Pantry Essentials

Disclaimer: The opinions of this blog post are mine and mine alone. I have not been paid by any of these companies to advertise their products. The goal of this page is to provide a resource for helping you stock your kitchen and make good choices. It took me a long time to figure out all of the nuances of eating a real-food lifestyle, so I hope to streamline the process for you! That being said, when you purchase an item through links on my blog, I may receive a small percentage from the affiliate programs. This helps support my blogging activities. Thanks!


Pantry Essentials

tuna-albacoreTuna, Packed in Water

Tuna is a super easy lunch when I don’t have leftovers. I simply mash it with homemade mayo or avocado and enjoy it on plantain chips (see below). It’s also an essential when I’m travelling. Getting more seafood in my diet is always something I’m trying to do – unfortunately living in the middle of the continent means finding sustainably-caught fresh fish, next to impossible. So canned fish is how I do it! And while I don’t recommend eating tuna every day, the risks associated with mercury and tuna consumption are actually not well-founded. Check out this article that explains why. Found at any grocery store – look for ones packed in water with no other ingredients.


gourmetcwtsundriedtomato142genGourmet Sun Dried Tomato Chunk White Tuna in Olive Oil by Clover Leaf 

Finding tuna in oils other than industrial seed oils (soybean, canola, sunflower etc.) can be challenging which is why I stick with tuna packed in water. However, Clover Leaf now has this tasty little product available! It’s a little more expensive, and I don’t know how high quality the olive oil is, but it’s definitely good in a pinch. It take this travelling because it’s delicious right out of the can! Found at most grocery stores.


sockeyeWild Canned Salmon

Even better for you than tuna, is salmon! Interesting fact: canned salmon is always wild. Why? They aren’t able to can salmon (…think about that for a minute. Gross eh?). Super high in protein and chock full of omega-3 fatty acids (the kind you need, not the kind from plants), salmon is always a great option. Bonus points for eating the bones and getting in all sorts of fabulous minerals like calcium! Found at all grocery stores. Opt for sustainably-caught whenever possible.


tome-sardines-in-spicy-olive-oil-w-chiliPortuguese Sardines

Sardines are something I had to work up to liking, but I did it for the sake of my health and my bank account (omega-3 supplements are darn expensive!). I started by lightly heating them in a pan with some salt and lemon. Now I often sauté them with veggies and balsamic vinegar and enjoy them over some white rice (made with broth of course!). Since you eat the entire fish, you’re getting practically everything your body needs to function – protein, non-essential animo acids that are deficient in muscle meat of animals, organs and bones (hello calcium). Sardines are one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids and they’re one heck of a reasonable price. My favourite brand is Tome – which I find at Blue Sky Market in Pickering. I haven’t seen them anywhere else so let me know if you do!


ARDCMCC-2TCoconut Milk by Aroy D, Real Thai or Hom D

100% pure coconut milk. The ingredients read: coconut milk, water. No nasty fillers, stabilizers or emulsifiers like guar gum and carrageenan. Great for smoothies, coffee, homemade ice-cream, chia pudding, popsicles, desserts…the list goes on and on! Simply dump into a glass jar and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Found at almost all Asian/International Markets and sometimes the international aisle of major grocery stores (No Frills, Fresh Co and Walmart more often then Loblaws).


IMG_2316_a87ffdd6-d43e-4550-bc9a-a3f3ad783ef0Gelatin by Great Lakes

Incredibly healing for any connective tissue – gut, skin, joints, nails, brain etc. Also super fun for playing around with! Makes delicious desserts like pudding and jello. It’s also being experimented with in the AIP community for egg-less baking! Available on Amazon.


IMG_2313Collagen Hydrolysate by Great Lakes

Just as amazing as the gelatin, but broken down so it won’t gel liquids. Since it’s liquid soluble, you can add it to anything – soup, stew, tea, smoothies – it’s a great way to get extra gut/joint healing happening! Available on Amazon.


yellow-superfood_levure_nutrionelle_flocons_bio100gOrganic Nutritional Yeast by Yellow Superfoods or Bob’s Red Mill

This vegan-favourite is a yummy alternative to cheese in some recipes. Now keep in mind it’s not actually cheese, so you can’t bite into it, but it does add that salty/savoury/rich flavour when used properly. Great in pestos or sprinkled on zoodles or spaghetti squash. Found at health food stores and Bulk Barn.

Please note, nutritional yeast does not contain Vitamin B12 like is often advertised. Vitamin B12 is available from animal sources only. If you abstain from consuming animal products, you must supplement. This is non-negotiable. Failure to consume animal-sourced B12 will lead to neurological damage that is often irreversible.


350-346605-894__1Organic Coffee by Zavida

As long as you’re not (a) hardcore addicted to it (b) putting all sorts of junk in it like sugar or worse, sweeteners (c) suffering from high blood pressure (d) suffering from adrenal fatigue or (e) prone to anxiety – coffee is actually good for you! But you’re going to want to keep it organic since coffee is a very highly sprayed crop. Go for a fair-trade product too to make sure the farmers are compensated appropriately and the workers are treated well. I like this brand because it’s found at Costco for a great price!


12oz_Decaf_4_largeOrganic Decaf by Ethical Bean

So I LOVE LOVE LOVE coffee, but unfortunately it gives me the jitters and I easily get addicted to it. But I love the flavour and the routine of coffee in the morning. So I get a properly prepared decaf. What I mean by that is it’s decaffeinated via water processing, instead of utilizing all sorts of nasty chemicals like most decaf’s. Also, like with regular coffee, opt for organic and fair-trade. Found at many local health food stores in the GTA.


BasmatiOrganicWhiteRiceWhite Rice by Lundberg

White rice is the only grain that I tolerate well (really well actually!), so it’s fairly common in my house. I always cook it with bone broth to add in nutrients, or I add it to soups in lieu of noodles if I don’t have another starch option like sweet potato. Go for organic if you have a choice. I love Lundberg, which can be found at health food stores and many major grocery stores.


Wide-Sweet-Potato-NoodleSweet Potato Starch Noodles

These guys can only be found at Asian Supermarkets and man are they awesome! Not to be used all the time, because they are refined-flour noodles, but they’re great in moderation! I’ve found them locally at Blue Sky Market in Pickering and various T&T locations.


CHOno1maple250mlMaple Syrup, Natural/Organic

Real maple syrup is my preferred sweetener – must be my Canadian roots! I use it in coffee, baking, salad dressings and sauces/marinades. Maple syrup is a good option because it actually contains some micronutrients! While it is definitely still a sugar, it comes packaged with some minerals to help the body manage that sugar. Whenever possible try to support local maple syrup providers, but when it’s out of season or not an option, health food stores, major grocery stores and Costco all carry real options. Do NOT ever buy fake maple syrup – it’s just corn syrup.


123595-2TRaw, Unpasteurized Honey

Honey is another sweetener that offers heath benefits. Known to be antimicrobial (ie. fights both bacteria and viruses) it’s a great option for things like tea, baking, salad dressings, skin care and sore throats! Local honey from bees pollinating local plants is also thought to provide mild protection against seasonal allergies. Always buy local, raw and unpasteurized honey. Pasteurized honey has all of the health benefits destroyed! Found at farmer’s markets, health food stores and some grocery stores.



ShakersGroupHimalayan Salt by Lumiere de Sel

I love this brand of sea salt. Not only do they have a beautiful pink Himalayan sea salt, they also have infused salts. Flavours available include Kelp, Fine Herb, Masala and Wild Garlic. I regularly use the Kelp salt to get more iodine in my diet! Found at many health food stores and online at various retailers.


Herbamare by A. Vogel13536_4_Herbamare

Another flavoured sea salt that makes cooking easy and delicious! The regular is a mix of several herbs and sea salt. The zesty also includes some chili pepper for a bit of a kick. All ingredients are organic. Found online, at health food stores and at Costco!


simply-naturalOrganic Salsa by Simply Natural

I do not make my own salsa because it ends up being more expensive than purchasing it – so why bother? (I know I know, freshness, but man that’s a lot of work!). Just go for organic becauase tomatoes are on the dirty dozen. Salsa is amazing on burgers, eggs, tacos, crockpot chicken – pretty much anything. Have no time and need to season some meat? Just use salsa! Found at every grocery store – often the generic brand like Compliments is just as good!


DSCF1144-245x300Thai Curry Paste by Aroy D

Super clean ingredients and incredibly inexpensive. Just $2.99 per tub and it lasts months! My favourite way to use is in thai meatballs, butternut squash soup or in a mug of bone broth. I buy all 4 flavours – yellow, green, red and masaman – they’re all incredible! Found at almost all Asian/International Markets and sometimes the international aisle of major grocery stores (No Frills and Fresh Co more often then Loblaws).


7403f322948546d01b717500701142b8Mustard by Maison Orphee

Mustard is usually pretty darn clean. Just look for a product that contains only mustard, water, salt, vinegar and turmeric – bonus points for getting organic. Even the less ideal mustards are still good options – especially over other condiments like ketchup! Great for dipping sausages or grassfed hotdogs in, salad dressings and meat marinades. Found everywhere.


acvOrganic Apple Cider Vinegar

There are many brands – Eden, Filsingers, Bragg’s – I always by the largest container possible, normally 3.78L. It’s super inexpensive that way, which is great because I use it in everything – bone broth, salad dressings, conditioner and facial toner.


233-291-largeFish Sauce by Cock Brand or Red Boat

Fish sauce that doesn’t contain any chemicals is hard to find. This is the cleanest I’ve found in my area or online in Canada. It does contain sugar, but at the small amounts that I use, I don’t even worry about it! This stuff lasts forever in the fridge, and while it smells stanky, it adds an awesome umami flavour. Trust the recipes that use it. It’s worth it! Found at Asian or International supermarkets. Red Boat can be found online.


San-J Low Sodium Organic TamariGluten-free Tamari by San-J

If you tolerate soy, this is a good alternative to soy sauce. Actually  the original way soy sauce was made was by fermenting soy for 2-3 years, which is what Tamari is. Unfortunately all mainstream soy sauce these days has wheat in it, and gluten-free soy sauces often have other chemicals. Tamari is usually super clean – soy, bacteria and salt. It can be found at most health food stores and many conventional grocery stores.


20ae301d4c9ba793b9e412846653c0fc_ra,w403,h403_pa,w403,h403Soy-Free Seasoning Sauce by Coconut Secret

If you don’t tolerate soy, soy-free seasoning is a great option. Known as coconut aminos in the USA, Health Canada objected to something being called “aminos” that didn’t contain any protein – they felt it was misleading (have to say, I agree with them in this case!). Regardless, this slightly sweeter version of soy sauce is a great alternative. It can be found in most health food stores these days.


61JlE7rbv3L._SL1024_Sriracha Chili Sauce by Lee Kum Kee

Holy moly sriracha is super popular these days. Unfortunately though, the most popular brands are more chemicals than they are spices. This brand is the cleanest I’ve found and although it does contain sugar, I’m am totally ok with that because I never use a lot at one time. It’s awesome mixed with mayo as a dip for sweet potato fries!



12253Coconut Oil by Nutiva

Native is my favourite brand of coconut oil because it tastes lovely (albeit coconuty, so if you’re looking for a flavourless coconut oil, this product isn’t for you) and is great for baking, cooking at high heat and frying things like plantains and sweet potato fries! Not to mention it’s fabulous for your skin! You can find it at Costco for less than half the price of anywhere else!



Avocado Oil by Chosen Foods

My go-to for high heat, neutral flavour cooking. Especially if I don’t have any animal fats on hand. It’s also great for homemade mayo. Also found at Costco at a fabulous price!


Olive Oil by Terra DelyssaiQzZsPTjDmc24yWkI

Organic and delicious, this is my go-to for salad dressings and light-sauteeing. Finding a good quality olive oil is hard – some of the things you want to look for are (1) dark bottle, (2) pressed date and (3) best before date. It can be found at an incredible price at Costco, which made me worried it wasn’t legit, until I found this great review of their products.


Grassfed Butter by Rolling MeadowsSaltButter-pgrid-2

The first grassfed butter available at Health Food Stores in Canada (I believe…) is so popular that there is a company wide shortage. In lieu of this brand, look for an organic option in your grocery store, or find a farmer who raises dairy cattle properly and get some butter off of them! Can’t do butter? Try turning it into ghee and see if you tolerate it with 99% of the protein removed.


Baking Ingredients

267Coconut Flour

A staple flour for any grain-free baker! The majority of the grain-free baking recipes out there utilize coconut flour, because it adds lift and is nut-free (safe for schools!). It can be found at most health food stores, many major grocery stores, online and (non-organic) at Bulk Barn.


Arrowroot FlourBRM_ArrowrootPowderLG

Often used in tandem with coconut flour, this safe starch is great for grain-free baking. It’s also a good alternative for regular flour when it comes to thickening stews and breading things! Found at health food stores, in the heath food aisle of major grocery stores, online and at Bulk Barn.


Tapioca FlourBOB-TS-I-2T

Similar to arrowroot flour, tapioca flour is a safe starch often found in grain-free baking. It does have a fairly high cross-reactivity score with gluten, so make sure you tolerate it well. Found at health food stores, in the heath food aisle of major grocery stores, online and at Bulk Barn.


Wondering which you should use – arrowroot or tapioca flour? Check out this post to figure out which one is appropriate for your recipe.


12.15bakingsodaBaking Soda

Required in practically every baking recipe. Also fabulous for cleaning, homemade personal care products and body care! Found everywhere.


02233-web2Gluten-Free/Corn-Free Baking Powder 

Most baking powder is just baking soda + cornstarch. Get a brand that uses tapioca starch, rice starch and/or cream of tartar instead. Found at health food stores and online.


Not sure what leavening agent to use? Check out this post for more info on grain-free leavening agents!


k2-_4e7bc741-f2c8-4839-942a-e1f2c55889dd.v1Shredded Coconut

Delicious ingredient to use on top of “ice cream” and “yogurt“; a common ingredient baked goods like muffins and pie crusts; and delicious whipped up into “butter” or as part of granola. Found at health food stores, major grocery stores (occasionally Costco) and Bulk Barn.


075697Cocoa Powder

Add to homemade “ice cream” and “yogurt” along with vanilla extract (see below) to make chocolate. Great in smoothies and coffee as well! Try to purchase organic and fair-trade whenever possible. Found at health food stores. Non-organic options found at Bulk Barn and major grocery stores.


72500Cacao Nibs

Cacao nibs make a crunchy, nutty addition to homemade “ice cream” and “yogurt“. They can be blended into smoothies or even added to cookies as a sugar-free option. Try to purchase organic and fair-trade whenever possible. Found at health food stores. Non-organic options found at Bulk Barn and major grocery stores.


NAV002-2T_largeCoconut Sugar

A low-sugar sweetener, naturally derived from coconut. It’s great in baked goods, but can have a bit of a weird aftertaste if used alone. Often used in tandem with other sweeteners (see above). It sort of has the same flavour profile as brown sugar. Many people enjoy it in coffee or tea. Found at health food stores and bulk barn.


Navitas-Naturals-Organic-Raw-Chia-Seeds-858847000338-290x400Chia Seeds

A fun vegan alternative to gelatin for making things gel. Use to make chia pudding with coconut or almond milk. Found at health food stores, many large grocery stores and Bulk Barn.


Vanilla Extract by Simply Organic product_product-large_simply_organic_vanilla_extract_320.jpg

Contains 3 ingredients – water, organic alcohol and organic vanilla bean. You simply can’t beat the quality or the flavour! Found online, at most heath food stores, or the health food section of major grocery stores.




Plantain Chips by Inka Chips

With only 3 ingredients – green plantains, palm oil and sea salt – these are always in my cupboards. Great with salsa and guacamole or made into nachos; perfect side dish to burgers for a quick meal; and a must have for any trips (short or long!). They can be found at Dollarama or Amazon. 

avoseasaltAvocado Oil Potato Chips by Good Health Natural Foods

Free from vegetable oils, this brand is great when you really want a treat. Their BBQ version is fairly clean as well (just a bit of sugar). Watch out for the chilean lime which, although sounds delicious, contains dairy! Found at Bulk Barn and many health food stores.


by-the-pack-sticksNick’s Sticks – Grassfed Beef Jerky

Super clean jerky! Just contains spices, salt, beef, non-gmo lactic acid and celery salt. The spicy ones are awesome too. Obviously homemade jerky ideal, but when you don’t have the time, this is an awesome brand. Found at some health food stores like TNS Whitby and The Big Carrot.


coconut_chipsCoconut Chips by Prairie Naturals

With just organic coconut, organic coconut sugar and sea salt, these guys can’t be beat. They recently came out with a chocolate drizzled one – obviously higher in sugar, but also delicious! Found at health food stores like TNS Whitby.





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