Make over your pantry with healthy foods

Summer is a great time to clean out the pantry and restock with healthy, whole food items. Rather than focusing on calories and fat counts, look at the ingredients first. Michael Pollan says in his book, "Food Rulse", if you can't pronounce the ingredient, don't eat it. Another good rule of thumb is to buy products with no more than five ingredients. I want to go over a few pantry items that are easy to grab for people on the go.

  1. Coconut Sugar - The average amount of refined sugar we eat on average in the US is over 150 pounds of refined sugar per person. Refined sugar pulls nutrients from our body making us deficient and actually lowers our immune system after eating it for a few hours making us more susceptible to colds. I love coconut sugar because it has a glycemic index of about half that of sugar so it won't cause blood sugar fluctuations. It's also high in Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc and Iron and is a natural source of the vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and C.

  2. Coconut and Almond Flours - Gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, more often than not create inflammation in the body. It can cause distress to the digestive tract and also be associated with low level symptoms such as fatigue, bloating. By reducing or eliminating gluten, we often see weight loss, mental clarify, reduced inflammation and more energy. I love keeping coconut and almond flours on hand because they are nutrient dense. They are both higher in protein and have lower glycemic indexes. Almond flour is high in heart health monounsaturated fats and contrary to popular belief, the fat in coconuts is also health promoting. Coconut is a medium chain fatty acid and is used for energy rather than stored as fat. If you don't feel like measuring any flours out, you can always stock your pantry with Purely Elizabeth gluten free baking mixes for pancakes and muffins.

  3. Dark Chocolate - Endangered Species is a great brand - 72% is my favorite because it's lower in sugar and the sugar that they use is actually beet sugar, not refined white sugar.

  4. Almond Butter Packs - I love these because you can take them with you. They are easily transportable and can be spread on crackers or a piece of fruit to add some healthy fat and protein to a snack during the day.

  5. Oils - Ditch Safflower, Corn, Sunflower. These are over 50% Omega-6 and contain hardly any Omega-3's. The ratio in our diet should be about 3:1 to Omega-6 to Omega-3 as both are essential fatty acids but the Standard American Diet has about a 20:1 ratio Omega-6 to Omega-3 so we definitely don't need to add more Omega'6's. They are also highly oxidizable creating free radicals in the body. The top three oils to stock are Coconut oil, olive oil and unrefined sesame oil. Olive oil is rich in antioxidants and great for salads or light to moderate cooking. Sesame oil adds a nice flavor, also has lots of antioxidants and can be used at slightly higher temps than olive oil. Coconut oil contains lauric acid which has strong antifungal and antimicrobial properties; it is easy to digest and since it is a medium chain fatty acid, it is used for energy rather than stored as fat.

  6. Lara Bars - There are so many snack bars and granola bars out there and many of them have refined sugars or high fructose corn syrup in them. I love the Lara Bars because they have so few ingredients and are so simple. For example this Pecan Pie bar has Dates, Pecans and Almonds at the only ingredients.

  7. Coconut Water - Instead of stocking juice boxes or sports drinks which are often loaded with sugar, try coconut water instead. A serving of coconut water has more potassium that a banana, is full of electrolytes which are great for rehydrating. It also tastes really good alone or in a smoothie.

  8. Protein Powders - We're looking for quality. If you wanted to make a smoothie with coconut water and some fresh fruit and, you could throw in a high quality protein powder for sustained energy. Vega is made of hemp, pea and brown rice powder and if you don't have a dairy sensitivity, I really like Tera's Whey because it is from naturally raised cows and includes Stevia as a sweeteners rather than sugar. **To make the smoothie greener, throw in a packet of Amazing Grass Greens Superfood.

  9. Canned Wild Salmon - Rather than making tuna fish sandwiches which are very high in mercury, opt for canned wild salmon. Make a quick salad with mustard and chopped onions and spread on a cracker made with sunflower seeds, flax seeds and sesames seeds like these Wheat Free Crusts.

  10. Sea's Gift nori Strips - If you're craving something salty, these are great bc nori strips are sea vegetables that have some sesame oil and salt on them to make them crunchy. Sea vegetables are full of minerals and natural iodine

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