With the new year comes new resolutions. And after the feast of delectable eats the holidays have brought, many people’s New Year’s resolutions revolve around diet changes. If you are looking for a new diet to transform your health than I recommend a vegan diet. Some people believe it’s hard to transition to a no-meat and no-dairy lifestyle, but keep reading to find out how easy it can be for you to make this dietary change by following this list of top ten essential items you need in your vegan kitchen.
Instead of using regular dairy milk, you have the option to keep soy, cashew, or almond milk in stock. All these milks have less fat than dairy milk. Soy and cashew milk have twice as much calcium as dairy milk, and almond milk has a lot of protein in it if that’s what you’re looking for. These milk alternatives are great on their own or can easily be used as an ingredient for cooking and baking.
My favorite brand of vegan butter is Earth Balance, but I also like I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter as well because it’s tasty and more affordable. The great thing about vegan butter is that it cooks and tastes just like dairy butter. You can easily use this is in your cooking and everything will taste the same old buttery goodness.
After going vegan I was sad to learn that most whole wheat breads have either or both honey and milk in them. You'll have to check the ingredients, but locally baked bread is frequently vegan. Oddly, these local breads are often kept in a different aisle than the national brands in supermarkets. If you are interested in national brands, then I recommend Ezekiel or Dave’s Bread.
Vegetable Oil/Olive Oil
Not only is this great for cooking up some veggies on the stove-top, this is also great to use in baking as well. If you like baking cookies, cakes, or other pastries you can use veggie oil as an egg substitute. You just need to use two tablespoons for one egg.
If you aren’t used to snacking on veggies, then I highly recommend getting hummus to dip your veggies in. This delicious snack can be homemade by simply grinding garbanzo beans and adding lemon juice and seasonings to taste. I like to dip bell peppers, cucumbers, and carrots in hummus as a light, delicious snack. But you can also use crackers and other vegetables to dip in it as well.
Rice & Beans
These are probably the most essential thing to add as a staple in your kitchen. You can have a variety of different tasting rice and beans all depending on the seasonings you use. I like making Mexican-inspired rice and beans, but I also try my hand at Indian-inspired rice and Chinese stir-fried rice.
Speaking of spices, you can make any vegetable taste delicious if you know how to just season it. And you don’t have to stick just to seasonings, you can also use sauces. My dad makes the best roasted broccoli by roasting the broccoli in a mixture of brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Having a good selection of seasonings can help you adjust to incorporating and eating more vegetables in your diet.
Did you know that potatoes contain all your daily vitamins and minerals except for Vitamin D and calcium? Potatoes in my book are the best things ever. You can cook them whole, slice them and bake them, or fry them up. Any way you cook them they are simply amazing. My favorite way of cooking them is to cut them up, toss them with garlic salt, pepper, paprika, and crushed pepper flakes and bake for twenty-five minutes at 425 degrees.
My daily eats for fruits are bananas, cuties, and grapes. For bananas you can freeze them and put them into smoothies later. And speaking of smoothies, this is a great breakfast idea that makes it easy to pack in your fruits for the day.
If you’re not fond of eating your vegetables then try seasoning them and experimenting with recipes. I often find that it’s easier to start with the ones you like and slowly incorporate new finds into your diet.