If optimal health is your goal, there’s no getting around your diet. Your physical health is a direct reflection of what you put into your body, and how you live your life in general.
Pre-packaged processed foods may be convenient, but cooking from scratch using fresh unprocessed ingredients is a must if you want to improve your health.
Remember that one of the keys to staying healthy is avoiding processed foods as much as possible. This means someone, you, your spouse, or someone else, needs to spend regular time in the kitchen.
Once you’re eating non-adulterated foods—foods that are as close to their natural state as possible—then basically everything you eat is a “superfood.” You need nutrients—all of them—and nutrients are found in abundance in fresh, raw foods.
Still, lists of specific items can be helpful to steer you in the right direction. So to help you get started, the following 15 foods are items I recommend you keep on hand so that you always have healthy key ingredients to choose from for cooking and snacking.
1. Sunflower and Other Sprouted Seeds
One of the easiest and most efficient ways to optimize your nutrition is to add sprouted seeds to your vegetable juice and/or salad. While you can sprout a wide variety of seeds, my favorite is sunflower seeds.
Sprouted, the protein, vitamin, and mineral content of sunflower seeds soar, and will typically provide you with 30 times the nutrient content of organic vegetables! Sprouts in general also contain valuable enzymes—up to 100 times more enzymes than raw fruits and vegetables—that allow your body to absorb and use the nutrients of other foods you eat.
Sprouts are the ultimate locally-grown food, and can easily be grown in your own kitchen, even if you’re tight on space. And since they’re very inexpensive, cost is no excuse for avoiding them. I started sprouting seeds in ball jars nearly 15 years ago. Now I grow them in them in trays using soil instead. It’s far easier and produces far more nutritious and abundant food.
You can view the page I created for directions for growing seeds into harvestable sprouts. We have kits to grow spouts in our store. Sprouts-as-medicine.com1 is another good source for things relating to sprouts: their health benefits, recipes, and how to grow your own.
The British Verticalveg.org2 is another. The latter gives helpful growing tips for each month of the year. One of the benefits of sprouts is that you can grow them year-round, even when it’s cold and dark. The article “6 Easy Steps to Sprout Heaven”3 teaches you how to grow your own sprouts, from start to finish.
2. Organic Pastured Eggs
Proteins are essential to the building, maintenance, and repair of your body tissues, including your skin, internal organs, and muscles. Proteins are also major components of your immune system and hormones.
While proteins are found in many types of food, only foods from animal sources, such as meat and eggs, contain “complete proteins,” meaning they contain all of the essential amino acids. Eggs also contain lutein and zeaxanthin for eye health, choline for your brain, nervous and cardiovascular systems, and naturally occurring B12.
Eggs are powerhouses of healthy nutrition, provided they’re harvested from organically raised, free-range, pastured chickens. The nutritional differences between true free-ranging chicken eggs and commercially farmed eggs are a result of the different diets eaten by the two groups of chickens.
You can tell the eggs are free range or pastured by the color of the egg yolk. Foraged hens produce eggs with bright orange yolks. Dull, pale yellow yolks are a sure sign you’re getting eggs from caged hens that are not allowed to forage for their natural diet. Your best source for fresh eggs is a local farmer that allows his hens to forage freely outdoors.
To find free-range pasture farmers, ask your local health food store or refer to EatWild.com4 or LocalHarvest.com.5 Cornucopia.org also offers a helpful organic egg scorecard6 that rates egg manufacturers based on 22 criteria that are important for organic consumers.
Good old-fashioned butter, when made from grass-fed cows, is a rich in a substance called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA is not only known to help fight cancer and diabetes, it may even help you to lose weight, which cannot be said for its trans-fat substitutes.
Butter is a rich source of easily absorbed vitamin A (needed for a wide range of functions, from maintaining good vision to keeping the endocrine system in top shape) and all the other fat-soluble vitamins (D, E, and K2), which are often lacking in the modern industrial diet. Butter is rich in important trace minerals, including manganese, chromium, zinc, copper, and selenium (a powerful antioxidant).
As mentioned above, RealMilk.com7 can help you locate a source of raw butter. If you want to try your hand at making it yourself, check out Positron.org.8 They have an excellent web page with step-by-step instructions9 for making your own butter from scratch, using raw, grass-fed milk.
Read More: Here