As mentioned in my earlier post, when I started keto I had to quit sugar and carbs. Quitting these two items meant that a lot of the foods and ingredients I normally ate or used were now culled from my diet. In fact if you look down the aisles at your local supermarket most of the items sold contain sugar or carbs. It can be challenging to find foods or ingredients that meet the keto guidelines.
To ensure the foods were keto friendly I found that I had to cook a lot of my meals. It also meant sourcing new alternative ingredients, fresh vegetables, whole foods and various types of meat. Nearly all of my meals are based on salads with the addition of a meat. In relation to ingredients these are some of my keto staples that I use regularly:
- Leaf salad mix
- Spinach leaves
- Red onion
- Beef steak
- Lamb chops
- Mince beef – not the lean types, the 2 or 3 star rated with more fat
- Cheeses – tasty, cheddar, mozzarella, cream and fetta
- Sour cream
- Pink Himalayan salt
- Coconut flour
- Almond meal – blanched (no skin)
- Psyllium husk
- Stevia drops
- Stevia/Xylitol granules
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Coconut milk
- Cacao powder
- Chia seeds
- Wheat grass powder
This is not an exhaustive list of the food items you would use on keto, these are just some of the staple food items that I use. Remember I’m not Jamie Oliver so the meals I prepare are pretty basic, hence my list is pretty basic.
Organic vs Non-Organic
Many of the keto gurus encourage using organically sourced produce. I totally understand that organic produce are free from pesticides, grown in their natural environment and as a result should contain more nutrients. However, I’ve learnt that buying organic fresh produce comes at a cost. Some items can be twice the price of non-organic fresh produce sold. So as much as I would love to buy organic, I don’t because its too expensive. My results have still been positive going non-organic but if you can afford to go organic by all means go for it.
Where Do I Shop?
Being based in Brisbane, Australia I buy the bulk of my ingredients from the big supermarket chains such as Woolworths, Coles and Aldi. They all sell good varieties of fresh vegetables, fruits and meats. However, some of the health food based products like coconut oil, almond meal, coconut flour, chia seeds, cacao powder, stevia and xylitol can be bought from health stores in larger sizes which can workout to be a bit cheaper. I mainly use Flannerys Organic and Wholefood Market to source health food products.
Not sure if its the accountant in me but I am a bargain hunter. The photo above gives a small sample of a price comparison between a health store and the supermarket chains. Flannerys 1kg of coconut flour sells for $6.98. Woolworths sells small 330g coconut flour packets for $3.60 or $10.91/kg. That’s almost twice the price of Flannerys. My other example is organic coconut oil where Coles launched a new 900g jar for $13.50 or $1.50/100g. At Flannerys they sell a 650g jar of organic coconut oil for $12.98 or $1.99/100g. So as you can see it helps to shop around and you can really save some money.
Normally I do family food shopping at Aldi and usually get vegetables, meats, cacao powder, chia seeds, coconut milk at pretty reasonable prices. However, Aldi don’t have everything. Personally, of the big supermarket chains I find that Woolworths has a better selection of health foods available. I can get pretty much everything on my list of essentials from Woolworths, except for wheatgrass powder. Again I will compare with the health shops because sometimes they can do bigger sizes and at better prices depending on the item.
In relation to berries I have been using frozen berry packets as opposed to the smaller punnets of fresh berries. Reason being is that you get more frozen berries for similar prices and they last longer. However, the downsides are that the frozen berries don’t taste as good as fresh berries and there have been some health issues with frozen berries.
One major issue was the recall in Australia a few years back in relation to certain frozen berries that contained Hepatitis A and as a result infected consumers. The other issue is that some imported berries have been known to be laced with pesticides that are not only poisonous but banned in Australia. So read the article I linked and be mindful of possible local or organically produced frozen berries that are available.
I have to confess that ever since I was a kid I hated peanut butter. The taste, smell and texture reminded me of some thing that comes out of your body and would make me gag. However, since I started keto I have learnt to love peanut butter, not just any peanut butter, real peanut butter. You might be saying what’s the difference they’re all the same aren’t they? No they’re not. Some are good and some are just flat out bad for you.
The following video by Thomas Delaurer explains why some are better than others:
When I first started using peanut butter I bought the cheap no brand stuff because you got a lot of it. But it still tasted pretty artificially horrible. I stopped buying the cheap and nasty stuff when I read about the additional additives and sugars they were adding to them. So I started using 100% peanut butters and the difference in taste was like amazing, they actually tasted like peanuts. My favourite 100% peanut butters are the Mayvers range and the Bega 100% Nuts. I use crunchy peanut butter in my fat bombs and cacao shakes because I love the crunchy bits of peanuts.
Go Explore And Enjoy!
That’s pretty much a summary of my go to keto ingredients that I use on a daily basis. Remember there are plenty of good keto recipes that vary in complexity in relation to ingredients and preparation. When sourcing ingredients don’t just rely on the mainstream supermarket chains, check out your local health stores too. Finally make sure you find recipes that you will enjoy, as they can make all the difference as to how you enjoy and maintain your keto lifestyle.
If you have any questions or feedback please leave a comment below.