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Pantry Essentials

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  • Pantry Essentials

    After a month of being non-primal while on vacation and 7 lbs heavier (this is despite trying to watch my carbs!), I'm keen on getting back to being on a proper primal diet. I was about 60-70% primal for about 3 weeks before my vacation. This may have been already covered in another thread, but in case it hasn't, here goes:

    How do I make my pantry primal? What primal essentials do I need to stock it up with? How can I do it on a budget? Apart form nutrition and fitness, what are other areas where I can be primal and how?

  • #2

    I had been wondering the same thing about primal pantries, too. Looking forward to other people's responses.

    I will also tell you about my pantry... when I decided to go primal with the food, I isolated all of the non-primal stuff, and what remained (and what I have bought) is basically:

    cocoa powder



    dark chocolate

    lots of different kinds of nuts - w/no salt or peanut oil or anything added

    sunflower seeds

    dried fruits

    coconut flour

    almond flour - though this is actually in the fridge

    unsweetened coconut flakes

    coconut oil

    cans/jars of olives

    cans of tomatoes

    tomato paste

    (not much) canned fruit - in its own juice, not sugary syrup

    A couple jars of tomato sauce

    cans of artichoke hearts in water

    canned tuna for my husband (for lunches or whatever he cooks for himself)

    canned chicken for occasional use

    and in my cupboards I have lots of spices, oils (olive and sesame... want to get walnut oil), vinegars (balsamic, white, apple cider, rice), sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sea salt, fun pepper

    also in the fridge is pine nuts and almond butter

    want to get some arrowroot powder for thickening sauces

    I hope that helps! Can't wait to see what other people respond with.

    Eating lots but still hungry? Eat more fat. Mid-day sluggishness? Eat more fat. Feeling depressed or irritable? Eat more fat. People think you've developed an eating disorder? Eat more fat... in front of them.


    • #3

      PS I have found that with primal eating/cooking most of the prime real estate is fridge/freezer space... we're mostly eating fresh veggies, meats, and fruits, so the pantry isn't as important.

      That makes me feel good too because we're moving soon and I was previously concerned about finding a place with a big enough pantry... now I couldn't care less about the pantry size, because we really don't need it in the absence of all those packaged/processed/prepared foods.

      Eating lots but still hungry? Eat more fat. Mid-day sluggishness? Eat more fat. Feeling depressed or irritable? Eat more fat. People think you've developed an eating disorder? Eat more fat... in front of them.


      • #4

        FlyNavy: I've noticed that, too - the only reason I open a cupboard any more is to get a can of tuna, some spices, or plates/bowls/cups.

        I agree that the fridge/freezer ends up being more important. Keep an eye out for sales on organic frozen produce and bulk high-quality meats. Right now I live in a shared apartment and I'm the only one doing primal, but if I had it my way the freezer would be heavily stocked with those.


        • #5

          Thanks FlyNavyWife and Kryz. Oops, I had fridge and freezer in mind too when I wrote this post, but forgot to mention them. Where do you buy your meats from? From a farm? I'm yet to see organic/pasture-fed meat in my grocery store - most are only antibiotic/hormone-free.


          • #6

            My husband and I switched to primal eating about 5 weeks ago, so we still have just a couple of nonprimal things left. The pantry is looking sparse, but it's a good place for spices!

            One shelf is a lot of different spices

            One shelf has unsweetened coconut, raisins (have ahad those for a while, haven't really used them), and dark chocolate

            One shelf has vinegars and oils (balsamic/apple cider/rice vinegars, coconut/walnut/toasted sesame/olive oils), canned tuna, different teas

            One shelf has all of my glass jars for canning/freezing now too

            For the last 4 weeks I've bought:

            farm eggs (2 dozen/week, though that hasn't been enough!)

            grass fed ground beef, whole chickens, amish chicken breasts and legs

            shrimp, wild salmon (the "whole catch" brand at whole foods, it's more affordable), other wild fish if it sounds good

            lots of in season veggies like tomatoes/carrots/lettuce/cucumbers/eggplant...whatever I need for the week

            some fruit, I keep frozen blueberries and blackberries in the freezer and they are delicious as a snack, bought peaches last week as a treat (they were local and perfect!), rainier cherries and fresh blackberries today, but not much else fruit in general



            still have some parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, and greek yogurt, but I haven't bought any new cheese or yogurt or milk in the past few weeks.

            oh and hubby can't stand to not have something different to drink so there is natural apple juice, v8 vfusion (I had no hand in that one , a bottle of diet coke (he's really trying to quit drinking it, at least it's lasted longer than 2 days!)

            fresh garlic



            bell peppers

            almonds/walnuts/pecans and almond meal (or flour, same thing)

            condiments like dijon mustard, organic ketchup (though I want to make my own when that's gone), olives, real mayo (will make my own there too), bacon grease, green salsa, homemade salsa, chicken broth, capers, homemade pineapple chutney, low sodium soy sauce, fish sauce...and batteries and nail polish

            I always make a list of what I'm going to make for the week for dinner, and then make a grocery list based on that plus whatever else I need. I've been doing that for about 8 months now, and it makes cooking much quicker and easier. I tend to spend less also, which helps. I've been shopping mostly at my local farmers market, I'm lucky to have grass fed meats and organic produce available for decent prices.

            If you actually can't find grass fed meats then antibiotic/hormone free are definitely better, but I don't think they have the correct ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 like the grass fed meats do. I'll buy them if I'm in a pinch, though.

            We are going to buy a side of grass fed beef in October, I'm very excited about that! Buying by the whole, side, or quarter is such a good deal; it will be $3.25 per pound for the whole lot, rather than $4.50 for ground meat and up to $20 for nice cuts! Then our basement freezer will be completely full of beef

            I hope some of that helps, I love to cook and I find that having the nicer oils/vinegars on hand along with a ton of spices makes cooking good food easier. Making a food plan really helps too! Okay that's long enough.

            You are what you eat,
            and what you eat eats too - Michael Pollan


            • #7

              For our fridge/freezer it's mostly ...


              whole milk

              whipping cream

              condiments, olives, dill pickles


              bacon grease

              lots of veggies and fruits

              meat that's thawing for the night's dinner

              leftovers (to eat for lunches/breakfasts generally)

              lots and lots of eggs

              homemade breakfast sausage


              yogurt - plain and vanilla (no gross stuff added to those)

              full fat cottage cheese


              frozen veggies in case we run out of fresh ones (so that I don't overbuy the fresh and let them go bad)

              various meat and seafood (which we vacuum-seal in portions that are the right size for us)

              frozen cheese

              homemade turkey stock


              I don't have access to GOOD meat right now... so I have just been buying what our store has. We're moving soon, and after we move I think we might look into getting a chest freezer and maybe buying part of a cow (if we can find a place that does that), some pastured chickens, wild salmon, etc.

              I'm going to start taking fish oil to hopefully balance out some of these Omega6 fats in our not-great meat... but hopefully soon we'll be able to fix the problem at the source.

              Eating lots but still hungry? Eat more fat. Mid-day sluggishness? Eat more fat. Feeling depressed or irritable? Eat more fat. People think you've developed an eating disorder? Eat more fat... in front of them.


              • #8

                Stuff that's mine in the fridge:

                unsweetened almond milk

                cage-free eggs

                ground turkey


                almond meal (and some wheat flours that I won't be using anymore)

                some leftover almond meal pancakes


                mixed greens

                summer squash


                white mushrooms

                organic peanut butter (bought it pre-primal)

                no-sugar-added raspberry preserves

                (just ran out of bacon)


                bag of organic broccoli

                bag of cauliflower

                bag of kale


                I'm in the city so as far as meat goes I buy from Trader Joe's, although there's a butchery two miles away that I want to check out once my boyfriend moves in (same goes for the farmer's markets downtown). He also knows how to butcher animals so we might be able to pick up whole chickens and save some money.


                • #9

                  I feel naked and rather awkward if I don't have at least a 1/2 dozen kombucha in the fridge.