Taking the leap towards veganism is not an easy feat. You need self-control, planning, patience and a brilliant food processor!
I renounced all animal products 20 months ago and haven’t regretted it once, not even for a split second. I’ve experimented with all the different types of eating plant based foods, from raw vegan to junk food vegan to soy vegan to healthy vegan. I have finally found a good balance that works for my body and lifestyle.
I am all for the premise that we all need to go on own journey to find what works best for us. But I’d like to help you along the way. So I’ve come up with a few food items that are ALWAYS on my shopping list, and I simply would not be able to live without. OK maybe I could, but I’d be really depressed 😉
I’m not one of those super rich hippies. Just a regular one, with an average job, and a love for fashion so I can’t afford to break the bank on overpriced health foods. These key ingredients are great because they are easily available, cost effective, healthy in moderation, long lasting AND versatile.
NUTS! These poor things will never see the light of day in my presence. They’re high in GOOD calories and fats. And if you listened to me like I said before, and bought a good food processor, you can make a delicious cream out of cashews and macadamias. And they are freaking delish, end of story.
CHICKPEAS! Whether you have them in their canned form, in which case they make a great addition to salads, or curry, or if it’s been made into hummus, it makes a great addition to uhm, EVERYTHING! High in protein and iron, how could you not love em?
SPINACH! And no, not creamed spinach! Fresh baby spinach can be added to a banana and apple smoothie; used as a base for a salad, or as garnish for your creamy pasta sauce. (And yes, vegan creamy pasta is very possible and very yummy!) I bid adieu to my severe anaemia that I suffered with as a vegetarian, thanks to munching on spinach and other dark green veggies that are packed with iron.
SPROUTS! If you, like my dad and I, love something crunchy with our sandwiches and soups, then sprouted chickpeas, lentils and mung beans are your lifesaver.
TOFU! Scrambled. Grilled. Stir Fried. Pan Fried. Quiched. Egg Saladed. You get the point. Tofu is so eager to please, that it will be whatever you want it to be. If you are a gym bunny, then its 48 grams of protein per 100 grams will be the best plant based way to build those biceps 😉 Be sure to have a look at my Tofeta recipe here – it’s a winner 🙂
NUTRITIONAL YEAST! I think this product needs a new name, because most think that it is live yeast, like the kind you would use in bread. Or beer. But no. This yeast is de-activated dried yellow flakes of goodness that are fortified with B12 and give a cheesy nutty flavour to sauces, soups and pizzas.
AVOCADO! There is more to this unsuspecting fruit than just guacamole. Avo on toast; avo chocolate smoothie; avo choc mousse; avo ice cream. Need I say more?
SOY! I’ve never had the desire to eat a fake chicken schnitzel or a mock beef patty, purely because I have never eaten the real thing. I was born into a full on vegetarian family, and we sustained ourselves on lentils, beans, and various other vegetables. And the occasional samosa or three. My waist line 2 years ago will corroborate that! I digress. I have nothing against fake meats, from a vegan standpoint. No animals were harmed, and they don’t really taste like meat anyway (according to most meat eaters I have asked) they just provide a quick easy meal for those days you are too tired to cook, and are a decent source of protein. So keep a pack in the freezer, just in case!
OATS! Whether you like steel cut oats, sugary sweet granola or jungle oats bars, this is a staple for most vegans as it is a super filling breakfast! Here is a hint to make your day – Dark Chocolate Jungle Oats bars are VEGAN! Hand me that and a cappuccino on a Monday morning and then we’re talking!
CHOCOLATE! No convincing necessary, I’m sure! Oreos, Aero Dark, Nikki Dark and selected Lindt’s are vegan. Go forth and indulge!
OLIVE OIL! I am a serious salad-aholic! I make a delicious and nutritious salad daily for lunch and gulp it down like there’s no tomorrow. And I am completely and totally against salad dressing. So I make a simple dressing with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and mixed herbs.
CHICKPEA FLOUR! Who woulda known that generations of Indians had it right. Chickpea flour aka besan aka gram flour, is the main ingredient of bhajias, those delicious oily Indian specimens of deliciousness. But I’ve found it makes an amazing white sauce, and savoury pancakes, mmm 🙂 Its gluten free too, so if that means anything to you, give it a go.
If you live in South Africa, and want to know where to buy some of these products to veganize your cooking, please contact me. I would love to help!
Every little bit makes a difference.
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” ~ Albert Einstein