“The future depends on what we do in the present”
As it is almost January- its almost veganuary month! What is it I hear you ask? Well Veganuary is a ‘challenge’ to try veganism out for a month. Launched in 2014 it is a charity dedicated to changing public attitudes, while providing information, and practical support required to make the transition as easy and enjoyable as possible. I across the month of January will be sharing helpful tips and tricks into veganism along with linking to sites for further guidance.
In May the start of my journey I didn’t have someone to guide me through the transition- until just a month later I came across the PETA vegan starter kit; it was so useful meal plans, shopping guides, essentials and nutritional advice. You can find that here: Vegan Starter Kit.
I have decided to write in this post for you to see what I’ve learnt over the past 7 months of being vegan (and I am continuously learning & meeting new people) i’ll share with you some kitchen essentials, shopping tips and staples you need being vegan. All to help you understand that you are not restricted in your new ‘diet’ you can eat as much as you want and not have to worry because it is all simply good healthy wholefoods (unless you go down the processed food road; which of course isn’t all bad if in moderation.)
My top 10 kitchen essentials for vegan living:
- Blender/Juicer (for all those amazing smoothies & juices you’ll be making; a good way to get nutrients)
- Pots and pans (for all the healthy cooking you’ll be doing)
- Storage jars & boxes (for preparing meals and/or bulk freezing)
- A good chef knife (for easy cutting of all your veggies)
- Garlic press (if you don’t like to mince with a knife the garlic press is much easier and quicker to use)
- Whisk (for the healthy pancake batter and cake mixes)
- Measuring cups (if you are one to weigh out ingredients before cooking)
- Strainer (for draining veggies of water)
- Food processor (makes preparing meals much quicker)
- Wooden spoons (for cooking to avoid scraping the pots/pans)
Of course there may be other essentials to have but I believe starting out in this new lifestyle the above list is a good start for beginners, having these 10 kitchen tools helped me get to love cooking. I hope it helps you too.
My next point in this “starter kit” are my shopping tips; I believe the most useful part of this post, why? well because we as beginner vegans can spend a lot of time in supermarkets or local shops trying to figure out what items are suitable and which are not. Sometimes it is not as simple as looking for the vegan symbol as many items do not use the symbol or even mention the words “suitable for vegans.”
My top 10 shopping tips
- Write a list of what you need/want to get before heading to the store; this way you know what you are going for.
- Know the staples in the ‘diet’ that way you can always get these at the store (I will be listing staples in this post also)
- Shop at the free from section
- Always read the labels
- Look out for ingredients like: milk, lactose, whey, cheese, eggs, meat, honey, beeswax, bee pollen, royal jelly, E120, E323, E422, E471, E542, E631, E901, E904, Cochineal/ Carmine, Gelatine, Isinglass, Shellac, Vitamin D3 (derived from lanolin but D2& D3 derived from lichen is vegan)
- Again ALWAYS read the labels
- Google items you wish to buy look for vegan brands or items
- Shop online using sites like: Tesco, Asda, or Ocado (if you live outside UK use any online supermarket in your area)
- Get to know brands of food you like, keep a note of it and buy it again
- Enjoy the new way of shopping!
Now it is time to get into the best part of the post; who doesn’t love talking about food. Having the essentials stocked up is the secret weapon to creating plant-based masterpieces instantly; perfect for posting on Instagram to make all your friends jealous of your amazing food.
My top 10 vegan staples to have in the cupboard (only a guide if you feel like having soba noodles instead of spaghetti that’s just as good) :
- A range of herbs & spices (Cumin, Oregano, Cinnamon, Cayenne, Turmeric etc..)
- A range of pasta (Spaghetti, Penne, tri-colour spirals etc.)
- A range of rice (long grain, brown rice, etc.)
- Beans (Cannellini beans, kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas etc.)
- Nutritional yeast
- Flaxseed/ Chia seeds
- Oils (olive, Coconut, sesame etc.)
- Sauces/ vinegars (Soy, sweet chilli, barbecue, ketchup, Balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, red/white wine vinegar)
- Veggie/tofu (Onions, Garlic, Potatoes, tofu)
My top 10 staples to have in your fridge:
- Fruits (Strawberries, Blueberries, Bananas, Grapes, Lemons, Limes, Tomatoes etc.)
- Veggies (Spring onions, Lettuce, Spinach, Kale, Cucumber, Cabbage, etc.)
- Plant-based milks (Coconut, Soya, Almond, Rice, Oat etc.)
- Plant-based spreads (dairy-free margarine)
- Peanut butter
- Sriracha sauce
- Vegan cheese
- Dairy free chocolate
Top 5 staples in your freezer:
- Frozen spinach
- Frozen mixed veggies (for quick meals)
- Frozen fruits (for all those smoothies)
- Dairy-free ice cream (if you are a lover of ice-cream)
- Frozen potatoes
Well that is my list of ‘staples’ to have while being vegan; Some people may switch theirs up I know for me I do not have peanut butter or avocados as I learnt I do not like these items, but enjoy the experience of finding what you like and don’t like it is so much fun living cruelty-free so what are you waiting for head over to Veganuary now and sign up to the challenge, they have useful information at your fingertips.