Oct 23, 2013

The Nutritarian Cupboard

Yes, that is one of my cupboards! I need more room for all my foodstuffs, to say the least. As you can see, it’s quite full. I’ve had many of you wonderful readers ask me for this post… what do I keep in my cupboard? What do I have on hand most of the time for my recipes? Well, it took quite a bit of doing, but I have finally narrowed it down to the staples that I almost always have on hand. It may seem like a big list to some of you, especially if you’re new to nutritarian cooking. But if you stock up on some of these key ingredients a little at a time, it will then be an easier task to simply replenish your supplies when you run out. Cooking 95% of our meals at home, I find it important to keep an accurate inventory.

Obviously, I’m not going to include fresh foods, such as veggies and fruits, since these are things that you would buy on a weekly basis, based on your upcoming week’s menu plan. Speaking of menu planning, watch for a frequently requested post on that soon, too!

I’m going to divide this list into sections. I think it will be easier to tackle that way. Many of the items that I reference are available on My Amazon Store. I do make a very small commission on these items—my only remuneration for my work on this blog. As you may or may not have noticed, I don’t have ads. I don’t enjoy seeing ads on other blogs, so I decided not to subscribe to them here. Anyway, I’m not going to create a link for every product that I list below, especially since many of them are readily available in supermarkets and health food stores. But if you have specific questions about any of them, by all means send me a private email and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

Don’t forget that you can use the “print friendly” button at the bottom of the post to delete the photos if you want to print out the list for shopping!

Having the right spices on hand is of utmost importance in nutritarian cooking. With a very low sodium diet, spices are key to good flavor! If you’ve been a follower of my blog for any time, you know that I like to cook a lot of Indian foods. I’ve included the Indian spices that I always have on hand in this list as well as the usual ones that most folks have in their cupboards.

When possible I always reach for fresh herbs. But sometimes you just don’t have any on hand which is why it’s a good idea to have a supply of dried herbs.


  • Spike salt-free seasoning 
  • Bragg Organic Sprinkle
  • low-sodium veggie base (for soups) 
  • cinnamon 
  • nutmeg
  • ground cloves
  • thyme
  • rosemary
  • marjoram
  • oregano
  • basil
  • paprika
  • smoked paprika
  • black pepper
  • cayenne pepper
  • chili pepper flakes
  • summer savory
  • chili powder
  • cumin powder
  • turmeric
  • dill
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder

Indian Spices:

  • curry powder
  • cumin seeds
  • coriander
  • cardamom
  • mustard seeds
  • garam masala (blend)
  • panchporan (blend)
  • dal spice (blend)
  • whole cloves
  • curry leaves (fresh–they last a long time in the freezer!)
  • fenugreek leaves (dried)
Grains have sustained us as a species for thousands of years. As a nutritarian I include about 1 cup of cooked, WHOLE grains into my diet per day. 


  • brown basmati rice
  • black rice
  • quinoa
  • oats (steel cut and thick rolled)
  • buckwheat (whole groats and rolled)
  • rye (whole)
  • amaranth (rarely use)
  • corn meal (grits)
  • barley (whole and flaked)

I’m sure you’ve noticed that I use blanched almond flour a LOT in my baked goodies. It’s become my go-to baking flour simply because 1) it’s not a grain, which I like to limit in my diet anyway, and 2) it’s got a high fat content which is great for baking without oil! The best brand I have found is Honeyville Farms. You can find them online or at my Amazon store.


  • blanched almond flour
  • brown rice flour
  • coconut flour
  • buckwheat flour
  • whole spelt flour (not white)
  • corn flour (masa)
  • rye flour
  • millet flour
  • gram flour
  • tapioca flour
  • potato flour

Beans. Nutritarians live on beans. At least I do. Dr. Fuhrman says that beans are the preferred carbohydrate and his research has many references as to why. Not only are they a great source of plant-strong protein but they are the highest source of resistant starch.

Beans (canned and dry):

  • pinto
  • black
  • adzuki
  • garbanzo
  • cannellini
  • navy or great northern
  • green and red lentils
  • mung beans

Dr. Fuhrman has lots to say about nuts and seeds. They provide the “good” fat that we all need for health and longevity. Here is one such article: Eating Nuts and Seeds to Lose Weight. Always keep your nuts and seeds in the refrigerator or freezer to extend their freshness. I got those handy snap containers, pictured above, to safely store mine in the freezer.

Nuts & Seeds:

  • almonds
  • brazil nuts
  • pistachios
  • macadamias
  • walnuts
  • pecans
  • pine nuts
  • sesame seeds
  • sunflower seeds
  • hemp seeds
  • chia seeds
  • pumpkin seeds

Whenever possible it’s best to make your own nut and seed butter. It can be done easily in a food processor. But for convenience, I usually have the following on hand…

Nut & Seed Butters:

  • raw almond
  • raw cashew
  • peanut (creamy and chunky)
  • tahini (sesame butter)

I don’t eat wheat products so you won’t find any wheat-based pasta on this list. The best gluten-free pasta that I have found, BY FAR, is Tinkyada brand. Many supermarkets now stock it (mine does) but you can also find it online. A great source for it is on VitaCost… excellent prices there. I also sometimes find pastas that are corn and rice blends and they’re pretty good in pinch, if I’m out of Tinkyada. Health food stores also stock quinoa pastas, which are very good but also pretty costly.


  • Tinkyada brown rice pasta (all varieties)
  • kelp noodles
  • bean noodles (Dr. Fuhrman has them on his site)

The bulk of my canned goods are beans (which I list in the beans section). The rest are mostly tomato products, but I do try to use fresh tomatoes as much as possible and avoid canned products. Since tomatoes are acidic they can leach chemicals from the cans, unless the cans are certified BPA free. Tomato products in cartons or glass are okay.

I list soy milk in this category, too, which I use often. But I will often also make my own cashew, hemp and almond milks. Unfortunately most of the packaged non-dairy milks are “enriched” with crap. Sugar, vitamins, etc. I prefer just the real deal, thank you very much. The soy milk pictured above is the ONLY one I can find that has just 2 ingredients: soy beans and water.

Canned Goods:

  • tomato sauce (Walnut Acres is a good brand and they have a low sodium variety)
  • strained tomato puree (Pomi brand)
  • chopped tomatoes (Pomi brand)
  • diced tomatoes (Eden has a salt-free one with JUST tomatoes, nothing else)
  • tomato paste
  • pumpkin puree
  • baked beans (prepared by Eden)
  • soy milk
  • coconut milk

Dried fruits are great for baking, for cereals and granola and for making quick sorbets. Of course, the bulk of my dried fruit is in the form of DATES. I use dates to sweeten almost everything. One note on buying dried fruits, be very aware that almost all dried fruit is treated with sulphur dioxide to preserve color. It’s not a health-friendly substance. I can’t eat anything that contains sulphur or sulphites as preservatives… they create nasty things in my body, like heart palpitations! Right. That can’t be good. So check your labels carefully when buying dried fruits.

Dried fruits:

  • medjool dates
  • raisins (red flame and Hunza)
  • goji berries
  • apricots
  • cherries
  • blueberries
  • currants

My go-to sweetener is dates, plain and simple. The others that I use occasionally for baking are pictured above, besides sometimes Grade B maple syrup and very seldom honey or brown rice syrup.


  • dates
  • date syrup
  • date sugar
  • coconut sugar
  • coconut nectar
  • grade B maple syrup
  • honey
  • brown rice syrup

Some things just don’t fit into a perfect category and as a vegan/nutritarian, many of them are pretty important to have around.


  • tamarind paste (popular in Indian cuisine, it’s great for adding to sauces and soups; a sweet/sour heavy syrup loaded with minerals)
  • apple cider vinegar and other flavored vinegars for salad dressings
  • liquid smoke
  • popcorn
  • nutritional yeast (one of the important ones for vegans to ensure adequate B-vitamins—find in the bulk bins at health food stores)
  • tamari and nama shoyu (low sodium soy sauces)
  • kelp granules or flakes (important vegan source of iodine)
  • other sea vegetables (kombu, nori, wakame)
  • 100% fruit spreads
  • sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables such as kimchi (good sources of probiotics)
  • pomegranate concentrate (for smoothies!)
  • applesauce
  • cold-pressed vegetable oil (I sparingly use organic sunflower or olive oil)
  • toasted sesame oil
  • non-alkalized cocoa powder
  • cocoa nibs
  • carob powder
  • baking powder and baking soda
That’s all folks. I certainly hope that you make use of this list for stocking your own cupboards and celebrating plant-strong food and disease-free living!
Healthy trails,

12 responses to “The Nutritarian Cupboard”

  1. Carla says:

    How on earth do you keep your pantry so organized?! Thanks for this; I've been wondering about your flour inventory for a while. Where do you find affordable fenugreek leaves? The ones in your store are $14 with shipping, and that's a bit much for my taste.

  2. Sarah says:

    Wow! That is quite an impressive list! I wonder if you know about http://www.wholesale.frontiercoop.com for some of your products. I get all my spices there, just got cocoa powder, and most baking type things. They have many other things also outside of food products that are natural and/or organic. You might want to check it out! Thank you for going through all this work. I am going to look for some of these things. I notice you do use alot of rice flour also and I've never used that either. I didn't remember Dr. Fuhrmann saying that whole wheat products were bad or is it that you are gluten free for other reasons? Again, thank you so much, this really was helpful!

  3. Helyn says:

    Haha! Well, I did organize it a bit before the photos! On the fenugreek, your best bet is an Asian market if you can find one near you. They're not easy to come by otherwise. Hope this helps.

  4. Helyn says:

    Thanks, Sarah! I will out that link for sure! No, whole wheat is not "bad" … I just try to stay away from wheat. I'm not gluten-intolerant per se but it doesn't exact agree with me either. Makes my belly bloat. I'm glad you enjoyed the post!

  5. Jeanne says:

    It's wonderful to have this complete list. Thanks so much Helyn!

  6. Helyn says:

    You're welcome, Jeanne! 🙂

  7. Jeff Taraday says:

    Hey Helyn, wanna come organize my cupboard? Yours looks awesome! Just discovered your site – looks really good! Maybe we can share links: http://www.theplanteater.com

  8. Helyn says:

    Hi Jeff! Hahaha! You made me laugh. My cupbords don't always look that way, trust me! Hey, that's fabulous that you're an NET! Nice site! Let's stay in touch for sure. I really want to do that training… so much to cook, so little time… 🙂

  9. Noemi says:

    Wow this is great, thanks for the list!

  10. Helyn says:

    You're welcome! xo

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for this comprehensive list, Helyn! Interestingly enough, I have many (most?) of these items in my pantry right now! I am also excited to read that you're going to post your ideas on meal planning…how soon?! I'm really eager to read your thoughts about this, as I sometimes find myself overwhelmed with too many options (would never have thought this when I was still an omnivore)! As I said before, yours is my favorite nutritarian hangout! Thanks again! Dinie

  12. Helyn says:

    Hey, that's great that you have many of these items already, Dinie! I'm working on the meal planning post. Probably be up in about a week or so. Thanks so much for the feedback!!

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