The first challenge I found myself facing after I committed to following a vegan diet, was grocery shopping. Pre-vegan, my grocery list looked something like:
Meat, chicken, fish, eggs, whole wheat bread, potatoes, pasta, onions, garlic, lettuce, mushrooms, bananas, pears or apples, frozen peas and corn, non-fat yogurt, butter, cheese and skim milk, all staples of the SAD western diet. Look familiar? I routinely ventured to the produce, meat/seafood and dairy sections of the store.
I suspect your own lists’ and trips were and maybe still are, somewhat similar. It is not coincidence that my list started near the meat section. My meal plans were centered on meat/poultry and/or seafood proteins. Sure, we ate some fruit and salads on a regular basis. I thought I was being good; see the bold italicized items in the list. Boy was I ever wrong. So what has changed? See my new basic grocery list below.
Fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs, dried beans (canned are ok, but be careful of the salt), , rice and legumes, nuts, rolled oats or steel cut, canned tomatoes, , low salt vegetable stock ( or better yet, the fixings for my own) small whole wheat tortillas , unsweetened nut- milk, pepper corns, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
Contrast is what important here. My new list has 3 basic sections. It starts with fresh fruits and vegetables for an important reason, nutritionally they are a must. Vegetables are high in nutritional value and low in calories. You can pretty much eat all you want. The variety is endless. Fruit, likewise is nutritionally important and the selection is vast. I strive to try new fruits and vegetables weekly. This has broadened my tastes and it will do so for you. The second section contains the heart of our new plant based proteins and the ever important tomatoes and veggie stock (make your own, see below) frequently used in their preparation. Finally, the third section is all about how you can dress your daily salad. I frequently sprinkle balsamic vinegar on my salad, give a couple grinds from my pepper mill and it is time to have lunch.
This list is not the endpoint; it is only the beginning. However, look at what is not on the list. You will not be stopping at the meat, seafood, dairy or bakery sections of the store. You will eliminate hard to digest, unhealthy proteins, much added sugar and salt and nutritionally hollow carbs from your diet. You will be replacing them with nutritionally laden whole grains, fresh vegetables and fresh fruits. Benefits you may experience, include, but not limited to; are weight loss, better control of blood sugar, reduced blood pressure, fewer aches and pains, reduced medication needs and lastly lower overall food and medication costs. What’s not to like. Look for future posts regarding challenges and possible solutions.
Home-Made Vegetable Stock
8 cups up to 1 gallon of cold water (how much do you need)
2 ribs of celery
2 medium yellow onions
1 parsnip or other root vegetable of choice
Parsley a/o fresh thyme
Wash and chunk up the vegetables (you can leave the skins on the onions) and add to the water. Bring everything to a boil and then simmer for 45-60 minutes. Let cool and remove the solids. You now have an inexpensive low sodium vegetable stock. It is ready to use to prepare your latest vegan recipe or it can be refrigerated and kept for several days until you need it. It will freeze for several months.
Note: You can use any root vegetables. You are extracting the nutrients from the veggies and adding them to the water. So easy and so good for you.