Tip #1 — One of the first things to do when you begin eating a plant-based diet is to remove and replace. Remove the SAD (Standard American Diet) foods from your kitchen, and replace them with healthy, organic plant based foods. It may take some time, but eventually you will be able to have a completely plant-based kitchen. Begin by replacing sugars with organic raw, unheated honey; organic pure maple syrup; and organic Medjool dates. Replace white flour and white rice with whole grain and/or gluten free flours and rice. Replace cooking oils with organic coconut oil, organic cold-pressed olive oil, and organic grapeseed oil. Replace milk with almond, rice, hemp, or chia milk. Remove table salt and replace it with Celtic Sea Salt or Himalayan Sea Salt. Replace spices and herbs with organic varieties. Almond butter is a much better choice than peanut butter. Caffeinated drinks can be replaced with nut coffee replacements such as instant Pero or Roma brand, or Teechino for coffee makers. Also, try different caffeine free organic herbal teas. This is a beginning, and you will continue a little at a time until you are satisfied with what you have in your kitchen.
Tip #2 — Do you enjoy eating at a salad bar, but grow tired of having to make a fresh salas every evening for dinner? So many times when people hear that you are eating a vegan, or plant-based diet, they think that all you can eat are salads. That is not entirely true. There is a wide variety of foods to eat, and salads are only a part of it. Well, I do eat lots of salads, but they are definitely not boring. Yes, it can be drudgery making a salad every evening at dinner, so I learned a way to make it not only easy, but also very tasty and satisfying. I made a wonderful salad box that completely changed eating salads for my husband and I. Purchase a large plastic storage box that will fit on a shelf of your refrigerator. If you have a side-by-side refrigerator, you will need a smaller box, and for an older one door refrigerator, you can get a larger box. You may find over time that it will be helpful if you have a space to keep a second refrigerator because you will be eating so much more fresh produce. Purchase 6-12 pint size square freezer containers. You can place 6 in the smaller box, or 12 in a larger box that would also contain a container for lettuce blends. If you are using a smaller box for the salad toppers, you will need a separate container for the lettuce blend. Prepare your favorite salad toppings and place them in each of the small freezer containers. Cover the entire box and keep it in your refrigerator. When it is mealtime, take out the box, uncover it, and place it on the counter. Then each person can select their salad toppings for the meal, just like your own personal salad bar. This is especially nice because not everyone likes the same ingredients in their salads. It is also nice to keep 2-3 different homemade salad dressings available.
Tip #3 — So many of the awesome recipes that you can make include nuts and/or seeds. Nuts and seeds are naturally surrounded with enzyme inhibitors, therefore, they should be soaked for 8-12 hours prior to eating them. Soaking releases these inhibitors so they are easier to digest. It is so discouraging when you are all excited about making a new recipe that contains nuts or seeds, and you realize you need to soak them first. Here’s a great tip in order to be ready for any recipe. Purchase organic nuts and seeds in bulk at your local health food store. Soak all the nuts and seeds 8-12 hours (either all day or all night). After soaking, lay them out to completely dry before storing them; or if you have a dehydrator, dehydrate them for 8-12 hours (all day or all night) at 105 degrees. Anything you dehydrate under 107 degrees is still a living food. Heating foods over 107 degrees causes them to begin losing their enzymes and nutrients. After the nuts and seeds are completely dry, put them in 1 quart wide mouth mason jars and keep them in your freezer. When you have a recipe calling for nuts or seeds, you just go to your freezer and they are ready.
Tip #4 — Purchase the appropriate kitchen equipment that you will be using on a regular basis.
1) A good set of kitchen knives is essential.
2) Juicer – There are many juicers on the market. The ones that are best are masticating, single auger, or twin gear juicers because they produce juices containing most of their nutrients. With these juicers, you can make juice that will last up to 3 days in your refrigerator. Put the juice in 8 oz glass jars, filling them to the very top to prevent air, and put lids on them. Store them in your refrigerator and they keep most of their nutrients for up to 3 days. Many people start out with juicers tthat have a spinning basket because they are less expensive. However, they produce less juice than others and they aerate the juice causing it to lose up to half the nutrients. Using this type of juicer, you must make juice each time you want it and drink it right away.
3) Because we blend nuts, seeds, and greens in our blenders, we recommend a high quality blender that will do the job.
4) Another piece of equipment that is a must need for raw food preparation is a good-quality food processor.
There are many additioal small kitchen appliances that you may want to purchase over time: Dehydrator, almond milk maker, citrus juicer, water distiller, etc.
Have a wonderful time organizing your healthy kitchen!