Dried fruit

I absolutely love dried fruit, especially medijool dates, which are so juicy. They are amazingly useful when making homemade fruit and nut bars or bliss balls, especially when combined with a more berry like fruit like goji berries. Dried white mulberries are also fantastic to snack on, as they have a really great chewy texture and ‘caramelly' flavour 

Marissa Pendlebury

Marissa Pendlebury

Cacao powder and cacao nibs  - so many recipes

If you are a chocolate lover, you can’t afford to keep this ingredient out of your life. I adore the authentic energy boost that raw cacao powder gives, as well as its deeply satisfying flavour when I use it in nearly all of my sweet dessert recipes (especially my decadent chocolate mousse) and homemade chocolate. I find it also pairs well with a hot or cold breakfast cereals, and even better when I use it on a cold evening to make a sumptuously rich hot chocolate (sweetened with either maple syrup or honey). 

Matcha tea powder -

I am a HUGE tea fan, and especially when it comes to matcha green tea. Not only does it give you a boost of caffeine (without the big drop in energy levels soon after a peak), but I love the ritual of preparing matcha (and pretty much any tea in general). Usually I do this in a morning, equipped with my trusty bamboo whisk and sturdy stone bowl. There really is a great wealth of health benefits in taking time out for yourself to make tea, being mindful of how you prepare it and even what serving cups or teapot you use. Preparing tea is like a loving act of self-care that radiates out of the warm cup that you gently clasp your hands around - a magical encounter that tastes amazing too (especially when paired with a biscuit or two)! Unfortunately, matcha tea can often be quite expensive, but thankfully standard green tea, black tea or earl grey tea are always to hand in my kitchen cupboards

Jumbo oats - hearty porridge

I adore making overnight porridge in the evenings, ready to go for the next day. When doing this, I find big jumbo oats the best, as they make for a much heartier and creamier consistency than smaller grain oats. I also use oats when making homemade granola, which I pair with maple syrup or honey, peanut butter and lots of chopped mixed nuts, coconut and dried fruit. Nothing beats a crunchy (overflowing) bowl of granola when you feel like something sweet, crunchy, and utterly delicious. 

Nuts and peanut or almond butter

Nuts and Peanut butter is life - literally (unless you’re allergic of course!). Peanut butter goes in most things I make, as well as (very thickly) on toast. Some of my favourite things to add nuts and nut butter to, include fruit and nut bar recipes, and when making homemade snickers bar (which will deeply satisfy even the most ravenous of chocolatey nutty cravings!) 

Nutritional yeast 

Nutritional yeast might sounds really strange - wrong even. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Nutritional yeast are basically small yellow flakes that have a pungently cheesy flavour, so they make a great cheese replacement and flavour enhancer when it comes to replacing dairy products. Many nutritional yeast products are also fortified with vitamin b12, which is essential to get into your daily eating patterns if you have removed animal products from your diet. 


This girl can’t live without chickpeas in her life . I use chickpeas in almost everything I prepare, especially curries loaded with spices like turmeric and garam masala. I don’t always buy organic fruit and vegetables, but organic chickpeas really do taste positively different. They are usually much bigger and softer in texture, as well as adding more creaminess to any dish you snuggle them up in. Another big plus for chickpeas, is that they happen to be the prime ingredient of hummus, which is a food that has become a necessity for everyday dishes and pepping up any variety of toasted fresh bread!

Tamari sauce - great for stews/curries

Tamari sauce is quite a recent addition to my kitchen, but one I now couldn’t live without. Tamari sauce is made from fermented soya beans, and is alike to adding regular soy sauce to dishes. Fermented products like tamari, such as miso, have been found to have a beneficial impact on our gut bacteria, so they can probably help to promote your wellbeing as well as being able to add a rich depth of flavour to dishes like stews, curries, stir fries and even lasagne or shepherds pie. Strangely, Ive even found it is great for marinating mushrooms in, as well as sprinkling over salads and even humous on toast

Fresh and frozen mixed berries 

Although I definitely don’t live off smoothies and juices, when making my own I almost always have a desire to add fresh or frozen mixed berries - especially raspberries and blueberries. Despite a love of nourishing ingredients, my tastebuds haven’t yet extended to liking green smoothies (probably because I used to absolutely hate nearly every vegetable going when I was a child). To me, a good smoothie is a berry smoothie, and a berry smoothie that is almost a sexy pink/red colour. 

Lucuma Powder

I rarely buy any powder classified as a ‘superfood’ powder, because I don’t believe in this type of terminology - plus they are usually very expensive! However, with Lucuma powder (made from the crushed fruit of the Peruvian pouteria  Lucuma tree) I have to make an exception. I buy this particular powder because it creates the most amazing caramel like flavour to any sweet dish. You name it, porridge, bliss balls/fruit and nut bars, crumbles, granola, smoothies - Lucuma powder is a winner. If you have never used Lucuma powder before, I definitely recommend giving it a shot, not purely because of any health benefits, but simply because it will blow your mind and tastebuds away. 

Hopefully from this list you can see that I absolutely LOVE food, and that the ingredients I use take pride of place in my kitchen in order to honour what I genuinely think tastes great and satisfies my physical, psychological and social needs. Similarly, with the Nourishing Routes philosophy, you can learn to realise that food is there to gain nourishment in many different forms, and not just that on a physical level. Ultimately, you were born to enter a loving relationship with food, because by doing this it is one of the many ways you can live more compassionately though learning to care and love yourself from the inside out. 

About the author: Living in Warrington twenty-four year old Marissa Pendlebury is a graduate of Health Sciences and Nutrition (BSc) and Psychology (MSc) from Liverpool Hope University. She has also completed a course in Public Health and Counselling (PGdip) at John Moores University. Today Marissa is developing the Nourishing Routes coaching and online course to help other individuals going through similar life experiences an initiative which has already been awarded the title of Best Social Value Business, Liverpool 2016. Her book of the same name, Nourishing Routes by Marissa Pendlebury will be published 17th January 2017 by Clink Street Publishing in paperback and ebook.