Stocking a Natural Kitchen

This is a new post from the Kashi website. Kashi is a natural food producer who makes some fantastic organic items that are healthy. Specializing in whole foods, their products are not processed and good for vegetarians and vegans. They are pioneers in natural food product development and are forward thinking in the areas of ecology, natural resources and green technology. This post is from their website, which is chock full of useful information. They did not commission me to write a post for me nor is this paid advertising or a pay per post assignment. I am presenting this because I find it useful.

Date: July 24, 2007 Related Topics: healthy eating, home life, and snacking
Written by: Edna Sousa

Stocking a natural kitchen is more than just a fleeting fad. It’s a step toward bringing health and wellness into the very center of your home – right to the very heart of it. For many of us, the kitchen is where most of the action takes place in the daily routine of life. So when this important nerve center is loaded with natural foods and snacks, fruits, veggies, and healthy whole grains, your entire home will reflect the change in a positive way. Stocking a natural kitchen is at the very foundation of a healthy lifestyle.

So how do you start giving your kitchen a natural makeover? Obviously, purchasing more organic fruits and vegetables, free-range meats and poultry, and whole grains is an important part of the equation. But where do you go from there? The next steps are about slowly changing some key eating and purchasing habits….

Swapping out the snack foods

Let’s face it. For most people, snacks often compromise healthy eating habits. Those little between-meal morsels play a critical role in the well-stocked natural kitchen. Think about swapping out the chips and sweets for tasty, crunchy natural snacks like baby carrot sticks, sweet red grapes, and healthy dips and spreads for celery and other veggies. The ideas and food possibilities are endless. What’s difficult is forming the habit of purchasing and using these healthy snacks. Since snacking is about grabbing something quickly and easily, consider some ways in which you can make your healthy snack foods easier to access:

* Keep a bowl of mixed nuts and dried fruits (raisins, cranberries, currants) within easy reach. You’ll be more likely to grab a handful of this mixture if it’s out in the open.
* Make sure your celery, carrots, and grapes are already washed and ready to eat – so you can simply pull them from the refrigerator and munch on them.
* Have both salty and sweet options available because you never know in which direction your snacking mood will go on any given day.
* Trade industrialized condiments and sauces (which are high in sodium and often contain artificial additives) for homemade versions using fresh tomatoes, olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and spices.

Stocking healthy oils

Another cornerstone of the natural kitchen is oil. Ensure your oils are “mono-unsaturated” and “polyunsaturated” rather than “saturated” or “trans.” Cooking oils to avoid include palm oil, shortening, and palm kernel oil. Focus on stocking your kitchen with oils like sesame, olive, walnut, and flaxseed. Choose Canola oil if you wish to cook foods at very high temperatures as it has a higher smoke point.

Try using sesame and flaxseed oils for your salads. Sesame oil is rich in beta carotene, while flaxseed oil is an excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Remember that flaxseed oil should be kept refrigerated. You might even consider making up a batch of your own salad dressing using a combination of flaxseed oil, sesame oil, lemon juice, sea salt, and pepper.
Your natural medicine cabinet

As you collect your own natural health remedies, herbal teas, vitamins, and supplements, you’ll naturally be building a kind of herbal medicine cabinet. Try keeping this within reach of your other foods and supplies, so you can easily include a healthy tea with your food choices. Foods such as pure cocoa, the spices turmeric and cayenne, and herbs like garlic, oregano, and thyme do double duty as anti-inflammatories, anti-fungals, and blood pressure regulators. Remember that your refrigerator is actually part of your natural medicine cabinet.

You can get deeper into natural foods and natural cooking by visiting the Kashi website at: Kashi.

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