Paleo/clean eating- the few words people sometimes use for an extreme way of healthy eating and living that can often feel very overwhelming. I have found a few things over the last few years that have made this whole clean eating thing so much easier on me. Let's be real, house duties like laundry, cleaning, park runs, taking the dog out, getting a work out in, putting your kid on and off the toilet a billion times in just one day can make something like "clean eating" feel like one more giant task to add to our already full hands. I can totally relate. That's been me and is still me if I let it get in front of me. I am sharing a list of 10 things in my kitchen that have helped make the "process" a little easier on me. If I have these goods on hand than I feel a little more empowered to follow through with recipes, meal planning and just plain old healthier living. I've also included a few tools that help make the prepping process quicker and more efficient because it all comes down to time and efficiency for this momma. So here it goes...
Almond flour - I love this stuff! I use it in just about every little recipe. It is used as an alternative, grain free flour. I make bread, muffins, desserts, my son's favorite - loafs and much more with it. I find it easiest to store our almond flour in containers in the cupboard for easy access and easy storage.
Coconut flour - Coconut flour is used in many baked dishes as an absorbent and thickener. I use it in our favorite waffle recipe along with many muffin recipes and even sauce recipes in which case I use it as a thickener.
Arrowroot powder/Tapioca flour - Both arrowroot powder and tapioca flour can typically be used inner changeably as flours or even play the role of a thickener in many recipes. It doesn't always work, but I have used both of these flours to replace coconut flour when I'm out of it.
Raw cashew pieces - I love the simplicity of the waffle recipe that my son craves every other day. I use raw cashews as the main ingredient in them. Living grain and dairy free doesn't mean that you can't enjoy Sunday morning pancakes or Tuesday waffles. Who knew you could make something super yummy for breakfast out of cashews?!? I usually get these at Trader Joes. The raw cashew pieces are typically cheaper than the whole cashews... and all those who budget said, "YES!" with a few jazz fingers.
Maple Syrup/Honey/Coconut sugar - There are so many ways to sweeten your favorite desserts, morning coffee, baked goods or even smoothies with natural sugars that don't spike your glucose. Ever had those sugar crashes that seem to follow refined sugars? Try something natural that keeps your glucose steady. When I cut refined/processed sugars out of my diet, the hypoglycemia that I had always dealt with disappeared. Plus who doesn't love maple syrup??
Kitchen Aide blender - For me, having a good blender is really key in making the cooking and baking process quick. When I'm trying to blend ingredients like cashews or almonds for almond milk, I really need a reliable blender. Everyone knows that the Vitamix blender is like the prodigy of all blenders, but they also come at a steep cost. I have been very pleased with the Kitchen Aide Diamond blender. We haven't had a chunky smoothie yet! And all the kids drinking their smoothies through tiny straws clapped their hands and said "AMEN" to that.
Spiralizer - A spiralizer is a great tool to have when you want to have noodles, but want a grain free option. We use ours for making zucchini noodle dishes and have even used it to make spiralize butternut squash. It's just a fun way to switch up the routine and it's easy to use.
Nut milk bag - This little nugget is my jam. Ren asks me on a regular basis for homemade "A-h milk" (almond milk). He's been dairy free since he was born, so this is a great and super (like so super) easy way to get protein and good fats into his growing body. Raw almonds are rich in protein. They are actually the highest ranking in protein among all tree nuts. That's a lot of protein. They are also high in unsaturated fats, magnesium, calcium and have many more health benefits. I soak one cup of raw almonds with a pinch of salt overnight. I rinse them in the morning and then add them with 6 cups of water to the blender along with 1-2 dates (pits removed). Blend for 30 seconds or so and then strain the pulp through the nut milk bag. That's it! Super, super easy. The homemade almond milk is preservative and junk free and lasts about 5 days in the fridge. Here is the full recipe for those interested.
That's all for now. Hopefully this helps encourage those on the journey to a better, healthier lifestyle. I'm not going to say it's always easy or that we never head off of the road for a minute for some incredible Salt and Straw ice cream, but hey that's life and I've just found when I am prepared I seem to be able to follow through with our family goal of clean eating and healthy living. Enjoy your week! :)