This week we're discussing the 4 best plant-based foods to keep in your kitchen. This is the final in our plant-based series, which ties in nicely with this week being Kindness to Animals Week. Did you know that globally the following number of animals are killed for consumption every day?
Cows - 827,748
Sheep - 1,572,003
Pigs - 4,067,103
Chickens - 188,452,660
I don't believe that the consumption of meat itself is inherently 'bad', but the farming practises that have evolved in an effort to keep up with demand has resulted in a double-edged sword. We are no longer consuming the best, most natural meat, meaning the animals are not able to consume their natural diet and are instead often fed GMO corn or grains to fatten them up quickly. The animals are also no longer living a happy free life until a hunter sneaks along and kills them as swiftly as possible. Instead, they are factory farmed and often treated brutally in abattoirs (check out the documentary Dominion for more info).
Moving on to happier plant-based topics... :)
An important part of sticking to a plant-based diet is knowing exactly how to stock your kitchen ahead of time. Having the right foods on hand is not only a huge time saver when it comes to meal planning, but it will help keep you on track and less tempted to reach for an unhealthy alternative. The term plant-based often gets confused with vegan which poses the question, what can you eat/not eat on this type of diet? To help get you started, here are 4 important foods you will want to keep handy as you begin, or continue, your plant-based journey.
- Fresh Vegetables:This is a pretty obvious one, but super important, nonetheless. For starters, you’ll want to keep your fridge stocked with fresh produce at all times. From dark leafy greens to cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes and capsicum, there is no limit to the yummy recipes you can create with the variety of fresh veggies available to you. Try a fresh salad, roasted vegetables, or even put together a buddha bowl packed with your choice of veggies, plant proteins like tofu or chickpeas and whole grains. You can also find a huge selection of veggies in the frozen section as well. This will allow you to stock up on more and not worry about food going to waste if you don’t eat it in time.
- Fresh Fruit:You’ll want to have a lot of fruit on hand for those moments when you crave something sweet. Fruit is a perfect mid-afternoon snack as well as a great addition to any meal or dessert. Choose from bananas, kiwi, apples, strawberries, pineapple, oranges, blueberries and so much more. Like vegetables, there is a huge variety when it comes to fruit no matter if you decide to buy fresh or frozen (a great option when you’re wanting to stock up). Try adding some strawberries or pineapple to your morning smoothie or slice up some apples or kiwi for a yummy treat after dinner. This allows you to stay on track, make healthy choices and satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time. That’s a win-win!
- Herbs and Spices: Whether you have a big spice rack in your cabinet or grow your own herbs at home, you can’t go wrong having a bunch on hand at any given moment. You’ll never have to settle for bland and boring when you take advantage of all the herbs and spices available to create delicious plant-based meals, packed with flavor. Add some basil or oregano to your spaghetti sauce, some cumin in your chili or even try different seasonings on your popcorn during the next movie night. There are so many different ways you can have fun and experiment by combining different herbs and spices to create something brand new for your palate. Plus, some herbs and spices like garlic, turmeric and ginger have been known to have amazing medicinal benefits to help aid in digestion, lower blood pressure and strengthen your immune system.
- Whole Grains: Make sure you keep your pantry stocked with whole grains like brown rice, oats, bread and quinoa. These “healthy” carbs are packed full of fiber and make a great addition to any meal. Not only that, they are easy to prepare and can also be used as a quick go-to snack/meal when you’re in a time crunch. Try adding quinoa to your next buddha bowl or make overnight oats for a yummy, satisfying, quick breakfast. The consumption of more whole grains has been linked to the reduction of heart disease, supporting digestion and maintaining a healthier weight as well. These foods are an important part of a plant-based diet and should be kept on hand at all times.
By keeping these foods close by, you’ll be able to create a ton of delicious, yet healthy meals that support you in your plant-based journey.
Eating plant-based does not mean you have to be vegan and remove all animal products from your diet. If you are looking for some plant-based inspiration, check out the beautiful lady in the image above. Her name is Nisha and her Instagram page - @rainbowplantlife - is the perfect place to start! I have made MANY of her recipes over the years and they are honestly delicious! So if you're looking for dessert or snack ideas, or even what to make as a main dish for your vegan friends - Nisha has nailed it. I made her Vegan "Beef" Wellington last year for Christmas and literally EVERYONE (meat eaters and vegans) loved it. Posted December 23rd 2020 for reference.
If you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover comment below or email me at email@example.com - I'd love to hear from you!