Left: Produce that I always like to have on hand for everyday cuisine like carrots, celery, apples, beets, lettuce, lemons, garlic and onion to name a few!
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, and legumes, deliciously & easily in your everyday life.
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 it’s a skill to be able to look at whole foods in the grocery store (or garden!) and know how to transform it into something delicious to eat. It’s a skill that most of us have not practiced, yet it’s 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, here are my 10 ideas to demystify the whole food grocery shopping experience, make it a little easier and perhaps even fun!
(1) Make your own a shopping list of basic pantry ingredients and seasonal produce items that you like and that work within your budget. Next, find recipes that use your favourite ingredients so you don’t end up spending half of your week at the grocery store buying a gazillion ingredients that end up going bad. I have learned from firsthand experience!
Above: some of my favourite ingredients from my Everyday Shopping List, like Green Stevia, Coconut Oil, Flax Seed Oil, Coconut Milk, Cinnamon, 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 premature aging, impaired cognitive function and put you at high risk for many diseases. While you will likely be spending more money on high quality omega-3 sources, it is worth 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. By adding healthy oils to your food, it will allow you to absorb fat soluble vitamins; whereas 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 difference for taste and only takes seconds. Some of my favourites 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 Provence. Herb mixes are a great way to add instant flavor to salads without having to think!
(5) Buy your legumes in the bulk section and reconstitute them yourself.
This will help you will save a TON of money. Sound complicated, no worries, simply Google or YouTube this for how-to instructions. Once you get into the habit, it is as easy as brushing your teeth. You can easily freeze cooked legumes to save for later :-)
Fresh herbs can be pricey, 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) you will be more satisfied with your food, and won’t need to add processed sauces to make your creation delicious. So choose two herbs (or three if you’re ambitious!) and focus on whole foods that combine well with your herbs. A good trick is to pick a specific ethnic flavor to focus on, 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 vegetables are the basis for making anything taste good and if you do not use them right away, not a problem! Garlic can last a month or so and onions a couple of weeks, if not more, when 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 can afford to purchase them. Instead focus on sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds. Cashews can sometimes be less expensive; I do however 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 (Chinese broccoli), asparagus, brussels sprouts, broccoli, green collards are all acceptable examples. These are arguably some of the best superfoods packed with chlorophyll, enzymes and nutrients that will give you GLOW on the inside and out.
Ok, I actually have 11 tips. :-)
(11) Avocados are expensive but worth it to invest in 1 or 2.
Avocados can help make 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 delicious salads, dressings and most importantly raw vegan soup like: raw asparagus soup, carrot soup, tomato soup, avocado and lime soup. Raw vegan vegetables soups are easy to absorb, delicious, 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.