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If you’ve read any of my recipes or followed my instagram account, you know that I sometimes use some pretty obscure ingredients. Not all of them are that hard to find, but just often aren’t commonly used. While I have been introduced to some of these items on Instagram, I have done my own research before purchasing and using these products. Additionally, none of this is sponsored content. I simply love and use these pantry staples, and want to share them with you! If you’re looking for some fun things to add to your wellness routine, I got you covered!
My 5 Obscure Pantry Staples:
If you follow any wellness accounts at all on Instagram, Facebook, or even Pinterest, I guarantee you’ve seen influencers using collagen. Often, they mix it into their smoothies, baked goods, or bulletproof matcha lattes. And, there’s a reason for that. It’s been known for years that collagen is good for your hair, skin, and nails, but it has other benefits too! Collagen is a great supplement for improving joint health and gut health, as collagen is used to rebuild tissues. It’s also a good source of protein.
The collagen I’ve seen all over Instagram is Vital Proteins or Further Foods. While I’m sure those are both great brands, they’re a little pricey for my grad student budget. I shopped around a bit and read some reviews, and I decided to go with Neocell Collagen. Not only is it reasonably priced, but it’s good quality! I use it in some of my smoothies, in my adaptogen hot chocolate, and even my cookies!
Bee pollen is something I discovered through the granola brand Purely Elizabeth. They did a “Save the Bees” promotion a while ago and included a jar of bee pollen if you purchased a certain bundle of products. Well, I loved the products in the bundle, and I love the bees, so I decided to give it a try. And man am I glad I did! I love putting these little balls of gold on yogurt, smoothies, and oatmeal. I’ve even topped my Adaptogenic Walnut Brain Balls with bee pollen! It’s loaded with vitamins and minerals, and is a complete source of protein! Bee pollen may be an obscure pantry staple, but it’s the definition of a superfood!
Adaptogens & Tonic Herbs
Okay okay, I know “adaptogens” are kind of the new wellness thing right now. They seem “trendy” and “new age” and all that. But you guys, I’m telling you, these herbs are POWERFUL. Like, the difference I’ve noticed in my life since taking reishi, pine pollen, he shou wu, and schisandra berry daily is insane. These obscure pantry staples are so much more than that. They are truly life-changing supplements that, when used correctly, can really help you out.
My go-to’s right now are Pine Pollen for energy, Lion’s Mane for cognitive support, and Green Love Beauty Elixir Powder. The schizandra berry, goji berry, and reishi in this elixir all have beautifying benefits, but they also have other healthy effects! Schizandra and goji berries are both great mood boosters and support the immune system. Reishi, as I’ve discussed before, is wonderful for stress management. But it’s also great for regulating blood pressure and blood sugar!
I highly recommend doing you research on these different substances before just diving in. Talk to a naturopath, an herbalist, or some other qualified expert. And most importantly, listen to your body! While some adaptogens may work wonders for others, your body may not tolerate them. My body, for example, can’t handle maca, but other people swear by it. Listen to the experts and listen to yourself! Find what works for you!
100% Cacao Chocolate Chips
Full disclosure, these guys are bitter. I mean, they’re literally made from pure cacao mass. Like, that’s the only ingredient. There’s no sugar, no binders, nothing. Just cacao. It’s seriously amazing. If you like super dark chocolate, these are for you! Anyway, I love having this obscure pantry staple on hand because you can literally use 100% cacao chocolate chips for anything. If you want to melt them and use them as a chocolate coating, but you want something a little sweeter, simply add a little maple syrup. Or, you can make your own chocolate bar by melting them down, adding a little sweetener (if you want), and topping with just about anything.
My absolute favorite way to use these is in my Banana Bread Breakfast Cookies. I use the 100% cacao chocolate chips in place of the 85% cacao chips in the recipe, and use coconut instead of walnuts for some extra natural sweetness. By using these sugar-free chocolate chips, the Banana Bread Breakfast Cookies are completely free of added sugars! These 100% cacao chocolate chips are the perfect pantry staple for anyone trying to avoid added sugars or going through a sugar cleanse.
If you haven’t guessed by now, I am a huge fan of healthy fats. For one, I’m not much for calorie counting. It just doesn’t work for me. I have been working really hard to listen more to my hungry cues and eat intuitively, listening to what my body (and soul) need, as opposed to what a calculator says I can have. Anyway, the main reason, besides the taste, that I love coconut butter is because it’s so satisfying. It’s filling, gives you a little brain boost (healthy fats people!), and satisfies your sweet tooth without any added sugars.
Coconut butter is also one of my favorite obscure pantry staples because it’s actually pretty darn versatile. I put it in my Adaptogen Hot Chocolate every morning for an early shot of healthy fats and natural sweetness. It’s also super tasty mixed into oats with some fresh berries and a little bee pollen! Another favorite way to use it is in my Pine Pollen Peppermint Patties. They make the perfectly nourishing sweet treat to get you through an afternoon! Honestly though, I’ve even been known to eat a spoonful or so when I need to satisfy my sweet tooth or a little boost of energy. It’s just that good.
I’m all about investing in your health. High quality foods with real ingredients and real benefits. It’s all about finding pantry staples that work for you and your lifestyle. I know some of these items may seem a little out there, and maybe even a little unnecessary. While, no I don’t need these products to survive, they are what work for me. Find what works for you! Let me know below, do you have any pantry staples that others may find unusual? I’m always looking for new things to try!