We have barely scratched the surface of what there is to know about healthy foods and healthy cooking. Volumes have been written on the topic. One book that is a wonderful reference is The Goldbeck’s Guide to Good Food by Nikki and David Goldbeck. Don’t try to read it from cover to cover. Just glean from it as you start your new adventure in cooking. The Goldbecks also have a corresponding cookbook called American Whole Food Cuisine. There are many other good cookbooks.
In addition to cookbooks, you will need to have certain utensils on hand. Here is a list of the essentials: Blender, food processor, garlic press, cooling racks, sieve, grater with fine, medium and large holes, sharp knives, nutmeg grater, muffin tins, bread pans, pie pans, heavy cast-iron pans, stainless steel pans, wooden spoons, rubber scrapers, wire whisk, and salad spinner. You probably already have most of these, but these will help simplify meal preparation. Make sure you have good, sturdy utensils.
You should also have some basic foods on hand because they will be called for in the healthy cookbooks. Start out with a few from each group and add others as you go.
Whole Grains: Whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, rolled oats, brown rice, whole grain cornmeal, soy flour, buckwheat flour, rye flour, whole grain pasta.
Beans, nuts and seeds: Kidney, lima, pinto, soy or other beans, lentils and dried peas, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews, natural peanut butter, sesame (hulled), sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
Vegetables: Carrots, green and sweet red (bell) peppers, spinach, potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, yellow onions, scallions, garlic.
Cheeses: Low-fat cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, Swiss, yogurt, uncolored cheeses, soy cheeses.
Fruits: Bananas, grapefruit, oranges, apples, lemons, assorted dried fruits (prunes, dates, apricots, raisins, currants).
Herbs: Dried basil, thyme, marjoram, sage, rosemary, tarragon, dill, oregano, bay leaves, mint, celery seeds, caraway seeds, ground cumin, coriander, chili powder, mustard powder, paprika, fresh parsley.
Spices: Allspice, curry nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, turmeric, ground ginger, fresh ginger root.
Flavorings: Cider and white vinegar, tamari, lemon juice, vanilla extract, tomato paste, Dijon-style mustard, carob powder.
Oils: Sunflower, safflower, canola, olive.
Miscellaneous: Wheat germ, bran, gluten flour, active dry yeast, agar-agar flakes, baking soda, baking powder.
Shopping for good food can start out in your grocery store if they have a natural/organic section. However, you will probably progress to health food stores and/or food co-ops. Just remember, there is a healthy alternative to just about any food you can find in the regular grocery store.
Tomorrow we will talk about eating habits.
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