How To Build A Grocery List

Today was grocery shopping day at my house. I typically go once a week, filling my cart with all the plant-based goodness I need to juice, eat, and snack on until the following week.

I started making grocery lists when I began transitioning from a meat based diet to a plant based one.

When I began my transition, I started with one meatless day a week. My grocery list contained the ingredients I needed for that day. Once I got those items, I simply shopped as usual for everything else.

I did that for the first month, which helped me get used to buying, and actually eating more plant foods each week.

From there, I shopped for two meatless meals a week, then four… and so on.

This helped me naturally and organically shift from buying animals and animal-based products to buying plants and plant-based products.

As I worked with through this process, I stuck to what I knew I liked in the fruit and vegetable isles. I also cooked things that were familiar – like pasta with extra veggies, salads, soups, and burritos.

This helped me easily create and document a new way of eating.

Now, a typical grocery list for me is filled with plant and plant-based products I know I’m going to eat each week.

Here are some things to keep in mind when changing your diet and building your own plant-based grocery lists:

1. Start with what you know you like and will actually eat. Plan for one or two meatless days a week. Do this until your meatless days become an enjoyable part of your regular weekly eating routine.

2. Add in dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables for calcium as you are ready. Do this while simultaneously taking out milk and dairy products.

3. Add in rice and beans for protein as you take out animal proteins. (Rice and beans together create a complete protein).

4. Use frozen and canned fruits, berries, and beans to help save time and money as you transition.

5. Arrange, display, and organize your pantry, fruit table, and refrigerator so that plant based foods are readily available and easy to eat every day.

Building a grocery list was one of the easiest ways I found to keep me on track and help me learn to eat more fruits and vegetables. It can be a great tool for you to use as well while you transition to a more vibrant, healthy way of eating.

Want to learn to eat healthier but don’t know how? Check out my food lifestyle workshops and coaching sessions, and eat your way to better, more vibrant health!

Chunky Vegan Spaghetti Sauce

This recipe is: plant based, vegan, gluten free, oil free

High Vitamin C and Antiviral Components make this sauce a great addition to your plant based diet during cold and flu season.

Ingredients:

5-7 medium tomatoes

2 cups celery hearts

2 cups baby spinach leaves

2 cups onion

2 cups bell pepper

2-3 cloves garlic

1 small can tomato paste

Seasonings: salt, pepper, dill, oregano, basil

Directions:

Cut tomatoes into bite sized pieces and add to slow cooker. Next, add small can of tomato paste and seasonings. Mince garlic and add. Cut remaining ingredients into bite sized pieces and add. Cook on low for up to 8 hours.

Serve over pasta, potatoes, or squash.

Contact me for plant based workshops and coaching sessions.

Spinach and Chickpea Stirfry

This recipe is: gluten free, plant based, vegan.

Rice and beans create a complete protein, and leafy greens like spinach are high in calcium. This is a great meal for those looking to get more plant protein and calcium into their diets.

Ingredients: (serves 2)

1 teaspoon coconut oil (use 1/4 – 1/2 cup water to make this recipe oil free)

2 cups cooked organic wild rice blend

2 cups cooked (or 1 can) chickpeas

2 cups spinach

5-6 cup grape tomatoes (per serving)

1/2 avocado (per serving)

Season to taste. I used: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, sage, oregano, thyme, and dill

Directions:

Add coconut oil to a large frying pan and melt on high heat until bottom of pan is covered. Turn heat down to medium and add rice, chickpeas, and seasonings. Stir frequently until hot. Add spinach and continue cooking on low until 2 – 5 minutes, or until spinach is cooked. Garnish with cherry tomatoes and avocado before serving for a complete meal.

Why Food Quality Matters

These days when I’m not cooking food, I’m learning about it – and the many ways it effects the whole human system – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

I remember the first time my sinuses where overwhelmed with the scent and flavor of a tomato I’d eaten almost 12 hours earlier.

How does that even happen?!?

I’ve researched the three brain theory of the human body. Basically, there are three centers in the human body that work like ‘brains’. One is in the head, the other in the heart, and the third is in the stomach.

Call me crazy – and many have – but that 3rd brain knew exactly what I’d eaten and was beginning to put it to work in my system.

How do I know? Because I could feel, smell, and taste the food – a tomato in this case – as my stomach’s ‘brain center’ decided what nutrients it had to work with and where to send them.

Equally, if my tomato has pesticide on it from conventional growing methods, my body also recognizes those and sends them off to various places like the liver to be dealt with.

Food and the body communicate. They have to. It’s how this whole staying alive thing works. Every single thing you eat becomes a bone, a muscle, an organ, – a tumor, a pimple, or arthritis.

The body can only respond to what you feed it and how you treat it. And no matter what you mentally tell yourself about your health, your body will always bring you back to reality.

The body doesn’t know how to lie.

This is why it’s vitally important to make healthy food choices. Would you eat a moldy piece of bread or a rotten apple? How about food that’s been sprayed with chemicals or animals that are diseased?

Of course not. When you can see your food getting sick, you know if you eat it, you’ll get sick, too.

The type and quality of food you eat on a regular basis makes you who you are – literally. This is why becoming conscious of that you eat is so important.

Eating foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce, don’t recognize as a whole food, or know is a chemical, has a multitude of adverse health effects.

Equally, eating good quality, organic, non or lightly processed foods allows for the body to get maximum health benefits from your diet without any garbage or disease getting in the way.

You are what you eat in so many ways and on so many levels. This is why reconnecting with food is so important for long term healing and health.

Eat the best quality food you can afford. Always.

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Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Soup

This recipe is: plant based, vegan, gluten free, oil free

Squash and pumpkin help reduce inflammation in the body and are great additions to a cholesterol lowering diet.

For this recipe I used:

1 large butternut squash

1 (15 oz) can organic, unsweetened pumpkin

1 (15 oz) can organic coconut milk

Seasonings: salt, pepper, sage, cinnamon, and rosemary

Cut squash lengthwise and bake at 400F for 1 hour 20 minutes or until squash is easy to spear with a fork. Let cool. Scoop out of shell and add to a medium sized sauce pan along with pumpkin, coconut milk and spices. Simmer on medium to low heat until hot, stirring frequently. Add to blender to purée.

Garnish with pumpkin seeds and walnuts if desired before serving.

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What it’s really like to choose between medication and car insurance

This popped up on my Facebook screen yesterday and I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind since.

I wrote it right around the time I quit my teaching career. Long story short, I was in a place in my life and illness where I had to make a decision. I was too sick to work, but not quite sick enough to collect disability.

I could either stay in my job to keep the health care I was depending on to manage illness, or quit it and heal.

I obviously chose the latter – not without its consequences.

Poverty is humiliating and I knew if I was going to heal, I had to go there.

Everyone knows poverty is hard. Just pay attention to how you feel the next time you pass a homeless person.

Being poor strips you of your dignity quickly.

I remember the first time I had to apply for heating assistance. The process was shameful.

Even friends and family have a difficult time really understanding what it’s like to have to choose between life necessities and prescription medication.

A few years back, my husband and I hit a deer with our car. We didn’t have insurance so I called my father to ask for a small loan to help us get through that moment. At the time, he couldn’t get past yelling at me for not having car insurance.

So there I was, in the middle of the road, in the middle of winter, poor, cold, and being admonished because I chose to forgo car insurance for thyroid medication.

I don’t blame my dad for his reaction because honestly, if you’ve never had to live out the consequences of those kinds of economic decisions in real time, you simply have no idea how to relate, much less help.

We are all struggling right now. People are getting sick. They’re loosing their income. They’re loosing their health care. They’re scared. And they know exactly how they feel while passing that homeless person.

No one wants to be poor because poverty is humiliating.

Staying Healthy Without Healthcare

I personally don’t have healthcare. It’s something I haven’t talked about until recently because, to do so, I had to get over my own feelings about it.

I know full well how uncomfortable this topic makes people. But, my reality is the same for millions, so it’s ok to talk about it and how I’ve dealt with it.

To me, it doesn’t matter anymore why I don’t have access to affordable healthcare, I just don’t. I’ve accepted that that’s the world I live in and have moved on to the business of taking care of myself and my family accordingly.

It was terrifying at first, but since I had no other choice, I sucked it up and started doing my research.

I learned that supporting my family’s health without using modern medicine or being under a doctor’s care meant two things:

1. Going back to my roots

2. Expanding my knowledge of health alternatives.

I started figuring out how to use food as medicine, making myself my own human experiment in alternative health practices.

I read about macrobiotics, plant based diets, raw food, and juicing. I watched health documentaries, took online classes, researched herbs, made friends with vegans, and otherwise dove deep into the world of what, exactly, a healthy relationship with food and my body really means.

Over the past four years, I’ve come up with a reliable system for listening to my body, defining my symptoms, researching what nutrients I need, and figuring out what foods and herbs I can use to nourish and support my wellness.

Not having the luxury of a primary care physician meant taking ownership of my health and eating habits. While this has been empowering on many levels, it hasn’t been easy.

We live in a world where unhealthy food and eating practices are the norm, and sound nutrition advice is buried under advertisements, gimmicks, and marketing. That being said, going old school can be done. It just takes patience and dedication.

There are ways to be and stay healthy if you don’t have access to affordable healthcare. Follow me to learn more about how I do it.

Check out my Instagram page to see how I work with food on a daily basis.

Leafy Green Sweet Potato Soup

This recipe is gluten free, oil free, whole food, plant based, vegan

Ingredients:

3 large sweet potatoes

2 cups chopped collard greens

1 cup spinach

1 cup arugula

2 cups diced carrots

1 celery heart

1 large sweet yellow onion

1 large can coconut milk

Seasonings: salt, pepper, thyme, sage, onion powder, garlic powder

Directions:

Wash, peel, and chop vegetables. Add to slow cooker. Season to taste. Cover vegetables and greens with water. Cook on high 6 – 8 hours. Stir in coconut milk approximately 30 minutes before serving.

Eating for Weight Loss VS Eating for Health

Eating for Weight Loss is a completely different focus than eating for health.

When I was focused only on weight loss, I was constantly focused on calories, portion size, and scales. My entire eating plan was designed around numbers.

Yet, there was no plan for once those numbers were reached.

Once the scale says what you want it to say, then what? There is no plan after that when the focus is solely on losing weight.

Once I switched my focus to being healthy, weight loss came naturally. So did increased energy and exercise. In addition, the muscle and joint pain decreased and I was able to stop all medications.

Check out my video diary to hear more about Eating for Weight Loss vs. Eating for Health.

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4 Ingredient Peach Cobbler

This recipe is gluten free, oil free, nut free, vegan, whole food, plant based

Ingredients:

6 ripe peaches

2 cups gluten free oats

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 Tablespoons cinnamon

Directions:

Cut peaches into small, bite sized pieces. Add to medium sized mixing bowl. Add oats, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Mix thoroughly. Line an 8 x 10 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Bake at 375F for 40 minutes or until oats are golden brown. Serve warm with a drizzle of maple syrup on top.

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