Ingredient Guide

***Please note that in this Ingredient Guide the companies and/or products  I mention in this post are all items that I have tried, used, or know people who prefer them over another.  I have not been paid or asked by any of these companies to promote their products. I am making these recommendations only because I want to help you in your quest for better health and to save you the time it takes to look up all of the individual details about each item.***

Almond Flour: The Almond flour that I will be referring to in all of my recipes is blanched skinned almonds that have been finely ground into flour. It is low in carbohydrates and sugars, but high in protein. When purchasing almond flour do not confuse it with almond meal. Read more…

Almond Meal:  Almond meal is ground almonds that are whole or blanched. The consistency of almond meal is more similar to corn meal not wheat flour.  I use Almond Flour for my recipes not almond meal.

Almond Milk: Almond milk is a beverage made from ground almonds, often used as a substitute for dairy milk. Unlike animal milk, almond milk contains neither cholesterol nor lactose. It does not contain any animal products, it is suitable for vegans and vegetarians who abstain from dairy products. Read more…

Arrowroot Starch:  “Arrowroot is a starch obtained from the rhizomes (rootstock) of several tropical plants.  Arrowroot thickens at a lower temperature than flour or cornstarch, is not weakened by acidic ingredients, has a more neutral taste, and is not affected by freezing.” (Wikipedia) Read more…

Butter:  Real organic grass-fed butter is the best but if you can’t find it at least only use organic butter when cooking.  Real grass-fed butter “…is essentially pure animal fat with only minor traces of dairy proteins and sugars remaining, and for that reason I consider it a worthwhile staple.” (Mark Sisson author of The Primal Blueprint)  Read more

Coconut Aminos: Coconut Aminos are made from coconut tree sap and all natural sea salt.  Coconut Aminos is a soy-free seasoning sauce made from coconut tree sap, which comes right out of the tree so vital, active and alive with nutrients, that it is only blended with Coconut Secret’s own sun-dried mineral-rich sea salt and aged, without the need for a fermentation booster or added water. As well, the majority of conventional soy sauces on the market are made with non-organic, genetically modified (GMO) soybeans. Long term use of unfermented soy-related products has led to an increase in soy allergies, a disruption in proper thyroid function, and an overload of estrogens in the body.” (Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Aminos)

Coconut Flour:  Coconut flour is made from coconut meat that has been dried and then finely ground into a powder consistency similar to wheat flour.  Coconut flour is gluten-free so it is a great baking flour alternative for those with gluten and wheat sensitivities. Read more…

Coconut Milk:  Coconut milk is made for the grated meat of a coconut.  It has a very high oil content which gives the milk a very rich taste. Coconut oil is high in saturated fats and medium-chain triglycerides, which the body can easily burn as fuel. Read more…

Coconut Oil:  “Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of matured coconuts harvested from the coconut palm.” (Wikipedia)  This oil has been consumed in various regions for centuries.  Coconut oil is the most nutrient dense part of the coconut and is known for its range of health benefits such as: boosts immune system, improves type 1 and type 2 diabetes, helps prevent diabetes,  improves weight loss, increases metabolism, improves and heals skin conditions, nourishes hair, helps with hypothyroidism,  promotes digestion, etc .  Many natural health professionals recommend incorporating coconut oil daily to obtain health benefits. What kind do you need to buy?  When using coconut oil to cook with, or making homemade products, I purchase unrefined virgin coconut oil. (Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil)  Read more

Coconut Sugar: Coconut sugar (also known as coco sugar, coconut palm sugar or coco sap sugar) is a sugar produced from the sap of cut flower buds of the coconut palm. Coconut sugar has been used as a traditional sweetener for thousands of years in the South and South-East Asian regions where the coconut palm is in abundant supply. The world’s largest producers of coconuts are the Philippines and Indonesia.” (Wikipedia)  Read more…

Gelatin:  “Gelatin is a translucent, colorless, brittle (when dry), flavorless solid substance, derived from collagen obtained from various animal by-products,” (Wikipedia). Gelatin is a great source of amino acids, collagen, and protein.  I have read a good bit about pure gelatin (Great Lakes Unflavored Gelatin)
form various sources such as: the book Nourishing Traditions, the article Gelatin, Stress, Longevity, and other valuable websites like the Weston A. Price foundation (to name a few).  The information on pure gelatin benefits has perked my interest to learn more, and to try to incorporate it daily into my diet. I use a tablespoon in my coffee every morning, I incorporate it into soups and other dishes, my homemade ice cream, and smoothies!

Ghee: Ghee “is prepared by simmering butter and removing the residue,” (Wikipedia). Grassfed Organic Ghee (a type of clarified butter) has been used for centuries in Indian cooking and many other parts of the world.  Before topical creams for burns were available, Ghee was used to treat blisters and burns. Ghee is rich in vitamins. It keeps your skin, hair, nails and eyes healthy. When it comes to cooking and frying, Ghee has a very high smoking point so it does not burn easily.  Using Ghee is a great option for those trying to avoid milk products because the clarifying process rids the Ghee of milk proteins that can cause allergic reactions.  When trying to watch what substances you are putting in your body Ghee is a supreme choice because it doesn’t contain hydrogenated oils, preservatives, trans fats, or other derivatives (an imitation of another substance).

Honey:  Honey is a natural sweetener and sugar substitute.  It has been used to sweeten foods and beverages for centuries. Honey is also used for medicinal purposes (medicinal is when a substance or plant has healing properties) in the natural treatment of ailments. The flavor of honey is based on its nectar source and what grade of honey it is.  The type of honey that you should be using to receive the maximum health benefits is Raw Honey (honey that has not been heated or filtered).

Maple Syrup: “Maple syrup is a syrup usually made from the xylem sap of sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees, although it can also be made from other maple species.” (Wikipedia) Maple syrup is generally used as a topping for breakfast foods and it can be used as a natural sweetener when baking.  When purchasing maple syrup stick with Grade B maple syrup and make sure it is real maple syrup not store-bought syrup.  “Grade B maple syrup, however, is darker, richer, more complex, and contains more minerals (and, probably just like the darker honeys, more phytochemicals).”  Read more by Mark Sission.

Olive Oil:  “Olive oil is a fat obtained from the olive.  The oil is produced by pressing whole olives. It is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps” (Wikipedia). I only use Extra Virgin Olive Oil in recipes like my Raspberry Vinaigrette.  The following are two great articles that shine some light on olive oil:  Is All Olive Oil Created Equal? and Defending Olive Oil’s Reputation by Mark Sisson.

Palm Shortening:  “Palm shortening is derived from palm oil. In its natural state, palm oil is a mixture of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, with most of the unsaturated fat being monounsaturated fat. Palm shortening is palm oil that has some of its unsaturated fats removed, giving it a very firm texture, and high melting point. The melting point of our Organic Palm Shortening is 97 degrees F., making it very shelf stable. It is NOT hydrogenised, and contains NO trans fats! It is great for deep-fat frying and baking, and is not prone to rancidity. Since it has been separated from some of the unsaturated portion of the oil, it is colorless and odorless, and will not affect the taste of foods like Virgin Palm Oil does” (Tropical Traditions).

Palm Sugar: Palm Sugar is another name for coconut sugar. Coconut sugar (also known as coco sugar, coconut palm sugar or coco sap sugar) is a sugar produced from the sap of cut flower buds of the coconut palm. Coconut sugar has been used as a traditional sweetener for thousands of years in the South and South-East Asian regions where the coconut palm is in abundant supply. The world’s largest producers of coconuts are the Philippines and Indonesia” (Wikipedia). Read more…

Sea Salt:  “Sea salt is salt produced from the evaporation of seawater. It is used in cooking and cosmetics. It is also called bay salt or solar salt. Like mineral salt, production of sea salt has been dated to prehistoric times” (Wikipedia).  I use sea salt instead of overly processed table salt. Please check out the following article for some great information on the varying salt options available:  “Shaking Up The Salt Myth: Healthy Salt Recommendations” by Chris Kresser.

Tapioca Flour:  Tapioca is a starch extracted from Manioc (also called Cassava which is classified with other roots and tubers). It is a staple food in some regions and is used worldwide as a thickening agent in various recipes.  On Mark’s Daily Apple Tapioca flour is referred to as a “safe starch.” I use it in my Primal G.R.I.T.S. Pizza Crust Recipe to give it a chewier texture, but you can leave it out.  Check out my post on Arrowroot Starch vs. Tapioca Flour for some useful information on when and how to use these two similar ingredients.