Healthy Holidays with The Whole Pantry

I don’t know about you, but I’ve already had too much chocolate, scoffed down too many cookies and over-indulged in eggnog at one too many Christmas parties. I’ve had enough and I’m ready to skip the holidays and jump right in to my New Year’s detox. I’m craving fresh fruits and vegetables, looking for recipes that renew and revitalize. To get through the rest of the holiday season, I’ve downloaded The Whole Pantry, a gorgeous collection of vegetarian recipes aimed at restoring balance and promoting health. The app aims to be the whole package, empowering users with lifestyle guides and a “food is thy medicine” philosophy to health. Need another reason to check out this app right now? They’ve just added their first Lifestyle Pack to get you through the holiday season with 15 festive gluten and sugar-free recipes.

If you’re into vegetarian, vegan, gluten free or Paleo– or you just want to balance all that holiday indulgence with some nourishing meals, keep reading to find out more about The Whole Pantry.

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Getting Started

Launch the app and bam! It smacks you in the face with absolutely stunning lifestyle photography. For me it was love at first sight — this is the life I want: the freshest produce scattered across a beautifully wood worn table with earthy plates and bowls, stacks of books and natural light flooding in from the window. Images are the strength of this app; drawing you in and making you crave the recipes.

Gorgeous food and lifestyle photography is the hallmark of this app, which draws you in to The Whole Pantry world.

Gorgeous food and lifestyle photography is the hallmark of this app, which draws you in to The Whole Pantry world.

The app is divided into 5 categories: Recipe of the Day, Recipes, Recommended, Guides and Favourites. Recipe of the Day is a great way to keep users engaged in discovering something new every day the app is launched. The Recipes section features 48 entirely vegetarian, gluten and sugar-free recipes with “minimal dairy and allergens.” You can also download a 15 recipe Holiday Pack for $1.99.

The home screen is laid out like a magazine, with multiple categories that really draw you in with inspiring imagery.

The home screen is laid out like a magazine, with multiple categories that really draw you in with inspiring imagery.

Recommended: The things we love, is a collection of resources for healthy living, eating and exercising, from cookbooks to blogs to documentary films to products. There’s a ton of inspiration to discover, but the design is a bit lacking. It’s just straight up text lists that link up to websites outside the app. The Guides section is a collection of inspiring articles categorized by topic: Mind, Body, Food & Drink, Home & Garden and Family.

Whether you’re trying to be more present in the moment or looking to the future with dreams of starting a family, you’ll find thought-provoking and enlightening articles in the Guides.

Whether you’re trying to be more present in the moment or looking to the future with dreams of starting a family, you’ll find thought-provoking and enlightening articles in the Guides.

The Whole Pantry founder, Belle Gibson, aims to provide non-bias, current information from qualified experts to help you live a healthier life. She’s rounded up a diverse group of contributors who specialize in fields of nutrition, yoga, meditation, Chinese medicine and holistic health. Though the app promises frequent updates in this area, no new articles have been added since the original 10 from the app launch in August.

The Recipes

Pardon the irony, but the Recipes section is the real “meat” of the app. It seems all the energy went into designing this area, a collection of mouthwatering photo tiles more gorgeous than any app out there. I like that the images aren’t spoiled by text, but I can still tap to quickly view the recipe title and stats like whether it’s gluten free, dairy free, vegan, etc.

Recipes are displayed as mouthwatering photo tiles. Tap a tile for the recipe title and stats.

Recipes are displayed as mouthwatering photo tiles. Tap a tile for the recipe title and stats.

The app features a wide variety of smoothies, breakfasts, desserts, snacks, and flavorful condiments. I especially love the variety of cuisines referenced, from Japanese to Mexican the dishes are fun and exotic. The 13 main dishes include recipes that will inspire you to see ingredients in new ways, like the Satay Quinoa Fried Rice and Japanese Pancake with Sticky Mushrooms. The Body recipes are a fun bonus, with homemade treatments like the delectable Salted Caramel Lip Scrub. It would be nice to have more body recipes and main dishes in an app of this size and price point.

The Healthy Holidays recipe pack is full of festive flair with gluten free, dairy free Mince Tarts and a flourless black Forest Cake.

The Healthy Holidays recipe pack is full of festive flair with gluten free, dairy free Mince Tarts and a flourless black Forest Cake.

After spending $2.99 on the app, you may feel a bit irritated that the 15-recipe Holiday Pack update costs $1.99. In defense of the app, it has provided regular free recipe updates since its launch. The price for the update package does seem excessive, though, and this app doesn’t seem to be delivering enough fresh content to fulfill its mission to be the “go-to place, filled with a continually updating library of resources, empowering information, lifestyle guides and simple, yet beautiful nourishing recipes.”

The recipes focuse on eating healthier by cooking from scratch, with a great base of pantry staples in the Condiments section.

The recipes focuse on eating healthier by cooking from scratch, with a great base of pantry staples in the Condiments section.

Each recipe has multiple full screen photos to whet your appetite. It’s easy to see how much time is needed to prepare the dish and how many servings it yields. I’m glad to see an introduction to each dish with notes on technique and ingredients. You can email recipe ingredients lists, but sharing via Twitter or Facebook just announces what you’re cooking — friends have to buy the app to see the recipe.

Each recipe features multiple full screen photos to whet your appetite.

Each recipe features multiple full screen photos to whet your appetite.

Often times this type of cooking can be complicated, relying on long lists of hard to find ingredients and expensive produce garnishes. I like how, for the most part, recipes are simple and straightforward, with short ingredients lists (just like the app promises). I also appreciate the focus on cooking from scratch, for example: A Good Hazelnut Spread is a pantry staple made healthier with just four ingredients: hazelnuts, raw cacao powder, rice malt syrup and almond milk.

Recipe instructions are simple but the app could benefit from better design in this area—the text is not that easy to read while cooking.

Recipe instructions are simple but the app could benefit from better design in this area—the text is not that easy to read while cooking.

I’m not a big fan of the user interface for recipe instructions, which don’t seem to take into account the needs of users while cooking with the iPad in the kitchen. The Whole Pantry should consider a cook mode to make reading and following recipes easier. Overall, the experience is good and it’s easy to switch between metric and U.S. measurements.

Conclusion

The Whole Pantry is a visually stunning, highly inspiring healthy cooking and lifestyle app. The recipes are original, fresh and modern. This app came out of the gate well ahead of the pack in August, but I would like to see more innovation, more updates, more recipes and more content. The app’s high standards have created high expectations from users, and I hope The Whole Pantry will rise to the challenge. Despite any faults I’ve mentioned, this is still an app that shines above the rest in the Appstore. If you are looking for healthy living inspiration and delicious recipes that promote health from within, you’ll love this app.


Summary

The Whole Pantry is an inspiring holistic healthy lifestyle app featuring vegetarian, gluten-free and sugar-free recipes.

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