There are your regular kitchen essentials, and then there are your raw vegan kitchen essentials. We aren’t talking about the fresh fruits and vegetables, which you will become very familiar with; rather, we are referring to specific pantry ingredients that will make your raw food diet a lot easier, and a lot more flavorful.
We recommend stocking your kitchen with a few key ingredients, regardless of whether you are eating raw foods or not. These ingredients are rich in essential nutrients and they add powerful flavors and textures to the snacks, desserts, entrees, appetizers, and breakfasts that you will make while cleansing. 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 stocking your spice cabinet, you should consider purchasing following items to make it through the cleansing diet with ease.
1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is the cornerstone of a great kitchen. Used in dressings, marinades, sauces, dips, condiments, and more, olive oil adds a wonderfully luscious, slightly briny flavor to dishes. Extra virgin olive oil should be your go-to base for cleanse-approved salad dressings, but coconut and avocado oils are two great options for alternate flavors. If you get tired of dressing salads with olive oil, consider massaging it into the hair and scalp to inhibit dandruff and encourage healthier hair.
2. Coconut Oil
Not too long ago, the American Heart Association said that coconut oil was fattening, causing a lot of people to lose faith in its health benefits. Fear not because 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 purchase raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar for the best benefits. If you need to improve digestion, try drinking one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in eight ounces of filtered water 30 minutes before your meal. You can also use this same recipe to help speed up metabolism or raise alkaline levels.
4. 100% Grade A Maple Syrup
This is one of the best (and only!) sweeteners you can use while cleansing. Best used in moderation, dousing your recipe with maple syrup can make your entire meal taste like maple syrup. The reason that 100% grade A maple syrup is acceptable to consume while cleansing is because it doesn’t cause blood sugar spikes like many other sweeteners do. It also has antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
5. Sea Salt
Regular table salt is not allowed while you are cleansing; rather, the acceptable salts to use include sea salt, Himalayan salt, or Celtic sea salt. These salts are in their purest forms, which means that they contain essential trace minerals that regular salt does not. Remember that you shouldn’t over-salt your food with these salts, especially if your goal is to naturally lower blood pressure levels. If you want a slightly
6. Frozen Bananas
Frozen bananas are life during your cleanse. This is a pro-tip for frozen banana prep: make your life easier by peeling and slicing the bananas prior to storing them in bag or container in the freezer. Frozen bananas make smoothies creamy, give smoothie bowls a thicker consistency, and can be the perfect base for a raw ice cream! Not to mention, bananas are naturally rich in complex carbohydrates, which are necessary for those who want to exercise while cleansing
7. Raw Nuts
Unless you have a nut allergy or are trying to avoid arginine foods, nuts are absolutely essential to have on a raw foods diet. They are great for snacking because one handful can help satiate you between meals and keep cravings at bay. They are rich in protein, selenium, magnesium, healthy fats, and other nutrients. You can also make your own nut milks from scratch because you cannot consume the processed nut milks that are sold in grocery stores. Try to keep these separate when snacking in order to normalize digestion.
8. Dried Fruit
First off, there are a couple rules to follow when buying dried fruit. Make sure that there are no added sugars and that there are no added preservatives, especially sulfur dioxide. Depending on the dried fruit you purchase, you can add them to salads, homemade energy bites, or raw desserts. After exploring our recipe section (click here), you may find that dates come in handy, particularly for people with a sweet tooth.
9. Nutritional Yeast
Not to be confused with baker’s yeast, nutritional yeast is a delicious powder that has somewhat of a cheesy flavor. It is essential for making raw cheese sauces or for thickening raw dressings. Loaded with vitamin B-12, nutritional yeast is considered to be a superfood, which solidifies that it should be a staple in raw foodie’s kitchen.
10. Raw Cacao Powder
You can’t open a chocolate bar or open a pint of chocolate ice cream while cleansing, but you can make raw renditions of your favorite chocolate treats with raw cacao powder. Note that there is a vast difference between cocoa and raw cacao, which possesses all of the antioxidants that get lost during processing. Raw cacao has more calcium than milk per gram, it is rich in magnesium, and it is the highest plant-based source of iron. Use raw cacao to make raw chocolate pudding, a raw chocolate shake, energy bites, or raw brownies!