How to do the grocery?
Cooking genuine dishes, choosing healthy and inviting snacks is much simpler if you do the GROCERY carefully choosing what you want to put into your pantry.
In this article, I present the essentials for a plant-based diet but also for an omnivorous diet. Each of us is on his own personal journey, both in one direction and the other, if you are reading I think it is to bring as much tasty and vibrant food into your kitchen as possible (in full vis a vegeto style!)
So here are 10 items that never fail in my shopping.
1. In this decalogue, undisputed queens occupy the first position, vegetables and fresh fruit which, ça va sans dire, fill more than half of the trolley.
I buy with my eyes, in the sense that since I buy it in an organic supermarket, most of the items offered are seasonal and produced between France, Italy and Spain. I try to pay attention to the products that travel around the world by plane. The only exotic fruit that never fails is the banana.
I am part of those people who seek inspiration. A few years ago I read the book by Elisabeth Gilbert (author of eat,pray,love)” The big magic”; this book talks about the importance of creative power. Each of us needs, every day, to be able to develop and express our creativity. Since I don’t have a creative job, (I can’t create potions to heal others, otherwise I would be a witch!), I express myself in the kitchen and create my videos on Instagram.
I usually try to have dark green leafy vegetables at least three times a week: spinach, baby spinach, kale cabbage, beets, turnips, cabbage (Brussels, broccoli, violet, etc), parsley. It’s easier in winter, I know … In summer we have rocket and agretti. All this good of God contains folate (they are named after leaf) but also calcium (in addition to an endless list of vitamins and oligo- elements …)
And then, I add one color a day: each vegetable has properties and the variety is an excellent ally.
So when I cook, I need to compose. For organizational reasons I have fixed points but they are always declinable: Saturday pizza can vary the composition of the dough, Sunday soup can have a thousand colors, the Wednesday sandwich changes its filling.
So, returning to our shopping here is what never fails:
2. BEANS & LENTILLES : they are the major protein source of a plant-based diet. Cannellini beans, lentils (yellow, red, green), borlotti beans, eye beans, azuki beans, cicerchie, lima beans, split peas, black beans, soybeans, edamame: they are a divine goodness!
They are composed of about 20% of proteins and contain zinc and iron (like meat) but also folate, potassium and fiber like vegetables. And of course they are low in fat and sodium!
I mainly choose them in their dried form, they are cheap and do not expire. I put the beans to soak the night before. This facilitates cooking and increases digestibility.
Tips: the skin is the part that can cause some digestion problems and be responsible for flatulence. I put a pinch of baking soda in the water!
However, there are excellent products also packaged in glass jars or at the limit in cans. What is very important is to rinse them well to remove the salt and other preservatives.
Legumes also found space in my desserts: I proposed the sweet with I cannellini and the one with azuki beans on IG. There are no more excuses: legumes forever and ever!
Last minute recipe: boil the water, when it boils pour a handful of lentils per person, after 15 minutes, add the pasta and drain all together. Add a little tomato in the purée and if you have them, two handfuls of baby spinach: Les jeux sont fait!
3. WHOLEMEAL CEREALS
Brown and wild rice, barley, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, oats, popcorn, rye, whole wheat pasta.
According to the two large retrospective studies of Harvard University on 3 million people, the consumption of whole grains decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases regardless of other eating habits and lifestyle. In the latest publication published in JAMA, the decrease in mortality in this group of patients is confirmed.
Efforts should be directed towards promoting at least 3 portions per day of whole grains.
I like to underline this aspect of cereals because between Dunkan and ketogenic diets, for many of us, they are the «absolute evil». Over the years, these fashions have built mental conditioning that are increasingly difficult to eradicate.
But when it comes to carbohydrates, there is more than just bread and pasta.
Try other cereal families and enjoy! At best, they extend your life!
Many are easy and quick to cook, others require longer times but with a pressure cooker or a rice cooker, more quantities can be made and consumed in 2-3 days.
Tips: For example, these days I cooked half a kilo of millet: yesterday I served it hot with asparagus, peas and spinach, this morning I tasted it as “porridge” and tomorrow I will make meatballs … et voilà!
4. NUTS AND SEEDS
Walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, peanuts, pecans, brazil nuts, pine nuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, flax seeds, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin and chia:
I have them all and I love them!
The Global Burden of Disease study, identified the deficiency of these nutrients as one of the causes of death from cardiovascular disease.
I use it as the main source of good fats: as a snack, to season pasta or salad, in porridge or in desserts. They are rich in trace elements including calcium, selenium, magnesium and zinc.
Daily doses are a quarter cup of seeds / nuts or 2 tablespoons of spreadable creams (butters).
I prefer to buy them in bulk and to fill my glass jars to keep well exposed for the children and to remember to insert them daily.
I admit it, until a few years ago I used only cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg.
The problem is that little is used to make room for fats, oils and too much salt. Little is known yet they are a valuable source of antioxidants.
Added to our dishes, they not only bring flavor, but also affect their anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and blood sugar regulation effects.
The spice that contains the most antioxidants are cloves.
Then be curious, start with the spices closest to our tradition: oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary, passing through cinnamon and chilli to get turmeric, curry, cardamom, ginger … the list is endless!
Tip: I try to have a good supply in the morning, between cinnamon, turmeric and nutmeg. If I don’t prepare the classic porridge, it can be golden milk (turmeric-vegetable milk) or directly in the smoothie. Who starts well is halfway through the work!
You know that I like to knead and in my shop there are at least 5 types of flour: organic 00 flour, type 2, rice, buckwheat and almonds.
In reality, the latter, which I use a lot for desserts, I make it when needed, starting from peeled almonds stored in a glass jar.
I almost always have chickpea flour and I also add corn flour.
This “arsenal” of flours is composed in order to guarantee a gluten-light approach. I try not to exceed with the intake of gluten because it can have a pro-inflammatory effect even in non-celiac subjects. Furthermore, I like to experiment and know how the flours react with each other.
7. Bouillon cubes
It is very often an ultra-processed product, but there are some companies that really do it with vegetables. All products that contain glutamate and excess sodium are to be avoided.
The cube is essential for flavoring soups, but also for cooking cereals.
Tips: if you approach quinoa, millet, buckwheat and amaranth, try to put half a nut in the cooking water. Many people have approached these cereals thanks to this little advice.
8. VEGETABLES IN CAN
This family of foods is also a processed food. Sometimes, however, we find ourselves in the situation of choosing “the least worst”. In this moment of our life, with the supermarket aisles raided by the fear of coronavirus, having tomato puree, green beans, peppers in oil or artichokes in cans, can be an alternative, let’s say healthier.
As they say in Veneto “with the dry, even the storm is fine!”
Tips: add them on the Saturday pizza to increase the fiber intake or mix the green beans to a pasta: with a spoonful of pesto they will be the end of the world in 15 minutes!
9. DRIED FRUIT
I certainly prefer fresh fruit to dried fruit. But when I want to sweeten porridge, my dessert, granola or simply to propose it as a snack for children, well dried fruit, as a concentrate of fructose and trace elements, comes in handy.
I never miss Medjol dates, raisins, Goji berries, figs, bananas and mangoes.
Other foods that never fail in grocery list are: the tofu that I take in half a kilo and natural (then I flavor it as I like it most).
Soy milk with calcium added (for me the best brand is Sojade) with no added sugar. The same for almond milk and soy yogurt.
I started making oat milk with oat flakes and it is really simple ( stay tuned for recipe! ).
I often take tempeh for ragout or stew. Everyone except me, in the family appreciate seitan, so I take that too.
Can not miss the baking powder and beer yeast … it was quite obvious.
This shopping list has been evolving for 2 years now, that is, since I approached the plant-based diet.
But each of us is in a very distinct point of his life path and with this article I wanted to give you just a few ideas.
Because, let’s be clear, very often ideas, organization and desire are missing.
I watch a ton of videos of vegan recipes and would do them all. I have the organization in my genes. And what about the desire?
well I think we are what we eat and we eat the energy we want to have.
I approached the plant-based diet for health reasons but I never loved meat (so much so that I was a vegetarian from 18 to 26 years old). Being vegan is not an imposition and I do not live it as a restriction. If I wanted to, I would allow myself some «trick» but sic stantibus rebus, I don’t feel the need.
What I recommend, if you are taking your first steps, is to make small changes that you feel close to your tastes. Read and find out there are many books that help you in the passage, among all I would choose those of Silvia Goggi, vegan nutritionist.
Find what is best for you, without judgment. Write down how you feel: mood, bloating, libido, menstruation, weight and make a small travel journal.
I am excited for you, a beautiful world awaits you to discover!
 Cardiovascular mortality attributable to dietary risk factors in 51 countries in the WHO European Region from 1990 to 2016: a systematic analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study, Toni Meier et al. European Journal of Epidemiology 2018
 The dietary Intake of Wheat and other cereals grains and their role in inflammation. De PinderK et al. Nutrients 2012