15 must-have staples of a Clean kitchen

Dr Junger Clean Kitchen

“If you go back to more natural ways in your eating, the body will heal itself,” says Dr. Junger, from personal and professional experience. (Photo: Clean Program)

When integrative physician Alejandro Junger, MD, published Clean in 2009, his progressive book on detoxing, the wellness cognoscenti stocked their Kindles, bedside tables, and bookshelves with his tome that explained the role of food in giving health—or taking it away.

The best-seller was the result of a personal health revelation as much as a professional one, says the passionate Los Angeles-based wellness guru. “I had all kinds of serious health problems. I was like my patients—I had allergies, I had irritable bowel syndrome, I was depressed, and I didn’t want a life on drugs that was being prescribed.” Kicking dairy (“even without chemicals, I was sick as a dog,” he says) along with other “toxic triggers,” changed him from wounded to wounded healer.

Where Clean and his follow-up Clean Gut leaves off, Clean Eats, published this spring, begins, with recipes that teach you a sustainable way of cooking that lets your body be its healthy best, along with tips on how to stock your kitchen with the staples to get you there. “After doing the cleanse, everyone asked for recipes, what I ate or made at home,” says Dr. Junger, who’s even accompanied patients to the supermarket (but for obvious reasons can’t make a habit of it.)

So what should you actually buy besides kale? Whole foods, lots of veggies—ideally local and in season—and clean animal protein, if you choose. (Though he doesn’t.) Another thing he won’t eat? Sugar. “It’s a toxin, you might as well smoke. But if I put ‘no sugar’ in my book, I’m excluding 99 percent of people. I wanted to give everyone a place to start,” he says.

So here’s what the healthy doctor stocks his pantry with at home. (Listed alphabetically.) —Melisse Gelula

1. Almond Butter: A wonderful and sweet peanut butter replacement, this works in smoothies, savory soups and sauces, cookies, or straight out of the jar.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar, unpasteurized: It’s often considered the healthiest vinegar because it has a dozen-plus uses and just as many benefits. It’s loaded with enzymes and aids digestion. You can also add a tablespoon to water with a dash of honey for a refreshing drink. Balsamic Vinegar is a close second for flavoring food.

3. Bragg Liquid Aminos: This certified non-GMO protein concentrate is made from soybeans. It’s gluten-free and has a salty flavor.

4. Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is an essential saturated fat that supports immune functioning, weight loss, and digestive health with additional antibacterial and antiviral properties. It’s our main cooking oil.

5. Himalayan Salt: An essential seasoning agent, salt is present in just about every recipe, and having too much or too little can make or break a meal.

6. Coconut or Almond Milk: A staple in clean cooking, these milks are something to always keep on hand for soups, dressings, sauces, desserts, shakes, and as thickeners. Buy them organic and unsweetened, or make your own.

Clean Eats book cover

(Photo: Clean Eats)

7. Dr. Schulze’s SuperFood: My favorite and best-tasting superfood powder, this product is full of organic vegetables, minerals, and nutrients.

8. Lemon: Okay, we had to add one item from them crisper. Freshly squeezed lemon juice is a wonder, says Dr. Junger. It goes in smoothies, over salads, soups, and everything.

9. Green Powders: These handy powders are a useful way to add more mineral-rich food to your meals. You can add a scoop to salad dressings, smoothies, and even desserts like cookies, energy bars, or chocolate mousse.

10. Lucuma Powder: This is a dried version of the lucuma fruit from Peru. It has a sweet-maple like taste. You may have encountered it as a smoothie ingredient, but Dr. Junger adds it to salads, “so it’s not just some lonely vegetables.”

11. Nutritional Yeast: This deactivated yeast is rich in B vitamins and protein. It has a cheesy and nutty flavor.

12. Olive Oil: Look for organic, extra-virgin olive oil in dark glass bottles.

13. Seaweed: Mineral-rich sea vegetables like dulse, kelp, or nori can be bought in strips, sheets, or powdered. Dr. Junger also likes spirulina.

14. Wheat-Free Tamari: A gluten-free fermented soy sauce adds a wonderful salty flavor to many recipes in Clean Eats including Asian-Inspired Chickpeas, a dip that doubles as a sauce or salad dressing, and Mushroom Parsnip Stew.

15. Whole-Grain Mustard: A very useful condiment, mustard can be used to create a quick, clean sauce, or salad dressing. Dr. Junger likes the varieties that are sugar-free and made with apple cider vinegar.

For more information, check out Clean Eats: Over 200 Delicious Recipes to Reset Your Body’s Natural Balance and Discover What It Means to Be Truly Healthy.


7 Comments | ADD YOURS

  1. August 11th, 2014 at 10:57 am

    I’ve meet Dr. Junger about a year ago and was honored to have him as a featured experts in an online summit I produced. He has been an inspiration for me and my personal clients for years. I’ve used the CLEAN program and continue to recommend it to my clients regularly. Awesome article. Thanks!

  2. August 11th, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    What do you mean by “clean protein, if you chose, although he doesn’t” – does he avoid eating protein?

  3. Antonia
    August 19th, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Great article!

    I recently wrote a post about kitchen cupboard essentials but I would definitely agree with the olive oil and fresh lemon juice – I have both over everything!

    Wheatgrass, spirulina and raw cacao are also 3 of my favourite ingredients to add to smoothies.

  4. September 19th, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Held a dinner with my “Healthy Cooking Group” where we cooked recipes using Dr. Junger’s list of 15 must-have staples. It was a delicious and informative evening.

  5. October 9th, 2014 at 12:07 am

    While some of these items are very good, I can’t imagine anyone recommending soy in any form. I’ve read many times that it may not be such a problem if it is fermented. I’ve never heard that fermenting deletes the phytoestrogen factor. My grand daughter drank lots of soy ‘milk and reached puberty at the age of six. She started menses at seven.What might it do to little boys? There are many ‘foods’ that were exclusively for animal feed, in the past. Wheat bran, for example. It sold for a low price. Then one of the major companies that make cereal got the idea that if they could get people to consume it, they could make much more money. Voila! All bran, 40% bran flakes and raisin bran. The fact that it is not digestible by humans didn’t stop them, or the fact that upon pumping the stomach a short time after eating it finds blood along with the bran is also not a deterrent.Canola oil is heart healthy? It is derived from the rapeseed plant,no such thing as a canola plant. It is so poisonous that no animal will eat it. During manufacture, as much of the poison as possible is removed, so we only get a little poison instead of a lot. Doesn’t that make you feel better? It also becomes a rancid fat as do most other vegetable oils. The only oils that are healthy are virgin cold pressed olive and coconut oils. The bottom line is the driving factor. The development of margarine was another devastating event. There are still people out there teaching that butter is to be avoided, along with all other animal products. The only thing bad about them are the chemicals that the animals consume. The same goes for all plant based food. Herbicides,insecticides and water polluted by chemical runoff are all things that are poisoning the population on a daily basis. When people take prescription meds or even over the counter, it winds up in the urine. With the recycling of all the earth’s water, we take everyone’s meds, too. The government agencies that get their salaries from the taxpayers are supposedly there to protect the public, but all those protesting all these things are totally ignored.It’s all about the money.

  6. Cloe P
    May 11th, 2015 at 7:43 am

    Clean kitchen = Health = Happiness. Thanks for sharing all this information on how to eat clean and healthy I was really educated here.

  7. June 12th, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Lauren, I think “clean protein, if you chose, although he doesn’t” means he doesn’t eat animal protein. “animal” did not come across in your copy.

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