This is the last post of a 3 part article series on simple switches to make in your pantry to move towards a healthier kitchen. I’ve briefly explained why these alternatives are healthier, but research for yourself why these options are so much better. Remember, take your time on all of these, and replace items over the course of several weeks if you need to. So here we go! Here are the last 5 switches to make in your pantry.
#1. Corn Starch
Cornstarch is highly processed, contains harsh chemicals, and most likely has GMOs. You could switch to a non-GMO organic cornstarch, but it still goes through a lot of processing methods. A great alternative is arrowroot powder. It can be used like cornstarch, as a thickening agent in recipes. The method for extracting arrowroot powder is much different than cornstarch and it is processed a lot less.
Shortening is a processed, bad fat that can cause health problems. It’s full of harmful ingredients, artificial flavors and colors, and preservatives. Instead, stick with healthy fats that are full of nutrients. Butter (yes, butter is a good fat, as long as it’s organic and from pastured cows) or organic coconut oil would both be good substitutions.
If you really don’t want to give up shortening with cooking, you could switch to Nutiva Organic Shortening Original, which is non-GMO and made with a blend of red palm and coconut oils. Do not buy organic vegetable shortening, as it is bad for you regardless of it being organic.
#3. Peanut Butter
Most peanut butter from the store has been highly processed – heated to extremely high temperatures, which change the chemical make-up of the peanut and actually cause it to become rancid. And, just as with so many other foods, peanut butter is likely to contain GMOs.
Your absolute healthiest option would be to make your own peanut butter! Don’t be intimidated, it’s actually very simple. Just be sure to buy some organic peanuts, and check out a recipe online. Stick to a simple one that calls for just peanuts and salt to start off.
If you don’t have the time or desire to make your own, just be sure to look for a few things with your peanut butter. Make sure it’s organic, non-GMO, made without hydrogenated oils, and that organic peanuts (and salt if you like), are the only ingredient. Santa Cruz Organic Peanut Butter would be a great choice!
#4. Canned Vegetables
You may be wondering how a vegetable can be unhealthy, but there are healthier ways to eat vegetables than from a can! Can’s are often lined with BPA, which is harmful to our bodies. Sometimes canned foods also contain sodium and other unhealthy preservatives. The best option would be fresh or frozen organic vegetables. Frozen vegetables can have just as many nutrients as fresh, because they are usually frozen right after they are harvested.
Believe it or not, those seasoning packets contain more than just a blend of herbs and spices. They have other harmful additives and preservatives mixed in too! Seasonings are extremely easy to make yourself, and I’ll bet you already have the necessary spices and herbs right in your cabinet. Just look up a recipe online for whatever seasoning mix you need. I like to make certain ones (like taco seasoning) in large amounts and store them in mason jars. And of course, choosing organic herbs and spices to make your seasonings would be best.
I hope these three articles have helped you take a few steps further on your journey to a healthier kitchen. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what ways you’ve made changes in your pantry too!