These are my tried and true recommendations for information and products to maximize your plant-based journey. I’m not getting paid for any of these recommendations, so you can trust that they’re honest and legit!
Forks Over Knives was my very first introduction to plant-based eating in 2012, and it truly blew my mind. It gives a fantastic overview of how animal products affect a person’s health. I started making changes to my diet and lifestyle immediately after watching it.
Game Changers is fascinating for anyone, especially if you’re into sports, fitness, or physical performance of any kind. It has converted many, many, many people to plant-based eating.
What the Health is an eye-opening documentary about how our health and what we eat are affected by big business and the government.
Eat to Live by the great Dr. Joel Fuhrman is basically my nutrition bible. It would not be an understatement to say it changed my life. An incredible wealth of well-sourced nutritional information, it outlines in clear, easy-to-understand language, the undeniable science behind the whole-foods plant-based way of eating, as well as practical guidelines for your daily diet.
Super Immunity, also by Dr. Fuhrman, gives more specific advice about preventing and even reversing cancer and other illnesses through strengthening the immune system with food.
Disease-Proof Your Child, another Dr. Fuhrman book, illustrates the gravity of each day in a child’s diet, even into adulthood.
How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger is wildly popular and informative book on the why and how of plant-based eating.
Nutritionfacts.org, run by Dr. Michael Greger, provides articles on just about everything you’d ever want to know in the world of nutrition.
Drfuhrman.com is great for quick reference on Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s opinions on health and nutrition, as well as a source for purchasing trustworthy supplements and more.
Forksoverknives.com contains fantastic health information and well-loved recipes.
I use my Cuisinart food processor multiple times a week. If you’re looking for a food processor that shreds and grinds with ease and speed, this machine is the way to go. I have tried multiple other brands and have been left extremely disappointed. Especially when it comes to grinding, other machines just don’t hold a candle to the Cuisinart.
This is one department where you definitely get what you pay for. My Vitamix high-speed blender is one of the most used appliances in my kitchen. There is just nothing else out there that can even come close to the the power of a Vitamix. While this is not always critical, it is especially important if you’re wanting to make creamy ice creams, smooth dressings, silky sauces, or even perfectly powdery flours. No, it’s not cheap, but it is definitely an investment worth making. You can often find sales, as well as refurbished ones at a lower cost. Having tried many other blenders, even other pretty expensive ones, I find my Vitamix to be an absolute must. If you cannot find a way to get a Vitamix, I hear Blendtec is a somewhat close (but no cigar) second, and after that Ninja and Nutribullet.
When it comes to knives, just make sure they’re really sharp. Sharper knives are safer to use and give you much faster prep time.
Staple Food Products
Date sugar is basically the only sweetener I use, as it is not actually sugar but rather whole ground dates that can be used in place of sugar due to their natural sweetness and neutral flavor. It can be found in many health food stores, as well as online. Look for a product whose only ingredient is dates. The more finely ground, the better.
Nutritional yeast adds a delicious umami flavor to foods, but be careful to read the label and buy only unfortified nutritional yeast, as the fortified kind contains synthetic folic acid, which is carcinogenic. Unfortunately, most major brands of nutritional yeast are fortified (even if they don’t say so explicitly), but you can find lots of unfortified options online. It comes in flakes and powder; I find the powder to be more user-friendly, but either option is great, and the flakes can always be blended into a powder if needed.
Nut and Seed Butters
These are a major staple in my home. Raw nut and seed butters are milder in flavor and retain more nutritional value, so I like to use those where possible. Read the labels becausae the most important thing is to find nut and seed butters without added oils or sweeteners: the only ingredients should be nuts or seeds and maybe a little salt. I happen to love this raw almond butter from Trader Joe’s (but make sure to buy it in the actual store as they jack up the prices online!). If your home or school is nut-free, sunflower butter is a great option. This one from Trader Joes is a great value for your wallet (if you buy in store) and your body.
Tahini (sometimes called “tehina” in my recipes”) is a paste made of ground sesame seeds, kind of like nut butter. Due to its very intense flavor, it’s typically used only once diluted. You can usually find it in the ethnic or kosher aisles of almost any grocery store. Look for a product with only one ingredient: sesame seeds. The sesame seeds in your typical tahini are usually roasted, while a raw tahini will be milder in flavor but will also retain more nutritional value. You can also find tahini dressing/sauce in the refrigerator section. This diluted product is made with the plain sesame paste and water and/or oil, as well as salt and other seasoning. Unless specified otherwise in a specific recipe, always use the plain tahini paste if one of my recipes calls for tahini.
When it comes to nondairy milks, find something that suits your preference. I like soy milk, as I find it to be one of the creamiest options. Just be sure to take a close look at the label. Nearly every nondairy milk out there includes sweeteners, oils, or other ingredients that are less than health promoting. When it comes to soy milk (or any soy product), also make sure it is organic and non-GMO. I love these two organic unsweetened non-GMO soy milks by Trader Joe’s (for best price, buy in store, not online) and West Soy because they both contain only two ingredients: soy beans and water.
This another product that should always be organic and non-GMO. It comes in many firmness options ranging from soft – which is very light and creamy – to super firm – which is very dense and almost meaty. Experiment and see what you like best. You can also sometimes find sprouted tofu, which tastes the same as regular tofu but has way more nutritional value!
Food for Life brand Ezekiel products are exceptional, as they taste delicious and contain only wholesome ingredients. Bonus – they use sprouted grains, which makes them unbelievably nutritious. Their sandwich bread comes in many varieties and is great for school lunches, but I also love their hamburger buns and english muffins, and their tortillas make amazing thin-crust pizzas! These can usually be found in – you guessed it, Trader Joes, as well as health food stores, and even lots of regular grocery stores. If you don’t see them in the bread aisle, check the freezer section, too, as you can often find them there.
When buying pastas, nowadays, the world is your (vegan) oyster. There are so many nutritious and interesting options. Look for pastas made with only whole grains, beans or lentils, quinoa, brown rice, or even cauliflower. Just be careful to follow package instructions carefully, because some of these unusual pastas get a less than ideal texture when (even slightly) overcooked or refrigerated.