I have been asked several times to come up with a list of pantry items that I consider clean. What better time of year than New Year’s resolution time! Last Sunday I was in Whole Foods after 8 p.m. and the aisles were full of people reading food labels. There were some pretty confused expressions. I want to help you stock your pantry with the best items that I consider “clean”.
Of course, if you have been following me long enough, you know the majority of your daily eats don’t come from the pantry. With that said, here you go:
Coconut Oil (Organic Extra-Virgin Unrefined or raw)
Olive Oil (Organic Cold-Pressed)
Macadamia Nut Oil
Honey: Raw is best. A little tip: clover honey is the best honey to use to sweeten things like tea. It doesn’t change the flavor, it just sweetens.
Maple Syrup: Real, not the Aunt Jamima stuff – grade B is thought to have the most health benefits.
Quinoa: (I prefer the organic sprouted version. Tech)
Oats (Organic and gluten free is the best choice)
Beans & Legumes
Dried Beans: Pretty much anything goes with dried beans. Two of my favorites that pack a nutritional punch are black beans and garbanzo beans. Dried beans are a clean choice and will save you lots of mulah. I like to use my home-made stock (learned from Christine – check that out here
) and make a bunch in advance. The last time I made beans I decided to figure the cost savings for you. I purchased three pounds of organic dried beans from the farmer’s market for three bucks. I had stock in the freezer that I had made from scraps while cooking. So, total cost I figure is three bucks. This made an equal amount to 11 cans of beans that would have cost a minimm of two bucks a can for organic beans. I saved $19 bucks! Another thing about canned beans, technically they aren’t clean due to the can. I highly recommend buying and cooking a bunch and then freezing them in glasslock. However, I do keep a can or two in my pantry for those days that I am out and in a panic for dinner ideas. When you buy canned, make sure that all you are getting is beans. No added sodium and junk. Eden Organics is a great brand and they are here in Michigan, but sold all over.
I’m not going to lie, when it comes to tomatoes, I haven’t mustered up the motivation to can my own yet. I still buy them in a can or jar and I choose the jar over the can whenever possible. Again, canned in tin is not technically clean, but, sometimes, it just makes the most sense. I love Eden Organic brand and they use safer cans. If you can find jarred, even better. It is very important to buy choices in which there is no added salt or other junk. The only ingredients should be the tomatoes.
Nuts and Butters – Organic, when possible
Raw Nuts – Walnuts, Almonds
Raw Seeds – Sunflower, pumpkin
Raw Nut Butters – peanut butter is the least clean
Raw Seed Butters
Ingredients for Sauces, etc.
Red Wine Vinegar
Rice Wine Vinegar
Flavoring Things Up:
Real Sea Salt – not your typical table version of sea salt. It should have color flecks in it. Delicious and full of minerals. My favorite brand is Real Salt.
Organic Dried Herbs and Spices
Black Pepper and Mill
I personally keep most of my produce in the fridge, but, in case you don’t…
Onions (I personally keep these in the fridge, but some people keep them in the pantry)
Tea – preferably not the Lipton version of teas. If you don’t do loose leaf teas, look for companies that don’t use bleached tea bags.
Organic Coffee – Fair Trade
Milks – technically the milks that you purchase at the store and keep in the pantry until you open them are also not what I would call “clean” they have some ingredients that are linked to inflammation and disease. I keep shelled hemp seeds and almonds in the pantry instead and make my own milks. It is simple and a much healthier way to go. It doesn’t take long, it’s easy and more economical.
Non-wheat flours. Wheat is an inflammatory food, therefore, it is not part of the RachelFit “clean” diet.
As far as flours go, I keep them in the freezer, but, they are thought of as pantry items. I use the following: garbanzo bean flour (most used), brown rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, amaranth, oat and coconut.
Aluminum-free baking powder.
Miscellaneous, but, important!
Cacao – I can’t live without this ingredient. Baking, smoothies and deserts…need I say more?
Maple Syrup (Real – grade B is thought to have more health benefits)
By no means is this list exhaustive and I am sure I am missing lots of ingredients and items that are perfectly clean and healthy. Feel free to add pantry items in the commments, or if you aren’t sure that something is “clean”, ask away!