Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tips for new vegans

Some new vegans have been asking me for advice on what to eat. Here's a list of some things I've found helpful to have around. This is just a start, but hopefully it sparks some ideas. It will be continued in the future I'm sure. And I'd like to get ideas from the readers, too!

Trader Joe's mixed nuts "to-go" packs
I throw these in my pocket, keep a pack in the glovebox, and have them around at work. It's good to eat a handful of nuts and seeds every day, and these do the trick. And they have enough calories to satisfy a hunger urge.

Fortified Rice, Almond, Soy & Hemp Milk
I stress fortified because all of the above milks have fortified versions that are much better for you. They have added B12, Calcium and other essential vitamins. I like to use them all, so I keep them in a rotation. I can't really tell much of a differnce between them, honestly, since they're usually in my smoothies or cereal.

Kale & Collard Greens
Kale and collards have some of the highest nutritional content of any vegetable. I mostly put them in smoothies or pan fry them. I had some collards in my smoothie this morning, and it put a serious pep in my step!

A Blender
Seriously. I use mine every day. And it's nothing fancy. It's amazing how quickly I go through my greens and fruit. No more throwing out what's gone bad because it's all been blended. I wouldn't be able to get enough raw greens in my diet without it.

Not all of them are vegan, but most of them are. They're also great pocket stuffers, and good before or after workouts. They satisfy the need for something sweet and crunchy, with minimally processed ingredients. There's no added sugar, just dates.

Earth Balance Buttery Spread
I love toast, and I love it with butter. I was no fan of margarine, but I'm telling you this stuff is nothing of the sort. It's fantastic.

Earth Balance Peanut Butter
On apples, celery, or on it's own. 'Nuff said.

A Crockpot
I never considered getting one of these, but it's great! And they're only $20 at Target. I basically toss in  a bunch of random veggies and beans, and it comes out pretty good! It's a great way to get in your veggies.


  1. i just made some amazzzzzzing vegan cookies this weekend! i used a regular chocolate chip/oatmeal recepie and substituted eggs for sugar free applesauce, milk with soy milk, unbleached natural sugar and carob chips instead of the chocolate chips.... i couldn't keep my non-vegan friends away from them! :)

    question... i see you writing all the time about mixing veggies and fruit up in your blender... that sounds like a weird combo.... what's your recipie i'll have to give it a try!

  2. Pep in my step? I want me somma that.

  3. Kara,

    I'm gonna have to try making cookies. Oatmeal are my fave! I never would have thought to use applesauce.

    Veggies and fruit get along great together! Basically, I make a sweet fruit juice/smoothie, and add greens for nutritional value, and a bit flavor.

    I prefer a more liquid-like "juice" so I'll start out with 8 oz. of Almond/Soy/Rice milk, and then a splash of OJ, and a splash of whatever juice I have around. I put in some crushed flax. And then I'll add a banana, or pear, or pineapple, or berries, or whatever fresh fruit sounds good. For the veggies, I throw in a handful of spinach, and a handful of kale or collards. Sometimes I throw in a tomato too. It yields about 2 tall glasses, and I usually drink them both.

    It's a sweet, nutritious, yummy drink!

  4. mmm sounds delish! ill have to break my blender out and give that a try -- sounds like a good breakfast!

  5. Excellent list, thanks for the tips!

    In addition to a blender, I think a food processor is a must. It has changed my life. I make fresh salsa, guacamole, pesto, marinara, vegan queso, and more.

    Some of the food staples I always keep stocked are:

    avocados - great for sandwiches, salads, tacos

    beans (black, kidney, refried (vegetarian, of course), garbanzo, etc.) - can be added to salads, pastas, stir frys, stews, or in tacos

    tortillas - use to make wraps (veggie wraps, tofu wraps, tempeh wraps) and tacos (can you tell I like tacos?)

  6. I always have tortillas and beans around too. I also use my rice cooker a lot to make big batches and store in the fridge.