Paleovedic Diet Grocery List

I read an incredible book called The Paleovedic Diet which combines Paleo principles (what our caveman ancestors ate) with principles from Ayurvedic medicine that includes food, spices, and natural remedies for your individual body type. Exceptionally well written and is now my preferred eating guide. In fact, it’s helped me eat more vegetables and to use spices which have incredible health benefits I was unaware of. I never liked spices…ever…but now I use them to add flavor and aroma to food in a non-overwhelming way. Highly recommend reading the book.

Since this was so revolutionary for me, I created a grocery list based on foods recommended in the book. There are more foods listed in the book along with explanations of their health benefits, but the ones below are just those I found most interesting. This is all coming from someone who didn’t eat vegetables until my late 20s and now I eat roughly 50% vegan, 50% pescatarian (fish & vegetables), and 1-2 meat based meals per week. After years of digestive challenges since childhood and having now tried Paleo, vegetarian, and vegan, for me personally, the principles leveraged from this book have worked the best. Everyone is different, so you can find your ideal combinations of food that work best for what you like to eat and your body type. I buy exclusively organic to avoid pesticides, potential pathogens, antibiotics, etc. While some people will debate this, in my observations, it seems to have made a noticeable positive difference on my digestion.

A note on price. People complain about organic food being so much more expensive, but it depends on how and what you buy. And it’s still cheaper than going out! First off, it’s absurd to think that paying an extra couple bucks on something that will have greater health impacts isn’t worth it. Look for sales, shop local at farmer’s markets, eat what’s in season, buy from the bulk aisle, make things from scratch (it’s cheaper than prepared). Additionally for those of us in the U.S., with Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, Prime members get 2% cash back and if you use the Amazon Prime Visa credit card, you get 5%. That plus the price reductions make Whole Foods more affordable that it used to be.

Shortcuts to food categories: Green Leafy Vegetables, Root Vegetables, Cruciferous Vegetables, Other Vegetables, Fruits, Legumes, Fats & Oils, Nuts & Seeds, Grains & Oats, Animal Based Protein, Fermented Food (Probiotics), Prebiotics, Miscellaneous Foods, Vitamins & Minerals, Spices, Ayurvedic Food Sources.

Green Leafy Vegetables

Use whole cut ideally, as that preserves them longer. Store in crisper with evenly spaced holes (don’t suffocate, but provide some oxygen). Cutting/tearing into smaller pieces dramatically increases antioxidants, but also spoils faster. Consume with fats (e.g. olive oil).
<strong>Spinach</strong>
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Get fresh or frozen. Outstanding sautéed in garlic and olive oil. Don't overcook to retain nutrients.<strong>Kale</strong>
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Slightly bitter. Eat in salad or sauté with spices and olive oil. Mix with other veggies to mask bitterness.<strong>Asparagus</strong>
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Cut off bottoms. Sauté in olive oil and spices you like or grill.<strong>Leeks</strong>
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Like green onions. Good in soups.<strong>Romaine</strong>
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Obviously best in salad.

Root Vegetables

Very nutritious starches if prepared well. Over boiling, for example, leaches nutrients. Other health benefits as well.

<strong>Sweet Potatoes</strong>
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Added nutrition in the skin. Don't over boil or soak, will leech nutrition.<strong>Potato Salad</strong>
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Cooked then chilled 24 hrs creates resistant starch which is more nutritious.<strong>Carrots</strong>
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Great for eye health. Raw is best, sauté or steam also.<strong>Beets</strong>
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Also nutritious are the beet greens (green, leafy top).<strong>Plantain</strong>
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Dehydrate to make raw chips.

Cruciferous Vegetables

These types of vegetables may not work for everyone, as they can cause bloating and gas, so be mindful of that and monitor your body if you choose to eat them. Lowering your portion size may help reduce those effects.

<strong>Broccoli</strong>
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Nutrient powerhouse. Eat raw or cooked in oil, use spices to enhance flavor. Fresh or frozen.<strong>Kale</strong>
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Slightly bitter. Eat in salad or sauté with spices and olive oil. Mix with other veggies to mask bitterness.<strong>Bok Choy</strong>
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Popular in cooked Asian dishes and soups. <strong>Watercress</strong>
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Type of sprouts. Use in salads, soups or sandwiches.<strong>Arugula</strong>
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Bitter. Eat in salads, mix into sandwiches, topping for pizza.

Other Vegetables

Some more veggies that didn’t fit into the above categories.

<strong>Artichokes</strong>
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I prefer artichoke hearts marinated in olive oil and vinegar, then add to a salad.<strong>Onions</strong>
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Different types vary in sweetness. Cooked or raw, but cooked may be easier to digest for some.<strong>Green Onions (Scallions)</strong>
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Add a little bit of stringent taste to soups, help break down and add flavor to meat. Also used to season frying pans or woks.<strong>Shallots</strong>
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Like onions but smaller.<strong>Spirulina</strong>
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Can be ingested as powder or found in salad mixes.<strong>Wheatgrass</strong>
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Supposedly a magical food, the best way to take seems to be in a smoothie to mask the taste.

Fruits

Buy organic, as many fruits, especially those listed in the “dirty dozen,” are likely to contain pesticides which can negatively affect digestion among other things.

<strong>Blackberries</strong>
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Tangy, sweet flavor. Fresh, frozen, or as jam.<strong>Plums</strong>
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Red, purple, black.<strong>Mango</strong>
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One of my favorite fruits. Buy fresh or frozen. Pain to cut, so maybe get precut in chunks.<strong>Papaya</strong>
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So good if you find them fresh, but they spoil quickly. <strong>Watermelon</strong>
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Jam packed with water in this wonderfully sweet treat. Highest concentration of nutrients just under the rind.<strong>Bananas</strong>
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Great snack, fills you up, helps digestion, potassium useful for many things, especially dehydration.<strong>Blueberries</strong>
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High in fiber, antioxidants, polyphenols.<strong>Cranberries</strong>
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High in antioxidants. Best ingested with something sweet, from frozen, as juice, or jellied. Helps with UTIs.<strong>Strawberries</strong>
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Buy organic, conventional often contain pesticides.<strong>Kiwi</strong>
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Mix of tangy and sweet. Cut off ends and peel the skin. Great by itself or with yogurt. Contains enzyme that helps tenderize meat.<strong>Cherries</strong>
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Frozen sweet cherries are my favorite. Fresh fantastic also.<strong>Navel Orange</strong>
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High in Vitamin C.<strong>Blood Orange</strong>
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High in vitamin C.<strong>Apples</strong>
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Granny Smith, Braeburn, Gala, McIntosh, Honeycrisp. The skin, especially if not organic, may cause digestion issues. Could also be high fiber content in the skin.<strong>Peaches</strong>
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White, red.<strong>Grapes</strong>
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Red, black.<strong>Pineapple</strong>
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Tangy. Helps digest meat. Great in salad or with yogurt.<strong>Raspberries</strong>
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High in antioxidants.<strong>Tangerines</strong>
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Slightly sweeter type of citrus fruit.

Legumes

Legumes are kind of magical in that they are whole foods that contain a well balanced amount of nutrients, including protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. Don’t buy/use frozen, soak overnight, sprout and/or ferment before cooking. Make sure to cook them properly and thoroughly! I’m a huge fan of lentils, for example. I frequently eat lentils or lentil soup, which are amazing for camping due to the nutritional benefits, no need for refrigeration, and quick preparation if pre-cooked.

<strong>Lentils</strong>
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My favorite source for vegetarian protein, fiber, carbohydrates. Green, red, yellow (split peas). Amazing for camping.<strong>Black Beans</strong>
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High in protein, fiber, and carbohydrates.<strong>Kidney Beans</strong>
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High in protein, fiber, and carbohydrates.<strong>Pinto Beans</strong>
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High in protein, fiber, and carbohydrates.

Fats & Oils

Some vitamins and minerals are water solution and some are fat soluble. What that basically means is that they digest better when eaten with water or fat. For example, eating salad with olive oil will help your body absorb more of the nutrients. Certain healthy fats and oils can help absorb more nutrients, provide an alternative to butter/dairy for cooking, and can improve energy levels. Typically you want those that remain in liquid form despite cooler temperatures with the exception of coconut oil.

<strong>Coconut Oil</strong>
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Magical. High smoke point good for cooking or use in tea or coffee to enhance the benefits. Having a spoonful of coconut oil 1-3 times daily will dramatically increase your energy. Also good as a snack if you like the taste, to satiate you or before a meal to control over eating.<strong>Olive Oil</strong>
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Healthy fat for cooking, marinading, or salad dressing. Use extra virgin.<strong>Avocado Oil</strong>
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High smoke point and lighter in taste, great for cooking.<strong>Ghee</strong>
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Clarified butter. Dairy free. If you don't like it, consider grass-fed butter.<strong>Avocado</strong>
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Great source of healthy fat. Helps digestion if you don't get enough fat in your diet and want a healthy source. Tip: keeping the pit in prevents from turning brown.

Nuts & Seeds

A great efficient way to get your daily doses of fat and protein. Be mindful of portion size since they are high in calories, but a handful for example has wonderful health benefits. Additionally, eating as a light snack before a meal can help fill you up and thus reduce how much you eat during your actual meal.

<strong>Macadamia</strong>
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Healthy snack or oil.<strong>Almonds</strong>
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My favorite is mixed with dark chocolate. Healthy protein and fat. High in calories which is good for putting on muscle, but not so much if trying to lose weight. Portion accordingly.<strong>Hazelnuts</strong>
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Great snack raw or topping for a crepe.<strong>Brazil Nuts</strong>
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Acquired taste. Very large, so don't need to eat many of them. Good, filling snack.<strong>Cashews</strong>
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Eat raw or as a nut butter.<strong>Walnuts</strong>
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Good topping in salads, yogurt, or even meat or vegetable dishes. Easier if you buy shelled.<strong>Chia Seeds</strong>
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High in protein, Staple in ancient diets. Mix into smoothie or yogurt.<strong>Flaxseed</strong>
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Ground to make easier to digest. High in fiber and protein. Combine into smoothie, yogurt, or salad.<strong>Pumpkin Seeds</strong>
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Buy in bulk section. Lightly salted.<strong>Sunflower Seeds</strong>
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Makes for a good snack. Shelled or chew and spit out the shells. Lightly salted.

Grains & Oats

I don’t go heavy on these, but I like having oatmeal and granola as another option for breakfast.

<strong>Quinoa</strong>
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High in protein and carbohydrates. My preference over rice and other grains. Comes in a variety of colors.<strong>Oatmeal</strong>
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Good breakfast alternative to eggs. Great for camping to increase energy. Mix with fruit for added flavor.<strong>Granola</strong>
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Such a variety of mixes out there. Add to yogurt, smoothies, or eat by itself.<strong>Amaranth</strong>
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Not in the book, this is a recent discovery of a power grain with benefits similar to chia seeds that was a staple in ancient South American diets.

Animal Based Protein

I try to eat fish several meals a week and meat once per week. Otherwise I get my protein from legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains. This is a personal choice. I find that balance works well for me. As of this moment, my body functions much better with some fish and meat occasionally that I couldn’t find in a purely vegetarian or vegan diet. In order of priority for purchasing meat to get the best quality for what’s considered the most natural, look for 1) pastured or pasture-raised, 2) grass-fed, 3) free-range, 4) organic. For fish look for wild caught vs .farmed. I would encourage you to purchase from ethically raised sources. It’s better for you and better for the animal.

<strong>Beef</strong>
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Definitely go for grass-fed, lean beef. It's not natural for cows to eat grains/corn and stand around in their own feces, so source responsibly to avoid extra fat, hormones, and antibiotics in your beef. Healthier beef tastes better and cooks faster.<strong>Lamb</strong>
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Lamb chops or rack of lamb. Tastes great with rosemary, cumin, oregano.<strong>Bison</strong>
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Leaner than beef. Once I saw Bison at Yellowstone I have a hard time eating them anymore, but they are a good occasional beef alternative.<strong>Chicken</strong>
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Thinner pieces cook faster and allow you to more evenly cook it through as well as preventing it from drying out.<strong>Eggs</strong>
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Scrambled offers the best health benefits. There are many ways to prepare eggs. Mix with veggies.<strong>Salmon</strong>
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Try fresh, frozen, smoked, or grilled. Smoked salmon is great on a salad.<strong>Mackerel</strong>
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May be a bit fishy for some. Good as sushi.<strong>Sardines</strong>
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Buy fresh, frozen, or canned.<strong>Trout</strong>
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Wonderful, mild fish. Easy to cook. Fresh, frozen, or smoked.<strong>Flounder</strong>
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Thin and light fish that cooks fast and tastes great.<strong>Snapper</strong>
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Red or yellow-tail. Grilled is best. Good meaty flavor, not to fishy, bit thicker. Smells very fishy when not fresh.

Fermented Foods (Probiotics)

These foods contain the good bacteria that support and nourish a healthy gut and digestion.

<strong>Yogurt</strong>
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Full fat grass fed dairy. Soy, almond, or coconut milk based.<strong>Kefir</strong>
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Like yogurt, tangy.<strong>Ginger</strong>
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Powder, fresh ginger, ginger extract, pickled ginger.<strong>Cucumber</strong>
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Pickled.<strong>Balsamic Vinegar</strong>
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Mix with olive oil for healthy salad dressing and to add some sweetness. Best is anything from Modena, Italy.<strong>Apple Cider Vinegar</strong>
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Ancient tales of helping digestion. Bragg products are great and they make salad dressing which is way tastier than straight ACV.<strong>Lemon / Lime Juice</strong>
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Help tenderize and cook meat or fish. Also enhances their flavor. Add a small bit to water to increase hydration.<strong>Sauerkraut</strong>
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Promotes healthy gut bacteria.<strong>Natto</strong>
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Popular in Japan. Definitely an acquired taste which you should sample first before ordering too much. Not for me.<strong>Kombucha</strong>
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Fermented drink, usually found as a form of tea. Very tangy and carbonated. Not for me either, but many people like it and supposedly has wonderful health benefits.<strong>Lassi</strong>
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Yogurt drink.<strong>Miso</strong>
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Most popular as soup, including Ramen noodles, in Japanese cuisine. Can mix with all sorts of veggies.

 

Prebiotics

These foods contain the nutrients for good bacteria to flourish. In other words, it’s food for the good bacteria (probiotics).

<strong>Garlic</strong>
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Promotes healthy gut bacteria, digestion, and is antibacterial.<strong>Onions</strong>
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Different types vary in sweetness. Cooked or raw, but cooked may be easier to digest for some.<strong>Bananas</strong>
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Great snack, fills you up, helps digestion, potassium useful for many things, especially dehydration.<strong>Oatmeal</strong>
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Good breakfast alternative to eggs. Great for camping to increase energy. Mix with fruit for added flavor.<strong>Jerusalem Artichoke</strong>
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Different type of artichoke with similar health benefits.<strong>Asparagus</strong>
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Cut off bottoms. Sauté in olive oil and spices you like or grill.<strong>Leeks</strong>
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Like green onions. Good in soups.<strong>Chicory</strong>
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Can be used with or a substitute for coffee.<strong>Beets</strong>
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Also nutritious are the beet greens (green, leafy top).<strong>Sweet Potatoes</strong>
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Added nutrition in the skin. Don't over boil or soak, will leech nutrition.<strong>Yuca</strong>
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Like a potato. Eat cooked, baked, steamed, or grilled.<strong>Taro</strong>
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Staple of Japanese cuisine.<strong>Yogurt</strong>
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Full fat grass fed dairy. Soy, almond, or coconut milk based.<strong>Lentils</strong>
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My favorite source for vegetarian protein, fiber, carbohydrates. Green, red, yellow (split peas). Amazing for camping.<strong>Black Beans</strong>
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High in protein, fiber, and carbohydrates.

Miscellaneous Foods

A couple other items to consider for your grocery shopping.

<strong>Bone Broth</strong>
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Beef, chicken, vegetable.<strong>Dark Chocolate</strong>
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Minimum 70% cacao.

Vitamins & Minerals

Here are just a few impactful vitamins and minerals, particularly for increased energy, along with food sources that contain them.

  • Vitamin D – sun, seafood, mushrooms
  • Vitamin B12 – meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy
  • Magnesium – green leafy vegetables, nuts, seafood, avocados, legumes, dark chocolate; supplements: magnesium gluconate, aspartate, lactate, glycerinate (higher bioavailability), magnesium citrate (fairly well absorbed)
  • Zinc – green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, grass-fed meat, nuts, seeds (pumpkin seeds), seafood, legumes, dark chocolate
  • Vitamin K2 – leafy vegetables, meat (organs), egg yolks, grass-fed butter/cheese, fermented vegetables, natto
  • Selenium – seafood, meat (organs), eggs, dairy, nuts, Brazil nuts (2-3)

Spices

I never used to cook with spices, but once I found fresh, organic spices and began to experiment, this completely changed how I cooked. The added health benefits, tastes, and aromas make it so easy to improve the flavor of your food, eliminate the need for processed sauces or dressings, and help your body digest and absorb nutrients from the foods you eat. Use whole seeds over ground to retain potency and extend shelf life. Dry roast with oil to activate and release volatile essential oils but don’t burn. Heat 1-2 minutes until you smell them which signals they’re ready.

<strong>Turmeric</strong>
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1/8 tsp black pepper for 1 tsp turmeric to enhance impacts.<strong>Ginger</strong>
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Powder, fresh ginger, ginger extract, pickled ginger.<strong>Cinnamon</strong>
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Two types. Cinnamonum zelanicum - Ceylon or “true” cinnamon. Cinnamon aromaticum - Chinese cinnamon or “cassia”. Both same health benefits.<strong>Cumin</strong>
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Use seeds and dry roast in oil or ghee before cooking. Or use ground/powder. Popular in Indian cuisine and smells strong, but it's great for meat and doesn't taste as strong when cooked.<strong>Black Cumin</strong>
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Tough to find, only online or specialty stores. Also called Nigella Sativa or Kolonji.<strong>Fenugreek</strong>
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Prefer seeds. Cook well. Can use leaves and ground as powder too.<strong>Clove</strong>
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Use whole cloves. Best in sweet or savory dishes.<strong>Fennel</strong>
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Bulb, stalk, leaves, seeds can all be used in cooking. Seeds best when dry roasted in coconut oil or ghee before cooking.<strong>Coriander</strong>
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Derived from cilantro, tastes and smells citrusy. Use whole seeds then crush or use powder. The oil is effective against athlete’s foot. Once ground, it loses potency faster.<strong>Allspice</strong>
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Jamaican pepper. Whole dried berries and crush.<strong>Curry Leaf</strong>
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Refrigerate or freeze.<strong>Ajwain</strong>
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Also known as Ajowan or Carom. Get whole seed. Dry roast in oil. Or use powder.<strong>Saffron</strong>
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Yellow-orange strands. Soak strands in warm water 5 minutes before cooking to begin releasing volatile oils, DO NOT soak in oil because it prevents volatile oils from being released.<strong>Black Pepper</strong>
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Best to use whole seeds and grind when you use. Mixing with turmeric vastly increases turmeric's health benefits.<strong>Garlic</strong>
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Promotes healthy gut bacteria, digestion, and is antibacterial.

Here is a table with more information about the benefits, preparation and warnings about using with certain medications. I’m not a doctor, so you should consult your physician when trying any of these if you are on medication. Those with an asterisk I highlighted for myself to signify they help with digestion.

Spice
Benefits
Preparation/Use
Brands
Warnings
Turmeric*
antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, blood purifier (liver detox)
fights against pain, cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s
combine with black pepper (1/8 tsp per 1/4 tsp turmeric)
Supplements: New Chapter Turmeric Force (capsule), Synchro Gold Turmeric Elixir (liquid)
blood thinning properties (don’t take if on Coumadin, NSAIDs), discontinue at least 2 weeks before surgery
Ginger*
digestion, anti-inflammatory, energy, antioxidants, phytochemicals, indigestion, heartburn, constipation, acid reflux, reduce nausea, arthritis, exercise-induced muscle pain, prostate cancer, infections, colds, flus, sore throat, antibacterial
fresh ginger, extract, powder, pickled (white), tea
blood thinning (don’t take if on Coumadin, Plavix), discontinue at least 2 weeks before surgery (anesthesia)
Cinnamon*
antioxidants, polyphenols, lowers cholesterol and blood sugar, inflammation, anti-inflammatory, heart and cardiovascular system, PCOS (women hormones/infertility), antimicrobial
powder, stick
blood thinning
Cumin*
iron, manganese, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, stimulates digestion/enzymes, regulates blood sugar, cholesterol, kills bacteria
seeds, dry roast  in small amount of oil or ghee beginning of cooking 1-2m or until smell
Black Cumin* (hard to find)
heart disease, cancer, asthma, allergies, autoimmune disease, IBS, eczema, blood pressure, MS, epilepsy, stomach ulcers, fatty acids, calcium, iron, potassium, thymoquinone (unique), anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, immune-boosting, fever-reducing, antioxidant, normalizes blood sugar
whole seeds (mild peppery flavor)
aka Nigella sativa or kolonji (Indian Markets)
Fenugreek*
metabolic issues, blood sugar, cholesterol
seeds, leaves, powder; cook seeds well (difficult to chew) (savory)
possible cross-reactivity people with peanut, chickpeas, or coriander allergies
Clove
antioxidant superpower, vitamin K, fiber, magnesium, iron, calcium, manganese, anti-inflammatory, anesthetic, antibacterial (clove oil)
purchase whole cloves; use in sweet or savory dishes
Fennel*
digestion, inflammation, toxins, antioxidant, pain relief
bulb, stalk, leaves, seeds can all be used; dry roast seeds before cooking in small amount of coconut oil or ghee 1-2m or until smell
Coriander*
antioxidants, cell repair, digestion (gas, bloating), normalizes blood sugar and cholesterol, infections, antimicrobial (essential oil – skin bacteria, foot fungus)
whole seeds crushed, powder (lose volatile oils more quickly)
Allspice
antioxidants, infections, pain relief, indigestion, menstrual cycle balance, anticancer, blood pressure
whole dried berries (crushed using mortar)
Curry Leaf
diabetes, heart disease, inflammation, antioxidants, regulates blood sugar, memory
fresh curry leaves still attached to stem; fridge (1wk) or freezer (3mos)
Ajwain
fiber, vitamin B3, calcium, phosphorus, iron, cold viral infections (bad bacteria not good bacteria), asthma, kidney stones, digestion, asthma, blood pressure
whole seed, powder; dry roast seeds in oil; extracts available for therapeutic use
Saffron
antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, neuroprotective, PMS, fertility
yellow-orange strands; soak strands in warm water 5mins before cooking (no oil)

Ayurvedic Food Sources

The following table breaks down different tastes mapped to the Ayurvedic effects on the body and which foods are best sources. I encourage you to read the book to find out your Ayurvedic body type which will identify which foods you need more or and which you need less.

Taste
Foods
Effects
Sweet
Rice, whole grains, sweet potato, pumpkin, ghee, honey, molasses, natural sweeteners
Nourishing, rejuvenating, townifying, strengthening
Sour
Lemon, tomato, citrus, fruits, alcohol, yogurt, vinegar, apple cider vinegar, fermented foods
Stimulates saliva production, digestion, and appetite; aids in elimination
Salty
Salt (Himilayan, sea salt), seaweed, anchovies
Moisturizing, lubricating, clears obstructions, helps with fluid balance
Bitter
Leafy green vegetables, chocolate, coffee, turmeric, rhubarb, bitter melon, bitter gourd
Detoxifying, reducing inflammation, cooling, drying, balancing all other tastes
Pungent
Garlic, onion, ginger, chili, mustard, clove, black pepper, spices
Keeping the digestive fire strong, improving circulation, clearing mucus
Astringent
Brussels sprouts, asparagus, okra, cranberry, plantain, pomegranate, tea, chickpeas, lentils, sprouts (e.g. alphalpha, clover)
Cleansing, purifying, removes excess moisture

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