Top 10 smoothie boosters and other pantry staples!

A GUIDE to Almost Raw Vegan (ARV) Pantry Staples to get your pantry ARV ready!

One of the most common questions I get is “What foods do I need to stock in my pantry?” 

The best way for me to answer this is to tell you what I have in my own pantry. I’ve included below my MOST favourite pantry staples, including TOP 10 Smoothie Boosters & Other Pantry Staples these are the items I have on hand in my ARV kitchen.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to have a fully stocked pantry right away – just buy what you need as you explore new recipes – over time you’ll find your pantry will transform with a new set of staples.

My aim? To provide you with an easy peasy reference to guide you as you, over time, stock your own ARV pantry! I hope you find it helpful!


TOP 10 SMOOTHIE BOOSTERS

I always like to add an additional BOOST to all my green smoothies – even though my green smoothies are super nutritious on their own, it’s always nice to add an additional boost of nutrition. My body (and yours) will love you for it.

Here are my fav boosters ~ keeping in mind these boosters are not just for Green Smoothies, I use them for lots of other recipes as noted below.

Medjool Dates

as - medjoolMedjool dates are my go-to sweetner! I use them to sweeten my green smoothies and for many of my Sweets recipes including Cashew Chews, Cranberry Chews, Caramel Ice Cream.  Another great treat – simply remove the pit and add an almond and you have an super easy chewy treat!

Medjools are a definite staple in our home!

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Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are full of healthful omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They have high levels of protein and fiber and no cholesterol. They are also rich in antioxidants and they contain minerals in significant amounts, including calcium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, copper, iron, niacin and manganese.

Two tablespoons of chia seeds contains 5 grams of fat (good fat!), 5 grams dietary fiber and 3 grams protein. It also provides 12% of daily recommended calcium and 7% of iron.

Add 1-2 tbsp to your daily smoothie and get a nutritional boost from these little gems! If you add Chia seeds, you can skip the Flaxseed & Hempseed.  I alternate between the three on a daily basis.

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Flaxseed

Flaxseeds are also full of healthful omega-3 (although less than chia seeds) and includes high levels of protein and fiber and no cholesterol. They are also very high in magnesium, manganese and phosphorous.

The trick with flaxseed is you have to grind the seeds (I use a coffee grinder) in order to reap the nutritional benefits. Grind enough flaxseed to last the week and store in the fridge. You don’t want to grind too much as it will go rancid.

If you consume the whole seeds they will not be broken down by the body, so you need to grind them before consuming the seeds.

Add 1-2 tablespoons to your smoothies, or spinkle on a salad. If you add flaxseed to your smoothie, you can skip the Chai seed & Hempseed.  I alternate between the three, in my smoothies on a daily basis.

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Hempseed

Hemp seed is a complete protein and adds a protein boost to any smoothie, salad or stir-fry!

It’s perfect for your post-workout smoothie. It has the ideal balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6, plus it has an abundance of mineral content.

The oils in hemp seed are wonderful for nourishing skin and hair. I love to include 1-2 tbsp in any smoothie, but especially my post workout smoothie, or in any nut milk recipe.

Two tablespoons of hemp seed contain 6.8 grams of fat (good fats!), 5 grams protein. It also contains 10% of daily recommended iron, very high in magnesium and manganese and high in vitamin E.

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Wheatgrass Juice

Wheatgrass is a young grass plant in the wheat family – although it is not “wheat” and safe for gluten-free, wheat-free diet. Wheatgrass provides a very high concentration of  nutrients, including chlorophyll, iron, calcium, magnesium, amino acids and vitamins A, C and E.

The rich chlorophyll content of wheatgrass makes it a perfect addition to any smoothie. You can grow/juice your own wheatgrass or buy frozen cubes and add 1-2 cubes to your smoothies to reap the benefits from the extra boost of nutrients!

If you are in the USA you can buy flash frozen here.  Otherwise, try your local healthfood store.

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e3Live

e3Live is a blue-green algae that is renowned as a superfood. It contains a powerful punch of chlorophyll, it provides 65 easily absorbed vitamins, minerals, enzymes and essential fatty acids.

It comes frozen in a bottle. To use it, thaw the bottle, pour a few days worth into a jar and store in the fridge and return the original bottle to the freezer. Another option is to thaw the bottle and pour into ice cube trays and return to the freezer.

I like to add to my morning smoothie or I also love to have a shot in the morning after my lemon water!

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Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is not the same as other yeasts such as brewer’s yeast or baker’s yeast.

It is an inactive yeast, which means it does not feed off sugars the same way regular yeast does. If you are yeast intolerant, your body would normally be okay with nutritional yeast.

It is also a great source of protein and vitamins, especially B-complex vitamins and is sometimes fortified with vitamin B-12. It is also a complete protein – one ounce of nutritional yeast contains 14 grams of protein.

Nutritional yeast has a bit of a cheesy flavour and is a great substitute in recipes where you might use a sprinkling of cheese, such as parmesan cheese. I love it on my Oven-Roasted Vegetable Pizza. It’s also great with cooked vegetables, my favourite is cooked green beans or brussels sprouts, tossed with a little olive oil, fresh ground pepper and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast! Yum!

Add 1-2 tbsp of nutritional yeast to your smoothies a few times a week for an extra nutritional boost!

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Maca Root Powder

Maca is a root grown in the mountains of Peru, and it’s a member of the radish family. Maca’s benefits have been long valued in Peruvian culture and is sometimes called “Peruvian Ginseng”.

Maca is rich in protein and and provides a good source of vitamins B1, B2, B12, C and E, calcium, iron and iodine.

Maca is widely used to promote sexual function in both men and women and is said to boost the libido and increase endurance. As well it is said to balance hormones and increase fertility, relieve menstrual and menopause symptoms.

Maca is also used by many athletes for peak performance as it is known for increasing energy, endurance levels and stamina.

It sounds fabulous doesn’t it?

Well caution should definitely be exercised when using maca as it does not agree with everyone, and if it does not agree with you the effects may be very intrusive (depression, lethargy). As with all things we consume, listen to your body and if it works for you, great! And if not, stop taking it.

It’s best to start with small amounts (i.e. maximum 1/2 tsp) and build up very gradually over a few weeks (but only increase if you feel you need to) to a maximum of 1 tablespoon daily. Maca has a very distinct and somewhat strong flavour so it can overpower your smoothie, so it’s best to try a little and adjust to your own tastes. I love in my raspberry & almond butter smoothie, it adds an almost caramel flavour.

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Raw Cacao Powder

Raw chocolate is often referred to as raw cacao. It is always dark and always a minimum of 75% cacao. Processing results in the loss of certain vitamins and minerals, so some consider raw cacao to be a more nutritious form of chocolate as it’s not processed.

Cacao in it’s pure form (i.e. high % cacao without any additives) is very nutritious and contains protein, fat, carbs, fiber, iron, zinc, copper, calcium and magnesium.

Magnesium is especially helpful for strong bones and is associated with muscle relaxation and feelings of calmness.

I sometimes buy raw cacao and/or raw cacao nibs – but even if you don’t buy raw, what’s important is that you buy cocoa in it’s purest form, made from 100% cacao and no other ingredients.

I really don’t eat a lot of cacao/cocoa – I might have my Banana Cocoa Smoothie every couple of weeks and I probably make Chewy Treats with Cocoa once every month or two, so I don’t use it a lot. I recommend occasional use of cacao/cocoa as it is a stimulant.

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Gogi Berries

Some claim that goji berries are the next fountain of youth.

Goji berries are also called wolfberries. They are bright orange-red and come from shrubs. The plant is native to China and in Asia they have been eaten for generations in hopes of living a longer life.

Like other berries – blueberries, cranberries, strawberries – goji berries are filled with powerful antioxidants and other compounds that are beneficial for our bodies. They are rich in vitamin A, beta-carotene and packed full of vitamin C.

You can add a handful of goji berries to any smoothie. I especially love a combination of oranges, goji berries and spinach which gives an extra boost for the immune system. I also love adding goji berries to my granola! Or just eat them as is, I love the texture!

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OTHER PANTRY STAPLEs

In addition to my FAV Nutritional Boosters for Smoothies, I also have many many more staples that I keep stocked in my ARV Pantry!

Braggs Liquid Amino

I love Braggs! It add that soy flavour to cooking but is much healthier than soy sauce. It still is high in salt so you do need to use sparingly, but you don’t need much to get the flavour.

I love mising braggs with toasted sesame oil & some chopped ginger! Gives a yummy asian flavour to any stir-fry, roasted veggies or creates a yummy salad dressing.

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Toasted Sesame Oil

I love toasted sesame oil. Yes, it is expenstive, but you really only need a few drops to get the exceptional flavour!

I love to add a few drops to stir-fry, I expecially love when combined with Braggs and some chopped ginger for a yummy asian flavour that’s perfect for salads, veggies or stir-fry.

My kitchen is never without toasted sesame oil.

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Raw Cashews

Oh my gawd, I TOTALLY love Cashews! I use cashews several times a week – I make Cashew Milk, plus cashews are a key ingredient to my granola, I love to throw a few in my green smotohies, I also use them to make my cheesy sauce (Cheesy Cauliflower).

Cashew Butter is to DIE-for! Not to mention that most of my chew sweets include cashews as a key ingredient.

A definite staple in our house!

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Raw Almonds

Raw Almonds is another staple that we always have on hand. Mostly because my hubby love to eat them raw and au natural! They are his go to snack.

I love to make almond milk, almond butter, I use almonds in my granola, I love slipping a couple of almonds inside a medjool date for a quick energizing snack! I also love to add a handful to stir-fry (especially when I want an asian flavour and use the Braggs + Sesame oil + ginger mentioned above).

There are a gazillion uses for almonds, so make sure you always have some on hand.

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Raw Pumpkin Seeds

I love pumpkin seeds! Ok, I know ~ I say that about everthing I love pumpkin seeds in my granola, I LOVE pumpkin seeds in salads ~ add some orange or mandarine slides and the vitamin C helps to absorb the iron! I also love toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas) to snack on!

You’ll want to keep some of these handy for sure!

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Raw Sunflower Seeds

Yet another staple in our house. Sunflower seeds are super in granola, salads, pate, nut cheese, spinkled on a salad and so much more!

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Raw Almond Butter

I am sooo addicted to Raw Almond Butter ~ I can easily eat a 1/2 jar in one sitting! Shhhh don’t tell anyone! 🙂

Ok, so there are times when I make in on my own ~ it’s easy peasy to make! But I always buy Raw Almond Butter and keep a few jars on hand in my pantry… there are a few brands I like ~ my favourites are Artisana (shown here) as well as Maranatha & Nuts To You Nut Butter Inc.

I use in my Sweet treats, on a slice of rye with sliced banana’s on top – and I love to add 1-2 tbsp to my green smoothies! Oh, also great adding to the crevis of celery stack for a quick & easy snack!

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Raw Cashew Butter

Next to  Raw Almond Butter, Raw Cashew Butter is my ALL TIME Fav! Yes, it is more expensive, so I don’t always have on hand but I do tend to buy a jar a few times a year for those special treats!

My Creamy Raspberry Cashew Smoothie is one of my fav’s where I use Raw Cashew Butter. There is no replacement for Raw Cashew Butter… it is truly delicious and well worth the treat!

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Sunflower Seed Rye Bread

We love a good wholesome Rye Bread ~ ok that might have something to do with our German & Danish roots ~ I love enjoying rye in the morning either topped with avocado or raw almond butter & banana. We also love rye at lunch with hummus, lettuce & sprouts, tomatoes & avocado!  Yum! There are a ton of yummy meals that can be created with rye bread as the base!

I always have a few package of rye bread on hand, one in the fridge and a few in the freezer.

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Chick Peas

Chick Peas (also known as Garbanzo Beans) are a definite staple in our home.

I use them to make hummus, I use in salads and stir-fry’s.

I use either canned or I also buy raw and sprout them, which is also super nutritious way to enjoy them!

I especially like the EDEN brand as the cans have BPA free lining and there is no salt added!

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Black Beans

Black Beans are another legume staple in our home. I love them in my tomato, black bean salad. YUM! I add to any salad, use in stir fries and even Black Bean Brownies! Woohoo!

In case you missed my note above 🙂 I’m big on the EDEN Brand, as there is no salt added and the lining of the can is BPA free. Love EDEN!

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Coconut Milk

I always have coconut milk on hand. Although we don’t use that often as it’s very rich, but it’s ideal for adding creamy dreamy texture to any dish.

I use in stir-fry’s, smoothies or anything where I want a little bit of kick.

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Dulse

Dulse is a sea vegetable. Sea vegetables are varieties of algae that grow in the ocean as well as fresh water areas.

Dulse and other sea vegetables are an excellent source of iron, minerals and trace minerals such as magnesium, potassium, folate, vitamin K, calcium, iron and protein. They are especially rich in iodine which is essential for a healthy metabolism and thyroid functions.

I recommend having sea vegetables every day. The ones I use most often are dulse and kelp – add 1-2 tsp to your smoothie (ok but start with a small amount, it’s an aquired taste) or sprinkle on any salad.

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Kelp Noodles

I discovered kelp noodles a while back! Another great way to get your sea vegetables in addition to the Dulse mentioned above.

I love them best marinated with asian flavour and tossed with veggies. Mmmm.

I always have a few package of these noodles on hand in my pantry!

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Pure Maple Syrup

Many of my recipes call for liquid sweeter ~ maple syrup is about as pure as you can get! Although you need to ensure you get the pure version with no other ingredients other than maple syrup!

Of course being Canadian, the Canadian Maple Syrup is the one I love most!

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Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil is awesome. Completely awesome and I use it all the time in my kitchen. I use it in my stir-fry, I toss sweet potatoes with coconut oil before roasting, I love adding to smsoothies for a creamy texture PLUS I use coconut oil as my one and only overall body moisturizer! Yup, it is a multi-purpose superfood!

Yes it is saturated and I know that concerns some people – but the saturated fats of coconut oil are way different than the saturated fats from steak! Bottom line these fats are not equal and our bodies metabolize them very differently. So enjoy your coconut oil in your kitchen & your bathroom!

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Coconut Butter

Coconut butter contains similar nutritional characteristics to coconut oil, but it’s not just the oil it is whole pureed coconut. One tablespoon of coconut butter provides 2 grams of fiber as well as small amounts of potassium, magnesium, and iron.

Think of it this way, you wouldn’t use almond oil & almond butter in the same way – so you won’t use coconut oil & coconut butter in the same way either.

Coconut butter is thicker in texture, and is yummy as a spread just like regular butter! Try it on a slide of toasted dark rye bread, or add a dabble on top of steamed veggies. It is also yummy in smoothies or topped on berries (like you would use yogurt, but use much less). Oh, and it’s luxurious on your skin!

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Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) has become pretty popular in recent years.

It’s a gluten-free, very high in protein and fibre rich whole grain that cooks very quickly. It’s light and fluffy with a bit of a nutty flavour.

There are several colours available, they all taste the same – but it can be find ot use different colours to make your dish more visually pleasing 🙂 it comes in beige, black, red & tricolour.

Quinoa is great for salads, soups, as a base for stir-frys. We love it and enjoy it atlease a few time a week.

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Buckwheat

Buckwheat, contrary to the name, contains no “wheat” and is gluten-free.

It’s one of the best plant-based sources of high-quality protein that is also easily digestible.

I use buckwheat any time I would normally use rice. It’s a little more dense than quinoa and not as fluffy, but is very tasty and perfect with stir-fry or in soups ~ also great as a morning cereal like a porridge!

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Click any of the links above and you will be taken directly to Amazon so you can see details about my fav pantry staples.  If you do decide to make a purchase, I receive a very small commission. Rest assured, I ONLY recommend products that I myself use AND LOVE!   


 

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