Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Paleo Pantry and Fridge Staples

My mom called me this morning to help her compile a list of staples for her "Paleo Pantry", so I thought I would share what I like to have on-hand. She cooks a majority of her meals, so her spice and condiment supply is pretty well stocked. But, what I've found for myself is that if I have a few go-to items, that I can easily throw together, I am less likely to be ravenously scrambling around my kitchen when hunger strikes. So, here's what I've got:

  • Eggs (we eat 6-8 every morning and I will make hard-boiled eggs every so often for snacking)
  • Bacon 
  • Whole Chickens (I keep a few 2.75-3.5lb chickens in my freezer for quick meals; just transfer to the fridge the day before you plan to cook them and they'll be ready to throw in your slow cooker, dutch oven, or roaster. I also use the carcasses to make Homemade Chicken, always in my freezer)
  • Ground Beef 
  • Ground Breakfast Sausage (not necessary, but really great in frittatas, added to soups, or browned and eaten in lettuce leaves with avocado)
  • Smoked Oysters in Olive Oil
  • Kipper Snacks
  • Canned Wild King Salmon / Sockeye Salmon (tuna is usually a less expensive alternative, I just prefer salmon)
  • Wild Sockeye Salmon Pouches (nice for travel...they're light, easy to open, and resealable; I took these on our backpacking trip and LOVE them!)
  • Jerky (I make my own, but look for something that is just meat and spice)
Fat (top on my list):
  • Full Fat Coconut Milk (look for coconut milk with no sugar or additives)
  • Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil (more coconutty than regular, I like to use this to cook my yams for a little added flavor)
  • Coconut Oil (very neutral in flavor; good for cooking at higher temps)
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (good for drizzling and for vinaigrettes where you want that olive flavor)
  • Olive Oil (very neutral in flavor and good for low-medium heat cooking/sauteing)
  • Duck Fat (I use this to cook burgers, chicken, of filets; it has really great flavor, but is not necessary...mostly just something I had always wanted to try and that I feel was worth the splurge)
  • Ghee (I'll use this or duck fat to sear filets, when I make them; it's nutty in flavor and will handle cooking at high temps)
  • Avocado Oil (for making Homemade Mayo or Vinaigrettes)
  • Macadamia Oil (for making Homemade Mayo or Vinaigrettes)
  • Olives
  • Flaked, Unsweetened Coconut
  • Coconut Flour
  • Raw Walnuts, Macadamia Nuts, Pumpkin Seeds, and Sunflower Seeds*
  • Almond Meal/Flour*
  • Dried, Unsweetened Cherries* (I like a few of these with flaked coconut, when I want something sweet)
Condiments/Others (top on my list):
  • Tea (I like spiced tea like this Rooibos Chai or this, with a little coconut milk)
  • Bragg's Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Champagne Vinegar (not necessary, but it adds nice balance to citrus vinaigrettes)
  • Tomato Paste
  • Jarred Marinara (I like THIS one)
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Dill Pickles (I like THESE)
  • Toasted Sesame Oil (I love this in vinaigrettes or drizzled over steamed veggies) 
  • Canned Chipotles in Adobo
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Ground Cumin
  • Ground Coriander
  • Granulated Garlic Powder
  • WS Seafood Bay Seasoning (this has become a new staple for me)
  • Spices. Spices. Spices...they'll help you liven up those chickens you'll be stocking up on!
    • These are my favorites (from Penzeys):
      • Bavarian Seasoning
      • Northwoods Fire
      • Tuscan Sunset
      • Barbecue of the Americas 
  • Frozen Fruit (I like to have this in my freezer for making quick sorbet)
  • Yellow Onion
  • Garlic
  • Yams* (I slice these really thin and use them in frittatas or a quick base for chicken or when Scott wants a special snack...I slice them super thin and fry them into chips)
  • Lemons (for squeezing on salmon or making vinaigrettes)
  • Avocado (I like to cut these in half and fill with salmon, lemon, and a little Bay Seasoning)
  • Butternut Squash (or other Winter squash, this time of year...they'll last for awhile and can be added to frittatas, slow-cooked chicken, or made into soup)
  • Spinach (can be added to frittatas, added to Smoothies, made into Creamed Spinach, or used for Salad)
*If weight-loss or fat-loss is your goal, it is best to avoid these items. I found it too easy to resort to nuts, fruits, and seeds for snacking and also discovered that I was having trouble "leaning-out", when I first started eating Paleo. Focus on good-quality protein (organic, grass-fed and finished meats or the leanest cuts you can find, if unable to purchase the grass fed/finished) and fat (olive, coconut, and avocado) for your meals and challenge yourself to turn to these same proteins and fats (in smaller portions) for your "snacks".

This is what I do, what has worked for me, and what I have found to be some of my favorites, so adjust accordingly. I have slowly decreased the amount of fruit, nuts, and seeds that I incorporate into my diet and feel like this has been the biggest contributor to my ability to become more lean. Over the past year, I have played around with my food portions and ratios to find the right balance for me, so try to be consistent in your first month or so and then adjust from there. You will likely hit a plateau and will need to play around with your food choices and exercise routine in order to continue making progress. Hopefully this process will increase your body awareness and for the first time you'll realize what it feels like to truly feel good. 

Have fun with your food, think about what you CAN have, and don't be afraid to experiment. Realize that there ARE options when you go out to eat or travel and that it will get easier to make these choices. So, now that I've shared with you...

What do you do and/or keep on-hand to make Paleo eating work for you?


Nikki said...

Great list! I read on someone's paleo site you should only be eating about 6 eggs a week. How do you feel about that?

jencereghino said...

Thanks, Nikki!

I've also received conflicting info (I remember reading the "<6 eggs/week" in "The Paleo Diet") with regard to egg consumption. I've decided that eggs make me feel good (I haven't experienced any inflammation issues, which can pose a problem for some, and I don't have any allergies to them), they are an inexpensive source of good-quality protein, and I love them, so...I eat them.

Robb Wolf addresses this briefly in his book (p. 205), by suggesting that people that do not suffer from inflammation issues or autoimmune disease should focus on Omega-3 enriched eggs and not consume them every single day (I eat them pretty much every day, but not for "every single breakfast from now until the end of time"...). I buy eggs from pasture-raised chickens (from a local farm or Whole Foods, if I run out) and feel like I'm making a good decision for us.

If I eat out for breakfast, I will usually get meat of some sort, rather than eggs.

I buy my eggs from:

And, my store-bought are these:

How do you feel about the egg "controversy"? :)

Amy said...

Wow Jen! I feel like I am already semi-paleo! I have most if not all the stuff stocked in my fridge and pantry. I just need to be MINDFUL when choosing. Thank you so much for this! Now if I can just start crossfit I would be dialed! happy new year!

Unknown said...

Hey Jen.... you make your own jerky? Impressive! How? My kids love it, but I rarely buy it, because it seems so full of fillers. Any brand recommendations?

Diane @ Balanced Bites said...

Awesome post, Jen!! Your culinary creations are so fantastic that I think it's so helpful for people to see how much preparation you "do" by having all of this stuff on-hand regularly. I agree that preparation/ingredients are really the key to success. I enjoy being creative with random things in the fridge (as I'm sure you do too) but many people don't find that to be fun.

For those curious about EGGS... check out my post about trusting Dr. Oz or nutrition advice. I cover the topic of eggs in there with links to a bunch of studies.


Tim Huntley said...

Hey Jen,

One of our most used items is homemade chipotle in adobo sauce. Each summer we smoke a bunch of jalapeno peppers and combine them with some adobo sauce made from fresh tomatoes. Blend it the food processor and we had a magical condiment to dress up lots of things that need a bit of heat.


Anonymous said...

Brilliant post! I love that you linked to rooibos chai and duck fat, two items I have been looking for (for the chai, I was looking for a good brand). I will certainly share this!

Crystal said...

Thanks for this list. It's given me some great ideas for expanding my low-carb menu.

As for the jerky, I've been buying Robertson's beef jerky for years. It's lean beef, spices and hickory smoke. Fantastic stuff.

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Unknown said...

Paleo diet is the short for Paleolithic diet(also called as caveman diet) which means the food eaten by the human species in the Paleolithic age which was some two million years ago. Early humans at that time usually consumed wild animals and various plant species in order to survive as there was no agricultural practice developed at that time. Some of the contents of a Paleo diet benefits include nuts, roots, fruits, fungi, fish, meat and vegetables and eatables like dairy products, legumes, grains, salt, sugar etc. are eliminated from the diet plan.

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