Want to know how a seagan stocks her pantry? Here’s what’s inside our cabinets.
| By Lisa McComsey |
Most people assume that seagans and vegans are health nuts. (Or masochists.) Why else, goes the thinking, would they deprive themselves of life’s best culinary gifts: bacon, pizza, and all-you-can-eat fried shrimp?
Truth is, it’s easy to be an unhealthy, nutrient-deprived, overweight seagan if you’re not a little careful. How fun it would be to load the shopping cart with Oreos, potato chips, French fries, and dairy-free “ice creams”!
Sugar/salt coma, anyone?
We recommend a balanced, whole-foods diet composed mainly of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, and two to three weekly servings of seafood. Go light on processed foods, anything loaded with sugar, and deep-fried anything.
That said, below are a few of our favorite things. With these items in stock, we’re never at a loss for meals—even when there’s “nothing in the house to eat.”
Beans and Legumes
- Dried or canned beans (buy BPA free when possible)—black, cannellini, garbanzo, great northern, kidney, lima, navy, pink, white, etc.
- Lentils (dried)
- Tea (preferably herbal or green)
Wait, where’s the juice? We don’t recommend it. All the good stuff is squeezed out, leaving you with a glassful of sugar.
- Anchovies (preferably in water)
- Apple butter and applesauce—unsweetened (good for baking)
- Clams—chopped or minced
- Coconut milk—light
- Marinara sauce—low fat, low sugar (check labels for vegan)
- Nut and seed butters—almond, cashew, peanut, sunflower seed, walnut, etc.
- Sardines (packed in water
- Tomato paste
- Tuna fish—light (packed in water), sustainably caught (look for “hook and line” “troll and pole,” or “troll caught” on label)
- Vegetable stock (oil free)
- Oats and other grains, like quinoa, teff, and amaranth—for “porridge”
- Various cereals—100 percent whole grain with no added oils (we love Nature’s Path Smart Bran and Ezekiel Cinnamon Raison)
- Chutneys (great to spice up wraps and rice and beans)
- Hot sauce (we’re partial to Cholula and Sriracha)
- Mustard—Dijon or whole grain (check ingredients for dairy)
- Olives (in water)
- Tamari and/or soy sauce (low sodium)
- Thai green or red curry paste
- Vinegars—apple cider (raw), balsamic, red wine, rice, and white wine
“Dairy” and Refrigerator Essentials
- “Milk”—almond, cashew, coconut, flax, hemp, oat, pea, rice, soy, and so forth—check labels for sugar content and buy the unsweetened versions
- Tempeh and tofu
- “Yogurt”—almond, cashew, coconut, soy, etc.—opt for plain/no sugar
- Ask your fishmonger what’s fresh and local; otherwise, buy sustainably caught varieties (note: in recipes, you can usually swap one fish for another, depending on what’s available)
- Edamame—great for snacking
- Fruits and vegetables
- Salmon (good to have on hand for a backup dinner when you have no time to shop)
- Shrimp (perfect for quick dinners)
- Veggie burgers—make sure they’re vegan; many contain eggs and/or cheese
We love them all!
- Buckwheat groats
- Popcorn or sorghum kernels
- Rice—not the processed white stuff! Stick with basmati, black, brown, jasmine, and wild
Herbs and Spices
Keep a variety on hand to perk up your dishes
- Dark chocolate—70 percent cacao or more (not all are vegan; be sure to check)
- Vegan “ice cream” (reserve for special occasions; most are bursting with sugar)
Nuts and Seeds
Any and all are great to keep on hand; I keep in stock at all times:
- Hemp hearts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
I throw them in cereal and yogurt, toss with my salad, and use cashews to make cashew cream.
Since Italian food is one of my favorite cuisines, I make pasta once or more a week. Avoid the processed white stuff and stick with noodles made from:
- Whole wheat / whole grain
- Beans (black bean, mung bean, etc.)
- Brown rice
- Go wild in the fruit and vegetable section of your supermarket; I love the farmers’ markets in my town during summer/fall months—it’s good to buy local when possible. Wondering if you should buy organic? Check the Environmental Working Group’s guide to Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen.
Now that you’ve had a peek in my kitchen, what are your food faves? Please share in the comments section below.
Photograph by TK. © 2020