We all have those essential food items that we use every day in every way and the following 6 may well be in your cupboards already. However, here are my 6 essentials that I have at home at all times and I also pack them with me when I have to go away.
This is now considered to be one of the healthiest oils to cook with. It is a superfood rich in the most beneficial type of saturated fat, has ant-bacterial properties, is digested very easily and will also do a great job at boosting your immune system. It has also been known to help with thyroid problems. Coconut oil is often sold in a tub and a small amount goes a long way. Use it instead of olive or sunflower oil when cooking. It is widely used in India and Southern Asia and goes extremely well with fish, meat or vegetable stir fries and curries. However, I use it to cook most things so it is very versatile and does not give a strong coconut flavour to your dishes.
Flaxseeds are tiny little seeds that are either dark brown or golden in colour. They are an extremely rich source of Omega-3 and particularly beneficial for us females. They are also high in fibre so if your diet is lacking in that department, these little gems will help you out. I buy mine un-ground and then grind small batches at a time in my coffee grinder and store them in a jar in the fridge. This way they stay fresh and full of nutrients. You can buy them ready ground in the US but I have not seen them here in Switzerland. I sprinkle a tspn or 2 of the seeds on just about everything! Porridge, muesli, yoghurt, salad, stir fries, shakes etc be careful not to over do it though as you may find your stomach blowing up like a balloon!
Fish or Cod Liver Oil
Fish oil is the best source of Omega-3 and far superior than nuts and seeds. It is hard for us to obtain our quota from eating fish alone, as these days it is hard to find fresh fish, it is often expensive and not everyone is happy to eat it. So taking a supplement is your best bet. Invest in a high quality brand that is pure and heavy metal free, once again, check the label and the source. Keep your capsules or liquid oil in the fridge and take them once or twice a day. I tend to take 2 capsules with breakfast and another 2 capsules with dinner. Be careful though, if you are pregnant or on any kind of medication and check with your doctor first to make sure that there will be no complications.
This natural sweetener is calorie free and a fantastic alternative to sugar and any other sweetener on the market. You can use it to sweeten just about anything from cooked desserts to cold puddings aswell as your daily dose of java.
Whey Protein Powder
Whey comes from milk and is a powerful source of protein. It is ideal for adding to shakes, smoothies and desserts. Finding the right brand to suit your requirements can be a bit tricky at times, but there are many out there so take a look at your local grocery store and see what they have available. Most people who are lacto-intolerant can actually digest whey protein with no problems. But if this is an issue, look out for pea or egg white protein powder instead. They also come in various flavours and unless you want to taste artificial strawberry or chocolate then I would stick with plain or vanilla.
Nuts are wonderful and as i am writing this, I am surrounded by walnut and hazelnut trees which are overflowing with their fruits and almost ready to drop the free offerings on the ground. Perfect, free, organic, nutrient dense foods from the Gods! Well, I know that we are not all so lucky and most of us will have to go to shops to stock up. Nuts should be consumed in their raw state and preferably of organic origin. You can buy nuts in bulk from lots of health food stores but go to one where they replenish their supplies regularly so as to be sure of their freshness. A handful of nuts is my favourite snack and will always help me steer clear of any sugar cravings. Walnuts are high in Omega-3 and Almonds are rich in zinc and Brazil nuts will supply you with all your daily selenium needs, so make sure you consume on a daily basis. They are high in fat but you do not need to go overboard with quantities, they are filling and satisfying and I doubt you will want to have a nut binge in the same way you may want to have a cookie binge!
So there are a few of my favourite things and I hope that you will find them enjoyable too.
In health and happiness,