Making the transition to using wholefoods can at first seem expensive but once you let go of the way the you used to buy food it will probably work out to cost the same or even be cheaper. We suggest using organic ingredients wherever possible and shopping in bulk to save money.
You may notice that many of these items are difficult to find in conventional supermarkets. It’s likely that you will need to start by visiting a health food store or an organic grocery. Once you take note of the ingredients that you commonly use, you might want to try ordering them in bulk through a local co-op or retailer, which is what we do. There are also a number of great online stores where these items can be purchased.
Below is a list of some of the most diverse and delicious foods that we use. We’ve focussed more on the uses for each item rather than the nutritional benefits. At any one time, it is likely that we will have most of these things in our pantry and fridge. Some of our recipes may call on ingredients that are not listed here but we have tried to capture the main staples.
Honey – You may be able to find a local that sells direct from their hive. Be sure to choose pure, raw honey for the highest nutrient level.
Agave Syrup – A very sweet nectar that can be used in place of honey or maple syrup. This is the best sweetener for raw chocolate.
Maple Syrup – Great for those who want to avoid agave (for fructose content) & honey (for ethical reasons), but very expensive.
Rapadura (sugar) – Derived from sugar cane, it is evaporated rather than refined & is therefore less processed & contains more nutrients.
Medjool Dates – These babies will last for ages in your fridge. The perfect all natural sugar.
Nuts & Seeds (All Raw & Unsalted)
Almonds – Used to make raw treats, nut milks, cakes, biscuits, muesli etc. You NEED almonds! Almond meal is a fantastic gluten free flour alternative for baking.
Cashews – For nut milks, smoothies, icecream, raw cakes & truffles. Cashews are also ESSENTIAL for many vegan dips.
Walnuts – Although not used in as many dishes, walnuts are handy to have on hand for raw truffles, icing or cakes.
Sunflower Seeds – Used for raw cake bases, sprouting, dips & additions to salads
Flax Seeds (Linseeds) – Flax are often used more for their nutrient content & binding ability rather than flavour although they add a great texture to many recipes.
Chia Seeds – This diverse little seed can pop up anywhere, especially in raw truffles and chocolate or as a superfood additive to smoothies or porridge.
Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds) – My absolute favorite! These can be used to add crunch without too much flavour to both raw & cooked dishes.
Buckwheat – Cooked, soaked, milled into flour, or raw, buckwheat (actually a seed) is a complete protein handy to have around.
Quinoa – Commonly used cooked as an alternative to rice and cous cous. Can also be sprouted or milled for a gluten free flour.
Grains & Flour
Spelt Flour – Used as a low gluten alternative to regular wheat flour in baked goods & sauces.
Rolled Oats – Low in gluten (or sometimes gluten free), oats have an amazing flavour when cooked into cakes & biscuits. They can also be partially substituted to reduce your wheat/spelt intake.
Rolled Spelt – Like oats but without the bitter flavour. Great for granola and baking.
Polenta – Polenta is a diverse starch! Make a slice that can be baked or fried, make porridge or even use as a flour alternative.
Barley – Similar to rice, barley can be used as a rice substitute & is also amazing in soups, casseroles & for texture in vegetarian pies.
Chickpeas – These are a necessity. Hommus is a wholefood staple at our place. Chickpeas are also great in casseroles & curries.
Lentils – Another awesome vegetarian protein. Use in place of mince meat or for sprouting!
Coconut Oil – You’ve probably heard about how coconut oil is the absolute best oil for your health – it’s true. From baking & frying to raw cakes & icing, there isn’t much that it can’t do. Despite this, I don’t use in every single recipe purely because it’s difficult to work with & I don’t like the taste.
Olive Oil – Another great all-rounder. Cold-pressed is best. Olive oil is my favourite replacement for butter/margarine.
Sunflower Oil – A more affordable oil. Sunflower is not the best for cooking but is great to add to dips.
Cacao Powder – Chocolate! If you need it as much as we do then you’ll be buying this by the truckload. Use in place of cocoa (which often contains milk & preservatives & has been heated) or in smoothies & raw foods!
Cacao Butter – If you want to make your own chocolate, raw truffles or vegan cheesecakes then YOU NEED CACAO BUTTER. There’s nothing else quite like it out there. It can also be used as an oil in baking although it’s expensive.
Mesquite Powder – This superfood has a sweet caramel flavour and is a great addition to many raw sweets.
Milk – Whatever your style, milk of some kind is probably a part of your life. We’ve tried them all and even though we avoid dairy, you can use cow’s milk to replace soy etc. in most of the recipes here. Whether it’s from nuts, oats, soy or anything else, milk is still a big part of the wholefood world.
Tofu & Tempeh – If you are ok with soy then tofu & tempeh can be a great way to bulk out and add texture to many cooked dishes or even add to a salad or eat on a burger!
Coconut Cream – You can make your own fresh coconut cream if you have the time & the money but I reckon the tinned stuff makes a lot more sense particularly if you’re cooking dairy free curries & soups etc.
Canned Tomatoes – Even though I generally don’t advocate for the use of canned food, canned tomatoes are the cheap and easy for some many vegetarian dishes. If you have access to bulk tomatoes, you can make your own equivalent.
Bananas – If you want to make smoothies then you will want to have some frozen bananas on hand. We go through about 5kg a fortnight!
Blueberries – Frozen blueberries really come in handy when you need them in a green smoothie or sorbet.
Young Coconuts – Many recipes use the flesh from young coconuts & the water is delicious!!
Avocados – Great for salads and raw treats like smoothies and mousse!
Greens – Kale, Spinach, Lettuce… raw goodness.
Eggs – If you’re not vegan, duck or chicken eggs make baking easier and make a great breakfast, fritatta or snack.
This is far from a complete list but it’s a very good start. Don’t feel as though you need to change everything straight away. This is only a guide. If you can’t find spelt flour where you live, just use wheat flour. If you have heaps of canola oil – use it up first before replacing it with something different. If you don’t have something that a recipe calls for, use google to find a substitute that you do have. If you are creating delicious food – that’s all that matters!