Ah yes, the pantry. The absolute least Paleo approved part of my kitchen. You’ve got crackers, flour, muffin mix, popcorn, hot chocolate mix, the list goes on. So basically, grain, grain, sugar mixed with grain, grain and some disgusting oils, and purified then liquefied sugar. Awesome. One of my favorite quotes from The Paleo Solution in reference to making prepartions to go Paleo is, “Stack the cards in your favor. Bag up all your crap food, take it to your local shelter and, I guess inadvertently, contribute to the death of the homeless.” While that may sound harsh, I’m pretty sure muffins are more nutritious and healthy than crack, so I don’t feel all that bad about it. So purge I did.
After clearing this bad boy out, it was near empty. The only thing I was able to salvage was smoked sea salt and some 3 year old rosemary.
You know what that means. Time to go shoppiiiiiiiiing! …I hate shopping. Unless it’s for something awesome, and going shopping for dry goods isn’t my idea of awesome, but it was necessary.
When I think of what goes in the pantry, I think of things that will last for at least a month or two just sitting there without technology or human intervention. If I’m sticking to that paradigm, and buying only Paleo and Whole 30 clean foods, then that basically gives me a short list of things that I can put in my pantry:
- ….And I guess dried fruit and meat, but I haven’t invested in any of these and don’t plan on it. I prefer the fresh version of both.
Alright, list compiled, off I went.
First stop, spices. As a single guy, I think it’s pretty normal to think that there are 2 spices in this world: salt and pepper. Man have I been missing out.
Let's talk about sex? I think not. Let's talk about NAIR.... Use it.
Having compiled a laundry list of different spices to get from The Paleo Cookbook, I headed down to our local bazaar known as Carytown to unload more cash on powder, flakes, and leaves than any man has before me. There’s a nice little shop called “Penzey’s Spices” there, and the kind women working were nice enough to hook me up despite the impending closing time (I was the jerk who strolled in 5 minutes before they close and proclaimed, “I need the 20+ spices on this list and I have no idea what they look like or how to pronounce them”). Observe:
Some of these things I’d never even heard of, but recipe’s on my list call for them, and I’m not much for deviating from recipes unless I know what I’m doing… and I don’t.
Next up was Ellwood Thompson’s, our neighborhood favorite local and natural food market, to pick up all the oils and nuts that were necessary. Ellwood’s has a great “buy in bulk” bin system, kind of like they used to have back in the day at Giant Foods when I was a kid. I used to love those things. I wonder why they got rid of them…. maybe because little kids like me with boogers and who knows what else on their fingers were always sticking their hands into the barrels to sift the through the contents just for giggles.
Stupid kids. Always ruining things.
Well as you can see, the folks at Ellwood’s got wise, and made some booger proof bins so I felt pretty safe that the nuts I bought are all 100% Paleo approved and clean.
I picked up the following. All in raw (unsalted, no-oil, just straight nut) form:
- Brazil Nuts
Then in the oils I picked up:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Costco actually)
- Red Pepper Infused EVOO (Kroger)
- Coconut Oil (This stuff is delicious by the spoonful. Haven’t actually cooked with it, but have inserted it directly into my pie-hole on multiple occassions)
- Avocado Oil
- Walnut Oil
As you can see, I went on a bit of a spending spree. Financially, it hurt. I don’t expect everyone to do that, and honestly, in retrospect, I don’t think you really have to. I started writing this post about a week and a half ago, and I was gung-ho about having all the tools to go grape-nuts on this diet, but as I finish writing this I’m over 3 weeks in, and I can tell you that more than half of the spices, nuts, and oils have gone entirely unused (especially the spices). I’ll give you a few things that I’d 100% recommend having around for general cooking purposes, but the others I’d hold off on and just pick up on an “as needed” basis. Keep in mind that I’m more of a southwestern style kind of cook, so this spice list reflects that.
In the spice category:
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- Chili Powder
- Garlic Powder
…. I haven’t been cooking as much with the nuts, but I like to eat them raw and sometimes throw them on top of a salad. These 3 are pretty versatile.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – The king of oils in my book. Use it for most everything.
…. I haven’t even opened the Avocado or Walnut yet, though I’m sure I’ll give a couple recipes a try with it. The Coconut Oil is great for satiating a sweet tooth, which I did several times the first week or so, but I no longer have much of a craving for sweets (Other than berries, which rock my world).
I’m sure there are those who will take umbrage to my list, as if I somehow slighted their favorite spice (Where the hell is Turmeric you SOB!?), but I’m just trying to save you people some money out of the gate.
Anyway, last thing to go is my fridge. It’s ugly, and it’s full of non-Paleo approved junk… Some of which is probably 5 months old and spawning new ecosystems.
Alternate caption: Because “Paprika and Corianduh” is just stupid.