I’m opening the doors to The Conscientious Cook Pantry and sharing the essential ingredients you can stock up on at home.
Raw Cacao – this packs a superfood punch and has been used for centuries for its flavour and health benefits. It quickly became one of our staple ingredients here at The Conscientious Cook due to its flavour and versatility. One of the most antioxidant-rich foods in the world, it’s also bursting with minerals, such as iron, calcium and is one of the richest plant-based sources of magnesium. Raw cacao contains several important phytochemicals and specific amino acids that support mood-elevating brain chemistry.
Chia Seeds – I love these tiny seeds that are full of nutrients that promote long-lasting energy. An exceptional plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, they also support increased mental function, lower inflammation, support good cardiovascular health, and strengthen the immune system. Chia seeds are high in fibre and absorb nine times their weight in liquid, helping to give you the sensation of feeling fuller for longer.
Hemp Seeds – used for nearly 12,000 years, hemp is a profoundly sustainable plant and great source of fibre. It is a complete protein that is easily digestible and offers a wide range of minerals, especially iron, potassium, zinc and magnesium. The plant helps to balance our modern acidic diets due to its alkaline forming properties, while its seed oil is rich in valuable essential fatty acids in a particularly well-balanced ratio.
Flaxseeds - eaten since the Stone Age, these seeds are great for their beneficial essential fatty acid profile (omega-3, -6 and -9) and phytochemicals that help to balance hormone levels.
Goji Berries - used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, the goji berry is one of my favourite superfoods. A phenomenal source of antioxidants and amino acids, the berry contains twenty vitamins and trace minerals including vitamin c, zinc, riboflavin and iron and is great for strengthening the immune system.
Maca Root – also known as Peruvian ginseng, maca root has been used medicinally for thousands of years to help increase strength and stamina. I love that maca helps balance the body system and combat stress, is packed full of phytonutrients, including minerals and amino acids, and helps block cholesterol absorption.
Quinoa – native to South America, quinoa was once a staple food of the Incas and has been cultivated for over 3,000 years. The grain-like ingredient is actually related to spinach and is totally gluten-free. Most famous for being very high in protein and essential amino acids, quinoa is also a rich source of magnesium, potassium, zinc and skin and hair rejuvenating vitamin e.
Coconut Oil – nature’s original butter! I use Naturacoco coconut Oil a company who work with a cooperative of small farmers in Kerala, India. They produce coconut oil using the centrifuge extraction method, offering the least intervention of any extraction process; it involves no heat whatsoever, producing the purest oil possible. They have also assisted their cooperative of farmers in developing their production standards to a truly international standard, and are very proud to be assisting their local community. Coconut oil brings a great flavor as well as a range of health benefits. A healthy saturated fat source, the oil has no cholesterol and helps metabolise other fats such as omega 3s. It also features medium-chain fatty acids, which promote long lasting energy, increased metabolic rates and even has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal activities.
Coconut Blossom Nectar - 100% raw, vegan, fat-free and guilt free. Low glycemic and neutral pH, it also high in amino acids , vitamins and minerals. It contains all the goodness that Coconut does so healing properties.
Dates – known as ‘nature’s candy’, fresh dates are soft, smooth and offer a caramel-like sweetness. As well as their flavor and texture, I love using dates as an instant energy boost, due to high levels of glucose, and their potassium content, which is higher than the banana. Dates are also full of dietary fibre, iron, vitamin a, magnesium and b vitamins.
Lucuma Powder – known as an ‘empty calorie’ sweetener, this is a finely milled powder made from freeze-dried lucuma fruit. I like it because it gives a distinctively sweet flavour and a full-bodied maple-like taste, while being very low in sugars. Lucuma is also high in naturally occurring beta-carotene, niacin and iron.
Raw Honey - far more than a natural sweetener, honey is a “functional food” = a natural food with health benefits. Rich in antioxidants and enzymes, honey is also packed with minerals - including iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and selenium - and vitamins - including vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and niacin. The nutraceuticals found in honey also help to neutralise damaging free radical activity. Raw, cold-extracted honey hasn't been heat-treated and ‘purified’, so still contains its full complement of enzymes and antioxidants in addition to antibacterial properties.
Maple Syrup – this sweet syrup is made from the natural sap of the maple tree and over 80% of the world’s supply is produced in Canada. A great natural alternative to sugar, maple syrup is rich in calcium, potassium, zinc, manganese and iron.
Gluten Free Oats - I use Glebe Farm Oats, the only farm in the UK growing and processing gluten free oats into porridge flakes and oat flour.
Nuts & Seeds - with the exception of peanuts, nuts and seeds are an indispensible staple in my kitchen and I add them to most dishes, sweet and savoury. Extremely high in life-sustaining nutrients, nuts and seeds bring us healthy fats, minerals, protein and fibre.