When starting a raw foods diet, certain things are absolutely essential to have in your kitchen. We aren’t really talking about the fresh fruits and vegetables, of which you will eat plenty; rather, we are talking about pantry ingredients that will make your raw diet a lot more flavorful.
There are some key ingredients that you should always have in your kitchen, regardless of whether you are eating raw foods or not. These ingredients help you eat clean and make snacks, desserts, entrees, appetizers, and breakfasts taste better. Many of these items are the foundation of a lot of recipes that we post in our Full Body Cleanse Approved recipe section. Aside from an array of spices, you should consider stocking up on the following items.
1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is the cornerstone of a great kitchen. It is used to make dressings, marinades, and can be used as a drizzle to give a subtle, olive flavor to dishes. This should be your salad dressing base all the time because vegetable oil is terrible for you. Olive oil also contains heart healthy fats!
2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil was recently under fire because the American Heart Association said that it was fattening. Coconut oil contains healthy fats and lauric acid, which actually helps to fight fat in the body. It can be used to make your own beauty products or as a base for salad dressings. Don’t cook with it because it is not a high heat oil. Try to only buy virgin coconut oil that is unrefined.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
This is a necessity if you are taking part in one of our cleanses. It adds depth of flavor to dressings and helps to naturally alkalize the body. Try your best to buy raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar for the best benefits. If you need to aid digestion, try drinking 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in 8oz of filtered water 30 minutes before your meal.
4. 100% Grade A Maple Syrup
This is great in moderation. If you go overboard with this then you run the risk of having you entire meal taste like maple syrup. The great thing about 100% grade A maple syrup is that it doesn’t cause blood sugar spikes like many sweeteners do. It also has antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
5. Sea Salt
Regular table salt is not allowed while you are cleansing. Acceptable salts to use are sea salt, Himalayan salt, or Celtic sea salt. These salts are in their purest forms, which means that they contain essential nutrients that regular salt does not.
6. Frozen Bananas
Frozen bananas are life when you are cleansing. To make your life easier, peel and slice the bananas prior to putting them in the freezer. They make smoothies creamy and sweet, and can be the perfect base for a raw ice cream!
7. Cashews and Almonds
Unless you have a nut allergy, these are absolutely essential to have on a raw foods diet. They are great for snacking because one handful can help to keep you full and keep cravings at bay. They are rich in protein, selenium, magnesium, and other nutrients. You can also make your own nut milks from scratch. That way, you don’t have to buy the processed ones that they sell in the store. Try to keep these separate when snacking in order to normalize digestion.
8. Coconut Meat
Not everyone likes fresh coconut meat, but it is nutritionally dense and acts as a natural thickener for raw puddings or raw pies. If you have a dehydrator, you can marinate the coconut meat and lay it on the sheets to make a healthy snack. It is best to get your hands on younger, green coconuts because the water will be sweeter and the meat will be soft.
9. Nutritional Yeast
Not to be confused with baker’s yeast, nutritional yeast is a delicious topping that has somewhat of a cheesy flavor. It is essential for making raw cashew cheese or for thickening raw dressings. Loaded with vitamin B-12, nutritional yeast is actually considered a superfood, which makes this a very important supplement to the raw foodie.
10. Dried Mulberries
Dried mulberries can add crunch to fruit smoothies, desserts, or fruit salads. Some people like to dry them out even more by putting them in a dehydrator. This is so they can pulverize them in a spice grinder, making a powder that is similar in texture to brown sugar.