Since the way that vegans eat (and survive) is such a mystery to so many people, I decided to give you all a peek into my kitchen and the food that our family eats. I am going to show you what the staple foods are that we always have around. I don’t buy much in the way of snack foods or any packaged goods and mostly all of the food I buy is waste-free like fruits or vegetables or grains, nuts and seeds bought in bulk (we reuse the plastic bags) or comes in recyclable packaging (like cans, PB jars or our milk cartons). I guess I am a freak like that!
I am always careful to read the ingredients on everything that I buy or better yet, buy food that doesn’t come with an ingredients list! I avoid refined flour (white flour) and sugar (corn syrup, white sugar, glucose-fructose etc.) and fast foods at all costs. I try to focus on whole, natural and unprocessed foods. Usually, one or two syllable ingredient are best (apple, kale, rice), foods that contain ingredients with more than four or five syllables (disodium ribonucleotides 5, dodecyl gallate) or an ingredient list that is super long should probably never be put into your body.
Ready or not here we go!
IN MY VEGAN CUPBOARD
On this shelf we have:
- adzuki beans
- raw sunflower seeds
- quinoa flakes (in a bag)
- sesame seeds
- unsweetened shredded coconut
- split peas
- red lentils
- wild rice blend
- long grain brown rice
- oat groats
- black-eyed peas
- goji berries
I like to buy these in bulk and put them into containers when I get home. Everything looks so neat and wholesome.
On the opposite side we have:
- quick-cooking oats
- old-fashioned large flake oats
- wheat berries and
- even more long grain brown rice
Next we have the canned goods
Left to right:
- original rice cakes
- natural peanut butter (never without this)
- tomato sauce and tomato paste
- diced tomatoes and
- lima beans
- red kidney beans
Pasta! Pasta! Pasta!
We have quite a variety of pasta all of the time because it is quick and kids always love it. I buy whole wheat and spelt most often and occasionally brown rice or soba noodles as well. Usually I just fry up some veggies to have with it, open a jar of pasta sauce and top with vegan parmesan cheese for a quick and healthy meal. Also shown wasa crisps.
- nutritional yeast
- organic vegetable bouillon powder
- lemon juice
Moving on to vinegars, oils and sauces:
- hickory liquid smoke (for tofu bacon!)
- apple cider vinegar
- rice vinegar
- aged red wine vinegar
- balsamic vinegar
- ume plum vinegar
- brown rice vinegar
- cold-pressed sesame oil
For snacks we usually have nuts and seeds, dried fruit, or rice cakes. Here we have:
- roasted almonds
- banana chips (Kesa’s favorite)
- organic red flame raisins (the best raisins)
- mixture of dried apricots, peaches, pears and prunes
- dried cranberries
We also often buy raw cashews, walnuts, pecans and pitted or medjool dates.
Some more snacks:
- mary’s crackers (if you haven’t tried them you should)
- kamut puffs (our favorite cereal, I throw dried cranberries or raisins in with a bit of almond milk)
- organic corn chips (always have these)
Other snack foods include pretzels and unsweetened applesauce. Autumn takes that in her lunch a lot. Other cereals we buy are mesa sunrise, optimum blueberry cinnamon or rice crispies.
Sweeteners and vegan baking ingredients:
- tapioca starch
- black strap molasses
- pure maple syrup
- brown rice syrup and
- ground flax-seed
Not shown, I also have whole wheat flour, spelt flour, teff flour, brown rice flour, cacao powder, canola oil and canned coconut milk.
My Crazy Love For Fruit
Lately, I have been eating mostly fruit all day, to cleanse my system. Here we have:
- organic golden delicious apples
- gala apples
- tons of bananas
- navel oranges
- honeydew melon
- lemons (for lemon water)
I also have frozen blueberries and strawberries in the freezer and often buy red grapes, kiwi, cantelope and red grapefruit.
- corn on the cob
- ginger root
- red, yellow and green peppers
- baby carrots
Also cucumbers, tomatoes, green, yellow and red onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes.
IN THE FRIDGE
- apple butter
- silk (the girls milk)
- unsweetened almond breeze (my milk)
- almond butter
- pasta sauce
- dijon mustard
- Vlassic kosher dill pickles
- firm and soft tofu
I usually only get organic soy products, but sometimes you gotta get what you can get.
It is most often Ezekiel sprouted grain breads for me and my hubby. Everyone also loves manna bread (made from sprouted grains, nuts, fruit and seeds). The other bread we buy is whole wheat or flax or I make my own bread. I also often eat the Ezekiel cinnamon raisin English muffins with natural PB and apple butter. My latest pregnancy love.
A few other tips I have for you and your family:
- Bring your own food. When going in the car or away from home for a while, bring your own snacks or even meals. This is what we do anytime we go away from home for a long time. We pack things like nuts, seeds and fruit, rice cakes or crackers, PB sandwiches or leftovers from the night before.
- Purchase a stainless steel water bottle for all the members of your family. The girls and I each have a Klean Kanteen water bottle and Craig has a stainless steel coffee thermos.
- Eat smaller meals every few hours. In our house we let the kids snack when they want and really allow them to get in touch with their hunger and fullness cues. Part of why I grew up with an unhealthy relationship with food because of being told when I could and couldn’t eat and we always ate large meals. I didn’t know how to listen to my body. If you know that you are feeding your kids with healthy foods then you don’t have to feel bad giving them snacks all the time. Kesa snacks on fruit and nuts most of the day, which I feel good about. We always make dinner a priority though, where we sit down together and enjoy a meal. Dinner always has veggies.
- Make leftovers. I always double recipes when I make something. Always. That way there are always leftovers for a quick and easy lunch the next day. It is so much easier to pack Autumn’ s lunch and my hubby always has something to take with him to work. We also always have some kind of home baked good around too, banana bread, cookies, muffins or granola bars to snack on or add to lunches as well.
I hope that gives you an idea of what vegans eat and shows you that you can eat wholesomely and naturally, even if you have a family to feed. I know that it is tempting to buy packaged snack foods like puddings, chips or cookies for kids, but it is not healthy. Most food that comes in a box is laden with sugar or unhealthy fats and lacking in any real nutrition, leaving your body and the bodies of your children deprived of the nutrients that you need.
It is also so very convenient to just order fast food and not bother cooking at all. This is the worst thing you could do. Remember on Super Size Me when Morgan Spurlock asked dietitians how often one should eat fast food and most of them replied NEVER! It is so true. There is never a good reason to put that ‘food’ in our bodies, believe me I have eaten (and even been addicted to) a lot of fast food in my lifetime. It is so addictive and makes your taste buds unable to appreciate the taste of real, natural, good food when you constantly eat high amounts of sugar, salt and fat.
On a final note, I would like to leave you all with a link to a documentary that is worth checking out. We watched this one the other day called Processed People. It is very informative. Other documentaries I highly recommend are Food Matters, Super Size Me and Food Inc.
Wishing you all a happy and HEALTHY life!