We all want to live healthier lives, and adding more unprocessed food to our diets is a great way to start.
Cook with as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible, shopping for them as needed.
There are also some key ingredients you can stock in your kitchen that will help you prepare delicious, clean meals and snacks. These items are the basis for many of the recipes found in our book Love on a Plate. Here are the essentials you should have on hand:
1. Olive Oil
This is a great oil to use in savory dishes, as well as salad dressings and marinades. Look for cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, if you can.
2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is good for you because it’s a great source of lauric acid and helps fight fat, and it has a sweet taste, so we use it in everything. But don’t cook it, as this is not a high-heat oil.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV makes for superb salad dressings. Look for one that’s unpasteurized and unfiltered. You can also take a small amount before every meal to aid in digestion.
4. Maple Syrup
Great in moderation, it doesn’t cause the same blood sugar spikes found in other sweeteners. It also contains antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
5. Nama Shoyu
This unpasteurized soy sauce is perfect for salads, as a dip for sushi, and for other Asian dishes. If you can’t find it, you can also use low-sodium Tamari sauce.
6. Celtic Sea Salt
The purest, most natural form of salt with vital minerals and nutrients.
7. Frozen Bananas
Frozen bananas make all the difference in the texture and sweet taste of a smoothie. Keep a bunch in a resealable storage bag in the freezer.
8. Cashews and Almonds
Not only a great snack, you can also use these nuts to make delicious nut milks that don’t require straining, as well as sweet creams for desserts.
Nut milk is delicious ice-cold in a bowl with fruit, with a little chocolate syrup, or for making savory dishes and vegan cheeses.
9. Coconut Meat
Coconut meat is an amazing meat substitute. We marinate ours in a delicious sauce before dehydrating. It’s also a great thickener for pies.
Just open coconuts, save the clear water, then scoop out the white meat. You can also buy prepackaged coconut meat.
10. Irish Moss
This yellowish clear seaweed is called “nature’s collagen” because it’s loaded with selenium, which is great for hair, skin, bones, and nails. It’s also a wonderful thickening agent.
We use it in one of our vegan cheese recipes, as well as adding a tablespoon to our smoothies. The more we can get this into our diets, the better!
11. Nutritional Yeast
Not to be confused with baker’s yeast, this is a delicious topping that adds a cheesy flavor to dishes. Loaded with vitamin B-12, it’s actually considered a super-food, which makes this a very important supplement to the raw foodie.
12. Dried Mulberries
Dried mulberries can add crunch to fruit smoothies, desserts, or fruit salads. We put dried mulberries in our dehydrator to dry them out even more before putting them into a coffee grinder and pulverizing them until almost powdery, as the powder then mimics the taste and texture of brown sugar.