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Vegan Health & Nutrition Discussion Forum

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Hi!
I really want to become [fully] vegetarian (and vegan one day) and it would really help if you could give me some tips.
Especially like: what should I always have in my pantry/fridge?

thank you!

Responses (8)

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    Posted by ahimsa32fa at 09/13/15 06:03:33

    Sounds like you might benefit from a good book or two.

    Your local library probably has any number of books on this topic. There are reading suggestions on this website, and there are literally hundreds of thousands of other veggie and vegan websites.

    I always store a supply of non-perishables in case the power goes out (also an emergency supply of clean water, stored in glass rather than plastic). My frig always has enough fresh, local and mostly organic fruits and vegetables for a few days at least.

    I take full advantage of sales, buy in bulk, and eat as much raw as is practical in my situation.

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    Posted by v-ee-gan at 09/13/15 15:17:10

    Great things to keep on hand: black beans, chickpeas, flour, oatmeal, pasta, bananas, some alternative milk, tofu, noodles, broccoli, vegan beer, lara bars, nuts, peanut butter, good bread, jelly, an avocado, raisins, chocolate, coconut oil, garlic, etc. These are the things I find myself buying over and over again.

  • MissPiquette's avatar
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    Posted by MissPiquette at 09/13/15 15:43:00

    @ahimsa32fa I try to read as much as I can on the subject (on the internet.. but yes I do need a good book) , but sometimes it's great to have ideas from other vegan/vegetarian. Thanks.

    @v-ee-gan Great! 'Writing it down. Thank you!

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    Posted by Robinwomb at 10/07/15 03:03:15

    These are some of the foods/staples I keep on hand in my pantry on a regular basis, though I don't always have all these items at once:

    Vinegars (usually rice and cider vinegar and sometimes balsamic)
    lemon juice and lime juice
    soy sauce or tamari (for making dishes for my gluten free Mom)
    vegan mayonnaise (Just Mayo or Vegannaise)
    salsa
    dijon mustard
    organic catsup
    applesauce
    flaxseeds/ground flaxmeal
    unsweetened coconut flakes
    vital wheat gluten
    cornmeal or polenta
    oats
    whole wheat flour, white spelt flour, whole wheat pastry flour
    white rice flour and brown rice flour
    sorghum flour
    chickpea flour (awesome to have around to make chickpea flour omelets)
    baking soda and baking powder
    tapioca starch, cornstarch
    maple syrup
    blackstrap molasses (great source of calcium and iron and goes well in hot cereal, homemade Asian sauce, smoothies, baking bread etc)
    tahini
    peanut butter (just peanuts)
    sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds (shelled)
    brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans
    nutritional yeast flakes (found in bulk section of natural food stores)
    buckwheat groats, oat groats, millet, brown rice, jasmine rice, couscous, quinoa, bulgur wheat (great for making taco "meat", spaghetti sauce "meat", sloppy joe "meat" etc as the texture is similar to ground beef and it absorbs other ingredients well)
    spaghetti, whole wheat penne pasta, buckwheat soba noodles (without egg), udon noodles
    cans of tomato paste, tomato sauce, diced or stewed tomatoes
    dried lentils (brown, red)
    dried split peas (green, yellow)
    cans of chickpeas, white beans, black beans, kidney beans (sometimes dry too)
    cans of pineapple
    cans or artichoke hearts
    canned pumpkin (great in place of egg for some baking and for smoothies or pancakes etc)
    turbinado sugar
    agar flakes (if you like to make things that "gel", this works beautifully in place of gelatine)
    spices like cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne, turmeric, paprika, garam masala, coriander, oregano, basil, dill seed or weed, thyme, black pepper, onion powder, marjorum, mustard powder
    vegan commercial bread on occasion (Rudi brand or Ezekiel/Food For Life) or I make my own more often
    Frozen mixed vegetables, bananas I freeze in chunks and keep in freezer bags, frozen berries in winter months, frozen peas and limas
    tempeh, tofu (I almost always keep a package of tempeh on hand but tofu is something I buy less often)
    plant milks (almond, soy usually but have tried oat, hemp etc and used to make my own flaxseed milk and almond milk)
    sweet potatoes (great in soups, burritos, casseroles, mashed with pineapple or coconut etc)
    potatoes (red or russet)
    a variety of leafy greens always on hand (collards, kale, bok choy, spinach, turnip greens, romaine etc) (good for smoothies, salads, in sandwiches, wraps, soups etc)
    bell peppers
    cucumbers
    zucchini, yellow squash
    winter squash (butternut, acorn)
    green beans
    snap peas
    mushrooms
    tomatoes
    jicama
    celery
    carrots
    onions
    asparagus or brussel sprouts
    broccoli always on hand
    apples
    oranges
    bananas
    seasonal fruits (berries, plums, peaches...)
    cantaloupe or pineapple

    When you think of what to eat, keep it simple. Soups are great because you can add just about anything to them and they are filling and wonderful homemade. I add stuff like beans, vegetables, tomato paste, potatoes, rice, canned coconut milk etc to them. Also, something as simple as a baked potato can be transformed into a meal by adding steamed veggies and a nice homemade sauce to it. Nutritional yeast is great for adding to sauce.

    For breakfasts, I like to have something as simple as fresh fruit and a handful of whole nuts, or beans on toast (in the U.S. I have found commercial vegan breads like Ezekiel, Food for Life, and Rudy's; I also make my own and it is very easy now that I have made hundreds of loaves over the years). another favorite is blended firm tofu, banana, splash of water or plant milk, cocoa powder, and sweetener, and a pinch of salt and vanilla extract. Takes about two minutes to make an awesome chocolate creamy breakfast pudding with this that is high protein and calcium.

    My first two years vegan I really learned how to cook vegan and stayed away from too much processed imitation foods. I do buy those from time to time more for a treat or something different, but they are not staples. Once you discover how creative and inventive plant based cooking is, you'll want the processed stuff less and you will spend less money. In place of vegan processed "cheese", I make a homemade cheese blending sweet potato or potato, nutritional yeast, spices, and sometimes even add tofu to it for a creamier richer cheese sauce, or I make block "cheese" using agar flakes and almonds or cashews along with nutritional yeast. I have even made my own vegan mayo blending canned coconut milk, blanched almonds, cider vinegar, turmeric, and maple syrup. I learned how to make chocolate frosting with just avocado, maple syrup, and cocoa powder. And omelets with chickpea flour. I like to experiment with different kinds of grains like millet, buckwheat groats, couscous etc. Beans, grains, nuts/seeds, and fruits/vegetables are the base of plant based meals.

    Also, as far as non food, I keep it simple there too. I use lemon juice, vinegar, washing soda for cleaning purposes. I use Dr. Bronners liquid castile soap for washing my hair and body, and also Kirks castile soap bars or Kiss my Face soap. Both are palm oil free and free of animal ingredients and testing. I used to wash my hair just with tea tree oil and water and use vinegar as a rinse. There are easy to find veggie friendly products like Seventh Generation now in stores all over. Synthetic clothing is becoming much easier to find also, and I love my hemp socks (I got them from Wicked Hemp online). Hemp acts like wool and wicks moisture.

    To start, think about all the plant based foods you already eat, and build a plant based menu from there. When I first went vegan (I went vegan from omnivore overnight and almost five years later have never looked back) I visited VegWeb a LOT for familiar types of recipes. Sandwiches were a big deal because I pack all my lunches for work and cycle to work so I needed easy and lightweight stuff to eat. I made and still make a lot of energy bars and so on too. So I would google "vegan sandwich" ideas and get recipes free online that way. I started keeping a three ring binder with recipes and also tips on how to replace eggs in baking, and leavening, and calcium sources and so on. I now have five three ring binders filled to capacity with recipes! I have them divided into "main dishes", side dishes, breakfast/blender, breads, and desserts. I also tend to menu plan for a week out so when I shop I know what I need for the next week. I save money and don't waste food by doing this.

    When you start to transition, go slow with increasing beans and fruits/vegetables if you are not used to eating a lot of them. They can cause gas and bloating/discomfort in the beginning until you body gets used to them. Vegans and vegetarians have different gut flora than omnivores due to the nature and amount of fiber/plant matter we eat and because we no longer eat animal foods. It takes some time for the body to change in this regard so be patient. I consume on average six or seven servings of fruits/veggies and two servings of beans daily in addition to other foods. My digestion is great, but if I were to eat like this on day one, I would have been doubled over lol.

    I also visited many grocery and other stores around my city and made note of what kinds of vegan/vegetarian foods and other products were available. Stuff like toothpaste (Toms and Kiss My Face are popular plant based no animal ingredient brands), dishwashing liquid, and foods like tempeh, nutritional yeast, stuff that might be harder to find. If a store doesn't carry it, I can also fill out a request form at the information desk asking if they would carry it. I have done this with tempeh and plant based yogurts and they honored my request!

    I hope this helps! Best wishes!

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    Posted by Thalassa4 at 10/12/15 22:09:44

    If you want to become vegetarian, as in lacto, or lacto-ovo, the main thing to remember is diversity of foods and focusing on vegetables rather than living off of cheese and potato chips...I never did this myself, but knew girls in high school who did that. If you become vegetarian, remember first and foremost:

    Beans,beans, beans, beans, beans!
    And pulses. You know like peas and lentils.

    These should become a primary staple in your diet, even if you still consume dairy or enjoy mock meats. ..because sometimes mock meats are more expensive, and beans are very affordable and a whole vegetable that become a complete protein when combined with a grain/starch like rice, wheat bread, or potatoes.

    Also nuts and nut butters if you don't have allergies.

    If you plan to eventually transition to vegan, slowly but surely:

    fortified "milks" of your choice ..they come in original, unsweetened, vanilla or chocolate

    Nutritional yeast or a sublingual B12 supplement

    Black strap molasses, green leafy vegetables and dried apricots or prunes to fortify your iron (along with your new best friends, beans).

    Tofu, tempeh, or setein

    Flax seeds or cold flax seed oil to add to cold foods, salads, or even take spoonfuls of for Omega 3

    A variety of vegetables and fruits

    Quinoa is a gluten free grain and complete protein
    Quinoa is also a good go to for this reason, because grains usually aren't complete protein

    Herbs and spices, vegenaise, ketchup, vegan ranch, BBQ sauce, soy sauce, marinades...all of this makes food more interesting if you don't want to spend huge amounts of money in restaurants or on frozen vegan meals

    Teas, coffee, tisanes...basically try to eliminate soda, for the most part

    Savory substitutes for cravings or awkward holidays. ..things such as tofurky roasts or rosemary faux "sausage" with a hearty mushroom gravy

    Daiya and/or nut cheeses, especially if you're used to eating dairy

    Avacado/guacamole, hummus, and tahini can help when eliminating dairy in certain meals

    Also you could keep veggie dogs or veggie burgers on hand for convenience foods

    Things you can snack on that are vegan - you can research this according to your tastes, anything from dried fruit, nuts and soy yogurts to vegan chips, crackers and candies.

    Nutrition bars for quick on the go vegan meal or snack, so you are not hungry or stuck eating nothing but french fries or something. ..like seriously keep a couple in your bag or backpack

  • MissPiquette's avatar
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    Posted by MissPiquette at 12/05/15 19:32:00

    Thank you guys so much!

    -> it's only been a couple of months but I'm doing great. I'm now vegetarian, and step by step I'm becoming vegan. Thanks again

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Robinwomb at 12/06/15 04:16:29

    That's awesome @MissPiquette! Thanks for sharing!

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    Posted by Thalassa4 at 12/08/15 02:22:12

    I'm so happy for you. Miss Piquette! Please keep in touch. Stay with us. :)

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