Dawn

Beans Beans the Musical Fruit!

Every doctor and nutritionist I've ever heard of or talked to will tell you all about how you need protein in your diet.  They're right, you do.  But, it can come from places other than meat.  Beans and legumes are great sources.  I won't go through the list, but a few of my favorites are black beans and chick peas.  They're also cholesterol free!

Whole Grains, Pastas and Flours

There is a difference in taste between whole grains and those that are refined, or enriched (definitely stay away from the enriched ones).  Not only is there more fiber and less chemicals in whole grains, but you get different textures too.  I'm a fan of Bob's Red Mill Baking mix because of the complexity of the grains used.  It just tastes better.  Just don't forget if you're baking GF to add some xantham gum to your baked goods so they don't crumble as easily.  The mixture of quinoa and corn makes a great pasta.  It's not sticky and can be reheated unlike rice pasta.

Non-Dairy, Non-Soy Milks

The biggest thing that turned me off to dairy milk was that I could never tell by smell if it was good or not.  It always smelled of baby spit up rotting grass to my nose.  When I tried soy, it had an odd after taste.  Then I tried almond milk.  There is no smell to it other than a hint of almond.  The taste is about the same as the smell, a hint of almost with the slightly thick texture of dairy milk.  There are a few different nut milks as well as coconut milk available these days.  Some are sweeter, some are plainer and then there are the flavors.  You can even get some of the varieties in chocolate now!  I've not tried those yet, but I may.  I used to love chocolate milk.  For right now though we all drink the unsweetened vanilla almond milk at our house.

Different Fats and Vinegars

I used to use a lot more olive oil than I do now.  But, the truth is, with the right pans and starting whatever you're cooking with things that make their own juices or oils you don't need them as much.  Avocados are a great fat to use, and infusing small amounts of olive oil with different herbs is nice too.  Same for vinegars.  Make sure you have balsamic, white, rice (sushi) and cider vinegars about, and maybe try infusing them too.

Nuts, Seeds and Butter

Raw nuts are a great way to get your fats and proteins.  Add in some seeds and you nearly have a party mix.  You'll need to have some milled flax seed about for egg substitute and if you're looking for a vegan gf/sf butter, earth balance makes one.  The only soy free thing they make, but they do have one.

Nutritional Yeast

This is an inactive yeast that smells a little funky, but can be used as cheese.  It's also a great source of B-12.  Top your pop corn with it.  Add it on top of your pizza, or toss a bit on pasta if you're looking for your Parmesan fix.  Be sure to keep it in a tightly sealed container.

Condiments

Yeah, you'll find that once you're vegan, these aren't needed as much anymore.  It's crazy, but in all honesty, the food tastes better and you're not as willing to cover the taste with the sugars of condiments.  There are still a few you're going to want though.  Mustards, some really nice flavorful course ground stuff maybe with some bite, maybe not.  Chili sauces, usually for your Asian dishes, and if you can't live without ketchup, there is an organic reduced sugar variety out there.  Agave is a popular sweetener and depending on your preferences, honey.

Herbs and Spices

Being gluten free tends to make you very careful of your spices and everything else that can potentially be a source of contamination.  Eating gluten free also tends to lend itself to trying more ethnic foods.  I can tell you that all of McCormick's spices are gluten free, and many of the ethnic stores will carry fresh items as well that you aren't going to find at the chain grocers.  Grow some of your own if you can, and try some others out.

Canned items

Most canned veg are fine as long as it's just a vegetable.  Anything containing a sauce is going to be full of sodium and maybe even wheat or soy.  Commercially canned items rarely taste as good as fresh, but there are times where we don't have the option of fresh so keep some things on hand where the taste and quality isn't an issue.  If you are able, can things yourself, even sauces.

Fresh Fruits and Veg

Most fresh fruits and veg need to be refrigerated, but a few thrive in cool dark places like your pantry.  Onions, garlic, potatoes, sweet potatoes and winter squashes all can hang about in your pantry until you're ready to use them.

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