Filling our kitchens with optimal foods and ingredients is one of the most important things we can do for vital health, prevention and healing. While there are a plethora of lifestyle and social factors to consider outside of the home [treat boxes at the office, decadent parties etc.], one easy way to get started supercharging our diets is by making sure that our fridges and pantries are stocked with clean and pure ingredients. Not only does a clean cupboard/fridge support the age old, “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy but also, by having the best wholesome ingredients on hand, you inherently learn how to cook differently than before. With this in mind, I have taken note of some of the major swaps I have made over the past 2-3 years to share as grocery inspiration. This is not a comprehensive list but rather, a great starting place for a ‘check in’.
Healthy Swap Inspiration:
Coconut aminos – [in place of soy sauce]
Apple cider vinegar – [in place of white vinegar]
Freshly squeezed lemon with olive oil (or I do Michelle’s Raw Food Dressings as a second option) – [in place of refined/processed dressings]
Tahini – I find this basically goes on everything, so creamy! (Blended with water and lemon, makes an excellent sauce)
Olive Oil – [in place of canola, corn, soybean oils ] PS. Olive oil is my favourite oil for salads.
Avocado oil- [in place of canola, corn, soybean oils] P.S. I use this instead of olive oil for pan frying due to its better smoke point.
Grapeseed oil – [in place of canola, corn, soybean oils]
Quinoa – [in place of white rice]
Buckwheat, lentil or chickpea pasta – [in place of white pasta]
Chia or oats – [in place of common breakfast cereals.] [Note, check out a recipe for chia pudding!]
Almond/coconut/oat flour – [in place of white refined flour for baking]
Honey – [in place of corn syrups and white, refined sugars]
Maple syrup – [in place of corn syrups and white, refined sugars] P.S. I make sure this is 100% pure and hopefully, from a local source.
Raw Cocoa – Get creative with this delicious ingredient!
Organic dried or fresh seasonings spices – mint, thyme, basil etc. [in place of generic spices/mixes]. Note: The organic offers more flavour, depth and nutrition and helps us to avoid added salts, filler ingredients etc.
Sprouts and sesame seeds – to top salad/stir fry [in place of croutons, crunchy noodles etc.]
Shaved coconut, ground flax, cocoa nibs – these are awesome toppings for fruit bowls etc. and used [in place of candy and other artificially coloured dessert toppings]
Milks & yogurts:
Almond, coconut, cashew or oat milk – [in place of traditional dairy milk] Note: I try my best to make homemade!
Coconut yogurt – [in place of traditional dairy yogurt]
Frozen dessert – Check out my Instagram @dr.emilyelliot.nd for easy & quick recipes for ‘healthy milkshakes’/frozen dessert/breakfast bowls
Unsalted nuts & seeds – [in place of packaged and processed snack packs]
Seaweed snacks – I’m just not going to use a comparison here because they are truly their own taste.
Fresh fruit and [occasional dates/raisins] – [in place of traditional baked goods [muffins, croissants, etc.] Note: look for sulfite free versions of dried fruit and focus on fresh fruit rather than dried fruit.
Energy balls – energy balls that feature dates, pure nut butters, shaved coconut etc. can be a great substitute for a classic ‘cookie’ craving, just be mindful to watch for refined sugars. [Note! This would be a DIY creation J]
Fruits and vegetables:
Fresh fruits & vegetables – [in place of canned, syrupy fruits and vegetables]. Note: try to shop local and organic,
Water – [in place of generic juices, sodas etc.] [Tip: add a piece of fresh fruit like lemon for a little ‘pop’ to the taste!]
Herbal tea – peppermint, ginger, chamomile etc. [in place of coffee, generic juice etc.] – you can talk to your naturopath to see which herbal teas would be best for you.
There are always some exotic sounding foods in a Naturopath’s kitchen – goji, acai, mangosteen, noni etc. Talk to a naturopath about which one might be right for you!
“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients” – Julia Child
Disclaimer: Not all foods and herbal medicines are right for everyone. This website is not meant to diagnose, prevent or treat disease. Please talk to your healthcare provider before beginning any new treatment or regimen in relation to diet, exercise, supplements, herbs, lifestyle etc. and or modifying your current medications, dosages and health care plan. This website is not to be interpreted as medical advice.
Photo credit: Caroline Attwood
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