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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Pantry staples for wannabe, part time or full time vegans

It is no secret by now that I highly recommend a vegan diet (vegetarian as a minimum!)!  It has many health benefits... and it has helped me deal with MS wonderfully as you can read here.

Now in the conferences I offer and in the interactions I have on line with you one-on-one the things that comes up the most are "but it seems very complicated" "I am afraid I'll be deficient in protein" and "I do not know what to cook". 

"but it seems very complicated" and "I am afraid I'll be deficient in protein" will be partly addressed here...  and eventually in more post also...

"I do not know what to cook" should be addressed easily when my next e-book comes out!  it will include 10 delicious, simple and accessible vegan recipes...  healthy and diversified in nutriments... all non-vegan and kids approves!

Now if you want to be able to make the transition to veganism... either part-time or full time, here are 10 staples you should have in your pantry at all times!  They will ensure you always have all the ingredients to come up with something to cook that will be delicious and nutritious!

1) Tofu and legumes : here are your proteins!  You can get more then enough on a vegan diet without having to try so hard!   You just have to add tofu and/or legumes to your meals!  I always go with dried beans as they are more nutritious... and so easy to handle!  Much more so than we are told...  You do not need to soak them!  And you can batch cook and freeze... and just add whatever quantity to your meals or recipes as you would with canned ones!  I always have cooked chick peas, red beans, white beans and black beans in my freezer! As for tofu it can be marinated in anything you like!

2)Whole grains - they are loaded with fibers, vitamins and minerals!  Fibers help in the digestion and absorption of proteins in 1)!!  A few example of whole grains I always have around are brown rice, wild rice, oats, barley and quinoa.  There again... you can take one item in 1) and one item and 2) and that is  pretty good start!  Only need to add some vegetables and herbs/spices!  Et Voila!

3)Non-dairy milk - You can have soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, rice milk, hemp milk...  my favorites are almond and hemp... natural for cooking...  and vanilla flavored for smoothies, cereals and hot coco! Make sure you buy enriched non-dairy milks for maximum nutrition!  P.S. Almond chocolate milk is also great in coffee (as per my husband) and in smoothies!!!  And it hides kale or spinach well for your kids!

4)Oils and vinegars - I always have olive oil and grape seed oil (less flavourful) as well as apple cider vinegar, balsamic and white wine vinegars.  With these you can cook, bake and even make up your own dressing for a fraction of  the price of store bought dressing!

5)Nuts seeds and their butter - So many to choose from...  but remember they all have different nutritional values so it's good to switch them up sometimes... they are loaded with proteins, vitamins and minerals as well as fibers!!!  They're magical! In my pantry you can find: peanuts, walnuts, pecans, cashews and almonds as well as sunflower seeds, pumpernickel seeds, chia seeds, hemps seeds, flax seeds and sesame seeds.  As for butter, we have peanut butter, almond butter and tahini.

6)Nutritional yeast - a MUST!  It's a flaky yellow stuff... it stinks... like parmesan cheese... and has the same use...  but it is B12 and we need it!  You can top popcorn, pasta, use in pesto, sprinkle over salads...

7)Healthy condiments - soy sauce, bragg's amino, miso, hot sauces can add flavor in just a few drops!  As for sweet, go with agave nectar or maple syrup as sweeteners!

8)Herbs and spices - I prefer dried... easier...  but you can also have fresh...  here too there's plenty to choose from but I like to keep in stock basil, parsley, oregano,  bay leaves, chili powder and chili flakes, black pepper, coriander, turmeric, curry, paprika, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and ginger.

9)Frozen fruits and veggies - to add to smoothies, soups, stews.. when fresh produce is rare or too expensive this is your next best choice!  I sometimes froze them myself when they are cheaper to have for other weeks...  I do that with kale, spinach, melons, pineapple, berries and pomegranate to be added to smoothies and old bananas to be used in muffins and banana breads!
The only canned item I have are tomatoes... I also always have them in stock....

10) Fresh fruits and veggies!  No need to explain here I think!  Only I want to emphasize that the bulk of your fruits and veggies should be local when you can...  and in season preferably...  and ensure you eat all kinds!  Because they do have different vitamins and minerals!  Eat the color of the rainbow everyday and you'll be fine!

So there you go... with that you're now equipped to give veganism a try!  Once a week ...  or for a whole week... or more....  just try and see!  And if you have question let me know I will address them here... 

Within a few days you will feel great!  You'll sleep better!  Have more energy!  Think clearer!
Within a few weeks, the pounds will start to come off... as a side effect...  without even counting calories or depriving yourself!  Just by eating better!!!  Buy having more energy you'll move more...


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