I shared a similar post back in the day about some of my must-have essentials before starting Whole30, but I wanted to share more of what my “regular life” looks like. As of last summer, I aim to do about four Whole30’s per year and attempt a 90/10 paleo life the rest of the time (the 10% is mostly cider and sushi). While I do keep most of those Whole30 staples stocked year-round, here are some of my paleo-but-not-necessarily-Whole30 essentials and some of my favorite indulgences too.
Siete Tortillas – What a game changer. Seriously. These cassava root tortillas (and their chips) are a must in any paleo household, especially mine. The pure joy of tacos are no longer reserved for “cheating” (or Tuesdays). I mostly use the chips for my paleo nachos and my laziest Whole30 dinner – I try not to let them be a mindless snack. The tortillas are excellent for pretty much everything – with eggs, as a lazy banh-mi, you name it – just nuke ’em for 8-10 seconds and enjoy.
Hot Mama’s Hot Sauce – I first discovered Hot Mama’s products at my local New Seasons Market, and this Portland brand’s lineup has now completely replaced my previous spicy favorites. I love supporting local brands anyway, but especially when their ingredients are so straightforward and clean. The Femme Fatali sauce is a true obsession of mine, and is particularly fantastic with any and all seafood. While not every product is paleo-friendly, the brand was kind enough to send me some of their sauces that are. The Guajillo Chili Oil (Mild) is perfectly smoky with just a little heat, you can definitely expect it to make frequent appearances along with our grill this summer. I haven’t had a chance to try the Habanero hot sauce yet, but I have a few recipes in the pipeline that I think it will be perfect for.
CoYo Coconut Milk Yogurt – Another eye-opening life changer for me. Maybe I’m late to the game here since I couldn’t admit to my lactose intolerance until last year, but coconut milk yogurt is where it’s at! I’m not a fan of yogurt as its own food item, but this goodness from CoYo is a stunning replacement for sour cream or crème fraîche. I use it for taco night and pretty much anytime I want to add richness to a dish – you’ll see some coconut milk yogurt appearances in new recipes coming soon!
Kite Hill Chive Cream Cheese Spread – This is a relatively new discovery for me, but it is not one I plan to live without ever again. I grew up in Philadelphia, I have some strong feelings about cream cheese, and I have missed it dearly (side note: not that I eat them anymore, but west coast bagels are an abomination). Enter Kite Hill’s satanic rituals or whatever else they do to make this almond-milk “cream cheese” so damn good. The texture is on-point, the flavor is super legit, honestly the dairy alternatives these days are absolutely crushing it and Kite Hill is no exception. My one comment would be that it doesn’t do great with heat so I didn’t love my attempt at melting it into an omelette, but otherwise I want it in everything.
NutPods Creamer – I’ve never been a coffee creamer kind of person, I always just wanted 2% or whole milk. When I started eating the way I do now, coffee was one of the first things to go because I couldn’t have it the way I liked (I respect anyone who drinks black coffee, but it’s just not for me). Over the years, alternatives to dairy milk have improved so much, but they still struggled to get the texture right. NutPods have absolutely nailed it, and the hazelnut flavor gets me my Goldilocks coffee – no sugar added. I love the simple ingredients and I love the hazelnut flavor (Original and French Vanilla also available), but I especially love the texture: it doesn’t break up or separate in my coffee and it’s got the perfect mouthfeel of dairy milk without the indigestion.
Epic Salt & Pepper Pork Rinds – I have never been a massive chip or popcorn eater. I mean, if it’s in front of me I’ll eat it, but that’s not something I ever really sought out. These on the other hand… after a few rounds of Whole30, you do really start to miss that ultra satisfying crunch and Epic’s pork rinds go beyond filling the void. I love the crunch and the impressively simple ingredients. My favorite are the slightly spicy Salt & Pepper, they make great breadcrumbs too!
Trader Joe’s Double Roasted salsa – Okay this one might be kind of weird, but this salsa from Trader Joe’s is one of my absolute favorite snacks. I mean fully just …pour some in a small bowl or cup and eat it with a spoon. I’ve been a salsa eater for a long time, but this is the number one I keep going back to. It’s savory, it’s a little spicy, it’s got just the right amount of chunky veg, the ingredients are so simple, and it is absolutely delicious. Oddly enough this isn’t my favorite choice for taco night, but it’s my only choice for that salsa snack craving.
Honey Mama’s Oregon Peppermint Bar – If you told me a few years ago that my favorite dessert as an adult would be a paleo, vegan, raw chocolate bar made with coconut oil, I probably would have turned around and never spoken to you again. Former me apologizes for this exchange that never actually happened. Current me is very much in love with this ultra-rich treat from the Portland-local chocolate wizards behind Honey Mama’s. I am actually somewhat at a loss for words on how else to describe my current #1 favorite dessert, just trust me that you need to track them down. Note: Honey Mama’s are actually kept in the refrigerated section, if you’re struggling to find them. At my local Whole Foods they are in the case between beverages and prepared lunch food; at New Seasons they are in the dessert case.
Heavenly Organics Mint Chocolate Honey Patties – So few ingredients and yet so much yum in a teeny tiny package. It’s probably for the best that my local grocery store only sells these one by one because I would definitely house a whole bag. Imagine a cross between a mini York and Junior Mints, but without the sugar rush, the sugar crash, or the stomach ache. I’ve been eating “like this” for years at this point and it still floors me sometimes how something with just a few straightforward ingredients can be so good. It also makes me really annoyed at all of the chocolate makers still adding soy lecithin to every damn thing. Yea I’ll pick the yummy stuff that doesn’t give me crazy hormonal breakouts and bathroom problems, thanks.
2 Towns Cider – I actually have a visit to the 2 Towns tap-room coming up next week so expect a full write-up soon, but in the meantime just know this Oregon-local brewery bangs out some unbelievably high quality weekend fuel, and they don’t even add any sugar to do it. 2 Towns have a solid selection of year-round classics, but keep an eye on those seasonal runs too – Rhubarbarian and Serious Scrump are two of my favorites, and Man Gogh is definitely one to look out for if you can get your hands on it (last seen at my local Whole Foods). Alcohol definitely falls into the 10% of my 90/10, but it feels good to know such excellent ingredients and so much care went into this product, and it’s made just a few hours from home! Cider has been a favorite of mine for probably a decade at this point, but 2 Towns have edged out pretty much all their competition in my mind, local or otherwise.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I was not asked to write this nor paid to do so. NutPods products were sent to me gratis, but I was not asked to write about them. Some links may be affiliate links.