Reader’s Request: Pantry Essentials

Hey everyone! Hope you’re having a fab morning 😀

I often get asked about all of the crazy ingredients/supplements/superfoods that I throw into my meals, and think it would be a great topic for a Reader’s Request post!

I’m not going to list the usual suspects (sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne, etc) but more of the unique things that I *have* to have with me. If we go on vacay, especially for more than a few days, all of these will most likely be in my suitcase.

1. Chia Seeds


What are they? Little seeds –yes, made famous by the chia pet- that gelatinize and are amazing for making raw puddings, adding to smoothies or oatmeal

Benefits: Omega 3’s and 6’s, you don’t need to grind the seeds to digest it (unlike flax), high in protein, increase metabolism by slowing the process by which carbohydrates are converted to simple sugars, high in cancer-protective antioxidants

2. Goji Berries


What are they? Small crunchy berries native to China, which taste almost like strawberries to me (also called the “wolfberry”)

Benefits: An antioxidant POWERHOUSE, they little guys also contain vitamin A and are used to treat diabetes, high blood pressure and age-related eye problems

3. Maca


What is it? Native to Peru, maca is ground up maca root, which used to be consumed by warriors before battle

Benefits: Maca is an amazing supplement for athletes as it provides energy and is considered to be an adaptogen, which raises the body’s resistance (immune system and ability to recover from exercise). It also assists in the body’s reproductive processes, which is pretty interesting! And it tastes FABULOUS- very earthy malt flavor and great with cacao.

4. Almond Butter

almond butter

aka my nut butter lover

What is it: ground up raw almonds and foodgasms

Benefits: High in magnesium, healthy fats (which lower bad cholesterol) and potassium. It also tastes (to me) WAY better than peanut butter. Once you go almond, you never go back 😉


5. Vitamins


Every day I take a prenatal (don’t get too excited, it’s just for oven preparation if ya know what I mean), probiotic (as I don’t consume much dairy, unless it’s in the form of goat cheese and a B-comple vitamin, which I started taking last week. I started the B-complex as I don’t eat a ton of meat. Vitamins are just “insurance” and it’s always a good idea to get your essential vitamins from food sources.

6. Spirulina


What is it: A blue green algae

Benefits: Spirulina is 65 to 71 percent complete protein, with all essential amino acids in perfect balance. In comparison, beef is only 22 percent protein (source). Contains high concentration of nutrients and is easily absorbed into the bloodstream. It’s wonderful in smoothies or juices.

7. MSM Powder


What is it: Sulfur

Benefits: Makes cell walls more permeable and increases energy. From this website: “ Pantothenic acid, Vitamins A, D, and E, inter-enzymes, amino acids, selenium, calcium, germanium, collagnol and dismuzyme are just some of the things we know the body does not utilize properly unless it has MSM to lock with. A lot of the vitamins we take go through the body without being fully used. With more MSM in the body, vitamins can be utilized more effectively and therefore become much more beneficial.” It can also help with arthritis and PMS.

8. Sun Warrior


My favorite brown rice protein! It’s raw, tastes like heaven and has excellent nutritional stats.

9. Oats


I don’t think these guys need an explanation 😉

10. Tea


I just love tea. All types, but mostly green 🙂

11. Nutritional Yeast


What is it: A supplement popular with vegetarians and vegans- it’s an inactive yeast full of vitamins and minerals

Benefits: It tastes like CHEESE and is a complete protein: 8g per 1.5T serving. Also high in B-complex vitamins


So there ya have it, all of the good stuff 😉

What fun food items do you keep stocked in your casa??

I’m off to pump some iron then mail macaroons out 😀

Have a great day and I’ll see ya before Zumba!



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  1. natasha on January 27, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Totally laughing about the MSM powder because I do HIV testing and in my world, MSM is a high risk exposure category that means “men who have sex with men!”

    • Fitnessista on January 27, 2010 at 3:38 pm

      LOL!! hahaha not that kinda msm

  2. Linzerella on January 27, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    OMG AWESOME post!!! I’ve been waiting for one of these for a long time. I’ve read all about your consumption of spirulina, maca, goji berries and chia seeds … and wondered about the benefits! Now I know … thanks Gina!

  3. Susan on January 27, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    loving your super foods, supplements, I’m going to check them out a bit more and see if I can get them here. Tried to get chia seeds here but they don’t seem to be available, I’ll check online. Thanks Gina for a fab blog, I’m following your advice and feeling great!

  4. RunToTheFinish on January 27, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Fantastic list!! My next question would be do you buy online or pick everything up at a store?

    • Fitnessista on January 27, 2010 at 7:48 pm

      most of it i get online, through earth shift because their prices are amazing.. or at the local health food store

  5. Suzanne on January 27, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    You forgot wine….that counts, right?

    • Fitnessista on January 27, 2010 at 7:46 pm

      heck yeah that counts 😉

  6. Baroque Diva on January 27, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    I have the same brand of nooch and oats! 🙂 Stuff I could live without, but don’t want to:
    -Life’s Greens powder (from vitamin world- great for smoothies and oatmeal!)
    -Nutritional Yeast (just started eating it, love it, especially on popcorn!)
    -sweet potatoes (and ALL potatoes actually)
    -KALE. absolutely. i am having a love affair with kale!!
    -agave nectar (sweetens my oats and yogurt, and fruit!!!, and tea!!!!)

  7. Nicci@NiftyEats on January 27, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    I love chia seeds and Almond butter…and oats. I went AB style and never looked back to peanut butter. lol

  8. maggie b on January 27, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    LOVE the list!
    what do you put nutritional yeast on??? i just bought some, but i don’t know how to use it!!
    that reminds me that i need to order some SUN! I don’t want to run out before i have a new bottle!
    ohh and how much fat do you recommend someone who wants to lose weight and build more lean muscle to eat???

    • Fitnessista on January 27, 2010 at 7:45 pm

      hey maggie,
      i put it mostly on eggs, raw pasta or popcorn
      as far as healthy fat goes, i think it really depends on how your body can handle it. i love healthy fats (especially almond butter) but too much of anything will cause weight gain. so just see what works best for ya 🙂

  9. Jessie on January 27, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    do you have to go to a special organic store to buy goji berries and chia seeds? in my town we have a Shaw’s but I havent seen them there anywhere. Would Hannafords have them maybe?

    • Fitnessista on January 27, 2010 at 7:43 pm

      hey jessie,
      i haven’t heard of either of those stores- we don’t have them in valdosta :/ check online… has the chias (for a great price) and earthshift has goji berries 🙂

  10. Erin on January 27, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    Thanks for the great post! Is there anyway you can include info about how you use some of the more unusual ingredients? (like Maca, MSM powder, and Nutritional Yeast)

    • Fitnessista on January 27, 2010 at 8:37 pm

      maca usually goes into cookies, breakfast cookies, oats, shakes or malted chocolate tarts
      msm powder goes straight into juice or water
      nutritional yeast on eggs, popcorn or raw zucchini pasta 😀

  11. Jenny on January 27, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    I have never even used most of these, haha it’s funny to see that they are your staples! I love the variety in your blog 🙂

  12. Heather on January 27, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Thank you for sharing your super foods. I have got to try them.

  13. Missy on January 27, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    thank you so much for sharing all of this info.
    are the prenadles vegan?
    what sites do you shop from the most,
    and how often do you need to replenish your supply?
    Thanks for another rockin post.

  14. Eva on January 27, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    I wish you would have talked about mesquite!

    • Fitnessista on January 27, 2010 at 9:46 pm

      me too, but i’m out of it! when i replenish my stash, i’ll certainly put a little blurb in there about mesquite 🙂

  15. Chantal on January 27, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    Hey Gina! Great post… I’ve been considering taking MSM recently because I hear it does great things for you skin… Though my acne has cleared up sine going on a raw diet (something that’s been with me since I was about 13), I still have a lot of old scars, etc. have you found that MSM has helped with the ‘quality’ of your skin? I’m assuming the answer is yes, since yours always looks fabulous 🙂 but I’d love to get more feedback if you have time!

  16. yolande on January 27, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    I loveeee your must have items. where would you get the following items? is it from one source (online, in a store etc) here is the items I was wanting to pick up – Goji berries, spirulina, msm , sun warrior protein , and nutritional yeast, and maca powder. thanks. 🙂 I am just looking for the most cost efficient and easiest way to get ahold of these items and since you have them all the time I am sure you would know haha 🙂

  17. Lexi (Busy Little Lexi) on January 28, 2010 at 12:53 am

    I can’t find nutritional yeast anywhere! I’ve been looking for years in my area. I may have to suck it up & order some online. Thanks for this list. You inspired me to buy some Sun Warrior Protein. I was looking for a new brand anyway.

  18. Heather on January 28, 2010 at 5:39 am

    I googled earth shift and i cant find it. What am i doing wrong? I find computer stuff instead?

  19. Kristin on January 28, 2010 at 6:37 am

    Do you recommend useing these supplements everyday- the chia seeds, MSM and Maca powder?

    • Fitnessista on January 28, 2010 at 7:39 am

      you can, but i just use each one a few times each week

  20. Tiffany on January 28, 2010 at 10:06 am

    This was a very helpful list! I never knew what maca was for!

  21. Jaime on January 28, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    I love this post! You just answered at least three questions I had! Thanks!

  22. Ranika on January 28, 2010 at 3:28 pm


    Since you’ve been taking maca for a while now, have you noticed any effect on your libido?

    • Fitnessista on January 28, 2010 at 4:59 pm

      well i’ve never had much of an issue with libido…. have you seen my husband?? haha

  23. yolande on January 28, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    if i am canadian, is there any way anyone would no how to get products from … to canada? they only ship US 🙁

  24. amber on January 29, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Heya again! Thank you SO much for posting all this. I am very interested in maca now because my menstrual cycles have been a little wonky lately and i’ve read maca can help balance that. I just tried signing up on the ultimate superfoods “earthshiftproducts” site, and it says i need a promo #? Is that somewhere obvious or am i just being dense? I should probably ask their help but i thought you might know since you order from there! thanks a bunch.

    • Fitnessista on January 29, 2010 at 6:00 pm

      hey amber,
      i googled for a promo number and it wrked when i signed up 🙂

      • amber on January 29, 2010 at 6:17 pm

        being an IT professional, i should have thought of that. 🙂 deerrrr. i actually ended up emailing them and they sent me one! thanks anyway! have fun in Orlando.

  25. Katie on January 29, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Ooh, I need maca! I always have almond butter, peanut butter, dried fruit and nuts, oats, protein powder, cinnamon, nooch…

  26. Angela @ A Healthy Fit on February 3, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    The Maca Powder is that the same as their raw wildcrafted maca powder that is on their website? Didn’t know if there was different flavors or if it’s all the same.

  27. Orlando Nacar on March 16, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    great post thanks a ton

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