in chai have been used for centuries for general health and vitality. These spices, in Ayurvedic tradition are considered both calming as well as vitalizing and mentally clarifying. One of the best organic drinks to counteract the stresses of daily life.
4 – Organic Matcha Green Tea: High in antioxidants with a caffeine boost, drinking matcha green tea is a great way to start your morning. Learn more about the antioxidant benefits HERE. Try it hot or iced in the morning or any time of day for a healthy pick me up.
5 – Organic Coconut Water: If you had a little too much red wine the night before, this is one of the best organic drinks for a hangover. The naturally occurring electrolytes in coconut water are perfect for replenishing what you may have lost the night before. Coconut water is perfect for extra hydration in the summer or when you’re extra active.
6 – Organic Fresh Pressed Vegetable/Fruit Juice: Another great way to start the day if you have a hard time getting all of your veggies in once the day starts. I like to make fresh juices with really minimal amount of fruit. It’s better to juice your veggies and eat your fruits because your body will overload on sugar if you don’t consume fiber along with it. So when you’re making a fresh green juice in the morning, don’t go overboard on the fruits. A simple green juice recipe would be something like this:
Apples – 2 medium (preferably tart like a Granny Smith)
Celery – 3 large stalks
Cucumber – 1 large cucumber
Ginger Root – 1/2 thumb (1″ dia)
Lemon – 1/2 fruit (including rind)
Parsley – 1 bunch
Spinach – 2 cups
7 – Organic Yerba Mate: If you’re not familiar with yerba mate, it is a South American beverage made by steeping the ground leaves and stems of the yerba mate plant. It does contain caffeine – about twice the amount of black tea but less than half the amount in coffee. It doesn’t give me the coffee jitters, nor does it give me the crash that happens with coffee. When I’m looking for something strong to start my day, this one is my go-to.
What organic drinks other than coffee do you start your day with? Share with us in the comments below!
Organic ginger is most widely known for its anti-nausea effects. When you were a kid, did your mother give you a glass of ginger ale when you had a stomach ache? It’s no wonder! Ginger is incredibly beneficial for stomachaches and nausea. Even MythBusters did an episode on motion sickness and confirmed that ginger was actually beneficial.Newly pregnant women, travelers, chemotherapy patients and others have successfully used ginger to treat nausea but did you know that organic gingerdoes so much more?
Seven Unexpected Health Benefits of Organic Ginger
1 – Beneficial for Diabetes
Ginger has been found to reduce blood glucose, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol. The beneficial effects come from ginger’s ability to increase insulin sensitivity and inhibit enzymes in carbohydrate metabolism. It can be used both for prevention and treatment. Ginger also has protective benefits against certain common complications of diabetes, offering protection to the liver, kidneys and eyes.
2 – Healthy Circulation
Ginger is a stimulating herb that gets the blood flowing. It contains chromium, magnesium and zinc which can help improve blood flow. It supports circulation has also been shown to help lower high blood pressure and it has blood thinning properties and prevents clots.
3 – Anti-Viral
Ginger is a natural anti-viral agent. It heats up the body, inducing fever, so it will help your body fight off colds and flu while you’re relieving the symptoms as well.
4 – Strengthens Immunity
Consuming a little bit ginger every day can help boost your immune system and provide a wide range of benefits –antimicrobial, antibiotic, antiparasitic, cancer-protective, tumor inhibition, and is a powerful antioxidant.
5 – Reduces Pain and Inflammation
Ginger contains some of the most potent anti-inflammatory fighting substances known and is a natural powerful painkiller. A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that ginger was as effective as ibuprofen for relieving painful menstrual periods. Ginger blocks the formation of the inflammatory compounds-prostaglandins and leukotrienes-and also has antioxidant effects that break down existing inflammation. Try it for muscle pain, cramps, and arthritis pain.
6 – Memory and Cognitive Function
Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation can accelerate the aging process, leading to memory and cognitive decline. Researchers studied middle-aged women who had developed some form of cognitive and gave them a daily dose of ginger. After two months the women who had taken ginger had better test results for memory, attention and cognitive processing than women given a placebo.
How To Use Organic Ginger
- There are many ways to enjoy ginger in your diet depending on how much you want to consume.
- For a hot tea, steep 2 tablespoons fresh sliced ginger root in water for 15 minutes, strain, and enjoy with some lemon and your favorite sweetener.
- In soups, add fresh grated ginger or ground ginger powder to add a little zest and zing.
- In stir fries, add fresh grated or ground ginger to spice things up.
- In sweets, ginger is wonderful in cookies, pumpkin or apple pies, ice cream
- In marinades ginger gives a delightful fresh tangy flavor to your meat, fish, poultry or tofu.
What are your favorite ways to use organic ginger?
We all know that green tea is supposed to be high in antioxidants, great for weight loss, energy and vitality. Did you know that not all green tea is created equally? Matcha green tea is made from the nutrient-rich young leaves picked from the tips of shade-grown Camellia sinensis plants. It is them steamed and de-vined before being stone ground into a fine powder. Stored away from light and oxygen in order to preserve its color and nutrients, Matcha green tea is now ready to be enjoyed for its flavor and antioxidant benefits.
Why are antioxidants so beneficial? Well, they are responsible for fighting the negative effects of free radicals that we encounter in everyday life from pollution, UV rays, radiation, and chemicals. These free radicals can lead to cell and DNA damage. Antioxidants combat free radicals and have numerous health-promoting benefits like preventing cancer and other life threatening diseases as well as making us look younger, with glowing, radiant skin. All fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants but Matcha green tea has the highest ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) score – one bowl of Matcha green tea has over 5 times as many antioxidants as any other food. So what will those antioxidants do for you?
7 Amazing Antioxidant Benefits of Matcha Green Tea
Matcha green tea contains a specific type of antioxidants known as catechins. Catechins are the most potent and beneficial of the antioxidants. A specific catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) makes up 60% of the catechins in Matcha Green Tea. Out of all the antioxidants, EGCg is the most widely recognized for its cancer fighting properties. It has been found that Matcha Green Tea contains over 100 times more EGCg than any other tea. EGCg has been found to not only inhibit an enzyme required for cancer cell growth, but also kills cancer cells with no ill effect on healthy cells.
Chlorophyll is what gives green tea its beautiful green color. It is also a powerful detoxifier, helping to eliminate both chemicals and heavy metals from the body. Because matcha green tea is shade-grown, it is richer in chlorophyll than other green teas, making it a superior detoxifying drink.
- Immune Support
The levels of vitamins C and E in Matcha Green Tea along with the catechins, have been shown to improve immune health. Studies have even suggested that the nutrients in Matcha may have the ability to inhibit the attacks of HIV on human T-cells.
- Healthy Teeth & Gums
A study published in the Journal of Periodontology found that among 940 men, those who regularly consumed green tea had better periodontal health than those who did not. Researchers in the study found that for every cup of green tea participants drank per day, there was a decrease in every indicator of periodontal disease studied.
- Heart Healthy
A 2011 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that consuming green tea beverages or extracts significantly lowered serum total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Matcha treatment significantly lowered the glucose, triglyceride, and total cholesterol levels.
- Anti Aging
Matcha Green Tea’s potent anti-inflammatory effects makes it an incredible boost for the skin – protecting it from UV damage and improving skin elasticity. Regular consumption of Matcha Green Tea is one of the reasons attributed to the longevity of the Okinawan people, some of the longest living people on the planet.
- Weight Loss
Studies have suggested that drinking matcha green tea regularly helps burn calories at nearly 4 times the normal rate – a great benefit as we age and our metabolism slows down. Other studies have shown that green tea helps git rid of belly fat; dieters who drank green tea lost more from the waistline than those who weren’t drinking green tea.
How Much Matcha Green Tea Should I Drink?
It only takes a small amount of matcha green tea to get its potent antioxidant benefits. Just 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon whisked with hot (not boiling) water gives you great benefit. Feel free to drink more; there are no negative side effects.
If you don’t like to drink tea, try matcha in these recipes:
Do you already enjoy drinking matcha green tea? How do you like to use it?
I’m a big Reduce-Reuse-Recycle girl, so when I found out about greywater, I was totally on board. This is a great way to reduce our carbon footprint! With the severe drought in California, many people are switching over their laundry to greywater in order to take advantage of the water saving benefits and be able to water outdoor foliage guilt-free! I’ll share the basics of greywater below in the hopes that you will see the benefits and take action as well!
What is Greywater?
Greywater is water that has been gently used and is generally clean of dangerous pollutants from bathroom sinks, showers, tubs, and washing machines. It is not water that has come into contact with feces, either from the toilet or from washing diapers. Greywater may contain traces of dirt, food, grease, hair, and certain household cleaning products. Most of the water we use is wasted and has not actually been used at all – just think of the water wasted while waiting for water to warm in your shower or sink.
What are the Benefits of Using Greywater?
- Reduces potable (drinking) water use by 16 to 40 percent, depending on the house/site
- Encourages the use of nontoxic, natural and organic products
- Reduces the energy needed to convey water through conventional systems by providing locally- generated water
- Connects people to water supply in their home
- Provides drought insurance for your landscape
- Reduces water bills
“When greywater is reused either onsite or nearby, it has the potential to reduce the demand for new water supply, reduce the energy and carbon footprint of water services, and meet a wide range of social and economic needs. In particular, the reuse of greywater can help reduce demand for more costly high-quality potable water.” – Overview of Greywater Reuse: The Potential of Greywater Systems to Aid Sustainable Water Management
Are There Safe Cleaning Products to use with Greywater?
This is a great question. YES! Greywater is runoff water from bathroom sinks, showers, tubs and washing machines, and because greywater might have a little dirt, food grease etc., and so it’s best to use products that have natural ingredients with no fillers and no coloring, to begin with. The best brand of cleaning products I’ve been able to find is called Oasis Biocompatible. Oasis products are made specifically for greywater and are not only safe and natural, they will feed your plants! Oasis provides the means of the sustainable reuse of wash water for irrigation, the most eco-friendly treatment option. By recycling water and nutrients, natural waters are kept pure. Oasis is also great for septic tanks and sewer disposal as well. Here are a couple of links to a couple of their products:
Do you have a greywater system yet? If so, how does it work for you?
I cringe every time I think about how my mom used things like Comet, Pine-Sol Zep, and Tide when I was growing up. Back then when I would smell those things, that meant mom was busy cleaning. I grew up thinking that was the “clean” smell. Now I have a totally different view of what clean is supposed to
smell like. It’s supposed to smell like the earth, a natural smell, I guess I’d say. The perfect way to make sure your living space is clean and healthy and germ-free is to use safe cleaning products that you can make yourself, using natural and inexpensive ingredients. It’s cost-effective, simple, satisfying and rewarding. Not only do essential oils help make your home smell good, many essential oils have strong antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties, which make them the best defense against those pesky germs! Time to clean out your cupboards of those toxic commercial cleaners, and replace them with better no-toxic DIY cleaning products.
DIY Essential Oils Recipes
Lemon All Purpose Cleaner Recipe
- 12 oz spray bottle
- 5 oz. distilled water
- 5 oz. white vinegar
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 15-20 drops Lemon Essential oil
- In a large measuring cup or bowl combine water and vinegar.
- Add baking soda a little bit at a time so that the mixture doesn’t fizz up and overflow.
- Add drops of oil
- Pour mixture in spray bottle
Lavender Air Freshener Recipe
- 2 cups distilled water
- 1 oz. (2 tablespoons) vodka or rubbing alcohol
- 1/2 teaspoon lavender essential oil (grapefruit would be another good oil)
Now, I used 30-40 teaspoon drops of lavender oil, because I wanted it to be slightly stronger, but you may want to test it with 20 drops first before adding more, just in case!
Spray this on anything. It is wonderful to spray on mattress (let dry for a moment) or in between the sheets.
Furniture and Stainless Steel Cleaner Recipe
- 1 cup oil (vegetable oil, avocado oil, or olive oil)
- 1/2 squeezed lemon
- 8-10 drops of lemon essential oil
Add to bottle and use a few drops on clean towel to rub onto surface.
Powder Dishwasher Detergent
- 3 cups washing soda
- 1 cup baking soda
- 10 drops of lemon essential oil
Combine all ingredients and store in a sealed container. To use, add about 2 tablespoons to the soap compartment of your dishwasher. Drop back to 1 1/2 Tablespoons if you find spots on your dishes.
Liquid Laundry Soap Recipe
- 1 gallon Jugs (I use old vinegar bottles)
- 3T Borax
- 3T Washing Soda
- 2T dish soap (I like to use Dr. Bronners)
- 10-20 drops of Essential oils (I always use a few drops of Tea Tree, then I mix it up with peppermint, orange, lemon or lavender oils)
Boil a pot of water and pour into jug. When it cools slightly pour in your ingredients (I use a funnel for this, makes it much easier) shake around until mixture dissolves. When the mixtures cools fill the jub with water. Use 1 cup per load.
4 Other Uses with Essential oils
- Add a few drops of rosemary into your shampoo/conditioner bottles. Rosemary helps stimulate the scalp and promotes circulation and hair growth.
- Add about 12 drops of your favorite oil to your bath to help relax. Wild Chamomile, Mellow Mix and Lavender would be great choices.
- Add a few drops to your favorite lotion or oil.
- Use in a diffuser.
What are your favorite ways to clean with essential oils?
Did you know that a low fat diet for children can cause more harm than good? Yep, low-fat diets do not meet the nutritional needs for children. Instead, they can lead to inadequate energy intake and can interrupt or compromise normal growth and development. When kids are eating a low-fat diet, they typically eat more high sugar and starchy carbohydrates, which can lead to blood sugar problems and decreased immunity. This is sad because many parents believe that good nutrition is all about low fat and low calorie instead of healthy fats and nutritionally dense foods. We need to stop this way of thinking.
Healthy fats are essential for children’s growth and development including their brains, which are made up of 60-70% fats. Good fats are also another source of energy, which kids need. If you have kids or spend time around them, you’ve probably noticed how they are always craving snacks that are sugary or sweet, that’s because sugars/sweets are fast burning sources of energy. Satisfying them with healthy fats is optimal, because they are a slow/long burning sources of energy.
For proper growth, kids need to absorb all of their nutrients (vitamins and minerals), and they can do this by eating healthy fats. If they are deficient in fats or not eating proper fats then they are not absorbing and using those fat-soluble nutrients vital for their development, especially vitamins A, D, E and K. Fats are also important for their immune function, which helps them to heal more quickly.
What are the best healthy fats for kids?
Healthy Fats For Cooking*:
- Avocado Oil (high heat point)
- Coconut Oil
- Butter/Ghee (learn to make your own)
- Duck Fat
- Red Palm Oil
*Always look for the words: unrefined, cold pressed, organic, and expeller pressed.
Healthy Fats for Dressings/Salads/Mayo/Raw*
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Avocado Oil (the mild flavor makes it wonderful for dressing and mayos)
- Sesame Oil
- Fermented Cod Liver Oil (FCLO) – this is not just for cooking or just to be used as an ingredient, it is also a wonderful supplement.
*These oils should not be heated; only use them when you’re not cooking them.
Foods That Contain Healthy Fats
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Whole Fat Organic Milk/Raw Milk
- Full Fat Yogurt
- Full Fat Coconut Milk, Coconut Butter and Coconut Cream
- Nut/Seed Butters (Sunflower Seed, Almond, Walnut, Cashew, Hazelnut)
Here are some tips to help get more fat into your children’s diet:
- Supplement with FCLO
- Add a few tablespoons of healthy fat of your choice in smoothies (I like to do coconut oil or coconut cream and a scoop of nut or seed butter)
- Heavily butter their toast or muffins with coconut oil or ghee
- Add healthy fats to their oatmeal (usually ghee or coconut oil)
- Make homemade mayo (I like usually avocado oil for this)
- Cook eggs in butter
- Sauté vegetables in ghee/coconut oil
6 Bad Fats to avoid:
- Trans fats! Hydrogenated fats and partially hydrogenated fats These fats are toxic and interfere with the essential roles in our body.
- Oils in a plastic clear bottle are already rancid from light exposure. These should be avoided.
- Any fat that says refined; stay away
- Also another tricky play on words to watch out for is Cold-Processed (they want to make you think it say’s cold pressed)
- Canola oil and cotton seed oils are highly processed oils and should be avoided.
- Soybean oil
Read my earlier blog post for more information about healthy oils (fats) we should be eating.
How do you get extra healthy fats into your kids’ diet?
Did you know you can make your own flavored gourmet salt blends? I didn’t until recently! To be honest, it never really occurred to me that I could make so many different kinds of blends until I started trying some! You could end up paying a pretty penny for fancy salt blends, but today I’ll give you some fun recipes so that you can make your own gourmet salt blends at home.
First, let’s ditch the table salt. Table salt is heavily processed and refined, which means it is stripped of all it’s minerals except for sodium. They also usually add an anti-caking agent like aluminum back in. Our bodies cannot break the chemical bonds that are to be absorbed and used by our body, which leads to many health issues. Instead we need to use sea salt. Himalayan is a good choice as is Celtic sea salt. Both of which have wonderful health benefits.
DIY Gourmet Salt Blends
Seasoned Salt Recipe
Before finding out about all these exciting blends, this was the only salt recipe I’ve made and keep on hand.
- 1/4 cup Onion Powder
- 1/2 cup finely ground Sea Salt
- 2 tablespoons ground Black Pepper
- 1/4 cup Garlic Powder
- 2 tablespoons Paprika
- 2 tablespoons Chili Powder
Mix well in a glass gar or you can give it a quick spin in your blender or food processor.
There are so many different combinations you can make. Start with the spices do you most use in your cooking. You can take a few of your favorites to make your own gourmet salt blend.
Some More Ideas for Flavoring Your Gourmet Salt
- Traditional Seasoning Salt: Salt, Sugar, Paprika, Onion and Garlic
- Lemon Pepper: Salt, Pepper, Lemon Peel
- Rosemary Garlic Salt: Salt, Rosemary, Garlic
- Celery Salt: Salt, Celery Leaves, Celery Seeds
- Tarragon and Wild Mushroom Salt: Dried Porcini Mushrooms, Dried Chanterelle Mushrooms, Salt, Tarragon, White Pepper
- Taco blend: Salt, Paprika, Chili Powder, Cumin, Red Pepper Flakes, Garlic, Oregano
And here are a couple of other recipes I found and I cannot wait to try!
The sky’s the limit. Have you made gourmet salt blends before? Which spices did you use?
By the year 2030, an estimated 67 million (25% of the projected total adult population) adults aged 18 years and older will have doctor-diagnosed arthritis, but did you know there are two types of arthritis? The most common type of arthritis is Osteoarthritis, a degenerative arthritis (wear and tear of the cartilage) usually associated with poor nutrition and aging. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. That means that the immune system attacks parts of the body. The joints are the main areas affected by this malfunction in the immune system. Over time it can lead to chronic inflammation and joint damage. A lot of doctors just treat arthritis symptomatically, meaning they will give you medication to help with the pain. However, there is growing research that just making dietary changes, like adding these organic foods to your diet, can go a long way with both types of arthritis.
6 Organic Foods to Help Fight Arthritis
Turmeric has a high antioxidant value and helps to boost the immune system. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and is popular among those with arthritis and joint problems.
2. Vitamin C Rich Foods
One important function of vitamin C is in the formation and maintenance of collagen, the basis of connective tissue, which is found in the skin, ligaments, cartilage and joint linings, bones and teeth. Vitamin C rich foods include organic:
- brussel sprouts
- dark leafy greens
Increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids by eating more cold water fish, olive oil, walnuts or freshly ground flaxseeds. You may also want to consider taking a fish oil supplement to help keep your protein intake low.
Ginger is another great anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, it’s said to be a superior anti-pain remedy, beating out over-the-counter medicines like Tylenol and Advil.
Berries including blackberries, raspberries, strawberries have anthocyanin’s which are a potent antioxidant responsible for the reddish pigment in foods, which may help reduce inflammation.
6. Blackstrap Molasses
High in valuable minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium, blackstrap molasses has been a cherished home remedy for arthritis for a number of years. As a dietary supplement (easily consumed as a drink), blackstrap can help relieve symptoms of arthritis and joint pain, thanks to its vital constituents that regulate nerve and muscle function, and strengthens the bones. 1-2 tablespoons a day straight or mixed with warm water.
Though there isn’t an official Arthritis Diet (I don’t think), the following could benefit those with arthritis greatly:
- Avoid processed and fried foods, both of which promote inflammation.
- Decrease the amount of sugar you intake each day. The less sugar you eat, the less inflammation, and the stronger the immune system to defend us against infectious and degenerative diseases.
- Avoid dairy products. Dairy has a known protein called Casein which may irritate the tissue around the joints.
- Refrain from tobacco and alcohol use, which can lead to a number of health problems, including some that may affect your joints. Smokers are more at risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis, while those who consume alcohol have a higher risk for developing gout.
- Drink your water. Water does more than hydrate you, it also helps lubricate our joints.
- Limit or eliminate nightshades from diet. They are known to contribute to pain, inflammation and arthritis. Nightshades include: tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant.
Have you found anything to help alleviate arthritis pain? If so tell us what worked for you?
My pantry actually goes through many changes and gets plenty of makeovers. It really depends on my family’s ever changing way of eating and learning. It took our family five years to get from a fully stocked non-organic, chemically-laden, processed food pantry to an all-natural, organic pantry. That might seem like a long time, but back then it was a learning process for me. Those were the days long before Pinterest and blogging so it was a slow process. So how do you stock an organic pantry? It’s actually easier than you think. All you have to do is swap out your non-organic staples with its better-half: the organic version! I promise you, you can do it. It took me five years to figure this stuff out on my own, but now I’m giving you the tips and know how to start today!
First things first: go through your pantry and throw out all your outdated and expired items. Next, I strongly advise you to throw out any products that have these ingredients listed on the label:
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
- Aspartame/Sucralose (artificial sweeteners)
- Artificial Food Coloring (Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6 etc.)
- BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
- Sodium Nitrate/Sodium Nitrite
- Trans Fat (partially hydrogenated vegetable oils)
* The above ingredients are all detrimental to your health; they are chemicals, preservatives, additives that have no business being in your body.
Now that you have cleaned your pantry, it’s time to re-stock it.
Here are fifteen essential go-to organic pantry items:
- Sea Salt
- Organic/Raw Honey – this lasts forever practically, even when it gets hard and crystallizes, it’s still perfectly fine to eat.
- Organic Flours (almond, coconut, all-purpose, or whatever your diet allows)
- Organic Oils (coconut, olive, avocado oils)
- Organic Baking Powder/Aluminum Free Baking Soda
- Organic Pasta (if you can eat grains)
- Organic Dried Beans (long shelf-life too)
- Organic Coffee
- Organic Tea
- Organic cornstarch or Arrowroot
- Organic Broth
- Organic Maple Syrup
- Organic Canned/Jarred Tomatoes
- Organic vanilla Extract
- Organic Spices
That wasn’t too bad was it? Now you are on your way to having an awesome organic pantry! The items above are my top picks for essential organic pantry items. What are your favorite pantry items and if you haven’t already are you going to make the switch to organic? Organic is always going to be worth it. It’s much better to feed you and your family food without the added chemicals, preservatives and additives.