Plant-based starter guide

Last week I wrote about what brought me to consider plant-based recipes.

And this post is all about getting started.

It's important to know that plant-based eating doesn't have to mean excluding all meat. In fact, if you LOVE meat, I'd really encourage you to keep eating it.

Restricting food you love is never a good idea (it's a slippery slope to dieting, extreme restriction, etc.). In fact, the main reason I stopped eating meat is because it was giving me so much internal pain -- and I didn't enjoy meat enough to go through that on a regular basis.

So I invite you to bring a healthy curiosity to this post. These are all items I have in my own house now. These are all affiliate links, so please consider this my round-about way of being your own personal shopper.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out. Or follow me on instagram where I post fun things about food, cooking, flowers, puppies and more.

Start with a good guide

Don't know about y'all, but I need less complexity in my life. I'm also not one of those organized ladies who has her Pinterest all neat and prim and proper. (True story! All my food boards are 'private' because they're a big, huge freaking mess.) Enter: Amy Chaplin.

This cook book changed my life.

It's available on Kindle, but I can assure you that the hardcover version is worth it (and it's printed by Shambhala Publications on recycled paper!). Get this book if you have no idea where to start (like me), want an easy way to incorporate plant-based recipes (like me) or are simply tired of scrolling through messy Pinterest boards (like me, me, me).

Get good, lifelong storage options

One of the things I love about plant-based eating is how it cuts down on the amount of plastic I use on the regular. I store all my beans, grains, seeds, and berries in Weck jars. They're sturdy, they're glass, they make my kitchen pretty. Here are some links to get you started:

1 Liter Weck Jars (link takes you to a pack of six!)

Half Liter Weck Deco Jars (link takes you to another pack of six!)

Liquids matter

A lot of my favorite recipes are soups or use a soup base to flavor vegetables. Start simple with these two items in your kitchen:

Almond milk

"No Chicken" Base

These beans and grains will get you pointed in the right direction

One of the more challenging parts about transitioning to plant-based eating was picking out which beans and grains would actually taste good. (I loathe returning items to the store!) These are your safest bets when starting your path toward plant-based goodness. They'll never let you down:

Split peas

Red lentils

Quinoa

Whole Oats

Brown Rice

Sweet Brown Rice

Seeds and berries, I adore thee

Berries and seeds are your friends. They taste light, lovely, nutty, fresh -- and they're packed with nutrients. Here's your starter list:

Goji berries

Pecans

Pumpkin Seeds

Almonds

Chia seeds

Spice it up, baby

As far as I'm concerned, a life without herbs is no life at all. Even before I transitioned away from eating meat, I lived and died by herbs to bring my recipes to life. Start here with these basics to make anything taste like heaven:

Minced garlic (I buy it in a jar when I'm stressed and need to not clean a garlic press)

Shallots (dried or fresh will work)

Marjoram (use it like a basil or parsley)

Pink Salt

White Pepper

Truffle Oil

Hearty Olive Oil

Bring intentionality to your kitchen cabinets

Cooking with plants in mind definitely changed the parts of my kitchen I used on a regular basis. I think, in general, less is more when it comes to kitchen utensils. Here are the items that I use almost every day:

Cast Iron Pot

Small strainers

Masher

Good chef's knife

Colander set

A Vitamix or Ninja Blender

What'd I miss?

I've made this post intentionally simple and straightforward. All these things can enhance how you cook today. This isn't about throwing out all the "bad" foods and replacing them with "good" foods.

This is an experiment in curiosity.

Just see what happens.

If you don't like plant-based eating, by all means, please find food you enjoy. (Or reach out to me for a fresh recipe!)

If there's something I didn't cover in this post, please let me know in the comments below. I'd love to find a good deal online and link to it for everyone else.

Want to see some of this stuff in action? Follow me on Instagram.