My OMS pantry staples + tips for doing it cheaper & healthier
Starting OMS is a big change, I remember those days transitioning quite clearly and not fully understanding what I could eat and what I couldn't. At the time and looking back, I was sort of stumbling round in the dark, buying things I thought were OMS but later found out they weren't. Or throwing things out I thought were bad to later find out they were just fine, I've learnt a lot along the way.
Over the last 19 months I've slowly perfected our grocery shop to the things that I always use and those ingredients that I feel most safe and comfortable eating. I've also whittled down what works for us, staples for home-made sauces, dinners and treats. I've learnt so much about buying and eating plant based, vegan food and seafood and trying to make it as tasty as possible while keeping ingredients pure.
So this week I thought I'd share with you what's inside my pantry and some of my tips to help you do it cheaper and as healthy as possible. These are all things that I've learnt on my journey so far that will hopefully help you be more efficient, avoid some of the pitfalls and keep your costs down on OMS.
- My approach to beginning OMS was to basically wipe the slate clean. I found this great to both mentally and physically start a-fresh and really give it my best efforts, and also avoid temptation.
- Spend most of your time in the outer isles of the supermarket - you've probably heard this before but its very true, fruit and vege make up most of our shopping now. Then there's fish and seafood, health foods, and frozen berries all on the outer, the rest I now skim through the isles so much quicker than before.
- Make use of your local farmers market - they will have a larger variety of organic produce, it's more obvious what's in season as it's the farmers themselves selling their own stuff which means a more nutrient dense product and fresher, it's a great way to spend a sunday morning, your supporting local and it's cheaper than the supermarket. BUT be careful to always ask if they are certified organic, you can usually tell by how genuine and forth coming the owners are. If their certified they are more than happy to tell you.
- Don't beat yourself up for not buying certified organic or chemical free if you can't afford it or it's not available - yes they are better but it's not always that easy. I always try to buy what I can organic and chemical free that's within our budget (especially those fruits and veges with a thin skin like spinach and the dirty dozen) and then I buy the rest non organic. Wild crafted and bio-dynamic are also great options. I use to beat myself up about it, but it's not worth the emotions, just let it go, be happy and move on, you've done your best! The best advice I got on organics was - fruits and vegetables are always best whether organic or not! plus! there's an easy trick to help get most of the pesticide residue off them.
- Always wash your produce well and use this homemade solution on non organics... "You can simply wash your fresh produce in distilled white vinegar and water solution. Gayle Povis Alleman, a registered dietician, suggests soaking your veggies and fruits in a solution of 10% vinegar to 90% water. Make the mixture, and let the produce sit in for 15 to 20 minutes. When you remove them, you’ll notice that the water left in the bowl is dirty and may contain some gunk. Rinse fruits and vegetables in fresh water, and then enjoy your cleaner product. This method shouldn’t be used on fragile fruits, such as berries, as they have a very porous skin and might get damaged and soak in too much of the vinegar. With other fruits, there should be no lingering vinegar aroma. If you wish, you can also use lemon juice." - healthyandnaturalworld.com
- Be weary of GMO foods (genetically modified) main offenders are soy, corn and wheat products so always try and buy these certified organic
- Use a friends or neighbours rosemary bush - rosemary is hardy and grows well in a big bush so people who have it will have surplus in their gardens and it's really good for your brain
- Buy in bulk and less often if you can as it's cheaper. We usually do a shop that lasts 2 to 3 weeks (with little top-ups/odd ingredients in between), it might feel like your spending more but you'll find things are lasting longer.
- Be-friend a great fisherman/hunter gatherer/diver who can catch free wild caught seafood for you to exchange. Or if you know a Kiwi (New Zealander) guy ask him if he dives at all. Kiwi men are usually outdoorsy types and are also quite friendly, they might just gift you a crayfish or some paua next time they have too much
- Grow your own herbs, fruits and veges or use a community vege patch.
- Plant a herb bush here and there in whatever dirt or soil you have, ones better than none.
- Make your own foods if you can as these can be expensive to buy - Kombucha, kefir, nut milk, sauces, cashew cheese, sourdough, tomato sauce, chutneys, smoothie bowls, smoothies and juices - you can always freeze extra.
- Buy fruit in bulk at the end of the season to freeze - Fruit is usually cheaper as the season comes to an end, so its a good time to buy them in bulk like mangos. You can chop them up and put them in zip-lock bags to use year round in smoothie bowls or home-made chutney etc.
- Almond milk - I've tried a few and I like Vitasoy unsweetened almond milk the most (otherwise I make my own)
- Coconut water - Coconut water doesn't have much saturated fat and is really hydrating. I use it in smoothies and smoothie bowls
- Flaxseed oil - Melrose Organic Flaxseed oil
- Kalamata Olives - great for chopping up on pizza or in cooking
- Anchovies - I use these as a salty alternative to cheese on pizzas
- Kombucha - fermented sweet tea (a healthy probiotic fizzy drink) I make my own with organic green and black tea bags
- Fish sauce - handy for curries and dipping sauces for rice paper rolls
- Fresh herbs - parsley, mint, coriander, basil. Basils handy for making vegan pesto and basil cashew cheese, mints great for smoothies and juices, coriander for Mexican and curries, parsley for everything.
- Organic free range eggs - I use the whites sometimes for protein and ben eats them
- Mustard - great for making sauces
- Home-made mango chutney or Mrs Balls Chutney
- Apple Cider Vinegar - healthy, great for sauces and cooking
- Hummus - Pilpel hummus brand uses extra virgin olive oil, a lot of bands use canola so be weary or make it yourself
- Sauerkraut - fermented cabbage, great for probiotics and in fish & salad wraps
- Prunes - snacking
- Gluten free wraps - great for quick dinners, lunches, salad or fish wraps or thin crispy pizza bases
- Fish - frozen fish in vacuum packed portions that Ben catches, easy for dinners
- Sourdough loaves - great toasted with flaxseed oil and spreads and easier on your system than other types of bread as its fermented
- Corn tortillas - these are gluten free and great for Mexican dishes or fish enchiladas
- Frozen berries - strawberries, blackberries, cherries, blueberries, mango, pineapple - all great for smoothie bowls, smoothies and nice-cream
- Lots of frozen whole bananas - base of smoothie bowls and smoothies
- Home-made fish stock - sometimes when ben catches fish we'll boil the frames down and make our own fish stock, this is great for connective tissue, hair, skin and nails as all the collagen comes out of the bones. This is my OMS version of bone broth which is also healing to the gut.
- Heaps of greens - kale, spinach leaves, cos lettuce, celery, zuchini is great for zoodling
- Sulphur rich vege - red cabbage, brocolli, cauliflower, garlic, radishes, mushrooms
- Antioxidants rich vege (colourful veges) - peppers, carrots, spinach, sweet corn, beetroot
- Potatoes - I love dutch cream for mashing and new season for boiling
- Sweet potato and kumara (purple sweet potato) - lots of vitamin A and great for mashing and topping dishes
- Squash pumpkin - roast vege and mash
- Edamame beans - boil and sprinkle with sea salt
- Avocado - great for icing or mouse, mexican, dips, sauces or just on toast
- Lemons and/or limes - great for everything! smoothies, in cooking, sauces, squeezed over fish
- Heaps of any fruit that's in season - a variety of berries - blueberries, strawberries, cherries, blackberries and melons, rockmelon and water melon which are cooling in the summer months and kiwis, citrus and apples in the cooler months.
- Raw Almonds - great for making almond milk, raw treats also a great vegan source of protein
- Raw Cashews - cashews are fantastic! they add a creaminess to anything. I use them in my vegan mayo, cashew cheese, vegan ice-cream & raw treats.
- Hazelnut-meal (ground hazelnuts) - for making raw nutella
- Almond-meal (ground almonds) - raw treats, bliss balls
- Medjool dates & normal dates - used a lot in sweet treats
- Pine Nuts - vegan pesto
- Pure Vanilla Essence - handy for baking, avoid the fake stuff
- Pure Maple Syrup - natural sweetener, a lot of raw and vegan recipes call for maple syrup
- Rice Malt syrup - quite subtle and less sweet, great in homemade sauces, super sticky
- Marmite - full of B vitamins
- Dried Beans & Legumes - black beans are great for Mexican and baking, green lentils for vegan shepherds pie, orange lentils for dhal, chickpeas for hummus and patties, kidney beans, soup mix and any others you may want. Always soak these over night or a day before boiling as it will activate them which is basically pre-digesting them so you dont get a sore tummy or wind
- Tinned tomatos & bottled Passata
- Fresh garlic & ginger always
- Dried sundried tomatoes - the dehydrated ones that arn't in oil, great in vegan shepherds pie
- Herbal teas - Camomile, peppermint, green tea and any other blends
- Dandilion coffee - caffeine free alternative to coffee, liver detoxifier,
- Ground spices - cardamon, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise all great for making home made chia lattes
- Ground herbs - cayenne pepper, paprika, cumin, turmeric, sumac, curry powder, chilli flakes etc
- Pink Himalayan sea salt for minerals & black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Tomato puree - great pizza sauce base
- Organic extra virgin & unrefined coconut oil (NOT OMS) - I use this for oil pulling first thing in the morning and I spit it. Plus a very small amount from time to time in healthy baking
- Rice paper - great for rice paper rolls
- Nori sheets - sushi
- Apple sauce - baking
- Quinoa - great source of protein and a healthier alternative to rice
- Brown rice - always soak or boil in lots of water to get rid of as much arsenic as possible
- Amaranth - an ancient grain, great for mixing in with porridge
- Buckwheat flour - gluten free flour alternative
- Cornflour - for thickening sauces or cooking sometimes
- Coconut sugar - has a little more nutrients in it
- Brown rice crackers and wafers
- Massel Stock cubes - these are the most pure I can find and fantastic flavour
- Gluten free pasta - spirals, penne, spagetti and pasta sheets - I use San Remo and brown rice, quinoa & amaranth ones
- Tamari sauce & gluten free soy sauce
- Rice wine vinegar - making sushi
- Raw nut butters - peanut, almond, cashew, macadamia
- Tahini (sesame paste) - great for sauces
- Xanthan Gum - a gluten free thickening powder
- Gluten free baking powder & baking soda
- Raisins - bliss balls, raw treats
health food store / superfoods
- Nutritional yeast - full of b vitamins and a great cheesy substitute in sauces and cooking - I highly recommend getting this one its not very expensive and lasts ages
- Cacao powder - your chocolate alternative, great healthy alternative to cocoa, full of nutrients and antioxidants and great for baking
- Cacao nibs - great healthy chocolate chip alternative and smoothie bowl topper
- Maca powder - energising
- Chia seeds - fibre rich, chia pudding and great sprinkled on smoothie bowls and salads, also can be an egg replacement when mixed with water
- Acai & Pink Pitaya smoothie packs - great for energy and concentration
- Buckinis - activated buckwheat groats, crunchy gluten free muesli alternative for smoothie bowls and baking
- Coconut Water Kefir - probiotics I use a little everyday in my smoothie bowls
- Brown rice puffs - for baking
- Lecithin granules - for making almond milk, make sure it's not gmo
BATHROOMS & KITCHEN
Eco store and Earth Choice are both great brands for eliminating toxins in your household and personal care products if you live in Australia or New Zealand. Hunt out the best and most affordable cleaning brands for where you live. I find most supermarkets are pretty good these days.
- Eco Store soaps
- Earth choice bathroom and kitchen sprays
- Pure Eucalyptus oil (Thursday Plantation) for greasy surfaces, mirrors, floors and cabinets - smells amazing!
- Baking soda - to whiten whites in wash, gentle bleach alternative
- Organic Care shampoo and conditioner
- Eco Store or Earth Choice dishwashing liquid
- Eco Store or Earth Choice washing powder
- Eco Store or Earth Choice toilet cleaner
- www.whogivesacrap.org I recently found this online supplier of toilet paper that are eco friendly, use no inks, dyes or perfumes and are biodegradable. They also donate to wateraid.
That's about it for us and our OMS pantry and what I buy on shopping day. Hopefully thats helped to shed some light on where to start with shopping and building up some good staples.
I'd love to know your favourite OMS foods/ingredients too - what do you guys buy? let me know in the comments below!
Much love & happy shopping!!