It is important to keep in mind that organic, fresh fruits and vegetables should be your main source of fuel. However, we also should be consuming a balanced amount of grains and legumes along with them, which is beneficial because most of these items can be purchased in bulk at your local health food store or coop for pretty inexpensive. I was always advise you to buy organic, as there is little regulation on some of the ingredients in pesticides and herbicides put on our food, so I’d rather be safe than sorry! Here’s my list of go-to items that you will almost always find in my pantry:
BULK/ PANTRY STORED FOODS
- Dried Black Beans (Just discovered that you can cook perfectly tender beans in a pressure cooker in about 30 minutes!)
- Dried Lentils
- Brown Rice
- Dried Pasta (typically a quinoa/ rice blend which serves as gluten-free)
- Dried Chickpeas
- Hemp & Flax Seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Dried Cranberries
- Nuts & Seeds: Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews, Sunflower Seeds, etc.
- Cold Pressed Coconut Oil
- Olive Oil
- Potatoes (Also just pressure cooked some peeled, chopped potatoes in under 10 minutes!)
- Almond Milk
- Stone Ground Mustard
- Liquid Aminos (in place of soy sauce)
- Cashew Based ‘Cheese’
OTHER NOT-SO-HEALTHY ITEMS I EAT ON OCCASION
- Dark Chocolate
- Veggie/ Bean Chips
- Almond ‘Ice Cream’
- Amy’s Brand Frozen Meals (veggie & vegan options; healthier than a lean cuisine, but still a frozen meal; eaten only during desperate times)
So, as you can see, my pantry probably doesn’t look a whole lot differently than yours, unless you eat a ton of processed foods, which you should know is harming you in ways that go unseen to most.
Living a whole food, plant-based/ vegan lifestyle is not only rewarding and feel-good in the kindness and compassion department, but I have literally never felt better in my life than I feel having omitted all animal products and most processed foods from my diet. I have sustained energy, a clear conscience, and tons more patience than I had before. Plus this also sparks the motivation to be kind to myself even more and keep consistent with yoga and a work out regime. I promise, if you do it in a healthy manner, adopting a vegan lifestyle will change your life and those around you for the better.
One last thing to keep in mind: Don’t think of it as a diet, it is truly a lifestyle and you’ll see why when you begin. A diet means you are restricting what you eat, usually to lose weight, so when your brain thinks ‘diet’ it thinks it is missing out on something, and focuses on what it cannot have. When it’s a lifestyle, it is the way it is, and there is no other choice, but to not eat animal products. So there is no focus on what you can’t have, it is a focus on what you CAN have.
Keep it positive and choose happiness for everyone!