Often when people begin most lifestyle protocols such as Whole30, Paleo, AIP (Autoimmune Paleo/Protocol); etc, they have questions about what a certain product is or where to find it. I decided to compile a list of some of my must-haves and favorite items. Hopefully, this will help you on your journey to a healthier you.
Let’s start with the basics:
- High-Quality Meats/Seafood (antibiotic/steroid free, pasture raised, grass-fed, sustainable, wild as much as possible) & Vegetables (organic preferably) – All of these can be found at most supermarkets and large warehouse stores like Sam’s Club, BJ’s, or Costco. You can also find them at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Kroger’s, and Aldi’s. These items and other health-related products can often be found online at sites like ThriveMarket and/or Amazon. Find the High-Quality meats at US Wellness Meats and places like ButcherBox (free bacon in each box). If there are any Asian Markets in your area, please take advantage of their enormous selection of fresh fruits, vegetables and sometimes fresh seafood (they will clean and filet the fish for you right there). Farmer’s Markets are great to get your fresh meats/fish/seafood/vegetables as well.
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Next, we’ll discuss the Quality Fats. Unrefined, Organic, and Extra Virgin are preferred:
- EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) – The oil is mechanically pressed from the olives without heat or chemistry. Opt for cold pressed, a darker bottle and a harvest date when choosing your EVOO. Look for Lucero, Corto, Kirkland Signature Organic, California Olive Ranch, Cobram Estate, or McEvoy Ranch Organic. I normally purchase mine from Amazon (links included) or Sams Club.
- Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil – (The label can say extra virgin or virgin…it’s the same thing) This oil is either extracted from moist coconut meat, the water and oil are divided by boiling, fermenting, and refrigeration or the fresh meat is quick-dried and mechanically pressed to release the oil. You can cook with this, add it to your smoothies, and hot drinks. *Remember this coconut oil is solid at room temperatures below 76 degrees. My preferred place of purchase is Amazon (link included) & Sams Club. I purchase this in bulk.
- Expeller Pressed Refined Coconut Oil – The unrefined is the healthiest but if you don’t like the taste of coconut you can opt for this one. *This particular refined oil is also solid. Do not get the “refined” oil that is liquid at all temperatures.
- Avocado Oil – I get this from Sam’s Club, Amazon, Thrive Market.
- Palm Oil/Shortening – I’ve purchased this from Amazon and Thrive Market.
- Lard, Tallow, or/and Duck Fat (organic/grass-fed/pasture raised) – I purchase this from Thrive Market.
- Ghee Clarified Butter (Whole30 only) – I grab this from Amazon and Thrive Market
- Nut Oils (Paleo/Whole30) – Walnut, Almond, Macadamia, Hazelnut; etc. – These can be purchased at most stores.
The 2 Favorite & Most Mentioned Kinds of Vinegar:
- Balsamic Vinegar – Add it to salad dressing, sauces, meats, vegetables, marinades; etc. I purchase this from Amazon and Sam’s Club.
- Organic Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother – There are so many uses for this one…use it the same as the Balsamic Vinegar, add to your drinking water, use it to extract nutrients when preparing vegetable/meat/bone broth and so much more. Chose Organic Raw Unfiltered w/the Mother in it. I order it from Amazon and usually in bulk.
Milk products from animals are a “no” on the above protocols. If you are looking for something to drink, bake with, make into yogurt, add to your porridge, or gluten-free cereal…opt for:
- Organic Coconut Milk – Preferably full fat without guar gum or other unnatural ingredients. Read the label or make your own! I purchase mine from Amazon or Trader Joe’s.
- Almond/Cashew Milk (Paleo/Whole30 only) – Free of carrageenan/additives/chemicals and unsweetened. Read the label or make your own! I grab mine from Weis.
Then there are the starches and flours which you can use to bake gluten-free foods, make porridges, and thicken gravy, soups, or sauces:
- Coconut Flour – Sam’s Club
- Tapioca Starch/Flour – Amazon or Big Lots
- Arrowroot Starch/Flour – Amazon or Big Lots
- Cassava Flour – Amazon or Otto’s online
- Almond Flour (Whole30 Only) – Amazon or Weis
A few other highly recommended nutritious and/or gut healing products are:
- Bone Broth – Nutrient Dense, rich in protein/gelatin and minerals. Does wonders for the gut. Drink it, add to soups, or braise vegetables with it. You can also make this at home. You can grab this at any store. Just make sure it’s compliant. I grab it from Butcher Box, Kettle & Fire, and make my own.
- Gelatin/Collagen Hydrolysate – Supports skin/hair/nail health and your digestive tract. I purchase this from Amazon
- Probiotic/Prebiotic/Fermented Drinks & Foods – Supports your Digestive Health – Kombucha, Sauerkraut, Coconut Milk Yogurt; etc. I purchase these from Amazon, Sam’s Club, Aldi’s, and Whole Foods.
Two highly recommended & useful gadgets to help with either lifestyle protocol are the:
- Spiralizer, Veggie Slicer, & Shredder – Use this to make zoodles (Zucchini Noodles) or noodles from any other vegetable. Then you can top them with your own sauce, add them to soups or even salads.
- Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer – Cook anything in this gadget in less than ½ the time of most kitchen appliances. You can also slow cook, steam, sauté, boil, etc.; all in one appliance.
Four of my absolute favorites are:
- Coconut Butter or Coconut Manna – I never knew this existed until I started AIP. It is basically coconut ground into a butter. You can purchase or even make this yourself. Add it to desserts, spread on sweet potatoes/fruits, add to your coffee or/and warm drinks. You can even make fat bombs or candy bars with it. I, myself, like to simply eat a spoonful (or two…lol) from time to time. Stops my sugar craving. I purchase this from Amazon and make my own.
- Coconut Aminos – Organic Coconut Tree Sap & Organic Sea Salt. This is used to replace soy sauce and add extra flavor to foods. Add this to your homemade salad dressing, sauces, gravy, soups, sautés, hashes, skillets, cooked meats, or vegetables and enjoy. I usually grab this from Amazon.
- Artisan Tropic Cassava Strips w/Sea Salt – Perfect savory/salty snack. Gives you the feeling of eating potato chips. Sometimes I sprinkle a little garlic powder in the bag and they are even better. Mmmm! I’ve grabbed this from Amazon and Whole Foods.
- Plantain Chips/Strips (Sea Salt or Cinnamon) – Takes care of that salty or sweet craving. I sprinkle garlic powder in the Sea Salt Plantains bag too sometimes. You can also make your own. My favorite store bought sea salt ones are Inka and for a naturally sweet treat, I like Artisan Tropic Plantain Strips with Cinnamon. I grab these from Amazon, Big Lots, and Whole Foods.
A few other tips:
- For those who do not live near Sam’s Club, Costco & BJ’s normally carry the same products.
- If you are not sure if a particular store carries your product, you can always call ahead or search the store’s website before going there.
- Don’t hesitate to check the specialty grocery sections of places like Ross, Marshall’s, and TJ Max while there. I’ve found some real goodies in there that are compliant at a major discount.
- Once you’ve decided an item will be a regular, a good idea is to buy it in bulk.
- Some Wholesale Warehouses and Supermarkets have their own brand of healthier food products…like Giant’s Nature’s Promise. Sometimes they will just happen to have packages of “high quality” meats. You may have to do your own research.
- The items I posted above are all Paleo, Whole30, and/or AIP compliant. Whichever lifestyle protocol you choose, be sure to be familiar with what is or isn’t compliant with yours and ALWAYS read labels! 🙂
If you are following a new healthier eating/living protocol, what is your absolute favorite or must-have? Do you have any questions about products that are not mentioned above?