In yesterday’s post, I talked a bit about the difficulties of buying healthy food in South Africa as opposed to the UK and other developed countries. I’m very aware that this issue, while real and frustrating, is very much a ‘first world problem’ in a third world context. The majority of South Africans have far bigger issues to deal with than whether or not they can afford cacao paste for their protein balls.
I do feel guilty sometimes for operating at a level that is so far removed from the grassroots problems faced by so many, but then that is part of our identity as South Africans – living with the divide between rich and poor, and negotiating your own struggles when there are people so much worse off than you that it feels selfish to call them struggles. Anyway, this isn’t meant to be a commentary on social politics, but I felt it needed to be acknowledged.
My solution to this problem is a work in progress – I am always looking for ways to eat the way I want to without breaking the bank. One of my life savers comes in the form of a small start-up company called His Working Hands. They source wholefoods such as nuts, goji berries and honey, as well as a wide variety of flours, oils and superfood powders, all at extremely cheap prices when compared to your supermarket costs. They bypass the retailer and bring products straight to the customer from wholesale suppliers. You won’t find most of these products cheaper – and if you do, please let me know as I want your inside info! I order monthly from HWH and that gets me through my weekly healthy snacks as well as most of my recipe experiments. Another source that I frequently use is Faithful To Nature, and for reasonably priced items that I need in a hurry – especially when I’ve run out of something – I go to Dis-Chem.
While the selection of health food is endless, I’ve fine-tuned my basic pantry items so that I can make pretty much anything in a wholefoods recipe book (often with a bit of cowboy substituting!). Here’s my go to list of essential items, all of which can be found at one or more of the three sources I’ve listed above (with the exception of my protein powder which is from Rawlicious). I have only included ingredients not commonly found in supermarket chains.
Healthy Pantry Essentials
- Almond flour
- Ground flaxseed
- Cacao powder
- Pea protein powder (if you’re fine with dairy you can always use cheaper whey protein powder instead)
- Kelp powder
- Baobab powder (optional – I only buy when it’s on special)
- Selection of nuts (I usually buy pecans, almonds and macadamias)
- Goji berries
- Coconut flakes
- Natural unsweetened peanut butter
- Mixed seeds
- Raw honey
- Stevia liquid
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Dried dates
- Arrowroot powder
What’s in your pantry?