Hey friends!! Here are a few tips for your Next Grocery Shopping Trip. When I first went vegan I was lucky to have a dad, CHEF JUAN GONZALEZ, who knew everything about vegan diets, so I didn’t struggle much with that. I figured it would be a good idea to share a few of tips to help you along your journey… I hope you find them useful!
1) LEGUMES: Pick up lots of beans, of all kinds. I especially like lentils because they cook a lot faster & are sooo yummy. Legumes are cheap & are loaded with amazing nutrients/phytonutrients & lots of FIBER. If beans make you gassy, blame Phytic Acid for that, you can avoid that by soaking them over night before cooking, sprouting them or through the cooking process. In Mexico we also use a plant called EPAZOTE to help reduce the gassy affect. (It’s an acquired taste so don’t add too much at first)
2) GREENS!! You can never go wrong with greens especially dark leafy greens like Kale, spinach, mustard, etc. These foods have lots of amazing nurtitional value & very little calories/fat. So you can enjoy a HUGE serving of them without the guilt.
4) Fruit: I love fruit, especially during these summer months. Buy it now while it’s in season and at low prices. Some of my favorites: berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries,etc… I buy A LOT so I can freeze half), bananas (i freeze some for smoothies), apples (there’s many kinds, find out which one is your favorite), oranges, watermelon (i love juicing it), pineapple, grapes, peaches, and lots more.
5) ”Healthy” fats: these include avocados (my favorite), nuts (almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, pine nuts, etc). Stay away from using too much oil, it is just FAT & whatever health claims are made about the oil you can get from the whole food (e.g. olive oil= eat the olives)
6) Grains: Pick up brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, etc… Stay away from bleached products, as they are stripped of their nutritional value & are empty calories.
7) Seeds: Pick up some seeds on your next trip, they add protein to your dish & each has a unique & amazing nutritional value. My favorites are: chia seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds & hemp seeds
8 ) Herbs, Seasonings & Spices: Pick up your favorite herbs, seasonings & spices. These will add lots of flavor to your dishes & help you cut back on salt!
9) Shop at your local Farmer’s Market: You get great deals of beautiful, local, natural, organic produce. Get to know the farmers & ask questions!! The farmer’s at my local market, Old LA Farmer’s Market in Highland Park, now recognize me & even give me free produce. Something important to consider, a lot of small farms practice organic farming, however, they don’t carry the label of “organic” because in order to have it they must go through a bureaucratic process. So again, talk to the farmer & ask them what their farming process is, do they use pesticides, etc.
10) Buy in Season: When you buy products that are in season, you save money & it’s better for the environment because this means you are most likely getting local produce. For example, during the summer months the VEGAN CHICANO DOCTOR and I eat tons of fresh fruit that comes from Ventura County & the Central Valley. In the winter months we eat a lot of root vegetables & greens that we get through our CSA box from the SOUTH CENTRAL FARM.
11) Buy organic when possible: Eating organic can be expensive, but it’s all about priorities. For me, eating organic is more important than buy a new dress, or going out drinking. The money I would “waste” away in one night, I invest in my health & buy organic. There are some fruits/ veggies that I always buy organic because they contain a lot of pesticides. For for on that stay tuned for tomorrow’s post on buying organic)
12) “Ethnic” Markets (whatever that means lol): Check out your local Asian, Mexican, Indian, Middle eastern,etc. market for great deals. Chances are, you’ll find a better deal on Tofu at the Asian Markets than you would at a “health food” store. I buy my cacao & chia from my local Mexican market at a better price than I would at one of those big “health food” stores!
13) Be a smart shopper: Taking a little time to find out when your local markets have a sale (a lot in my neighborhood have sales on Tuesdays & Weds) will really end up saving you a lot of money. I know the days when they bring in the fresh & often organic produce at my local 99 cent store, and I learned that simply by asking!
15) Cut back on animal products: Find “animal product” substitutes that are healthy & that you enjoy. Try these substitutes: for milk: almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, rice milk, soy milk; for meat: Organic tofu & tempeh, mushrooms, beans; for butter: sub the butter in your pastries for apple sauce, or try a Vegan Butter (in moderation); Cheese: Nutritional Yeast for that cheesy taste, Daiya Cheese (in moderation) , or make your own Raw Cheese (recipe coming tomorrow)
16) Read labels: I’m not talking about obsessing over calories, carbs, fats,etc, READ THE INGREDIENTS! This is the most important part of the label, you should really find out what you’re eating. If you don’t recognize an ingredient/additive then don’t eat it, or research what it is before buying it. So what if something is “FAT FREE”, what does that really mean? Find out!!
17) Put your health first: What we eat affects our overall health, so put the best foods into your body. Your health should be a priority above all else. Without your health you can’t work, you can’t make money, you can’t be an activist, you can’t enjoy life. So really invest in your health, because although it may seem “expensive” to eat healthy, I can assure you that medications, surgeries ,etc will cost a lot more.
Those were my 17 most important GROCERY SHOPPING TIPS! Do you have any others? Share them with us!
-PEACE & NRGY
Like what I’ve shared? Buy me a cup of tea, a wheatgrass shot, a cup of atole, Veggie Juice or Dessert! YUM!