During the winter season, we all need a little extra when it comes to supporting our health and wellness. I have an arsenal of whole-food, nutrient dense essentials that I try to always keep on hand. I provide my whole checklist, why I love them and how I use them in Holistic Home Apothecary.
In this post, I'm sharing FIVE nutrient-rich, whole food kitchen staples that I am particularly loving right now.
1. HIGH MINERAL SEA SALT
Salt? Really?? Yes! I'm not talking about your refined, white table salt. I'm talking about salt that contains up to 80 trace minerals - many of which most folks are lacking - and is packed with electrolytes.
Sodium, magnesium, and potassium could be thought of as "macro minerals". We need plenty of them! These electrolytes are responsible for many tasks and systems, including keeping our fluids in balance, nerve function, and supporting our musculoskeletal system. While we don't want to go overboard on salt, we don't need to be afraid of the right kinds. I highly recommend Celtic Sea Salt, Redmond Real Salt or a high quality pink Himalayan salt.
To gain the benefits:
Swap out refined table salt for high mineral sea salt.
Season your food well - your taste buds will tell you when it's too much.
Pop a small pinch of salt under your tongue before bed to support relaxation and sleep.
Add a pinch to your drinking water along with a squeeze of citrus juice to hydrate your body better than water alone.
2. RAW CACAO POWDER
Wintertime is hot cocoa time. Did you know that a cup of hot chocolate can be quite nutrient dense with the right ingredients? Raw cacao powder (higher quality and less processed unsweetened cocoa powder) is full of antioxidants like flavonoids and polyphenols which delay cell damage. It's chock full of fiber, magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc, manganese, copper, and potassium. If you're craving chocolate, it might be your body craving some of these vital nutrients!
Ditch the hot cocoa packets and try this recipe:
Heat 2 cups milk of choice until very warm to hot - not boiling.
Whisk in 2 TBS raw cacao powder.
Turn heat to low. Add 3-5 drops liquid stevia (just enough sweetness to allow us to use less sugar) and 2 tsp. organic maple syrup or raw honey. Mix until smooth.
Remove from heat and add 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract. For a fun variation, you could add a small pinch of cinnamon and cardamom!
During this pregnancy (our 4th baby), I've been craving cacao, and have been adding it to my morning glass of raw milk. I keep it very simple: some ice, raw milk and 1 heaping tablespoon of cacao powder in the blender. If I want it a bit sweeter, I add a few drops of liquid stevia and a tsp of maple syrup. Sometimes I'll swap the sweeteners for some frozen banana. It's incredibly delicious and a nutrient-dense start to my morning.
This one might seem strange to some of you, but once you learn the benefits of a high-quality beef gelatin, you'll want to incorporate it into your diet. Don't worry, there's no beef involved; beef gelatin is flavorless and a cousin of sorts to collagen peptides. Think of it as a healthy, unflavored Jello powder (minus the sugar, food dyes, preservatives, etc.). Just one tablespoon of beef gelatin has 9-10 grams of absorbable protein! It's gentle and beneficial for gut health and digestion and has an extensive amino acid profile.
Of course, we can consume gelatin naturally in the form of bone broth. Chicken soup really does nurse you back to health when you're sick! Buying gelatin in powder form allows you gain all the benefits in a variety of ways. Keep in mind that it's a natural thickener, so don't just chuck it in your morning smoothie. Used the right way, you can transform otherwise unhealthy food and dessert options into nutrient-dense treats teeming with health benefits!
Here are our favorite ways to sneak it into our diet:
Homemade gummies - our favorite superfood gummy recipes can be found in Holistic Home Apothecary!
Adding to soups to thicken and add protein and nutrients
Homemade healthy jello
4. CITRUS FRUITS
I know there's nothing earth-shattering about this, but it can be easy to overlook these nutritional powerhouses. These high fiber fruits are packed - PACKED - with bioavailable vitamin C! Lemons and limes are also very low in sugar.
Sluggish digestion? Start your morning with a cup of warm lemon tea. Simply mix lemon juice into hot water and sip it down before breakfast. You could add a touch of honey for taste or a slice of ginger to increase digestive benefits. Lemon is a great digestive, and drinking warm water has been shown to improve regularity as well.
You can ditch the pricy electrolyte powders or sugary sports drinks; adding lemon or lime juice to your drinking water, along with a pinch of mineral salt, will boost your hydration by adding in electrolytes. Pack an even bigger electrolyte punch by mixing citrus with plain, unsweetened coconut water. Gatorade who?
Frozen berries are another fantastic source of vitamin C, are low in sugar, and high in much-needed fiber. See how I combine with Kitchen Staple #5 for a super healthy sipper that will give you a BIG vitamin boost!
5. BAOBAB FRUIT POWDER
Are y'all tired of me talking about baobab yet? This economical kitchen staple has come to my aid time and again. If I feel a cold coming on - baobab. If my kiddos need a nutrient boost - baobab. If I want to make an exciting yet super healthy snack for said kiddos - baobab gummies. Our sweet and sour baobab gummy recipe is a favorite from Holistic Home Apothecary (releasing this month!).
Some fast facts: baobab is rich in magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, vitamin C, and B vitamins. It also boasts one gram of fiber and zero sugar per 1/2 teaspoon! The flavor has been described as citrusy, like a tangy sherbet. It mixes beautifully with other fruit flavors!
Here are some fast and easy ways to incorporate baobab into your diet:
Add a teaspoon per serving of fruit smoothie. We love it with frozen strawberries, banana, baby greens, and plain Greek yogurt!
As a quick snack for the kids, I mix 1/2 or 1 teaspoon into unsweetened applesauce. The kids love the flavor!
Make a simple lemonade by whisking a teaspoon of baobab powder into a cup of lemon water. Sweeten with stevia to taste. Serve over plenty of ice.
This is a short list of current favorites - there's so much more I want to share with you! What are some of your favorite kitchen staples for wellness? Leave a comment and let me know!