I know a lot of people find health food stores overwhelming and confusing.
I admit, some are rather scary, particularly when you visit one run by angry hippies (I thought hippies were meant to be all ‘peace and love, man’ not grunting at you, while giving you the evil eye for asking where the tahini is).
I find health food stores overwhelming in the sense of ‘Oh my golly gosh I am so excited what what WHAT shall I buy…. ?’ Fiddle dee dee, heel click, etc (right, Hannah?) I think it’s the same feeling Viper gets when he walks into a record store, or some sort of power-tool selling merchant.
Anyway, it’s the same as any type of shopping – there are certain things that you totally need to/should invest in, and others you can leave out of the basket. I know it’s sort of frightening buying new products, especially when they are pricey – you don’t want to end up with a sack of flour that the smell alone makes you vomit in your mouth just a little- plus it cost you half of your rent for the week.
I wish I had the same knowledge when it comes to make up… getting off track here, but I am trying to find make up to make me look semi-presentable for my up coming nuptials. Just thinking about walking into the shiny, bright (blinding) lit, heaven-sent WHITE make up section of a department store makes my upper lip start sweating, and I get itchy. Shudder.
Let’s stick to the health food store, shall we? Here’s a list of my favourite Health Food Store staples…. things that you may have seen around, but are unsure whether to try or not.
- Coconut oil… this should be a staple in everyone’s pantry – frying/baking/raw food/body care – the possibilities for this product are pretty much endless. If you are not a fan of the fragrance/taste coconut go for the REFINED variety as it is odourless.
- Tempeh… A great source of protein, with the benefit of being fermented – good cultures for the tummy and digestive system. It IS a bit of an acquired taste though – slightly bitter, nutty, almost meaty. Great in curries, satay, as a “steak”…. again, so many options. I really want to give this recipe a try.
- Miso Paste… This sauce is one of my favourite ways to use miso paste. I have been known to even spread the stuff straight onto bread when I have a mega salt craving. This is delicious made into a traditional Japanese style broth with wakame, Spring onions, silken tofu and shitake mushroom. Plus it keeps forever in the fridge, and is cultured.
- Nutritional Yeast… Savoury, flavourful, completely addictive. Sprinkle on anything and everything. Use in dips, sauces, as a “cheesy” substitute (but it is NOT cheese)… go crazy. Oh and it’s ridiculously good for you and high in protein. Awesome.
- Chia Seeds… Added to porridge, granola, sweet puddings…. use to replace eggs in vegan baking. Crazy good for you.
- Celtic/Himalayan sea salt… It makes things taste better.
- Coconut flour… A fun alternative to traditional baking flours… brings a really unique texture, plus who doesn’t love coconut? Great in raw “baking.”
- Cacao powder… Intense chocolate flavour plus huge amounts of antioxidants – what more could you ask for?
- Flax seed… Like chia, it can be used to create an “egg” in vegan cooking. Omega 3s ahoy…. see recipe below.
- NuNaturals Stevia (I buy through iherb.com as it is not available in the stores here in Aussie)… The best stevia product I have tried. Great for anyone wanting to cut down on refined sugar.
- Lucuma powder… A superfood that brings a natural sweetness – a sort of soft creamy citrus flavour with hints of maple? So hard to describe, but it is one of my favourites. It actually comes from a Peruvian Fruit and is a great source of B3 and iron.
- 3T ground flax seed
- 1/2C water
- 1/2C pitted dates (packed in to the cup measure)
- 1/2C almond meal
- 2T granulated sweetener (xylitol, coconut sugar, rapadura etc) OR 15 drops stevia liquid**
- 1/2t vanilla extract
- 1C oats
- 1t ground cinnamon
- 1/4t sea salt
- 2T pysllium husks
- 1/2C sultanas (or cranberries, raisins – whatever dried fruit you like)
- Combine ground flax, water and dates in a mixing bowl and leave for 15 minutes to soak.
- Chuck everything else apart from the sultanas into the food processor with the flax mix and pulse until well combined.
- Transfer into a mixing bowl, fold through sultanas and leave the dough to rest in the fridge for about 10 minutes (this allows it to become less stocky and easier to handle).
- Shape into “cookie” shapes (or roll into balls if you like).
- Store in an air tight container in the fridge.
Viper didn’t love these. He isn’t into things that are healthy for you AND taste “healthy”. These DO taste healthy – but oddly, I LIKE things that taste healthy. Funny that. Anyway, I think these are a great option if you can’t sit down to a bowl of cereal – easy enough to eat in transit, plus they keep my crazy toddler subdued for a few moments.
If you are on Viper’s side of the fence in regards to snacks that taste “healthy” – be quiet and go make some popcorn balls (Viper’s favourite).