Archive for the ‘Kitchen Staples’ Category

Vegan Shopping List 101

October 4, 2011

New to veganism? Make sure you don’t burn out on sugar, carbs, and soy by using this basic shopping list as a guide at the grocery store. Starred items should be staples:

Greens need to be a significant portion of  your diet for fiber, iron, calcium, detox, and alkalinity. Start with these, and try eating 2 salads a day:
-*kale (especially dino and curly)
-*romaine (counts as a deep green!)
-*parsley or cilantro
-green onions

You NEED good fats. They carry 9 cal/g while proteins and carbs have 4. This means sustained energy, plus hormone support, and essential nutrients.
-*organic, cold-pressed olive oil
-organic, cold-pressed flax/hemp oil
-*raw nuts & seeds  (almonds, cashews, sunflower, pumpkin)
-*avocado (eat as many as you want a day)

FRUITS (sweet, non-sweet, and fatty):
With seeds is best. Seedless=hybridized.

-*olives (sundried best, not in a can)
-*cacao (raw chocolate: look for powder, nibs, or whole beans)
-all berries (don’t forget dried goji berries)
-oranges, grapefruit (and eat your citrus seeds, too!)

-*hemp (seeds, powder; contains essential fatty acids; sprinkle on salads or blend in smoothies)
-*hummus (so many kinds! Become a connoiseur)
-*raw almond butter
-*raw nuts and seeds (almonds, cashews, pumpkin, sunflower)
-*nori sheets

When buying carbs, look for sprouted grain breads or tortillas, sometimes in the cold section. Our favorites:
-*Ezekiel sprouted grain tortillas (best toasty…we spin/flip ours over our stove’s open flame, ready in seconds to be filled with hummus, greens, olive oil, and sea salt)
-*Ezekiel sprouted grain bread (so many kinds)
-rice (brown is more nutritious, but also more glutenous than basmati white)

You may as well start now!  These are essential for building good bacteria in the gut, especially B12. Find these in the cold section:
-raw sauerkraut (throw in a nori wrap with avocado, Vegenaise, greens, and salt!)
-raw kimchi
-Bio-K non-dairy “yogurt” (expensive, but do it once in a while)
-kombucha drinks
-coconut kefir (all you need is a TBS/day)

-dark chocolate bars

-*Nutritional yeast (great for B12. Use like you would parmesan, or in salads and soups for that extra hearty flavor. We put this on everything)
-*Braggs Aminos (every health food store has it. Savory salty flavor; easiest salad dressing: olive oil, Braggs, nutritional yeast)
-*Himalayan sea salt (very important investment. See why)
-Vegenaise (dressing/spread)
-Tofutti (not best food ever, but tasty: non-hydrogenated “cream cheese”; original flavor is our fave)
-Daiya cheese (best tasting, and NO dairy/soy! Made from cassava root…and it melts!)

-rice milk, almond milk, hemp milk
-coconut water

We’ll get into more of this later,  lists 201, 301, etc. Start with at least one of the following:
-spirulina powder (we like Pure Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica in salads and smoothies)
-chlorella tablets (if our 6 y.o. likes to chew these for fun, you can certainly  handle it, or put them in a smoothie)

•Morning smoothie:
-water/tea base
-pick a protein: scoop of almond butter/almonds/cashews/hemp
-big spoonful cacao powder
-pick a green(s): spirulina/chlorella/mint/parsley
-sweetener: agave or dates
-ice…and BLEND!

-toasted Ezekiel tortilla with hummus, greens, and sprinkled with olive oil, nutritional yeast, spirulina, and sea salt
-kale salad (recipe here) topped with tomato and cucumber

-Apples and almond butter
-Avocado and sea salt
-Goji/cashew/cacao bean trail mix
-Cucumber and sea salt

-Quinoa with chopped parsley/green onions, olive oil, braggs, garlic
-Romaine salad with a dollop of dijon, olive oil, sea salt, and agave

Kale Salad: The Crowd Pleaser

July 5, 2011

No one doesn’t like this savory salad. It’s the one recipe we’ve spread around the most…and it’s a life changer:
•Wash the kale (any kind will do).
•Debone (or not) and chop/rip up.
•Add Braggs Aminos to taste and coat with olive oil. The more you stir and massage, the softer the kale.
•Top with nutritional yeast.

Keep a head or two of washed kale in your fridge in a salad spinner and you’ll be set for days. Or make a huge batch and marinate overnight. Other great toppings: red onion or garlic, a dollop of hummus, lemon juice, sea salt, avocado, dried cranberries and sliced almonds, spirulina powder.

Kitchen Staples: Unrefined salt

July 3, 2011

Don’t believe the negative hype about salt! Good salt is essential. There are books written on the benefits of unrefined salts, but here are the basics:

•Pure sodium chloride—the table salt that most people eat daily—is the same ingredient shipped for use in industrial products like chlorine, laundry detergents, explosives, and plastics…not the best thing ever to eat. Your average table salt has been heated, iodized, bleached, and filled with additives and anti-caking agents, making it unrecognizable to the body and creating havoc instead of balance in your fluids and cells. We came to use this “pretty,” white, smooth substance instead of the real deal simply for aesthetic and economic reasons —many grocers dislike the good salt because when it (naturally) clumps together, they consider it “unsellable” and have to eat the costs.

•High-quality salts like Celtic or Himalayan sea salts, naturally contain 80-100+ minerals and trace elements that every system in your body uses to function properly—to think and move (nerve impulses), digest, regulate blood pressure, maintain an electrolyte balance, etc.

•Healthy human blood and lymph fluids actually mirror the mineral and trace element balance of ocean water, making unrefined sea salt a healing, “balancing food” in nearly everyone’s diet.

•Look for “unrefined” salts. Unless the package clearly states “unrefined,” brands labeled “sea salt” are most likely just refined table salt…hustlers! But they’ve got nothing on you now.

Kitchen Staples: Quinoa

June 29, 2011

Quinoa (say keen-wah) is an ancient South American seed prepared like rice. Light and fluffy, it is one of the quickest, easiest, most versatile to make—rinse (you must wash away any remaining bitter resin from harvest) and cook 1:2 quinoa-to-water for about 15-20 min…and you can go savory or sweet from there. Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein and a good source of grounding energy, iron, and B vitamins…and it’s gluten free so you won’t get that heavy, sticky feeling after eating. Our go-to recipe for quick meals: top the quinoa with raw olive oil and Braggs, chopped greens (mint, parsley, or green onions, etc.) and a little fresh garlic or red onion…so satisfying.

Kitchen Staples: raw olive oil

June 25, 2011

A good olive oil is CRUCIAL! You want your fats to be healthy and healing ones. So it’s best to eat your olive oil RAW. With a low tolerance to heat, olive oil goes rancid fast. Your body attacks the cooked oil like a toxin and builds plaque along your insides to protect you, which eventually hardens…have you seen all those big, hard, bellies out there? Plaque!  On the other hand, the benefits of raw olive oil: better digestion, nervous system support, increase in good cholesterol (HDL) while decreasing the bad (LDL), lubrication of the joints, and decreased risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. So if you’re sautéing or making a sauce, for example, use a bit of water instead and add the oil after you turn off the flame.

What to look for:
•Organic: Make sure you’re not dosing yourself with pesticides. If they’re meant to destroy the nervous systems of insects, what do you think they do to your cells?
•Dark glass container:
This protects the oil from becoming oxidized and rancid. Soon, you’ll see oils in clear plastic at the store and it’ll just feel wrong.
•Cold-pressed: Essentially, this means “raw”—unheated. This ensures all the anti-oxidants and nutrients haven’t been cooked to death while pressing the olives.
•Extra-virgin: Comes from the first pressing, meaning it is not refined further. You’ll notice a greenish color, sometimes cloudy, versus the uniform, super-refined oils.

Kitchen Staples: Nutritional yeast

June 25, 2011

It doesn’t win the Sexiest Condiment Name award, but it’s so good, you’ll come to find it a must-have, especially if you’re transitioning to veganism. A 1970s-ish “superfood,” health foodies have been using it all these decades for its cheesy, nutty flavor. We use it where one might used to have used parmesan— sprinkling (okay, flooding) the savory flakes onto our salads, soups, Italian dishes, and vegan cheesy sauces. It’s a complete protein (contains all the essential amino acids) and is high in B vitamins, so you’re getting the elusive B12. Works for us. Our B12 blood levels are fine, even after 8+  years of veganism without capsule supplementation. Available in all health food stores. 

Kitchen Staples: Braggs Aminos

June 25, 2011

This is one of the only soy products we use, but it’s truly a part of our lives. Bragg’s Aminos is like the soy sauce everyone’s familiar with, but with a milder taste. We use it in place of sea salt when we want to add a rounder, “umami” flavor (Japanese for “pleasant savory taste”) to soups, salad dressings, sauces, and marinades. It lives on our counter, next to the raw olive oil and nutritional yeast, so that we can swiftly use all three on our daily salad servings. Available in every single health food store on earth.

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