When people find out that I’m vegan, one of the first questions they ask is, “But what do you eat?”

As silly as that question sounds, I can totally understand why they’re often confused or flabbergasted.  After all, in the average American diet, it’s meat, dairy and eggs that take center stage.  Plant based foods are relegated as bit players or garnish, if at all.

Truth be told, I’ve had more culinary prowess as a vegan than I ever had before.  I’m more open to different spices, flavors and food combinations.

To give an idea of “what I eat”, here’s what you’ll likely find in my house on any given day:

Pantry:

-Pasta.  Not the most superhero vegan food but great in moderation.  DeBole’s is my absolute favorite for flavor and texture.  The use of jerusalem artichoke flour helps to lower inflammation levels too.

-Quinoa.  Such a great staple.  This tiny little grain is packed with so many nutrients and is a complete protein.  It makes a great substitute for rice if you care to switch it up.  It can be served hot or cold and combined with just about anything.  True Food Kitchen in Phoenix serves an amazing red quinoa salad with olive oil, lemon juice, almonds, pomegranate and chives.  The red variety has the best flavor.

-Brown rice and sushi rice.  Add the veggies you’d find in a Cali roll sans the crab meat and voila!

-Beans.  Mainly pinto, black and lentil.  I also keep on hand a bean soup or two that can easily be thrown in a crockpot.

-Nuts.  Mainly cashews and almonds.  Almonds are so tasty and filling.  Cashews are surprisingly versatile and when raw ones are soaked, drained and pureed, it makes a great base for a vegan “alfredo”.  R also gets me cashew clusters from Fresh and Easy for a sweet treat.

-Sesame seeds.  They go on all my salads and lots of stir frys.  These little wonders are packed with minerals.

-Tomato sauce and canned tomatoes.

-Loose tea.  Since I hardly ever drink soda, a nice collection of flavored loose leaf teas mixes things up while boosting antioxidants.

-Extra dark chocolate.  Keep the decadence while losing the dairy.

Fridge:

My non-vegan husband often jokes with me about how I pack our nice, new French door fridge to the gills.  It’s not my fault veggies take up so much room:)

I try to buy organic as often as possible.  I also try to pre-wash and cut a lot of “higher maintenance” veggies beforehand or stick to ones that don’t require a ton of prep.

-Romaine

-Spinach

-Carrot

-Mushroom

-Squash

-Kale

-Onion

-Yams

-Lemon

-Garlic

-Avocado.  I can’t rave enough about avocado.  For me, it fills the meat/dairy desire with its substance and creaminess.  With avocado, I never crave those things.

-Bananas

-Oranges/Orange juice (fortified and not from concentrate)

-Strawberries or blueberries

-A Gardein or two or veggie patties or brats for those quick fix nights.  Fake meats are more of an indulgence and I try to steer clear of them as a regular staple.  Sometimes their taste is also too close to the real thing too!  THere are some veggie patties that are totally okay for a regular basis since they’re less processed and all veggie–like Sunshine burgers.

-Tamari

-Sriracha

-Rice Milk

-Ezekiel bread and tortillas.  A go-to breakfast option.

-Earth Balance.  The closest to real butter taste.

-Nut butter for baking or breakfast.

Spices are an entirely different beast.  Suffice it to say I have a ton of them and they’re fun to use! 🙂  The most frequently used are: garlic powder, onion powder, curry powder, kosher sea salt, basil, oregano, nutmeg, red pepper.

Happy eating!

Namaste,

J 🙂

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