15 Must-Have Staples of a Healthy Kitchen
(Photo: Clean Program)
By Melisse Gelula for Well+Good
When integrative physician Alejandro Junger, MD, published Clean in 2009, his progressive book on detoxing, the wellness cognoscenti stocked their Kindles, bedside tables, and bookshelves with his tome that explained the role of food in giving health—or taking it away.
The best-seller was the result of a personal health revelation as much as a professional one, says the passionate Los Angeles-based wellness guru. “I had all kinds of serious health problems. I was like my patients—I had allergies, I had irritable bowel syndrome, I was depressed, and I didn’t want a life on drugs that was being prescribed.” Kicking dairy (“even without chemicals, I was sick as a dog,” he says) along with other “toxic triggers,” changed him from wounded to wounded healer.
Where Clean and his follow-up Clean Gut leaves off, Clean Eats, published this spring, begins, with recipes that teach you a sustainable way of cooking that lets your body be its healthy best, along with tips on how to stock your kitchen with the staples to get you there. “After doing the cleanse, everyone asked for recipes, what I ate or made at home,” says Dr. Junger, who’s even accompanied patients to the supermarket (but for obvious reasons can’t make a habit of it.)
So what should you actually buy besides kale? Whole foods, lots of veggies—ideally local and in season—and clean animal protein, if you choose. (Though he doesn’t.) Another thing he won’t eat? Sugar. “It’s a toxin, you might as well smoke. But if I put ‘no sugar’ in my book, I’m excluding 99 percent of people. I wanted to give everyone a place to start,” he says.
So here’s what the healthy doctor stocks his pantry with at home. (Listed alphabetically.
1. Almond Butter: A wonderful and sweet peanut butter replacement, this works in smoothies, savory soups and sauces, cookies, or straight out of the jar.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar, unpasteurized: It’s often considered the healthiest vinegar because it has a dozen-plus uses and just as many benefits. It’s loaded with enzymes and aids digestion. You can also add a tablespoon to water with a dash of honey for a refreshing drink. Balsamic Vinegar is a close second for flavoring food.
3. Bragg Liquid Aminos: This certified non-GMO protein concentrate is made from soybeans. It’s gluten-free and has a salty flavor.
4. Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is an essential saturated fat that supports immune functioning, weight loss, and digestive health with additional antibacterial and antiviral properties. It’s our main cooking oil.
5. Himalayan Salt: An essential seasoning agent, salt is present in just about every recipe, and having too much or too little can make or break a meal.
6. Coconut or Almond Milk: A staple in clean cooking, these milks are something to always keep on hand for soups, dressings, sauces, desserts, shakes, and as thickeners. Buy them organic and unsweetened, or make your own.
(Photo: Clean Eats)
7. Dr. Schulze’s SuperFood: My favorite and best-tasting superfood powder, this product is full of organic vegetables, minerals, and nutrients.