I am frequently asked what I purchase regularly on a week to week basis at the grocery store. Having thought about this in detail, the best way to demonstrate this seemed to be to split up the foods I buy in bulk (usually a monthly basis) versus the foods I buy weekly (usually fresh produce). I’ve also gone a step further and provided an ‘on a budget plant-based/vegan grocery list’.
If you stick to the recommended serves per group/day and take your Vitamin B 12 (and possible Vitamin D/Omega 3 Algae oil) you will be reaching all the nutrient requirements that your body needs to absolutely thrive and you will be free from cholesterol, saturated animal fats, animal protein, antibiotics and hormones that wreak havoc in your body and have been shown to increase your chances of developing chronic disease.
These are the foods and food groups that I recommend for everyone. Your goals and personal circumstances will then dictate what amount of food you buy, what meals you prep and how frequently you eat. For example, pregnant women may want to focus more on vegetables that offer folate and iron like beetroot.
Within the recommended food categories, you can of course avoid certain foods if you have specific dietary considerations (e.g celiac).
The great thing about the above is that the majority of the foods are accessible to everyone and are far cheaper than buying meat, fish, etc. If you look for BULK supply stores nearby, you can save per day by stocking up on the ‘Bulk foods list’ in advance (cheaper per KG). If the 11 food categories seem a little overwhelming, just take a moment and think about your standard meals. Many meals contain foods that span across several of these categories so you will be ticking them off at the same time.
Wondering if you should be buying organic or conventional produce? You can read my specific blog on this topic but in short, yes, organic produce will limit your exposure to nasty pesticides/herbicides like glyphosate (round up) which has been linked to an increased chance of developing cancer. If budget is an issue, then eating conventional produce is still certainly better than avoiding fruit and vegetables in general as they contain way too many nutrients to miss out on. In my blog on organic versus conventional produce, I have made a table that shows the top 10 foods to buy as organic where possible as these typically contain the most pesticides/herbicides (e.g strawberries).
When you begin eating like this, it’s natural for your body to take some time to adjust. Just like if you move from a super cold location to a steaming hot and humid location – the human body takes some time to settle. Over your first month transitioning to a plant-based diet, your gut bacteria (which until now most likely contains bacteria based on eating a lot of meat and minimal vegetables and probiotic foods) will begin to go through their own transformation. This is a really positive process so if you notice some stomach rumbles or maybe a tiny bit of bloating, just remember this is totally normal and you are introducing your body to something entirely new. In the long run once your system has developed new gut bacteria, you will not look back and will be truly thriving on clean whole food plant-based nutrition.
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