(Of an American Vegan)
RAW WHOLE FOODS
Nuts – Cashews are probably my most preferred right now due to their versatility in meals, and peanuts in the shell are a favorite of mine for a filling snack. I also like any nut butter that isn’t oily; it’s definitely a staple for toast, bagels, oats, sandwiches, apple or banana dip (or just eating with a spoon, that’s fine too).
Seeds – Chia, sunflower, pumpkin, they’re all sources of healthy fat and add protein, calories (and creativity) to meals. I really like crunchy textures plus I thrive with a high fat intake so seeds are a must-have for me.
Greens – Every day I like to have at least one serving of either spinach, kale, romaine, or broccoli (there are obviously loads more green veggies, these are just my favorite). The energy I get from incorporating these into my meals is too good to pass up, and the protein content in a large serving of greens is dense and sustaining.
Fruit – Berries, apples, watermelon, peaches, oranges, mangoes, and pineapple are hydrating and nourishing, I especially like to eat these first thing in the morning. Usually I have a fruit smoothie or a banana smoothie with spinach. I also consume copious amounts of avocado, usually mashed on a salad or sandwich. Fruit is so important to our diet and it should be emphasized as more than the side item that people see it as.
COOKED WHOLE FOODS
Legumes – Beans are all incredibly lean and clean sources of nutrients, calories, and protein. I usually stick with black beans, garbanzo beans, soybeans, kidney beans, or lentils to beef up my dinners.
Potatoes – Idaho, russet, yam, sweet, Japanese sweet, red gold, Yukon gold; potatoes are a major staple in a high-carb vegan diet. I like mine baked and loaded with toppings or fried with ketchup.
Veggies – Stir-fry is one of my go-to dinners because there are so many options that no two are exactly the same. Other than the typical bok choy, cabbage, broccoli, etc., one particularly underrated cooked veggie is eggplant. It’s filling and satisfying, and if I’m not mistaken it can also be sliced thin and dehydrated into chips, in which case it would technically still be raw.
Rice – Any and all rice is a health food, unless fried in butter or cooked in chicken broth. I’ve always had a slight obsession with steamed white sushi rice, soaked in soy sauce with a dab of Sriracha. But my close second favorite is brown rice because I don’t think there’s a more nutritious rice.
Pasta – At least once per week I enjoy a rich spaghetti dinner. Another option for spaghetti is cashew or avocado sauce, which can be made to emulate alfredo or mac and cheese.
Tortilla/wheat wraps – Burritos, tacos, and taco salads are all part of a balanced diet; obviously. Sometimes in an attempt to bump up my nutrition points I use spinach wraps.
Bread – One character flaw of mine is how obsessed I am with breads. If it doesn’t contain milk or eggs, I can make a phenomenal sandwich with it. I prefer wheat breads with lots of grains for optimal digestion.
Oats – A breakfast staple for most people, I think. Usually I have it with almond or soy milk and nut butter.
Ice Cream – Such a vital part of an American diet. Right now my favorite is strawberry by the brand So Delicious made with coconut milk; but ice cream is easily made at home by blending frozen bananas with frozen berries or chocolate with a splash of nut milk to the right consistency.
Popcorn – Technically speaking, popcorn is processed. It’s also a delicious snack, especially when made cruelty-free with vegetable oil and salted to the brim.
CONDIMENTS, DIPS, SEASONINGS/HERBS/SPICES
Sriracha – I’ve been using the one from Whole Foods, I forget the name of the brand but it has a squirrel on it. Sriracha is great if you like to add spicy flavor to bland or flavorless meals.
Hummus – An addictively tasty middle-eastern dip and spread made with garbanzo beans and crack.
Barbeque – A dear friend to the flavor connoisseur vegans of the world. As a bit of a barbeque sauce fanatic, right now my favorite is an organic smoky maple kind by the brand Annie’s, it’s Great for grilling tofu sausages or dip for tofu nuggets.
Lemon Tahini dressing – Ideal if you like a thick, tangy salad dressing or a tart, fatty dip for your veggies.
Nutritional Yeast – It’s dry and flaky and tastes remarkably like a sharp cheese. Sometimes fortified with vitamin b12, it’s used as a thickener and flavor enhancer in sauces and also as a cheesy topping.
Oregano – In case you weren’t aware, I like flavor. In my personal opinion marinara sauce is not complete without this savory, herbaceous spice.
Kombucha – A sort of ripened, fermented tea, containing tons of probiotics and sometimes infused with fruit and ginger.
Fruit Juice – Most juices available contain added sugars but there are pure and raw kinds that can be ordered online or sometimes Whole Foods has orange juicers. Or if you’re someone into luxurious kitchen appliances, you can always invest in a juicing machine (I realize at this point most people have one of those but I’m one of those edgy necessities-only people. Not really I’m just poor).
Soy Milk – A watery, bland milk replacer that’s not the richest flavor but get’s the job done.
Almond Milk – There are several types of nut milk, but I’ve grown to like vanilla almond for it’s satisfying fullness. I’m not too much of a sweet tooth person so I drink vanilla almond for the mild sweetness.
H2O – Nothing beats a cold one on the city. Seriously, drink more water. Your body will thank you.
I’ll be updating this list at some point, maybe after I visit a new local grocer.
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