The basic food items in my pantry
I know that a lot of you are waiting for me to share my menu, but first, I would like to show you something that for me is essential: the foods that make up the basis of my diet and why, how they benefit our organism, etc. I’d like to start by showing you part of my pantry, because I am increasingly convinced that the change towards a balanced, complete and healthy diet starts when we go shopping.
(English subtitles are available for the video below!)
MY BASIC FOOD ITEMS
As you can see, I ensure that pulses and whole grain cereals, as well as vegetables, are the star items in my pantry and the basis of my family’s menu. I add animal protein and fruit to these to make a complete meal.
I refer back to a brief note about the properties of the most common pulses we eat in my house. Pulses in general are a delicious source of plant proteins, vitamin B, minerals and slow release carbohydrates. And, if that’s not enough, they are also low in fat and have a high fibre content. Whole grains or whole grain cereals are complex carbohydrates and they have it all: high nutritional value, high fibre content and zero saturated fats. In our culture, we tend to eat cereals every day, in the form of bread, pasta, or for breakfast, but nearly always in their refined version.
So, why are all the cereals in my pantry whole grain? Refined cereals undergo a milling process in which they lose their shell; this means that their texture is finer, but it also means a lot of fibre and nutrients are lost. This process turns them into simple carbohydrates, which are less beneficial for our organism. On the contrary, whole grains are eaten as the earth presents them to us, with their shells intact. These cereals still have their germ and their bran, meaning their nutritional value is much higher and making them complex carbohydrates. For me, including whole grains in my diet marked a real turning point. They help you regulate your intestinal transit, they provide more long-lasting energy and you feel full for longer.
Be careful when distinguishing whole grains or whole grain cereals from products with fibre. These products tend to be made with refined flours, and then have bran added to them. Whole grains conserve all their elements: the endosperm, bran and germ. That is why, on processed products, such as bread or pasta, you have to check that the label states “100% whole grain”.
Below I explain how I use some of these cereals in my cooking. My favourites are oats, barley, buckwheat, brown rice, whole grain or spelt pasta, and quinoa.
Oats for breakfast
– The oats can be boiled with water or plant milk to make the traditional English breakfast: porridge.
– The oats can also be toasted in the oven with dried fruits and nuts and a natural sweetener, to make your own granola.
Boiled barley, buckwheat or quinoa
– Seasoned with spices, I serve them with meat or fish dishes.
– Mixed with each other and with pulses and vegetables, I make delicious varied and complete salads.
– I also use quinoa instead of couscous.
If you choose to look after yourself and you want to change your diet, in addition to introducing these new cereals into your cooking, I suggest you choose organic produce. I firmly believe in the positive impact this choice has not only on our health, but also on the planet. Please think about the long term, and reflect on the legacy you want to leave behind you.
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