In My Kitchen

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I'm very excited to share today's post. It's a personal post and one I've been wanting to share here for a long time. It's also a topic I get lots of emails and questions regarding here on dwell in beauty which is food. 
I strongly believe we are what we eat, and we also are what we don't eat. I also believe that eating healthy is a way of living but it can be delicious and satisfying as well! Life is too short to go around eating bland food. I love to eat and I love to eat well! As Virginia Woolf said perfectly: 

I am passionate about food and cooking. I mean it. I don't just get excited to share my recipes here on my blog. I love to get in the kitchen on days and whip up tons of creations all in one sitting. Cooking has always been one way for me to express myself creatively. Over the course of time, I've learned by self teaching which ingredients are better for me and what is not. I feel better as a person and a mother when I can give my family healthy balanced meals any time of day. Food I feel is a very sensitive topic for many. So many of us struggle with finding the balance of eating well. We mean to eat good but fall off the band wagon. I feel from personal experience that "falling off the band wagon" happens when our own kitchens are not properly stocked with the right foods to create delicious, healthy meals. Whether it's a quick snack or a more thought out meal, your kitchen should supply you with exactly what you need to create the food that gives fuel to your life.

In this post, I spoke a little bit about my journey about health and losing pregnancy weight. Eating right will shed pounds. As they say "abs are made in the kitchen" and that couldn't be more true! By keeping my kitchen supplied with everything I needed to eat right, I lost ALL the baby weight and even more! Happy camper over here! Of course adding in exercise helped too. I don't believe in "diets" I believe in eating clean food. I believe in balance. And I know that by eating right great results follow.

Below I divided up different food/ ingredient categories to make it simple. 
Each item I listed are my personal selections that I always have in my household.

I want to note that I am not a dietician or is any of this information guaranteed to help with weight loss or to deliver results of any kind. It is a guide to help my readers utilize the tools I use to live a healthy life everyday.

I go grocery shopping once a week. I try to plan my meals and I always get the essentials. Essentials for me is produce. My cart is filled with produce and is the main component of what I buy each week. We all know fruits and veggies are good for us so I won't waste your time going on and on in that category. But I will share with you how having lots of fresh produce to choose from are perfect addition to a meal in a salad or side dish. They are easy and quick to prepare. I like to slice up apples (especially granny smith apples as they are low glycemic) as a snack and squeeze fresh lemon juice on it! Yum! I'll add the apples to salads as well. Sweet potatoes are easy to cook and I eat them often for lunch. Watermelon is a keeper since I make agua fresca often. Check out my recipe here. Bananas, avocados and even sweet potatoes can be mashed up and mixed into dishes. I also love to have fresh ginger on hand for green juices and also lots of fresh mint from my garden. The ideas are endless!

I do not drink milk. Period. I've been lactose intolerant since I was a child,  I grew up drinking rice milk instead, so I never really loved drinking milk since I wasn't raised on it.  Its funny, I actually prefer a glass of water with my chocolate cookie than milk! 
I will eat the occasional dairy product but keep it at a minimum and I know my personal limit. I love Almond milk now, not so much to drink but as an ingredient to add into yummy fruit smoothies, healthy oat pancakes and so much more. I did add milk to this category since I purchase it for my son, and I mix it into his scrambled eggs and things like that. 
I do need to mention that when it comes to dairy, eggs or even meat I try my best to purchase grass fed & organic. It tastes so much better and is better for our bodies.
In my household we eat a lot of eggs as well. I usually buy 2 dozen every week! I mix the eggs into baked goods and make up a lot of hard boiled eggs. Hard boiled eggs are too easy and healthy to pass up. No excuse to not get in some healthy protein in the day. 

In my pantry I keep all the dried goods in glass containers or mason jars. Its easy to see what I've got, keeps them fresher longer and is safer than plastic containers. Plus they're pretty to look at.
Dry goods will last awhile if stored properly. 
I like to add chia seeds into smoothies or make chia seed pudding, like this one.
Hemp seeds make a tasty garnish and topping to oatmeal and also good to add into baked goods, the same goes for flaxseed. 
I like to have nuts on hand to eat as a quick snack or addition to a side dish.
I tend to keep dried fruits to a minimum since they are loaded with sugar. Natural sugar yes, but their glycemic value is much higher than eating a fresh piece of fruit. 

As you can see I do not buy a lot of bread or bread products. I really keep those to a minimum. I prefer to make my own cakes, cookies, muffins etc. I'd rather eat something homemade anyway. Also, I know what ingredients are in them and its fun for me. Honestly, if temptation is sitting there in the pantry, its hard to resist snacking on chips or cookies all day so I don't buy them.  If I do, they're for my son and thats it! 
I don't eat a lot of pasta either, but I do love this gluten-free pasta from Trader Joes that is made from quinoa and brown rice. Even my son loves it! 
I also don't purchase many canned goods either. Sometimes I'll buy black beans since they're a quick and healthy side dish to prepare for dinner. Artichokes are one of my favorite canned goods and go great for topping a salad and making artichoke dip. The other items are so versatile as well. Sometimes I make my own curry from coconut milk or my own tomato sauce or salsa from canned tomatoes. Peaches are good on their own sprinkled with a bit of cinnamon or a crostada like this one.

Important to note about canned goods or any pre-made foods, please, please check the ingredient label! Don't purchase any that contain High Fructose Corn Syrup. HFCS is toxic to the body and will only make us sick & gain tons of weight. It is so bad, I cannot believe its even allowed. Just don't buy it.

It wasn't until after my son was born that I really got into healthy baking. Now I am hooked. I just cannot go back to conventional baking methods and recipes. I infuse older baking with the new to create a lot of my "gluten-free" or healthier version recipies. It's actually quite a lot of fun and challenging at times learning to bake this way. I am still learning the ropes. Healthy baking is a lot like chemistry, you've just got to find the right elements... and voila! A perfect match & delicious comfort food.

I always keep on hand all the above mentioned flours & sweeteners, I do have a tiny bit of white flour but rarely ever touch it. I am always amazed at how many delicious sweets can be made with just a few healthy ingredients. I keep honey, stevia and pure maple syrup always at our disposal to sweeten things up a bit. Oh and chocolate! Who can forget that?

My oil and spice shelves in my pantry are kinda overflowing. I have on hand a ton of different spices and dried herbs. I love mixing and combining them for the flavor I seek to liven up my dishes. Spices & herbs also have many added health benefits. The above listed spices and herbs are the ones I tend to cook with the most. 

In my kitchen you rarely find many pre-made drinks. I like to either make them myself or I purchase the above listed items. I do love tea though! Drink it hot, cold or mixed into smoothies. Pineapple juice gets used mainly for my green drinks and sparkling water is so refreshing and has no added calories! I found that drinking juice or other types of beverages has really no added benefit except immediate gratification. It adds unnecessary weight & sugar is hard on our bodies and skin. If looking to maintain a healthy weight, lose weight or just be healthy, its best to stay away from those items most of the time. Indulge every now and then, just not everyday. 

In my refrigerator door, I have quite a bit going on there as well but these items are staples in my kitchen fridge. I love love almond and sunflower butter, they taste oh so good and are so much better for us to eat than peanut butter. I like to eat them on toast (ezekiel bread) or eat with apple slices. Yum!
I also like to have hummus lying around as a good snack or addition to lunch meal. Hummus tastes great when its wrapped with a slice of turkey or with veggies of your choice! The other items add delicious flavor to many types of recipes.

So there it is. I'm sure there is more information I could post here but for now, this will do. I'll continue the kitchen series as time unfolds. From my kitchen to yours...Happy + healthy cooking!