Updated: Apr 29
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When eating primally, it’s important to have some staples in your pantry to ensure you have a solid foundation for your goal to nourish your body.
These are 10 of my favorite food items to always have on hand. Remember, an investment in quality food is an investment in your health. I always love the motto- “pay the farmer now, or pay the doctor later”, this principle applies to all real food products you choose to invest in now. It is important to invest in quality ingredients so you get the most value from what you are buying and putting into your body.
Quality doesn’t always mean it’s more money. I’ve done some of the search work for you and included links to buy some of my pantry staples at price and quality that you can trust.
#1. Avocado Oil
This is my go-to choice for cooking since it has a high smoke point of 400 degrees, it can handle high heat without denaturing the fatty acids in the oil. I love using this to roast veggies or in paleo baking in place of rancid vegetable oil.
Avocado is one of the few plant oils containing bioavailable vitamins. It contains vitamin K, folate, Vitamin C, B5 and B6, and potassium. Adding this oil to your vegetables actually helps increase the bioavailability of the vitamins in the veggies themselves, since plant foods do not contain bioavailable vitamins. It also contains antioxidants that can benefit our cells down to our mitochondria!
Just found an interesting little fact that in France, avocado oil has received prescription drug status for arthritis! Look for one that is extra virgin, unrefined and cold-pressed. It stays fresh for 6 months after opening, and is best stored in a cool dry place away from heat.
#2. Mineral-rich Unrefined Sea Salt
We have been told to avoid salt, when in essence we actually need salt to prevent diseases. It’s important to use a high quality unrefined salt that is rich in minerals and electrolytes. Salt needs to be consumed daily. If you’re skeptical about consuming a diet high in salt, I highly recommend reading The Salt Fix: Why The Experts Got It All Wrong- and How Eating More Might Save Your Life by James DiNicolantonio. Click here. I use sea salt for all my cooking and baking, and add a pinch of it to my water with a squeeze of lemon for an easy and natural electrolyte drink.
#3. MCT Oil
Medium chain triglycerides are a type of fat found predominantly in coconuts and are perfect to use alongside a ketogenic diet, and an amazing fat for everyone. MCT oil helps your brain think more clearly and can serve as an immediate source of fuel since it goes directly to the liver to be used. I love adding it to my coffee and tea to make it “bulletproof” and in smoothies and shakes. There are different types of MCTs found in coconuts, including C8, C10 and C12. C8 and C10 are capric and caprylic acid, and C12 is lauric acid which acts more like a long chain fatty acid. To get the best benefits from MCTs get an oil with C8 and C10, or only C8 for the best cognitive effects.
#4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Prized for its health benefits, olive oil is a staple for every kitchen. I always drench my salads in olive oil, which also makes the nutrients in the plant foods much more bioavailable.
The most recent science on olive oil shows that the presence of polyphenols (antioxidants) in the oil protects the fats from becoming oxidized, thus making it safe for higher temperature cooking. I’ve personally refrained from cooking with olive oil for some time now because the evidence showed that the fats in olive oil are fragile and shouldn’t be heated, but this example just goes to show how we are always learning new things, and as the research changes so can our opinions. Having an open mind power to your health!
I selected olive oil from California, since the freshness of the oil is best after it’s pressed, and while there are some amazing olive oils from overseas, the transit time to the states can be months after the pressing date, making these oils not as fresh.
#5. Collagen Supplement
Collagen is often lacking in our modern diets. American’s are accustomed to eating a lot of muscle meat without the collagen from the bones, tissues, skin tendons and cartilage. This leads to an imbalance of essential minerals in the body.
Collagen is the glue that golds our bodies together, literally! It’s essential for gut health, and can only be found from animal sources. The one I use is really great because it has 5 different types of collagen, from different sources, providing the nutrients our body needs.
Click here for unflavored Multi Collagen Protein– this one is unflavored but you can also find this same brand in vanilla and chocolate, which are delicious in smoothies or bulletproof coffee and tea! Vanilla Multi Collagen Protein Chocolate Multi Collagen Protein
#6. Coconut Milk
This is by far the best coconut milk I’ve found! It comes in cartons instead of cans (many cans are lined with BPA) and my favorite part about this coconut milk is its completely smooth and creamy, unlike canned coconut milk which separates. I use this is my smoothies and shakes, for baking, in tea and in bulletproof tea and coffee drinks. It’s also perfect for cooking with, I love adding it to soups and stews, sauteed veggies, and it almost always goes in my mug of bone broth.
#7. Almond Flour
I love to bake low sugar grain free treats, and almond flour is a staple in your kitchen for many grain free recipes. Blanched almond flour (not almond meal, which contains the skins) that is fine in texture yields the best results for baking with. The one I linked below is a great value!
#8. Ceylon cinnamon (real cinnamon)
Did you know most cinnamon isn’t “true cinnamon”? The common type we find in stores is Cassia, which does promote flavor, but don’t have the actual health properties of real Ceylon cinnamon. Cassia isn’t even actual cinnamon, it is the bark from a tree. It is much cheaper and more bitter in flavor. Ceylon, or true cinnamon regulates blood sugar and is an anti-inflammatory. It is also a natural anticoagulant. To read more about the differences click here.
#9 Raw Organic Cacao Powder
Rich in zinc and copper plus powerful antioxidants called polyphenols, cacao powder is another staple in my pantry. I add it to smoothies and shakes, use it for baking, or add some to bulletproof coffee to make it a “mocha”.