I’d like to introduce you to my favorite and most used things in my cupboard. Having these in the house will help you kick start a healthy life style routine and help you get all the essential nutrients you need.
Pulses – I love lentils, peas and beans. They are absolutely rammed with protein and according to research can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Not only that; they give you energy that lasts, keeping you fuller for longer thanks to their low glycemic index. This can be a great help if you are trying to lose a few pounds. Due to their starchy consistency they are also an incredible ingredient for making vegetarian/vegan burgers and keeping the whole thing stuck together.
Soy Sauce – Soy sauce is not a classic healthy food but is great for healthy cooking. It does have it’s benefits such as containing vitamins and minerals but you definitely only want a small splash. It’s a great salt substitute and gives everything a full-bodied flavour. I put it in a whole range of things, soups, bolognese, anything… always adds a nice warm undertone to your dish.
Nooch – Nooch, also known as nutritional yeast, is a vegan staple. Particularly in our hunt for B12, this little flakey gem is an essential. The B12 vitamin is a tough cookie to find when living on a plant-based diet, as it is mostly found in seafood, meat, eggs and dairy. Nutritional yeast is fortified with B12, which is produced by bacterial fermentation (Cyanocobalamin) and thus makes it easy to incorporate this into a vegan diet. What makes it so wonderful is that it’s got a nutty, sort of cheesy flavour. Great to sprinkle on pasta or put in sauces.
Vegan Pesto – Vegan pesto is a great emergency food staple. One or two teaspoons of this tasty food will pimp up any meal. It’s not particularly healthy, as is it is full of olive oil, however still a whole lot better than it’s cheese-containing counterpart. I always use the Zest brand as it is not too processed and is packed with brazil nuts, cashew nuts, hazelnuts and pine nuts. That’s a whole lot of nut for your buck.
Peanut Butter – Despite peanut butter being rich in saturated fat and sodium, it is still a great healthy essential in a vegan diet, as it is a great source of fibre, vitamins, unsaturated fat and minerals. More importantly for all of us living an animal cruelty free lifestyle it contains a good portion of protein. A tablespoon of pb contains 3.5 grams of protein. So next time you feel peckish, have a banana with a big dollop of peanut butter on top.
Dates – Dates are pure magic, as far as I am concerned. They are full of iron, calcium, copper, magnesium and potassium. This wonderful sweet dried fruit is said to fight heart problems, constipation, weight gain and abdominal cancer. It’s the perfect 100 % natural treat. Don’t overindulge though, they are quite high in fructose.
Dark Chocolate – The main reason this is such a great treat is the high cacao contents in dark chocolate, cacao is full chromium, iron and magnesium. Not only that, it also has an extraordinarily high level of antioxidants. It’s great for giving yourself a sweet treat without consuming a massive amount of fat, sugar or animal products, commonly found in chocolate bars. Obviously don’t go crazy, it needs to be enjoyed in small amounts. Even better get some pure chocolate powder and throw it in the blender with banana and avocado and you have instant chocolate pudding.
Orange Juice – The reason this is on the list is simply down to having a healthy breakfast routine. In my household we all like to tackle a fresh fruit smoothie every morning before university or work. It’s filling and gives you plenty of energy for the day. The orange juice is a great base for any smoothie. Even orange juice from concentrate has about 100 milligrams of vitamin c and 40 micrograms of beta-carotene.
Pumpkin Seeds – These beauties are packed with iron and protein. Absolutely essential to get these into your diet if you are cutting out animal products. Additionally they are full of vitamin e, fiber, minerals and various other antioxidants. I like to add them to my morning muesli, energy bars, salads, homemade burgers and much more.
DISCLAIMER! I am not a doctor or nutritionist, simply someone very interested in food and being healthy. All advice given is based on personal experience and research.