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Stocking your 'real food' kitchen

Tips for cost savings and what to store in your pantry and 'fridge.

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The Specifics On What to Buy

So now that we’re all a little richer with our money saving tips, here’s how to spend your hard earned cash. Now, remember, this is a suggested list. You may only buy a fraction of what is recommended here. Start with the foods you know how to cook or those that most interest you. From there you’ll be able to build on it as you become more confident and proactive at learning new techniques and how to use unfamiliar products.

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Beyond The Peel

Cookbook author, France Morissette, and her husband Joshua Sprague believe that healthy food should be uncompromising when it comes to flavor. They creatively explore the world of natural, whole foods, leaving no stone unturned in their quest to create mouth watering, flavor packed, whole food meals. Through stories, photos, recipes and their online show Beyond The Peel TV, they're on a mission to help you eat healthy and enjoy every last bite in the process.

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Note: There are hundreds of varieties of beans, legumes and pulses and I won’t overwhelm you by listing them all, but rather I want to provide you with a list that should get you started. Pick a couple items from every category if you’re feeling overwhelmed. If it comes in a package absolutely read the ingredient list. It’s happened a few times when I’ve bought dried fruit, for example, then I get home and find out by reading the label that they’ve added all kinds of hydrogenated oil and sugars to them. Why add sugar to fruit? Chances are they were very good or ripe to start with. Why add oil? To keep them soft and moist. Done properly these ingredients wouldn’t be necessary.

From the Pantry

Beans, Legumes and Pulses

Natural Sweeteners


Nuts, Seeds and Oils
This could be an endless list, so just pick a couple and build from there. Try to source raw nuts.

Dried Fruit and Berries

Spices and Herbs
Listed here are the ones I keep dry and on hand (basil, sage and mint are listed under fresh ingredients)

  • paprika
  • ground cumin
  • cumin seed
  • mustard seed
  • coriander
  • oregano
  • bay leave
  • thyme
  • rosemary
  • dry mustard
  • clove
  • Chinese 5 spice
  • nutmeg
  • cinnamon
  • cardamom
  • garam masala
  • cayenne
  • chili peppers, dried
  • chipotle peppers
  • turmeric
  • marjoram

Fresh on the Counter or In The Fridge
Buy organic if you can, but it’s not necessary for this step. Remember, not to get overwhelmed, we just want to start taking the steps towards real food. Baby steps are an important part of the process.  


  • apples
  • oranges
  • limes
  • grapefruit
  • lemons
  • pineapple
  • bananas
  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • blackberries
  • melons (watermelon, honey dew, cantaloupe, etc.)
  • grapes
  • apricots
  • pears
  • cherries

Dairy and Eggs

  • full fat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt (ingredient list should read milk and active bacterial culture and maybe cream)
  • full fat sour cream
  • regular cottage
  • eggs
  • milk
  • cheeses of your choice (no processed cheese slices please)


I won’t provide a list here but rather some guidelines. Buy from a local farmer or grass fed, free range and/or organic if you can and buy in bulk to economize. When buying fish use Ocean Wise Programs or Seafood Watch for buying guides. If you’re really new to RF and the meat you eat usually comes in the form of fish sticks and pre-made hamburgers and hotdogs, first focus on buying meat that still looks like it came from an animal. You can always move on from there when you’re ready.

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