It seems appropriate to me, to start with, to take a little tour of your kitchen with our list of basic essentials in hand.
Indeed, it is easier to take care of your health and that of your family when you have the right ingredients and the right utensils on hand!
Try not to ever run out of one of these: health-promoting or medicinal fats and spices, as well as a varied list of non-toxic utensils to avoid unnecessary exposure to toxins and harmful ingredients.
So Here Is My List of the Basic Essentials to Have in Your Kitchen …
This is my personal list, it is non-exhaustive. Yours might be different, shorter or longer. If you wish to make some suggestions and / or share your ideas, please feel free to do so in the comments section at the bottom of this article.
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Thank for doing that, so now let us begin with our little tour, okay? …
Healthy Fats and Cooking Oils in Your Kitchen – My List of Essentials to Have …
- Olive Oil: Contains fatty acids which help lower the risk of heart disease. It is also a very good cooking oil, contrary to what many people may thing. Be careful, however, of adulterated or falsified olive oils. It is best to source, for those who can, from a trusted small producer.
- Rapeseed oil and linseed oil: to mix for the vinaigrettes. Rich in omega-3s (do not cook them, omega-3s are destroyed by heat: they oxidize and turn into toxic products).
- Coconut Oil: It is a good cooking oil because it is stable at high temperatures. Its smoke point is at 177° C (350.6° F), which means that it does not produce toxic compounds until then. Rapeseed and sunflower oil smokes from 107° C (224.6° F), that of corn at 160° C (320° F), that of olive at 191° C (375.8° F). It is an excellent source of energy, thanks to its medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). These MCTs are digested and converted by the liver into energy for immediate use.
- Animal fats: duck fat, organic butter.
Green beans, spinach, peas, broad beans… You have to have them constantly in your freezer, and remember to eat them!
For economic reasons, producers of frozen foods manage to:
- harvest these vegetables in high season (when they are most abundant and cheapest);
- deep-freeze them near the place of harvest (the faster they are frozen, the less weight in water and vitamins they have lost);
They are then transported more easily than fresh products, and do not lose their quality on the shelves.
The bottoms of frozen packets having been dragged out too much have become unappetizing, we will regularly take care to empty them to make a good mixed green soup.
You have great interest in buying your canned red and white beans, flageolets and chickpeas.
Cooked in huge vats, they consume much less energy than if everyone cooked them at home. They are also better cooked than when you make it yourself with the risk of getting them too hard, mushy or charred at the bottom of the pan. Professionals, in fact, study hydration and cooking time scientifically to achieve perfectly cooked beans and chickpeas that are both tender and firm, which are almost impossible to obtain on your own.
Unless you have a grandmother who shared her secrets with you, you usually won’t be able to cook cassoulet as well as something that comes straight out of a good brand tin can, like “La Belle Chaurienne” (if you are lucky enough to have access to this excellent French brand, which in fact is not more expensive than any other good brands).
One exception: lentils!
For a reason that I ignore, canned lentils tend to be watery, too soft, and certainly not as good as what you get at home by boiling them in a pot of water.
Nuts, Almonds, Hazelnuts
They can be added to salads, served as a dessert, as an aperitif or as snacks, advantageously replacing appetizer cookies, sweet desserts and candies …
Salt is very important for cell function (chemical exchanges and electrical signals) and for acid-base balance.
But there is a big difference between refined salt and Himalayan salt.
Indeed, 90% of sea salt today is contaminated with microplastics.
“Microplastics are small plastic pieces less than five millimeters long which can be harmful to our ocean and aquatic life. … Microbeads are tiny pieces of polyethylene plastic added to health and beauty products, such as some cleansers and toothpastes.”National Ocean Service: https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/microplastics.html
Although the health consequences are not certain, no one wants to sprinkle plastic microbeads on their food …
On the other hand, the Himalayan salt is unrefined, purer, and considered one of the best sources of natural minerals. I therefore advise you to prefer it to refined table salt.
Black pepper helps digestion and inhibits the development of many pathogens, including staphylococci, Helicobacter pylori and E. coli. Research suggests that piperine, the active compound in pepper, also inhibits the development of new fat cells.
Use whole pepper, rather than ground pepper. We can easily store whole pepper almost indefinitely without losing its qualities. Ground pepper expires after three months, and when you buy it this way, you don’t have a guarantee as to what it really contains.
When cooking, grind it in at the last minute so that it retains its essential oils.
Mustard belongs to the same family as broccoli, and shares with it its anticancer properties.
Like broccoli, it contains sulforaphane (anticancer), but also myrosinase, an enzyme that increases anticancer potential.
Turmeric: There are too many good reasons to add turmeric to your food everywhere, and not enough space here to list them all. Turmeric is among the “super foods” of both India and China. It is antioxidant, detoxifying, anti-inflammatory, and protects against many serious diseases.
Likewise, ginger has been used for millennia in India and China, in food as well as in drinks (ginger juice, ginger infusion, etc.). It is a fortifier and a classic folk remedy for headache and nausea. It also treats digestive issues and muscle or joint pain, among others. Ginger alone deserves a whole article, I’ll tell you more about it soon!
Turmeric (also known as cumin or curcuma) is the second most consumed spice in the world, after black pepper. It stimulates the secretion of pancreatic enzymes, which are necessary for digestion and assimilation of nutrients. It also has anticancer and anti diabetes properties thanks to its terpenes, phenols and flavonoids.
Utensils – List of Essentials to Have in Your Kitchen
And finally, the type of cookware you use can also affect your health and that of your family and guests.
To protect the whole family, choose ceramic knives, especially for products that oxidize (vegetables, fruits, meat). Do not put the ceramic in contact with the cheese, because of its tendency to stick.
Choose pots and pans made of ceramic as well, or other inert materials. Non-stick surfaces contain perfluoroalkyls (PFAS), which are probable carcinogens.
When heated, they release perfluoro-octanic acid, linked to thyroid disease, infertility, organ damage. Dangerous toxins are produced after just two to five minutes of heating.
Stainless steel, aluminum and copper pots and pans also have their drawbacks, leading to toxic exposure.
Ceramic, made from earth and water only, does not release any gas or odor, even when heated to very high temperatures.
Use glass, terracotta or porcelain jars to store your food. Plastics, especially flexible plastics, can contain phthalates, bisphenol-A and bisphenol, PVCs and styrenes, which are endocrine disruptors.
All plastics are potentially harmful to health and you should avoid them, especially if you have children. Glass is completely inert and can be reused over and over again as long as it is not broken (in which case it can be recycled).
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