What’s different about a vegan kitchen? By pure definition there are no animal products to be found. This means no meat, no dairy and no eggs. What’s different about my vegan kitchen than maybe some other vegan kitchens? It’s not just about what you don’t eat; it’s also about what you do eat! We are looking at a healthy vegan kitchen. Any lifestyle has the capability of being unhealthy if not implemented correctly.
A healthy vegan stocks her kitchen with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds with the emphasis on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The only way to improve upon this diet would be to buy organic foods. These foods supply you with all your nutritional needs except for B12 and possibly Vitamin D. B12 must be taken as a supplement. Vitamin D can be found in fortified foods, a supplement or good old-fashioned sunshine! A probiotic is something everyone can benefit from too. A good probiotic will keep your intestinal flora in tip-top shape.
On my kitchen countertop you will see a rice cooker, a vitamixer, a grill and a juicer. Apparently, you will not actually see my counter top! In the cupboards are sauce pans and large salad bowls. In the drawers are utensils for food preparation, e.g., two different sized santoku knives, a paring knife, and a peeler. I also have two cutting boards, one small and one large.
What do I do with my small kitchen appliances? A rice cooker is not just for rice anymore. I use my rice cooker for all sorts of grains. I cook whole grain brown rice in addition to quinoa, teff, amaranth, buckwheat and millet.
My vitamixer is the most useful item in my repertoire of cooking aids. I can make hot soup, fruit smoothies, green smoothies and frozen treats! I can puree, dice and chop all kinds of things too. The secret to the vitamixer is the high grade commercial motor.
My grill is a little George Foreman healthy cooking grill. There is nothing like a grilled onion, pepper and mushroom sandwich. It always reminds me of going to the carnival when I was younger. A more adult meal is grilled asparagus with garlic salt. It’s delicious and nutritious. I’m sure George doesn’t know how healthy his grill can really be!
I recently bought a juicer and it is fantastic! You will be amazed how much you can get into a glass of juice. This is a great place for organic foods to come into play; concentrated organic nutrition. When you just can’t juice try a green mix to make sure you are getting enough phytochemicals and antioxidants.
Sitting on my stove top are a non-stick skillet and a pasta pot. I use the non-stick skillet to avoid using added oils. This is very useful for skillet greens, eggplant, pancakes and stir-fry. My whole grain pancakes are made with egg replacer and plant-based milk. I add walnuts, carob chips and sometimes I throw in blueberries too! The stir-fry consists of tofu or tempeh with rice noodles and lots of veggies with peanut, soy or hoisin sauce. My pasta pot is used for whole grain organic brown rice pasta or as a steamer for vegetables. A great use for a saucepan is to make quick and easy curry. All it takes is lite coconut milk, curry paste, vegetable broth and a little onion.
My pantry is filled with all kinds of beans, canned and dried, split peas, whole oats, nut butter and sweet potatoes. Besides huge amounts of organic produce in my fridge there is also hummus, flaxseeds and plant-based milks. Hemp and almond are my favorite. I add the ground flaxseeds to my smoothies for a dose of omega-3s. A good protein powder can be a healthy addition too.
Even making some small changes to your current kitchen set-up can benefit your health. Shopping smarter and thinking ahead instead of impulse shopping are strategies for success. Having the right equipment to make your time in the kitchen more convenient and efficient is also a step in the right direction.