Alexx Stuart is something of a homegrown hero. After being sick all the time with tonsillitis, the Sydney local started looking into exactly what was in the food she was eating, and the beauty and cleaning products she was using. A lightbulb went off, and she decided to start making better choices for her health – and helping others to do the same. She founded the Lox Tox Life in 2010, and that blog turned into eCourses, a podcast, a passionate online community, and most recently, a book – Low Tox Life: A Handbook For A Healthy You And A Happy Planet.
We asked her for a peek in her pantry. Here’s what we learned...
1. Store nuts, seeds and flours in the fridge
Alexx says this is her secret for keeping some of her favourite ingredients super-fresh.
2. Buy individually packaged herbs and spices
Alexx uses a lot of organic dried herbs and spices in her cooking – but they’re two things she’ll never buy in bulk. In her research on living the low-tox life, she discovered that many brands are imported, and irradiated when they come through customs.
3. Boost your mineral intake with dulse flakes
Ask Alexx about easy ways to sneak minerals into your daily diet, and she’ll say dulse flakes! The flakes contain huge amounts of trace minerals. She points out that since most of our soils are nutrient-deficient, it’s more important than ever to eat foods that are naturally high in minerals. She adds a tablespoon of dulse flakes to soups, stews and casseroles.
4. Turn healthy eating into a fun activity
Parents, if you’re struggling to get your kids to eat their veggies, Alexx has a tip. Make a game out of it! When her son was little, he had the “special job” of “putting the purple sprinkles” on just about everything, from scrambled eggs to soups. Of course, he didn’t know that the sprinkles were actually dulse flakes – the magical multi-mineral – but we bet he’ll be thanking her later!
5. Heal your gut with marshmallow root
Most nights, you’ll find Alexx sipping on an organic gut tea. The hero ingredient is marshmallow root, which she describes as a “cocooning, protective root” to soothe the gut. The tea also contains other gut-loving goodies, like ginger, fennel, peppermint and lemon balm.
Top tip: Speaking of gut stuff, Alexx shared another trick with us. She boils linseeds with water until they reach an “egg whitey” texture, and then adds a tablespoon to her tea. I her words, “it’s gluggy but great for the gut.” Sign us up!
6. Sip on tulsi tea to reduce inflammation
One of Alexx’s pantry staples is Pukka’s Three Tulsi Tea. There’s a story behind her favourite brew. A year ago, she found out she had high amount of histamine in her blood thanks to mould illness. She’s fine now, but still has flare-ups from time to time when she goes somewhere and the air-conditioning is full of mould. Enter: tulsi tea. According to Alexx, it’s brilliant for reducing the inflammation of histamine in the body. To speed up her recovery, she pops two bags of tea into her hot water.
7. Switch out sugar for delicious – and nutritious – alternatives
When she’s whipping up sweet treats, Alexx uses rapidura sugar – which is just dehydrated cane juice in powder form. It’s unrefined and free from artificial colours and preservatives, plus it’s packed with vitamins.
She also uses rice malt syrup in baking. It’s binding and high in glucose (not fructose). For her son’s birthday, she made caramel cubes and they were a hit. As she says, she tries to “be conscious even when it feels socially comfortable.” Lolly bags are a tradition at children’s parties, but she felt better handing out a healthy alternative – so she did!
Top tip: Prefer savoury over sweet? Alexx always has organic popcorn kernels handy. They’re yummy, cheap and good value.
8. Teff is a great grain alternative
An ancient, gluten-free grain from Ethiopia, teff has a mild flavour, and can be steamed, boiled, baked or ground into a flour. Versatile and healthy, teff is rich in calcium and resistance starch to help stabilise blood sugars and boost colon health. The grain comes in a range of colours (white, red and dark brown), and Alexx reaches for it all the time. We also spotted the Teff Tribe Pancake Mix, which Alexx discovered in a GoodnessMe Box!
9. When it comes to plant-sourced proteins, hemp is up there with the best
Hemp is making a serious splash on the health scene, and for good reason. As Alexx explains, it’s full of omega-3, 6 and 9 for glowy skin, and it releases energy slowly. The fact that it’s a plant-based protein is a bonus! She throws hemp into yoghurt and smoothies.
10. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be perfect
Ok, so this isn’t a pantry learning, but we had to include it! Alexx is all about “meeting people where they’re at, and working from there.” There’s really no need to force yourself to be a perfect eater and live the low-tox lifestyle in a week. It takes time, so just focus on improving what you’re already doing. Adopt one new habit or change a week, and then keep going because it feels good. And we couldn’t agree more.