True Life: Kitchen Essentials. Part One.

As a full-time yoga and meditation teacher, I am always on the go, running to and from different parts of the city to get to class and meet students. It’s so important to me that while I do this, I can still maintain a healthy lifestyle. In fact, a healthy lifestyle FUELS me while running around every day! So, how do I do this? Well, I’m glad you asked.

What we put into our bodies is the foundation that keeps us going every day. Food and nutrients energize us in the morning and energize us throughout the day. After years of trial and error, I have found a group of staple items to make quick and easy meals, some of which I can eat on the go and others I can come home after a long day and have ready in 10 minutes.

For someone whose health is very important to her, these are my ride or dies. This post will be broken up into two parts, pantry and fridge, because let’s face it -- there’s too much goodness for just one post.

Having said that, here are my Top 5 PANTRY ITEMS:

*Disclaimer - I am not by any means a nutritionist or doctor. This is just what works for me, and I encourage you to find what works for you.*

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FATS

In my pantry at any given time, you can find more than one jar of almond butter. If I’m feeling frisky, maybe I’ll throw in some cashew butter and/or pecan butter (I’m looking at you, Georgia Grinders). I also always have avocados, oils, butter/ghee and raw cashews.

These GOOD fats (*cue avocado meme, see below*) nourish and satiate your bod to keep you going through the day. They give not just your body energy but your brain (enter: omega-3 fatty acids). Minimal Wellness nutritionist Rebecca Shern, RD said these sources of nutrition also help maintain blood sugar levels and cut cravings. 

PROTEIN POWDER

During the week, I am typically running around and need quick and easy meals to keep me full. Protein powder, specifically designated as a meal replacement, gives me energy and satiety that lasts. I have tried many, many brands but have found love in a hopeless place - with the Garden of Life brand, a raw and plant-based protein with a billion superfoods (the website says 44 - but that’s almost a billion). I use protein powder every day mainly in smoothies or smoothie bowls. Do I need to clarify this isn’t an ad? I just love the stuff, and really feel it gives nutrients my body needs.

GRAINS/LEGUMES

Quinoa, lentils and rice, oh my! I don’t eat many animal products. I try to listen to my body and what it wants, and the past year or so it hasn’t had much of a need for meat. But, I digress, because of this, a lot of my meals come with a heavy helping of grains and/or legumes.

Quinoa is a complete protein, with all nine essential amino acids, and has twice the fiber of most other grains. It’s also a great source of iron, which is great for anemic people such as myself. Lentils are great for heart health, digestion and protein. Rice is pretty much just used when I don’t have quinoa or lentils.

SPICES, SEASONINGS

I take my spice game very seriously. Every single meal is spiced/seasoned heavily. I couldn’t even tell you measurements of what I use, because I tend to just dump everything onto food and see how it tastes. This *usually* ends well.

In my usual rotation is turmeric, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne, nutritional yeast, black pepper and Himalayan pink salt. Sometimes I use these all together, sometimes I pick and choose. These all have a variety of health benefits; they provide a good dose of antioxidants, help with inflammation and more. Nutritional yeast is an amazing source of B-12, which we tend to be deficient in, protein and folic acid. Do your research - for all of the juicy benefits, and the delicious taste combos :).

RAW CHOCOLATE

I have a serious problem, and that problem is an insatiable need for chocolate! I am addicted to Eating Evolved caramel and sea salt coconut butter cups. They satisfy any and every sweet craving I have, and they’re made with real ingredients: coconut, cacao, coconut sugar, cacao butter and himalayan sea salt.

Growing up, my house was always stocked with snacks on snacks. You know that house in the neighborhood all the kids flocked to because of the snack selection? That was us. We had literal cakes for no apparent reason, no celebration (hi mom, I love you, thanks for making every day a celebration). Long story short, I have gone through life unable to shake this sweet tooth I developed. Instead of going crazy depriving myself, I found substitutes, which are arguably better than the real thing, with REAL ingredients. That’s the key, no matter what you’re eating - real, whole ingredients that are nice and easy on your beautiful body.

And for now, this is where I leave you. Leave your thoughts and/or questions in the comments below, or feel free to connect with me on Instagram or Facebook. Check back next week for Part TWO where we will take a thrilling and riveting look inside my refrigerator! 

Namaste, 

Maggie