Some of these items listed, I have been eating for years as part of my vegetarian diet. But, since going vegan I have welcomed a lot more foods into my diet that I just can’t live without now.
Dairy Free Milk
I love coffee. I know most vegans don’t rate it, but I’m not most vegans and I’ve been drinking the stuff since my teens with no ambition to get sober from coffee any time soon.
When I gave up dairy, finding a milk that satisfied my tastebuds and replicated the creamyness whole milk use to add to my coffee was difficult and it turns out not all brands of almond milk are that nice. Thankfully I found a brand of almond and coconut milk that I loved and I can now say that I don’t miss adding whole milk to my coffee anymore.
While the majority of the milk I buy is for coffee, I do use it in porridge, baking, cooking, and sauces too. So, it’s definitely the number one item I add to my shopping basket every week and one that I make sure to stock up on when I see it on offer.
The almond milk from Aldi, is actually the cheapest at around 55-60p for a litre. It tastes like the Alpro brand and has the same ingredients. But, it’s far cheaper and because its Aldi, you can buy it in bulk too.
Dairy free milks are also fortified and contain B12 and calcium.
As a vegetarian I avoided all soy products because I heard it was bad for our thyroids and since I already have an under active thyroid, I didn’t want to risk damaging it any further. Soy was also one of the reasons why I was scared to go vegan because I assumed a vegan diet was mainly soy-based, which now I know isn’t true.
I was still nervous to add tofu into my diet, however, overtime I gave it a go and I have never looked back. I do make sure to buy organic and non-GMO Tofu, but it’s just so versatile and packed with protein and nutrition, that I couldn’t give it up even if I wanted to. Also, because tofu is a soft and quite porous food, it absorbs flavour like a sponge and I love it.
Its funny because since joining Instagram, I turned into one of those people who was scared of carbs: carbs make you fat, carbs make you gain weight; they make you diabetic – crazy stuff, that now I just laugh at.
Going vegan was the best decision I’ve made.
I know, it’s said often and sometimes it sounds quite unbelievable and dramatic, but it’s true. Going vegan was the best decision that I’ve ever made, not only for the animals, but also for my own health and wellbeing. I now look at carbs as fuel and food that actually makes me happy to eat: brown bread, white rice, wholewheat spaghetti, Cous Cous, tortilla wraps; these are all foods I avoided for years. I convinced myself they didn’t fill me up and now I eat most of them everyday and no I’m not hungry.
Not to forget the humble potato. I can’t believe I was scared to eat over 200g of these babies in my late years of vegetarianism, the effects social media had on my relationship with carbs, was unnoticeable until I went vegan. Now, I eat these every week, either as wedges/chips, or potato waffles – I love them.
Legumes & Pulses
Again, foods I hadn’t added to my diet until my late vegetarian years. Beans such as; chickpeas, butter beans, kidney beans, navy beans and baked beans are foods that I buy everytime I do a food shop and their protein count is incredible.
These foods are so versatile too and you can throw them in anything, from vegan sausages and burgers, to sauces and even cakes. Not to mention you can make vegan fluff from the bean juice – try it!
Although, baked beans win my heart and I eat them pretty much most days, mixed with two heaped dessert spoons of nutritional yeast either on toast, or with my curried protein potato waffles. I always go for Asda own brand of reduced sugar and salt beans.
Nutritional Yeast with B12
As vegans supplementing our diets with b12 is essential, as so many negative health risks come with b12 deficiency. But, nutritional yeast or nooch, as the cool kids call it, has other benefits too: zinc, magnesium and folic acid are also minerals our bodies require that nooch also offers.
While transitioning to a vegan diet I was seeing a lot of other vegans using nutritional yeast and I quickly grabbed myself a few tubs not really sure what to expect. It’s addictive – highly addictive.
I go through a 1 kg tub every two weeks, which I guess could be considered expensive, but I enjoy it and it’s good for me. Plus, it can also be added to all sorts of foods too: smoothies, sauces, vegan cheese, rice, pasta dishes, you name it.
Nutritional yeast also has a very good protein count too which for some reason, nobody really talks about.
Dried Fruit & Nuts
I seem to go through a lot of dates and sultanas. I use them in everything: dates I mostly use in vegan baking, but sultanas I add to my everyday food too and I love them.
As for nuts: cashews are my most used nut and I personally think that I make a cracking cashew cheese with them too. 😉
I’ve eaten coconut cream for years and I adore it. I eat it in so many different ways: on fruit, baked oats, as a frosting, raw cheesecake, ice cream; literally if there’s a way to eat this without spooning it straight from the carton, I’ll find it. Plus, it’s a great source of healthy fats and MCT’s which are incredible for our hair, skin, nails and energy levels too.
Nut flours are all vegan and of course, made from nuts. I use these all the time in baking, or to thicken sauces, to add protein to my porridge or smoothies.
There are so many options out there and all are as delicious, as the other. My favourite and most used nut flours are coconut and peanut flour. Although, not a nut, I’ve also been using quinoa flour recently and loving that too, as it gives baked goods a nutty taste.
Vegan Butter (margarine)
I always vowed I would never stoop as low, as to eat margarine. As a vegetarian, I would always buy kerrygold butter, so using margarine seemed disgusting to me.
While transitioning to veganism, margarine was one of the first things on my shopping list and it isn’t so bad. It’s crazy how buttery it tastes actually. Obviously, things like this need to be eaten in moderation, but spread on toast or to fry some mushrooms now and again won’t hurt.
Herbs & Spices
Herbs and spices have always been something I’ve used and keep stocked up in my cupboards: garlic powder, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, Italian seasoning and mixed herbs; are some I use often. These also are perfect for adding flavour to bland food such as tofu.
Adding lots of tomato ketchup to my food has been a daily occurrence for months. Would you believe that I didn’t even like this stuff until three years ago? An avid brown sauce lover, the tomato version never appealed to me: now it needs to be in my cupboard, or I will cry.
Of course, I could always make my own ketchup and many times I have. But, seriously, has anyone got time for that?
Sriracha is another sauce I have in my cupboard, although I don’t use it as often as ketchup.
Obviously there are foods I haven’t mentioned, such as fruit and veggies and of course those too have to be in my fridge and freezer. But, I always feel those are essential in everyone’s kitchen. So, I didn’t think it was necessary to mention them.
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