This is part 2 of a 3 part article series on some simple switches you can start making towards a healthier kitchen pantry. Changing your diet can be overwhelming, but these 3 articles are a great place to begin. Don’t dump everything out at once (unless you can afford to), instead just replace your foods with healthier ones as you run out! Here are the next five items you can add to your list of foods to replace.
#1. Coffee and Tea
Start switching over to organic brands as you run out of coffee and tea. And better yet, switch to organic fair trade coffee and tea to support small organic farms! My current favorite coffee is Equal Exchange Fair Trade Organic Coffee. Equal Exchange also has several kinds of organic tea available as well. I am just getting more into drinking tea lately, as coffee has always been my hot beverage of choice. I’ve currently been hooked on Earth Mama Angel Baby Milkmaid Tea and Peaceful Mama Tea.
Start switching your spices over to an organic brand. Organic spices don’t contain dangerous chemicals and pesticides, unlike non-organic spices. I buy organic spices in bulk when I can to save money, or buy the Simply Organic or Frontier brands.
When choosing salt, check the label to ensure the only ingredient is salt. Also, salt that is bright white has most likely been refined – that is not the natural color of salt. Do a little research before selecting a brand. A trusted brand of salt that often choose, is called Redmond Real Salt.
#3. Brown Sugar
Brown Sugar, like regular sugar, has been refined and has lost any nutritional value due to being extremely processed. Brown sugar is typically made from sugar beets, which most likely contain GMOs. So overall it’s just not good stuff!
Rapidura and Sucanat are good substitutes to brown sugar. Maple syrup (see #10) could be used in certain recipes, but be sure to look up conversions. Sometimes though, you have a recipe and you just want to use some good old brown sugar. So there are two options for a solution.
The first option is to buy an organic, non-GMO brown sugar. Two brands that make this are, Wholesome Sweeteners and Woodstock. Wholesome Sweeteners can be purchased online through Vitacost (Vitacost also has their own brand of organic non-GMO brown sugar).
The second option would be to make your own using organic cane sugar and organic molasses. Try Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Blackstrap Molasses. Simply add molasses one teaspoon at a time to however much sugar the recipe calls for, and mix until the taste and color are how you prefer!
Switch out your chocolate bars, chocolate chips, baking cocoa, and hot cocoa for organic and non-GMO. Just as for anything else, read labels and be sure to read the list of ingredients! To list a few brands, try Alter Eco, NOW Foods Healthy Foods, and Ah!laska. Though not an organic brand, Enjoy Life is non-GMO, has a simple list of ingredients, and is dairy, nut, and soy free for those with allergies. Also, while they do not have the non-GMO label, Equal Exchange also offers some great organic chocolate products.
If you’ve been buying regular pancake syrup instead of real maple syrup, just take a look at the list of ingredients! You’ll find a list of harmful ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring, and preservatives to list a few. Switch to real maple syrup (where maple syrup is the only ingredient). If you want to take it one step further, choose a Grade B maple syrup. Grade B is stronger in flavor and richer in nutritional value than Grade A. Try NOW Foods Real Food Organic Maple Syrup Grade B.
Check out part 3 of this article next week for my last set of five healthy switches you can make in your pantry. What healthy switches have you made to your pantry?