The Naked Pantry
Whether your pantry is a cabinet, a closet, or a separate room, it should house all the essential food items for your kitchen. It is not the space that makes the pantry anyway, it is the contents within. Think of your pantry as the building block for your naked life and start to assemble a whole new world filled with health and wellness.
In a nutshell, the Naked Baking Ladies Pantry contains food items that are unprocessed, unrefined, without chemicals, additives, and artificial coloring. There will definitely not be any GMO’s lurking in your cupboards but you will find food items with the optimal nutritional value-superfoods, and each and every element in your pantry will be certified organic or manufactured in a way that is natural and free of artificial interventions. (More on the organic certification process later)
The Bare Necessities
Himalayan Pink Salt
Artisan or Finishing Salts-Grey, Black, Red, Fleur de Sel, Maldon, Persian Blue
Whole Peppercorns Black, White, Green, Pink
A pinch of pepper sounds insignificant yet this tiny gesture can make a big impression on our taste buds, but only if you use freshly ground pepper. Whole peppercorns are pretty magical-freshly ground, they stimulate the taste buds and enhance our ability to taste food. Like any magic though, they only possess these powers for a short period of time, and for peppercorns the most potent period is soon after the hard outer shell of the peppercorn is cracked open. So take our advice, stock your pantry with an assortment of fresh, whole, peppercorns, fill up a peppermill, and start grinding.
Oils and Vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
I have a few biases when it comes to food and olive oil is one of them-And it has to be extra virgin, organic and cold-pressed. A huge part of a Mediterranean diet, growing up, olive oil was the only fat we used in our kitchen. The only salad dressing we ever had was olive oil and vinegar, with fresh herbs and sometime lemon juice, and the only way we prepared vegetables was with olive oil and garlic. It was not until I was in high school did I realize other families put butter on broccoli! As far as I am concerned you can make it all happen with olive oil but if you require a bit more versatility these are also great, healthy options to stock up on:
Toasted Sesame Oil
Hemp, Walnut, Flaxseed, Coconut
Apple cider vinegar
Red wine vinegar
Balsamic or sherry vinegar
Rice vinegar (unseasoned)
Although I prefer to make my own veggie stock to use for cooking I realize there will be instances when you just do not have the time. For those moments keep your pantry stocked with good quality organic stocks.
Rice, Grains and Pasta
Black Rice is actually deep purple and its story is as exotic as its appearance. Sometimes called emperors rice or forbidden rice because in Ancient China it was reserved specifically for royalty. Glad it is available for common folk now because it really is a super superfood. Full of protein, iron, fiber, it is naturally gluten free, it has six times more antioxidants than brown or white rice and is oozing with anthocyanin. Thank goodness it is no longer forbidden.
Wild Rice is actually not rice at all but is an aquatic grass, four different species to be exact, containing nutrient-dense grain inside, packed with protein, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. Wild rice has more alkaline properties than acidic, for those who may have digestive problems, it is gluten free and very kind to the gut, it boosts the immune system, reduces risk of cardiovascular disease and maintains bone strength-what more can we ask for!
Ancient grains are a collection of grains and seeds that have been cultivated for centuries. Found again and again, from the City of Jericho to Egypt’s Valley of the King, in temples and tombs, some of the biggest archeologist digs have discovered remains of these ancient grains. Their origins are exotic and sexy, containing stories of culture, history, religion and rituals of the Aztecs, Incas, Mayans, Chinese nobility, even found as far back as the Babylonians in Mesopotamia in 3,000 B.C. Wherever and whenever these grains came from, one thing is for certain~ they are part of historical narrative that speaks to their superpowers and they belong in your pantry today!
Technically amaranth is a small round seed, and not a grain. No matter, what it is, it packs a pretty significant nutritional punch. It's high in protein, fiber, and it is also higher in two essential amino acids, lysine and methionine, than most other grains. The leaves of the amaranth are incredibly nutritious, with more calcium, niacin and iron than beets, spinach and Swiss chard. They can be hard to find however so if you locate them use them as fast as you can.
The word amaranth means "everlasting" or never fading flower referring to the vibrant red blooms of the amaranth plant-it is derived from the Greek word amárantos …So There you go…
a culinary perspective buckwheat is considered a grain but we have a secret, like amaranth, buckwheat is also a seed-a fruit seed, and it is closely related to rhubarb or sorrel. Often referred to as "groats” in the raw form, buckwheat is used in the Eastern European porridge, kasha, but you may also recognize buckwheat in a noodle form under the name of soba, used in Asian cuisine. With its recent rise in culinary fame, buckwheat is appearing in various roles in kitchens everywhere. And for very good reason-it is a nutritional powerhouse containing, manganese, copper, magnesium, dietary fiber and phosphorus, as well as some pretty significant flavonoids, rutin and quercetin, helping to improve our circulatory system, preventing blood clots and lowering blood pressure, and for those of us with allergies, it can lower the production of histamine. Talk about a mouth full!
The main feature of the ever popular Middle Eastern dish, tabbouleh, bulgar, or bulgar wheat is the product of boiled, dried, and cracked wheat kernels. Bulgar has a nutty flavor, a chewy texture and because it is a quick cooking grain it is ready to enjoy in less than ten minutes. Definitely get on the fast track with bulgar, it is not only high in protein, heralding eighteen amino acids but it is considered a complete protein coming in with all nine essential amino acids.
really sure where couscous comes from. A lot of stories has it traveling around the Middle East, to Africa and Turkey, and then to Italy. It apparently is as nomadic as the people who have been eating it for centuries. No matter, because odds are it has now found its way into your pantry and we believe couscous should be on your table. Caveat Emptor on this one however, there are many skeptics that doubt the nutritional value of couscous. Their cries state, it is not a grain! it is a pasta! And while as first glance couscous appears to lack the healthy merits of the whole grains, gaze a bit longer and you will appreciate the benefits of this tiny little ball of pasta. Couscous contains protein, choline, folate, selenium to name a few, but one of the biggest advantages is for the next generation!!! Kids love couscous! Lather it in healthy pesto, or even for breakfast with almond milk and fruit, and the chants become victorious!
In my opinion, pasta gets a bad rap… But all you need to do is look for the unrefined and healthier versions and you will be doing great things for your body! I like to think of pasta as the new black-whether you top it with fresh veggies, sauces, pestos-it goes with everything! So ignore the critics, stock up on these non-refined options you cannot lose.
Whole grain pasta
Buckwheat Noodles/Soba Noodles
Sprouted Grain Pasta
Brown Rice Pasta
Nut, Seeds Nut Butters
Nuts, seeds and nut butters are chock full of antioxidants and only a small amount delivers a significant combination of valuable vitamins and minerals to your body. Each nut, seed and butter has a unique nutritional profile but all are heart healthy, immune boosting, brain power foods that need to be part of your daily dietary regime. Choose from the smorgasbord of options-just be sure to snack, sprinkle, and spread them into your life.
Almonds - the best heart healthy, brain food-and it doesn’t hurt that almonds also improve skin health reducing signs of aging, keeping us healthy and beautiful
Brazil Nuts - highest amount of selenium, one of the best antioxidants for preventing disease
Cashews - most unique nut, just as healthy as all the others yet cashews have the added benefit of protecting eyes from light damage and decreasing the incidence of cataracts
Pistachios - power our bodies with more antioxidants to lower the bad cholesterol(LDL) and help to maintain a healthy blood pressure
Walnuts - walnuts win first prize for best free radical scavengers keeping your liver and body clean and healthy
Chia Seeds - a powerhouse of omega-3s, helping to reduce inflammation and cholesterol and improve cognitive performance
Flax Seeds - there is a reason why flax seeds have been consumed for over 6000 years-possible the first superfood, flax seeds promote digestive health, prevent disease, are incredibly high in omega-3s and antioxidants, and also keep skin and hair happy and healthy
Pumpkin Seeds - the little pepita is pretty diverse-raw, roasted, salted, and shelled, hands down pumpkin seeds are my favorite snack, and a incredibly healthy option. Pumpkin seeds contain protein, fiber, potassium, iron and a special appearance of zinc.
Sesame Seeds - coming in as the oldest seeds, most likely over 3500 years old, these tiny seeds have proved to be just as nutritious as they are resilient. And don’t let their size fool you-there really is not much these seeds cannot do. Full of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, zinc, and the list goes on and on, these seeds promote most everything from disease prevention, to bone health and digestion, and even anti-inflammatory applications.
Sunflower Seeds - these seeds are as strong and majestic as the flower they come from. Sunflower seeds control cell damage and fight off disease, keep our bones and heart healthy, and provide one of the highest amounts of the esteemed Vitamin E per serving just for starters.
Nut and Seed Butters
Nut and seed butters are as healthy as their whole seed and nut counterparts so be sure to include them in your naked life. And don’t fear the fat, nut and seed butters get a bad rap when it comes to fat content. Used in moderation, ounce for ounce, nut and seed butters can provide numerous health benefits for your body.
Beans and Legumes
Really popular with the vegan and vegetarian crowd but so nutritious everyone should be a friend of the Fabaceae family, the plant family otherwise known as the legumes that includes beans, peas and lentils.
This group brings a lot to the table-preventing heart disease, lowering cholesterol, even managing diabetes by balancing blood sugar. The duo of complex carbohydrates and protein proves slow and steady wins the race by providing a gradual source of glucose instead of the hasty spike that can occur after eating simple carbohydrates.
And it’s true you do not have to be rich to be healthy. Beans are a very economical food source, especially if you use dried beans. Although dried beans and canned beans are relatively equal in their nutritional value, dried beans are less expensive than their canned siblings, but canned beans have convenience in their corner due to the fact you do not need to soak and cook. I prefer the freshness and bite of dried beans but you be the judge.
Butter Beans/Lima Beans
* Apparently this family is no different from most families and has its share of conundrums… Because peanuts are also part of this clan and are the most well-known for harboring aflatoxins, a natural toxin produced by certain strains of the mold Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus, there is some controversy surrounding the health benefits of this food group. The short answer for now is naturally occurring toxins do occur in some foods yet with proper preparation or as a result of compounds in other foods, the effects may be inhibited. (Stay tuned for the NBL Toxins in our Food blog…coming soon)
Naked Baking Ladies Baking Favorites
Have fun here and experiment with any of these healthy alternatives but PROMISE me one thing…You will stay away from refined white flour!
Brown Rice Flour
Sweeteners are no stranger to controversy, and for good reason; artificial sweeteners especially, and refined white sugar have their issues. Because the purpose of this pantry is a quick reference point and not to present an entire thesis on the complexities of sugar, remember this when it comes to sugar-stick with the natural sugars, in moderation- just make sure they are organic and not refined.
Many people consider the caloric value of sweeteners and there lies the problem. If you consider your food sources and diet as part of a larger philosophy of health you do not need to worry about caloric intake. Eat a whole food healthy diet and the rest will take care of itself.
Unsulfured Blackstrap Molasses
Unrefined Sugar Cane Syrup
*The NBL Naked Pantry is meant to jumpstart your naked life. Everybody’s naked pantry will look a little different, based on personal preferences and dietary needs, yet all will be threaded together by our naked philosophy. And remember, every pantry is an ever evolving source of health and wellness. Stock up and have fun!