I have been feeling somewhat baffled lately by all the choice we have when it comes to healthy foods. And many people I talk to are also feeling the same way.
In recent times there has been a veritable explosion of products available in health food stores, markets and stupor-markets. From activated almonds, mylk, chia seeds, coconut, coconut, coconut (not a typo!), gluten-free produce, sun-dried, snow-dried, earth-dried, triple roasted ancient grains (prepared in a specially designed oven which mimics Egyptian cooking styles)…ok I’m getting a little bit carried away now, but it’s no wonder people are feeling confused!
I began working in the health industry over a decade ago, and during this time I have noticed that there has been a huge increase in health awareness. I see this shift as a positive move as people are becoming more conscious and aware of the impact that food choices can have both on their health and on the health of the planet.
Consuming a balanced mix of truly healthy foods is wonderful, however it is when so called “healthy” foods have been altered and loaded with sugar, syrupy versions of sugar, fillers and thickening agents (just to name a few) that the problems begin. Just because a product has been labeled and cleverly marketed as healthy (often by radiant over paid celebrities) doesn’t necessarily mean that it is.
I remember my grandmother telling me tales from her childhood, when food was simple, often home grown, and often minimal. She grew up in the post world war one era when everything was made from scratch, and there was little food waste. They had a cow named Bessie who provided the family with milk which was also made into cream and butter. Foods were eaten seasonally. Clothes were home made and repaired (not replaced every season) Hmmmm…I sense there is a future blog about sustainability waiting to hatch!
A big part of my role as a naturopath involves educating people about food and food choices. I love this part of my work and it is so great to see the profound change that can occur when people bring their diets back into a state of simplicity and balance.
When I am working with patients I try to instil the concept of keeping things simple. Setting up your pantry can be a costly exercise, so you may wish to do it bit by bit. Make sure you have the basics in stock and then build from there.
I would now like to share with you my top 15 winter pantry (and a few fridge) staples. Where possible choose organic or biodynamic.
- Brown rice
- Apple cider vinegar
- Spices: ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, vanilla, nutmeg, cumin, black pepper
- Fresh fruits and vegetables : seasonal favourites at this time of year include sweet potato, apples, silverbeet, carrots, pears, pumpkin
- Legumes: lentils, kidney beans, chick peas, borlotti beans, cannellini beans
- Oils: olive oil and flaxseed oil
- Cacao (to add to cooking, and to make hot cocoa with)
- Good quality sourdough bread
- Good quality dark chocolate !
We are so fortunate to have access to a wide variety of fresh food in Australia. I encourage you to rug up and get outdoors this winter and explore your local markets and farmers markets. Chat to the stallholders and growers and ask questions about their produce and where it was grown. Interaction and human connection has a positive impact on our health. And you may even like to grow your own herbs, fruits and vegetables and reduce your food miles.
As you can probably tell I am passionate about food education and food as medicine. If you would like to see me for an appointment you can get in touch here.
Enjoy keeping it simple,
Image sourced from Unsplash
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