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The 5 Best Healthy Pantry Swaps I Made This Year

kitchen pantry shelf

Ever since having kids, I've gotten really interested in health and nutrition. Not just about what's been taught to us is "healthy"... but really digging deeply into the world of the "big food" industry, lies from our childhood food pyramid guide, and how much damage is truly hidden in the processing of once harmless pantry staples. The book "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon has been an incredibly helpful guide to understanding the truth about what we eat, and helped me learn that even if you've (accidentally) contributed to your illness in the past, you can use good-quality food now to contribute to your wellness, too. As my personal healing health journey continues, I wanted to share these 5 super easy pantry swaps I made to cut the crap, and make sure everything I make is as nutritious as possible.

#1: Coconut Oil (instead of Vegetable Oil)

Coconut oil is a healthier choice compared to vegetable oil for many reasons. First, it's rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are metabolized differently in the body compared to the long-chain triglycerides found in many other oils. MCTs are easier to digest and offer various health benefits including contributions to weight loss. Besides adding a subtly delicious flavor, coconut oil has a high smoke point, which means it can withstand higher temperatures without breaking down and forming harmful compounds - making it a great option for frying and baking. It is also rich in antioxidants such as polyphenols, which can help combat oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, while also being high in lauric acid, which offers antimicrobial and antiviral benefits, immune support, and promotes overall health. Compared to vegetable oils, coconut oil is also less likely to become rancid or form harmful free radicals, too. Vegetable oils have been lobbied as a part of a "healthy diet" for years, and there's a whole rabbit hole you can go down about how this became such an accepted part of American food culture. But in short, vegetable oils are now proven to be linked to a ton of health risks, including heart disease, inflammation, arthritis, cancer, chronic illness, and more. No thanks!

#2: Real Mineral Sea Salt (instead of Table Salt)

Mineral sea salt is healthier than traditional table salt primarily due to differences in composition and processing. To begin with, it's typically harvested from evaporated seawater and retains trace minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium - things we all need daily, and often don't get enough of! These minerals not only add great flavor, but also provide essential nutrients that are beneficial for various bodily functions. Mineral sea salt is also less processed compared to traditional table salt, which is usually heavily refined, and includes additives like anti-caking agents and iodine which can't be tolerated by some people (who usually don't even know it!) and can contribute to a ton of health issues. Plus, mineral sea salt typically has lower sodium content for anyone needing to monitor their intake.

Okay just to start, after trying chips made with beef tallow, I will never go back. The flavor is off the charts - rich, savory, and actually makes a better-quality dipping chip IMO. The texture is untouchable! Little known fact: cooking chips in beef tallow is actually the traditional method that has been used for generations in many cultures. American corporations led the charge to change the standard for how things are fried, and made seed oils incredibly accessible and cheap, to the point that it's hard to find anything made without them now. We've got to get back to basics! Eating chips or any fried foods made with grass-fed beef tallow means that the animal which it came from wasn't riddled with artificial hormones, antibiotics, or unsanitary/unnatural living conditions, and also means it organically contains beneficial nutrients like vitamin E and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which have been associated with other health benefits like reduced inflammation and improved heart health. Plus, beef tallow has a high smoke point (which helps make the perfect crisp during the frying process!), and actually has a naturally longer shelf life since it's less prone to oxidation. And it makes fried foods less greasy, too!

#4: Organ Meat Blend (instead of Generic Seasoning)

This swap is less of a "stop eating poison" and more of a "get as much nutrition in while you can" alternative. Organ meats are extremely nutrient-dense foods with an insane amount of health benefits. It's where the phrase "eating nose to tail" came from - as it's been well known in human history that consuming the entire animal was very important to our ancestral diets. But here's the problem: if you're like me, no matter how much you fancy a medium-rare steak, the idea of eating any animal's brain, heart, kidneys, liver, tongue, glands, or stomach lining makes you want to gag. So this is my life-hack to get the benefits of all that, without the Fear Factor experience in my kitchen... organ meat seasoning! Ya heard right... grass-fed and grass-finished organs ground up and mixed into delicious seasoning blends to make any dish into a superfood! I promise, you don't taste anything other than the flavor of seasoning you chose - and I am a very picky eater!

Plus, the perks to your health from having organ meats in your diet include:

  • Tons of vitamins and minerals - Organ meats are often more nutrient-dense than muscle meats. They are excellent sources of essential vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and folate. These nutrients are crucial for various bodily functions, including immune function, energy metabolism, and red blood cell production.

  • High-quality protein - Organ meats are rich in high-quality protein, which is essential for building and repairing tissues, supporting muscle growth, and maintaining overall health. Protein from organ meats contains all the essential amino acids required by the body.

  • A source of healthy fats - Organ meats contain healthy fats, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are important for brain health, heart health, and reducing inflammation in the body.

  • Support for liver health - Consuming organ meats like liver can support liver health due to their high content of nutrients like vitamin A, B vitamins, choline, and folate. These nutrients also help detoxify harmful substances from the body.

  • Boost for immune function - Organ meats contain nutrients like zinc and vitamin A, which are essential for a healthy immune system. These nutrients support the body's ability to fight infections and maintain overall functionality.

  • Support in fertility and pregnancy - Organ meats are rich in nutrients like iron, zinc, and vitamin B12, which are important for reproductive health and fertility. Consuming organ meats during pregnancy provides essential nutrients for fetal development and can help prevent nutrient deficiencies.

  • Promotion of overall health and vitality: Due to their dense nutrient profile, including vitamins, minerals, protein, and healthy fats, consuming organ meats can contribute to good energy levels and optimal overall health during a long life!

#5: Avocado Oil Spray (instead of Non-Stick Canola Spray)

With a lot of the same aforementioned health concerns that come from vegetable oil use in mind, using avocado oil spray instead comes with so many pros to health and cooking convenience, too! It's naturally rich in in monounsaturated fats (particularly oleic acid), which is good for your heart, helps with blood sugar control, and reduces inflammation. It's rich in antioxidants like vitamin E and carotenoids, which help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. These antioxidants additionally have anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects and contribute to overall health and well-being. Cold-pressed avocado oil is far less processed than canola oil and retains more of its natural nutrients, since canola must undergo refining and chemical extraction processes. It's also less likely to be genetically modified compared to canola oil, which is primarily derived from genetically modified rapeseed plants. For cooking, avocado oil has a higher smoke point than canola oil, meaning it can withstand higher temperatures before breaking down and producing harmful compounds. This makes avocado oil spray more suitable for high-heat cooking methods like grilling, roasting, and frying without the risk of oxidation. It also is naturally liquid at room temperature and does not require hydrogenation, unlike canola oil, which often requires this process to increase its stability and shelf life. Partially hydrogenated oils can contain harmful trans fats, which have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

Here's to eating (and enjoying) our way through a happy and healthy life, my friends!

Just a reminder that I utilize affiliate links, which means I make a small commission from your purchase (which doesn't affect how much you pay).

This helps this mama keep doing what she loves! TYSM in advance for your support! :-)


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