Gut Health is the gateway to next-level wellness, and Donna Gates has made a name for herself – and helped millions – with this philosophy. As the founder of the Body Ecology empire – and proven expert on how to best care for our “inner ecosystem” – we trust Donna and the holistic lifestyle she stands for. 

Building healthy eating habits all comes down to the food supply we keep at home; without big-picture guidance, shopping to support those habits can be an overwhelming puzzle. We’ve asked Donna to shed some light on developing our grocery shopping savvy, and what she picks up on her own market excursions. From staples to stock up on to simple dishes we can rely on, here’s Donna with fourteen tips to take home…

ALWAYS IN MY FRIDGE: Homemade fermented vegetables, CocoBiotic, fertile eggs, Cindy’s Kitchen Creamy Miso Dressing, homemade young coconut kefir, Vegenaise mayo with grapeseed oil and Eden mustard.

RECIPE STAPLES ALWAYS ON HAND: For seasoning: Selina Naturally Celtic Sea Salts, Selina Naturally Deep Celtic Sea Salts Makai Pure and Herbamare. For sugar-free sweeteners: Stevia and Lakanto. Healthy fats: Coconut and olive oil and grass-fed ghee (clarified butter).

MUST-HAVE MUNCHIES: Potato chips by Good Health or Boulder Canyon Authentic Foods. Make sure your potato chips are made with a body-ecology friendly oil (coconut, avocado or olive).

GO-TO PROTEINS: Fertile eggs, wild-caught fish (sole, salmon, halibut), bison, lamb, chicken and turkey (all grass-fed, pasture-raised, organic).

DAIRY OR NON-DAIRY FAVES: So Delicious Coconut Milk Ice Cream (no-sugar-added variety). I also love shirataki noodles made from konjac yam – zero carbs and very satisfying!

MUST-HAVE PANTRY STAPLES: Quinoa, millet, GABA sprouted rice, teas (like hibiscus), bottled water, canned tuna and canned salmon by Vital Choice or Ventresca.

SWEETS AND OTHER INDULGENCES: Gluten/dairy/sugar-free chocolate, cupcakes, and cookies made with Lakanto by my friend Odette D’Aniello.

FAVE VEGGIE + WHAT YOU MAKE WITH IT: In the summertime I love cucumber! One of my favorite dishes is a cucumber, dry wakame, red pepper salad with some diced red onion, Herbamare seasoningapple cider vinegar, and flax or pumpkin seed oil. So refreshing!

SIMPLE GO-TO RECIPE: Turkey wraps (use romaine leaves) with cultured veggies. When I travel, I like to bring some canned Vital Choice salmon and avocado as an easy meal. Soups are great to make and eat throughout the week. In a pinch I always can rely on our Fermented Protein Shake as a meal replacement.

FOR LAST MINUTE ENTERTAINING: Dry farm wines – red, organic, and sulfate-free – and Gerolsteiner sparkling mineral water. I don’t drink myself but our probiotic drink CocoBiotic makes a great mixer for vodka and tequila. For those who don’t drink but want to feel festive, pour CocoBiotic into champagne flutes and add a splash of acai juice and a few drops of stevia.

BEST SHOPPING TIPS: Don’t go down the aisles with cookies or cereals. Never buy flour products like cakes or cookies – the less flour in your diet, the better for your gut. Avoid GMO and processed foods – most contain bad oils, GMO foods, gluten and MSG.

BEST LABEL-READING TIP: Always buy organic, even on non-GMO foods since pesticides may still be on them. (The more we support these farmers, the more they can continue to produce organic food!) Watch out for MSG – commonly found in processed foods – bad fats, artificial sweeteners and high-fructose corn syrup. Make sure you are looking out for the body-ecology approved oils – no vegetable oils.

FAVORITE PLACES TO SHOP: You’re probably not surprised to hear this, but farmers markets and health food stores like Erewhon (which carries the Body Ecology line) and Whole Foods. Whole Foods should really give me frequent flyer miles!

MY SHOPPING BAG: Just as I value our inner ecology, I am always mindful of the ecology of our beautiful planet, which means lowering my ecological footprint by shopping with reusable bags – I even re-use the plastic produce bags over and over again. This planet is too precious to waste anything.