After experimenting with integrating whole plant-based foods into my everyday this past spring, here is my **Tip #1** for making a seasonal spring into summer whole foods lifestyle practical and delicious. Drum Roll..... :-)
Tip #1 - Use a Shopping List! And Make Recipes that Make Use of Your Pantry Ingredients
So the deal is...if you want to live a whole plant-based lifestyle, you'll need to take the plunge and LOVE the produce and bulk sections at the grocery store. The first step to embracing a more delicious life is to gain the confidence that you will be able to use your cart-full of whole foods like herbs, spices, veggies, whole grains, legumes deliciously and easily in your everyday life.
Above: Produce that I always like to have on hand for everyday cuisine like carrots, celery, apples. beets, lettuce, lemons, garlic and onion to hame a few!
For many, whole food grocery shopping can be intimidating! Almost every time I go through the checkout line at the grocery store people comment at my groceries in amazement "how do you use all that?" they ask. I believe this is because...being able to look at whole foods in the grocery store (or garden!) and thinking how we can transform it into something delicious to eat ~ is simply a skill that most of us are not practiced at. Yet it is a skill that anyone can learn! So for everyone who finds whole food grocery shopping intimidating or scary, or if you think it is fun and want to read on;-) here are 10 ideas to hopefully de-mystify the whole food grocery shopping experience ~ make it a little easier and perhaps even fun!
10 Ideas to Make Whole Foods Grocery Shopping Practical & Fun
(1) Make your own a shopping list of basic pantry ingredients and seasonal produce items
that you like and work with your budget. If you do not want to take the time to create your own list, you are welcome to use my Everyday Pantry Shopping List
and Spring Produce Shopping List.
Next, find recipes that use your favourite ingredients. Otherwise...you may just spend half your week at the grocery store and buy a gazillion ingredients that will end up going bad. I have learned from first hand experience!
Above: Some of my Favourite Ingredients from my Everyday Shopping List like Green Stevia, Coconut Oil, Flax Seed Oil, Cocontu Milk, Cinamon, Basil, Chlorella and Apple Cider Vinegar,(2) Always include a source of omega-3 fats like hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds or Udo's 3:6:9 oil.
Most people are deficient in omega-3 fats as we do not get enough of them from our North American diet. Deficiency can take away your natural GLOW as it can lead to pre-mature aging, impaired cognitive function and puts you at high risk for many many diseases. While you will likely be spending more $$ on high quality omega-3 sources, it is worth it. If you need to save money forgo a few lates, buy dried legumes, focus on more affordable veggies and buy seeds instead of nuts so you can afford it.(3) Always have a good quality olive oil, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar and sea salt on hand
. Simply adding these simple ingredients to whole grains can do wonders for taste. Also adding healthy oils to your food will allow you to absorb fat soluable vitamins. And did you know...apple cider vinegar can help you better absorb calcium in foods like kale.
(4) Purchase a few versatile organic spices and dried herbs.
Again simply adding these to whole grains or legumes can make a big diff for taste and only takes seconds :-) Some of my favourites on the Everyday Pantry Shopping List
are cumin, cinnamon, coriander, basil, thyme, oregano and rosemary. It can also be helpful to have a few herb mixes on hand like Herb de Provences. Herb mixes add instant deliciousness to salads without having to think!(5) Buy your legumes in the bulk section and reconstitute them yourself.
You will save a TON of $$. Sound complicated? Simply Google or U-Tube this to learn how. Once you get into the habit, it is as easy as brushing your teeth. You can freeze cooked legumes you do not use :-)
(6) Invest in one for two fresh berbs per week max ~ unless you grow your own.
Fresh herbs can be $$. Yet they make all the difference for taste and health in everyday cuisine. When you pair the right herb, spices and whole foods ~ (like blueberries, mango and basil ~ don't believe me? Try it for yourself!) you are more satisfied with your food, and do not need to add processed sauces to make your creation delicious. So choose two herbs (or three if you are ambitious!) and focus on whole foods that combine well with your herbs. A good trick is to pick an ethnic flavour focus like Mediterranean. Often all the foods included in an ethnic cuisine LOVE each other very much :-)
(7) Always have onion and garlic on-hand.
These veg are the basis for making anything taste good and if you do not use them right away, not a prob! Garlic can last a month or so and onions a couple of weeks, if not more if properly stored in a cool dark place. Plus they also help to balance blood sugar to give you longer lasting energy.
(8) Always buy carrots, beets and celery and use them lots!
These veggies are usually the more affordable items. So learn to LOVE them and explore pairings with flavours they love ~ like basil ;-)
(9) Avoid buying lots of almonds, pecans, pistachios, and brazil nuts.
Unless of course you have the $ for it. Instead focus on sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds. Cashews can sometimes be less expensive. I do buy more expensive nuts but try to use them in moderation to keep my costs down.
(10) Always buy at least one dark green vegetable.
Kale, Swiss Chard, Dandelion Greens, Gai Lan, Asparagus, Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli, Green Collards are all acceptable examples. These are arguably the some of the best superfoods packed with chlorophyll, enzymes and nutrients that will give you GLOW on the inside and out.
Ooopss.. ok I actually have 11 tips. :-) (11) Avocados are expensive but worth it to invest in 1 or 2.
Avocados can make you a quick and super healthy raw chocolate or carob mousse
in seconds if you have a sudden craving for sweets. They are also the foundation for making a delicious salads, dressings and most importantly raw vegan soup like raw asparagus soup, carrot soup, tomato soup, avocado and lime soup etc etc. Raw vegan vegetables soups are easy to absorb, delicious and full of nutrients and live enzymes that give your body and mind optimal nutrition to GLOW. I would not hesitate to say raw vegan green soups are the fountain to youth :-)
As a last note ~ if you are new to a whole foods lifestyle, remember to embrace it gradually with love and patience. If you require guidance I am available for private classes and consultations. You are welcome to contact me at email@example.com for details.
firstname.lastname@example.org~ Julie Beyer is a Whole Foods Chef and Instructor in Vancouver BC and is currently studying to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. Join Julie Beyer on her journey to discover how to apply the 5 Secrets for Convenient, Quick, Easy, Delicious and Affordable of Everyday Healthy. You can find Julie Beyer's For the Love of Food on Facebook and Twitter for regular tips on healthy eating, nutrition, recipes and more.