The Black Pantry Movement

Clean out your kitchen pantry!

By Marvin Thornton

 

If you're like me you grew up on a steady diet of sodium laden, deep fried in bacon grease meals accompanied by heavily sweetened side dishes and drinks. Can you tell I'm from the South? It made sense back then because we didn't know any better and a THICK body meant one was healthy, or so we thought.

 

But it's 2013 y'all. And beyond the fact that our old school eating habits are manifesting belly, back and booty fat on our beautiful brown bodies (not cute),  we now know that diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels are anything but healthy and again NOT CUTE. So, SOMETHING HATH GOT TO BE DID! TA-DAY!

 

 

Are you ready? We think you are! So, we dare you. We dare you to take a good, long look at not just what you've been eating, but more importantly, what's IN it.

 

Let's begin with the basic pantry staples:

Flour, sugar, salt, pepper, fat (oil-butter-margarine)

Ketchup, mustard, mayo, can goods, bread, beverages

Onions, garlic, spices.

 

FLOUR

If you're a baker, you're flinching right now, but breathe. We dare you to try your favorite recipes with these healthy alternatives.

Whole wheat flour. Rice flour, almond flour, corn flour.

Because wheat flour is not naturally white, much of it's nutritional value is lost in it's transformation from natural, nutty brown to bright, bleached white. If you have Celiac disease and cannot tolerate gluten, or you've jumped on the gluten-free train, rice, corn and almond flour

are what you're looking for. To me the change in flavor is minimal, the change in texture will take some getting used to. But just look down at that belly of yours and get over it.

 

SUGAR

Same deal; not naturally white. Best in its natural state. Try using natural sugars found in pears, apples or bananas when baking.

Natural evaporated cane juice, raw sugar, Agave, honey all good .

And you can find the brand name Sugar in the Raw at the 99 cent Store, so don't sweat the price change. You can make the switch and not go broke.

 

SALT

Sea salt! End of story. If you're on a low or no sodium diet there are great alternatives for you. Like Mrs. Dash. or Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute. Even if you're not on a low sodium diet, try one of these salt free switch outs or just add lemon juice. Lemon juice enhances the flavor of just about everything, and no not that junk in the plastic lemon shaped bottle.

 

FATS

Margarine NO MORE! Just read the ingredients, you'll be stunned. Real, un-salted butter in moderation and extra virgin olive oil are the way to go. P.S. Don't think you're saving calories by buying LIGHT olive oil  (virgin olive oil is from the 1st pressing of olives so it's darker in color and richer in olive flavor. Olive oil is from the 2nd pressing so it's lighter in color and flavor. And light olive oil is from the 3rd pressing with little to no color or flavor, perfect for salad dressings when you don't want the olive taste to overpower, but all three have the same amount of fat.) But don't fret, it's the GOOD fat. Also try avocado oil, or a high quality vegetable oil.

 

The rest is CAKE. Pun intended.

When shopping for other pantry items, simply look for ones with less or none of the above items (sugar, salt, fat). Don't panic, you can find ketchup minus the high fructose corn syrup. You can find naturally sweetened fruit juice from almost every major brand. Try adding some juice to sparkling water, make your own soda, and put down the big gulp. Steer clear of DIET or anything artificial. Your body has no idea what to do with that. This next one may be catastrophic for some of you, but oh well, throw out the MAYO. Eggs and oil whipped together, no good can come of it. Try spreading a ripe avocado on bread or hummus to flavor your next sandwich. And finally, get yourself some vinegar. Red wine, balsamic, apple cider, rice wine, any vinegar you like. Add 2 parts vinegar to 3 parts olive oil, with some freshly chopped garlic, thyme, salt and pepper, a dash of mustard and make your own salad dressing. That bottle junk is just that, JUNK. Keep plenty of low sodium chicken, veggie or beef broth on hand for sauces, soups. Broths are also great for poaching and braising meats. Two great ways to cook with little or no fat and tons of flavor.

 

So GO! Clean out you pantry. Fill it with freshness and keep it that way for the next 30 days and let us know how it's going. Hit us up for recipe ideas as well.

 

And remember, nothing is certain except CHANGE. So don't find it make the change and embrace a new you.

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