Your Essential Pantry

August 23, 2016

I must get asked these questions ten times a day: How do I set up a pantry to create health and wellness? What should I include, besides the basics to enhance the nutritive value of the foods I cook?


Each time I hear these or the million other variations on the topic of setting up a pantry, I think there’s a lot of work to do in order to help people make better choices…and to have access to the kinds of ingredients that will make their food delicious and nutrient-dense.


So I teamed up with my friends at Gold Mine Natural Foods in San Diego and came up with some pantry essentials to help put your feet on the path to luscious plant-based cooking.


We can all find brown rice, quinoa and millet in our local natural markets and even in many supermarkets. We know we should choose the freshest produce for the best health. We can find beans everywhere from the market to the local bodega.


But there are ingredients that simply take your health to another level…those are the ingredients I decided to put in my pantry. They can be harder to find and for some of you, maybe a bit exotic, but give them a try. The results will be amazing.


Let’s take a look at the ingredients and why you want them in your pantry:


Apple Cider Vinegar-great for alkalizing and pH of your intestines and aids in re-balancing your entire system.


Beluga Lentils-an amazing source of protein, high in iron and other minerals.


Brown Rice Vinegar-a delicious alkalizing vinegar that’s great for digestion. Use as you would any vinegar.


Dried Daikon-like fresh daikon, helps the body break down fat and protein with the added benefit of supporting liver and intestine function. And it’s delicious!


Hato Mugi Barley-helps cleanse and re-balance the liver and kidneys and contributes to gorgeous skin. I love it mixed with other grains and in soups and salads.


Kanten Flakes-a flavorless sea veggie that gels, like Jello! Great for digestion and can be used in remedies for constipation. Oh, and a tablespoon cooked in apple juice with fruit makes a most refreshing gelled dessert.


Kimchi and Sauerkraut-naturally fermented vegetables that are raw and alive, very beneficial to digestion.


Kuzu-a thickening agent like cornstarch but with the unique ability to alkalize the pH of your intestines for better digestion. But what I love best is using to create the most luscious creamy puddings, sauces and pie fillings for dessert!


Miso-concentrated, fermented seasoning for soups and dressings that aids in digestion because it’s filled with digestive enzymes and friendly bacteria.


Nama Shoyu-a naturally fermented soy sauce that is a living food. More than just soy sauce.


Toasted Nori-ideal for sushi and in salads. High in iron.


Ume Vinegar-a fermented pickle juice used in salad dressings, dipping sauces and sauces that aids in alkalizing the pH of the intestines.


Ume Plums-5-year pickled plums that aid in digestion and re-balancing the pH of the intestines.


Wakame-a delicat sea veggie used in soups and salad, linked to graceful aging due to high concentrations of the antioxidant, fucoxanthin.


Now do you see why I think these are essential to any healthy pantry?