How I Prioritize the purchase of “special ingredients” on the Trim Healthy Mama Plan
First of all, I just wanna say, you can really do this plan just fine without a single special ingredient. Will you be able to make every single recipe in the cookbook? No. So, when I help people get on this plan one of the first things they want to know is which specialty items to purchase first.
This is strictly *my* opinion based on my preferences which I will explain. Everyone is different so it is hard to make a definitive list of what is best to start with. Here's mine:
- A Plan Approved Sweetener, in order of my favorites: Gentle Sweet, then Super Sweet and finally Stevia – Because IF you love sweets and you are used to the sugar taste/mouth feel then starting off with straight Stevia might put you off trying it a second time (but maybe not… we're all different) However, I've had this come up over and over with people I've helped break a sugar addiction. Sugar is such a highly addictive substance and there are reasons for that. Gentle Sweet tastes and feels the most like sugar as far as I'm concerned. So for making desserts you can't beat Gentle Sweet. Be advised Gentle Sweet will not last as long as a bag of stevia, because with stevia you only use a doonk (1/32 teaspoon). However, if you can gradually get used to the taste of stevia you will be more likely to continue using it. You're gonna want stevia for your sippers. (not required but a huge help in meeting water quota and keeping you satisfied) Bottom line, you need an alternative sweetener and not an artificial one.
- Collagen powder – When you scroll through the group pages on Facebook, the one special ingredient that you will notice is praised the most is Collagen. Those testimonials and because I have personally used it for about five years is why I can highly recommend getting some collagen next. I have been putting collagen in my coffee for so long. As a result, I feel like I have fabulously healthy hair, nails and my skin is decent for a woman in her forties. I actually started out with the Great Lakes brand and I have tried many others since then. I have the Integral Collagen as well, but to be completely truthful, I prefer the Great Lakes Green Label. For one reason, I have Amazon Prime so I get free shipping, huge bonus. Also, the Great Lakes Collagen is not as fine of a powder and it dissolves in my coffee beautifully, no need to stir, which is great. The Integral Collagen does require stirring to dissolve and occasionally it does clump just a little bit, but it easily dissolves when you stir it up. That would definitely NOT keep me from buying it if I was already placing a Trim Healthy Mama Order.
- Glucomannan – Mainly so you can say “gluccie” but also because it works so well at thickening everything from gravy to pudding. Not only that, but it also gives a better texture to smoothies and “frappas.” I won't go into all the health benefits since they are listed in both books, but I used to sell Glucomannan Tablets to people trying to lose weight back when I managed a vitamin store. Studies have proven that not only does it help weight loss but also diabetes, hypoglycemia and lots more. I bought a bag of the powder before the Trim Healthy Store got started and I'm STILL using it. It has been so long since I bought mine that I honestly can't even remember where I found it. A little bit goes a long way, so this is an investment in your pantry that you will enjoy for a long, long time.
- Baking Blend – Yes, you could make your own, but personally I haven't found it to be cost effective or as tasty as the blend that I get from THM. Having said that, I know there a a few bloggers who have come up with their own baking mix recipes, like this one, but it still requires several special ingredients. I bought some as soon as I could work it in my budget because I knew I was going to want some pie crusts, biscuits, brownies and cookies. Nuff said.
- Pristine Whey Protein Powder – I use this on a daily basis in several recipes such as the Big Boy's and other shakes and smoothies. I have also used this in making desserts. Previously, I used Jay Robb protein powder. Ounce for ounce the Pristine Whey Protein Powder is cheaper than Jay Robb that I have found at Kroger or Amazon IF you are adding it onto a THM order, but if you are buying it stand alone, you might want to do a cost comparison first, especially if you have Amazon Prime or it's on sale at Kroger.
- Stevia Sweetened bars like Lily's… I buy these locally when I find them on sale. Only on sale. Then I hide them like a selfish squirrel, because yes, my family would eat them. They're that good. Also, these are cheaper at Thrive Market than locally unless they are on sale. So if I were already placing an order with Thrive, I'd add these on no problem!
- Sunflower Lecithin – I use the THM brand. I like using this special ingredient because it has been said to feed the brain. I need all the help I can get. Sunflower lecithin also combats insomnia. I don't suffer from insomnia, or have trouble sleeping but I help a lot of people who do. If you are breastfeeding, you might want to bump this one a little higher on your list. Lecithin helps to prevent clogged milk ducts.
- Oolong tea – The THM brand of oolong tea is actually much better than any other brand I have tried, my BFF can also vouch for this. You're gonna want some oolong if you are making Shrinker drinks daily. (Which we do!) I put a twist to mine though. I also throw in a bag of my favorite Chai which I order from Thrive Market.
- MCT oil – I do put this in my coffee, but you could just as easily use coconut oil, honestly. I bought some Brain Octane a while back and I'm still using that. That was during my short trial run of Bulletproofing things and I can honestly say it does certainly give you a little more energy than straight coffee. When I run out of what I have in my pantry I will try the THM version. As of today, I have not yet tried their version.
- Pressed Peanut Flour – I always buy PB2 at Costco, just because I shop there and it is convenient for me. If you are a peanut butter lover, you may want this higher on your list. I only eat peanuts on a very rare occasion so if one of these items had to go, this would probably be one I wouldn't be broken hearted over, but you might love peanut butter flavor and this might be really handy for Shake Gone Nuts p. 411 or various other desserts. I have even used it in Pay Off Day Candy p. 381 in place of the nut butter and it was delicious.
- Not Naughty Noodles and Rice – if you are a huge pasta lover, you might want to add this to the top of your list. Long time ago, when I tried the hcg diet (let's not go there) I discovered “Miracle Noodles” which are pretty much the exact same thing. I have used them in place of ramen, spaghetti or rice in plenty of dishes over the last five years or so. According to Serene and Pearl, their version of konjac noodles do not have the typical “fishy smell” that other brands have. I haven't noticed, but maybe that would be a problem for some folks. They're good in a pinch if you need a quick meal. If I wanted to keep these in stock I would probably add them to my Amazon “subscribe and save” automation… because, again #freeshipping
- Just Gelatin – I don't really use this very often at all but I'd like to start. I do have some for when I make Valentines Day Gummies that my children really enjoy. It is said to protect the lining of your intestines… can't go wrong with that.
Items I do not consider “Specialty Items” to add to your Grocery List:
Most of these items are considered “special mention” and this is the order in which I would prioritize them… most are not very expensive.
- Nutritional Yeast – we've been using this forever, for me it's not an option. My dad used this when I was growing up. I've put it on my popcorn ever since I can remember. My 9 year old son nicknamed it “yucky-popcorn” and that's what we call it to this day! I don't consider this a special ingredient, but I admit not everyone has heard of it. It imparts a cheesy flavor to whatever you add it to and it is full of vitamins and minerals. This can usually be found at bulk stores, which is where I get mine…unless they're out and then I get it on Amazon. I saved my original shaker and it looks just like THIS.
- Coconut Oil – you're probably already using this, but if not read more HERE.Unsweetened Almond Milk – if I don't make my own almond milk, I buy it at Costco. Avoid brands with Carrageenan a compound known to contribute to cancer.
- 100% cacao baker's chocolate and cocoa powder – because I love all the chocolate things.
- Almond flour, coconut flour
- Mineral Salt (celtic sea salt, REAL Salt, Pink Himalayan Sea Salt)
- Seasoning Blends
- Aluminum-Free Baking Powder (hopefully you are already using this, but if not now is the time to switch)
- Various extracts (I don't have many of these, but a lot of people find them useful)
- Psyllium Flakes, whole-husk variety only – handy on occasion but not at all high on my list of things I use daily or even weekly, there are maybe two recipes I use often enough to keep these on hand. I had recently purchased organic psyllium flakes through Thrive Market (see bottom of post).
- Frozen okra, cauliflower, and berries … these are listed as “special mention foods” but with the exception of okra, I already used these on a weekly basis. Now I use okra daily, so I am thankful for that idea! Be kind, leave a bag of cauliflower at the store for the rest of the local THMers.
- Radishes and zucchini are everyday foods in my house, but maybe not everyone's. I admit I had never thought of substituting a radish for a potato and it's definitely different. Even my kids ate them when I added them to our pot roast. Zucchini are so easy to grow, everyone should give it a whirl. You don't even have to garden to grow a vine. Just throw some soil in a pot and add a few seeds.
Many of the specialty ingredients can also be found on Thrive Market. You can check it out by clicking on the banner below. I save money with free shipping when I place a minimum $49 order.
I hope this list helps your journey with THM!