My Kitchen Staples

Quinoa

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of quinoa as it mixes and matches with just about everything I cook.  It is a wonderful "starting off" point for so many recipes, as well as being filling, easy to digest and of course, delicious! 

Store in an air-tight container in the fridge, and it will keep a little longer.

~ just a few of the benefits ~

  • The only grain to contain all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.
  • It contains almost twice as much fibre as most other grains, which aids effective digestion, while helping to reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol. 
  • Contains more protein than any grain – one serve provides 28% of your daily intake.
  • Great source of iron, enabling the blood to carry oxygen around the body.
  • Packed with magnesium and manganese, anti-inflammatory phytonutrients and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, mostly in the form of oleic acid, which improves the digestive tracts ability to absorb nutrients, as well as lowering the risk of heart disease.
  • High in B vitamins, zinc, potassium, calcium, fibre and vitamin E. 
  • Gives a slow release of energy making it a great alternative to rice and couscous. 

Medjool Dates

No two dates are the same, so if you're looking for a sugar replacement for baking, then put your hands on the Medjool date  as they are much sweeter and stickier, making cooking a lot easier.

In all honesty they're not my "go to" sweetener as they do still contain a large amount of fructose, however I do use them for their taste and texture (and of course, stickiness) in certain baking dishes.  I also use them for what they give back to your body.

~ just a few of the benefits ~

  • Fibre - essential for maintaining a healthy and efficient digestive system.
  • Iron -  one portion provides approximately 11% of your daily requirement, which helps improve the blood’s ability to carry oxygen around the body. 
  • Potassium - essential for maintaining healthy heart function and blood pressure, as well as helping to prevent muscle cramping after exercise.
  • They’re a vitamin dense alternative to sugar or processed sweeteners.
  • Note:  dates still contain fructose (30%) which is a much lower percentage than sugar, honey, maple syrup and coconut syrup, however as they are often used in larger quantities, it's good to be aware.

Walnuts

One of my favourites and the fact that they're one of the healthiest makes me one very happy girl.  I toss them in salads, on top of coconut yoghurt and even into scrambled eggs. 

~ just a few of the benefits ~

  • Contain phytonutrients, found in almost no other food - helping to prevent free-radical damage that contributes to cancer, heart disease and premature aging .
  • Eat the whole nut (90% of antioxidants are found in the skin).
  • Rich source of Omega 3, improving cardiovascular function and lowers blood pressure.
  • Vitamin E - vital for beautiful, glowing skin; as well as manganese, copper, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and folic acid, all of which aid efficient digestion and metabolism, support proper brain function and help to regulate your mood keeping you happy and healthy.

Almonds

My all time favourite nut!

I eat them as a snack and use them in cooking and in baking.  I whiz them up in my blender to make almond meal, nut butter and almond milk.  I've also been known to dip celery sticks into the almond butter when a sugar craving rears its ugly head.

Interestingly, they are one of the most nutritionally beneficial foods on the planet, so indulge!

~ just a few of the benefits ~

  • 1/4 cup of almonds = 8 grams of protein (more than the protein found in an egg).
  • Filled with heart-healthy fats (as found in olive oil), lowering cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease.
  • They lessen after-meal surges in blood sugar, protecting against diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  • Contain antioxidants - preventing cell damage that causes chronic diseases.
  • Manganese (1 cup = 50% of your daily intake), essential for bone, nerve and thyroid health, as well as controlling your cholesterol levels.
  • Vitamin E (3/4  cup = 45% of your intake), an antioxidant that protects your cells from damage, as well as supporting healthy hair and clear glowing skin.
  • Magnesium - essential for enabling over three hundred different enzyme functions around the body, including the secretion of insulin and glucose.

Raw Cacao

The first time I tasted raw cacao, I wasn't sold.  I'm really not a huge hot chocolate/cocoa powder eater/drinker as it is, so to be honest with you, I wasn't too fussed about not loving raw cacao.  However, on discovering all of the amazing things raw cacao does for your body - I converted quick smart!  

I can now honestly say that I love the flavour raw (real) cacao brings to baked dishes and find I can convert it into recipes as easy as pie.

~ just a few of the benefits ~

  • Raw cacao is not refined (unlike cocoa powder which has been processed), meaning it still contains all of its original vitamins and minerals.
  • It is one of the world’s best sources of antioxidants, protecting your cells from damage, reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, improving circulation and lowering blood pressure.
  • It lowers blood sugar levels and prevents weight gain.
  • It makes you happy as it raises your levels of serotonin, acting as a natural anti-depressant.
  • It is also a great source of manganese, which promotes bone, nerve and thyroidhealth.