Yesterday I introduced you to the most wonderful nutrition/recipe book to hit the weight loss shelves; Trim Healthy Mama! I can’t stop raving about its awesomeness (is that a word?). I definitely believe that everyone needs to read this book, if not just to have a basis of understanding for how food works in the body. There are so many diet fads out there, and everything has the “latest and greatest” ideas about nutrition, and yet our country is only getting fatter (let’s face it, America!)
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Today we are going to focus on my top recommendations for THM staples to get you started. This is not an exhaustive list. THM includes all kinds of awesome, healthy additions to your ingredient pool, but you do not need them all to simply get started. I am more focused on you (and I) to be able to learn how to implement THM with the greatest ease and least expense possible, while enjoying great health and delicious meals!
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Top THM Pantry Staples (and where I get them)
Just to be clear, this list includes things that I believe are staple items to enjoy the most well-rounded selection of THM recipes and delights. If your budget cannot allow for some of these items, do what you can with what you have. Tomorrow we will focus more in depth about exactly what it means to eat the “THM way”, so if these items seem outside of your price range, hopefully tomorrow you will feel better able to implement THM without any of the added products. It can be done! If that is where you begin, then maybe this list will be your “goal” list to work towards as a little extra money becomes available. Either way, you can definitely enjoy THM eating on any budget! Enjoy!
- Swanson Whey Protein Powder – I know there is some controversy over whey and protein powder, etc, especially in the homesteading world, but I personally think the pros far outweigh the cons. The proportion of protein to carbohydrate in this particular brand, Swanson, cannot be beat, and it is worth its weight in gold! It’s a great price of $25.99 for a large canister of 45 servings. I try to stock up on this whenever I can afford it.
- Almond Flour – At this moment, I use a few different sources for my almond flour. I purchase Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour at Wegman’s because the best price I’ve found. For my money, I am typically looking for around $6-$7/lb for almond flour, if I can help it. The next best place I have seen great almond flour is at the Honeyville website. Honeyville is another brand of almond flour, and I have used it in the past with delicious results. The price on the website is $35 for 5 lbs ($7/lb), and if you do not need it right now, they often have free shipping offers, so be sure to sign up for their emails too. **Note: If buying bulk almond flour, you can freeze extra until ready to use and then just thaw before using. If you do not thaw thoroughly you will likely have mixed baking results. My top method is extras in the freezer with open container in the fridge. Then I can use it as needed without any baking issues.**
- NuNaturals White Stevia Powder – Stevia has gotten a bad rap over the years for having a bitter aftertaste, but NuNaturals has done a great job of removing that bitterness and leaving just sweet, calorie-free goodness. The best prices I have found for this have been on Amazon and Netrition.com. **I recommend trying to purchase a group of these top THM items together from the least amount of places to save on shipping costs (yet another reason I love Amazon Prime…FREE shipping!)**
- Konjac Glucomannan Powder – Also lovingly known in the THM community as Gluccie, Glucommannan Powder is an awesome addition to your pantry shelves! This is an amazing thickener with zero effect on your blood sugar, so it goes great to make frappes, syrups, stovetop jelly/jam, homemade puddings, and more. I love having this bag on my shelves and since I typically only use 1/4-1/2 tsp at a time, it is lasting forever! Only $19.99 for a 500g bag from Netrition.com.
- Xylitol and Erythritol – Both of these products are alcohol sugars and can be substituted for sugar in regular baking recipes. Xylitol has been known to affect digestion in some, so I keep both on hand and mix it up in recipes for added balance. I usually substitute sugar with a combo of these plus NuNaturals for ultimate sweetness. YUM! Netrition has the best prices for these products. Xylitol is $11.99 for 2.5 lbs, while Erythritol is $15.99 for the same size.
- Defatted Peanut Flour – Although peanut butter is perfectly okay for S meals, defatted peanut flour is awesome to get that same peanut butter fix in an E meal or dessert. Protein Plus Peanut Flour is delicious and the best price I’ve found is on Netrition.com again…$11.99 for 2 lbs.
- Dreamfield’s Pasta – If you want to enjoy a dinner of real BEEF sauce over actual pasta, this is the go-to of THM lovers. Since beef falls into the S foods because of higher fat content, it cannot be mixed with a high carbohydrate food like pasta. Enter Dreamfield’s! The creators of this amazing product figured out a way to bind the carbohydrates so that they do not affect your blood sugar but pretty much pass right through you. Serene would not be thrilled at the recommendation, but I enjoy some Dreamfield’s with our weekly pasta dinner! Yum, yum, yumm!!! I can find this at Wegman’s for a little over $2. I have heard that Walmart also carries it, so check out your local grocery store before looking to buy online…the cheapest I have seen so far online is $3 a box…yikes!
- Nuts (Raw Almonds, roasted peanuts, etc.) – I love, love, love nuts. I KNOW they are calorie dense, but I just don’t care! Some days I just want a huge
bowlhandful. By far the best place I have found for nuts is Costco. I buy my bulk raw almonds and canister of roasted peanuts there which I use to make Homemade Almond Milk, almond meal, Crispy Almonds, and Homemade peanut butter all at a serious discount. The almonds alone save me tons of money, since I pay $12.99 for 3 lbs…a far cry from the $9.99/lb charged at Wegman’s. If you are a Costco member and have not yet taken advantage of the savings on nuts, you must begin now!
- Legumes (Beans/Lentils) – We choose to buy our legumes and grains in bulk (I’m talking 25+lbs at a time) because of our family size, plus the long-term savings. Since we live in Northern, VA, we work with Quail Cove Farms for purchase and delivery of our massive orders. These wonderful, protein-rich, E-friendly meal additions are super shelf stable, so buy them up and hang onto them for a long time. **If you have not yet started saving by buying dried beans and soaking them yourself vs. buying cans, now is the time. Your budget will thank you!**
- Meats – So far we really only use chicken and ground beef with the occasional ground turkey thrown in here and there. Right now I buy our ground beef organic (I buy beef organic because of the higher fat content, and fat is where the greatest concentration of hormones/pesticides/chemicals gets stores) from Costco, which is one of our most expensive food items, and I buy chicken that is on sale in the area. I am still working on the best deals in this arena, but I think it will mostly be subject to your locale and what you have going on near you. Pearl is not a stickler on using organics, and I definitely think that we should be mindful of our budget more so than idolizing organic above all the rest. Balance is key. When the price/budget fits, I buy organic.
- Dairy Products – I love that dairy is A-Okay on THM! Again, same as meats, find the best place at the best price for these items, including cheese (low fat/full fat), cottage cheese (same), ricotta, sour cream (I love Daisy Light), cheese spreads, butter (Mmmmm butter), etc. You will learn as you go that lower fat dairy goes well with E meals, while the higher fat regular stuff is AWESOME with the decadent S meals. Yes, it is the best of both worlds!
- Vegetables – This typically goes without mention in a healthy living plan, but I figured I would mention them just to be safe. I LOVE salads, and I usually have at least one huge bowl of it a day, made either S, E, or FP style (more on that later). Stock up on these wonderfully nutritious additions to your meals to make sure you are hitting all the necessary food components. I purchase bulk Romaine lettuce at Costco, berries when in season, and most of my other produce is from either Aldi’s or Wegman’s.
- Coconut oil – No THM Pantry Staples List would be complete without the mother of all foods: Coconut oil. Whether you prefer the superfood coconutty-tasting virgin coconut oil, or the less flavorful but also good for you Expeller-Pressed, you can benefit greatly from these additions to your diet. Recipes like Skinny Chocolate would not be complete without this delicious saturated fat! I bought a 5 gallon bucket of Expeller-Pressed Coconut oil close to 2 years ago that I have still not even come close to finishing (and since Coconut oil is very shelf stable and heat tolerant, it is still completely delicious and safe). I also have a 54 oz jar of the Virgin I bought from Costco ($16.99 I believe) which is delicious.
Now GET STARTED living the THM way of life!
I hope this gives you a better picture of where to get some of the basic THM items mentioned in the book. These are items I ALWAYS have on hand. They are staples! When I make sure to keep these foods in my house, there is always a healthy and nutritious meal or snack on hand to be made. Munch Happy!
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