The day I gave up processed foods was incredibly stressful. The amount of information was incredibly overwhelming. At the same time, that day was also one that totally transformed my entire way of eating. Working on a diet with no processed food can be challenging at first, but after you get the system down, it becomes second nature. The heart of my kitchen, and the key to my success with whole foods is of course the pantry. Now, I’m going to level with you, I do have a few processed foods in my pantry. Please don’t hold it against me. So besides the few odds and ends, let’s talk about what you need to get started on a no processed food pantry.
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The second I get home from grocery shopping, I get to work getting everything sorted into their appropriate sections. By no means am I an incredibly organized person. If you are one of those people who loves labels and total home organization, I highly recommend visiting Abby at Just a Girl and Her Blog. She has a great FREE course to help get you totally organized. I mean seriously, this girl has got it going on. If you need a little more organization you can do her course here: Intentionally Organized Free Course.
Let’s be honest, I live most of my life with a side of chaos, however, when it comes to getting around my pantry, I need everything in its place. This helps make for more effective and faster cooking. Getting all your foods organized into categories helps when you’re in a rush and need to grab something fast.
All the bins are jars you see here were either purchased at the local Dollar Store or IKEA. When intentionally organizing your foods, I highly recommend ditching the bags, boxes and wrappers for clear bins. This makes it so much easier to see exactly what you need and while it is a longer putting away process, it definitely saves you time and clean up in the long run. Amazon of course, has some great options as well!
Here I have (L to R) chia seeds, ground flax, hemp hearts, homemade granola, gluten free oats and sesame seeds. Most of these can be used for toppings. When you have waffles, toast, yogurt, eggs, salads and you want to boost the nutrient content a little, that’s where this section comes in. It’s convenient to have all these quick grab seeds and grains in one area. If you aren’t one for sprinkling, I have a great recipe that is filled with ground flax and chia seeds, Fat Ball Recipe. Gluten free oats are also something I always keep on hand because I use them nearly every day. Here are a few of my family’s top favorite recipes: 3 Ingredient Waffles, Chocolate muffins, Fig Newton Oat Bars. The last recipe, I will admit does have sugar and gluten free flour added to it! Otherwise, these are great, healthy, whole recipes to try out!
Speaking of homemade treats, it’s also important to have a section designated for all your baking goods. Eating a whole food, no processed diet this section doesn’t get used as much as it used to. When you are working to clean up your pantry and you have things like sugars and white flour, it’s good to “separate fro the herd” so to speak. Tuck these less-used items away where they won’t be in the way but are there when you may need them. As you can see, I have cacao bars front and center because I do use those frequently to help make all my favorite whole food treats. Here are some of my top recommended cacao recipes: Cookie Dough, Fudgy Brownies, Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.
When first starting a whole foods, no processed diet I think it’s super important to give yourself a little leeway when it comes to canned foods. Yes, they still go through a processing procedure, but if organic beans are a step up from what you used to be in cans, then I think it’s safe to say you’re ok! Keeping your canned goods together again makes for quick and easy access. You know just what you’re looking for and can reach right for whatever it is you might be needing.
*Disclaimer: in total honesty, the vegetable oil in the photo is used for science projects for homeschool. In the full shot of the pantry you can see my giant tub of olive oil. Olive oil and coconut oil are the only two I use in the kitchen but a girl’s gotta store her food crafts somewhere!
Just kidding, I’m not brewing beer. Some of you are probably thinking “Cha, obviously.” Brewing just sounds classier than fermenting. I think that’s one of those words that gives people the creeps. Nonetheless, that is exactly what’s going on here. If you enjoy making things like kombucha, yogurt or sour dough at home this is a great idea. Keeping all of these things in a dark corner of your pantry to avoid light as much as possible is a great idea. Even better is keeping all these little projects together so your family knows that corner is “off limits.” I have my mango kombucha here as well as coconut yogurt. The day I decided to put these in the same section of the pantry was the day my husband closed the tupperware on my yogurt. You get some weird looks when you yell things like, “IT NEEDS AIR! YOU HAVE TO LET IT BREATHE!” Now he knows this area is a no-touch zone and that I’m a little touchy when it comes to my yogurt. If you are wanting to start brewing your own kombucha, I was able to purchase everything off Amazon. You can see all the essentials below.
Having a section of foods that get boiled is another great strategy. I have my ramen noodles, brown rice and red lentils all tucked away in this section. Since these things are often used as a base for a meal, it’s great to quickly flip on the switch and see what exactly I have to start forming a meal; since most of the time I’m just winging it.
There is an imposter in this section as well. Please, don’t judge me too harshly. The giant tub of mixed nuts and dried cranberries which is better suited for the “Grains and Seeds” section. Yes, it’s technically in the wrong area. However, my children are bottomless pits who eat non-stop. Much like their father. I keep this mixture low to the ground for quick grab snacking for everyone. So if you have little hands that you know will want some whole food snacking options. It’s a great idea to make them accessible to them. That way they learn healthy eating and you don’t have anyone scaling the shelving!
Organizing a pantry can be stressful especially when you are working with unlabeled foods! If anyone has organizational tips to share, add them in the comments below!