The Daily Beet

02 Nov The basics!

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My husband and I have been traveling full time around the country for the past three years. In that time we have lived in some very small towns of less than 400 people and large cities. We have yet to find a place that we could not be plant-strong. I’ve come up with some tips and suggestions on keeping things simple and how we have made it work, even when we only had a small general store to shop at.

Buying the basics:

Whatever whole beans they have in stock. We have a pressure cooker, so it makes it a lot easier to cook and prepare beans. Canned is not always an option, because of the high sodium in some canned beans, although we have found low sodium/no salt added canned beans in many stores. We mostly stick to whole beans, they are cheaper and with the pressure cooker they are fast and easy to make.

Whole lentils are a great addition to any grocery list, they are quick to make (especially in the pressure cooker) and pack a punch to fill you up. During the winter, we love lentil soup!

Brown rice is probably the easiest and cheapest whole grain you can find in any grocery store. If you’d like you can also buy things like whole grain pasta and quinoa as well. We also pick up oatmeal which is available everywhere.

During the winter months, depending on the town we are living fresh fruit can be hard to find. So we opt to buy frozen fruit instead. Frozen fruit is often flash frozen in the field, so it can actually be more fresh than the fresh fruit found in most grocery stores. You can defrost the fruit if you like, or you can have a nice cold, tasty treat.

We ran into the same trouble with vegetables as we did fruit in some of the cities we have lived in. Sometimes getting fresh produce was not an option.  We bought what we could fresh, and bought the rest frozen. You will want to be sure they haven’t added anything to the frozen vegetables like salt/oil.

Salt Free Seasoning:
We’ve had a lot of luck finding salt free seasonings in stores. We also purchase things like cayenne, basil, oregano and garlic to add to our meals.

Balsamic vinegar:
This is our dressing of choice when we need some extra flavor in dishes or salads.

Lemons/Lemon Juice:
Another great way to add flavor to a dish!

Non dairy unsweetened milk:
We have been to a lot of grocery stores, and we’re happy to report that finding unsweetened non dairy milk is easier than ever! We’ve even spotted it at 7-11′s! You can make your own oat milk, almond milk or even brown rice milk if you can’t find any non-dairy milks, or just go with out it! If you need something on your big bowl, you can blend a banana with some water in the blender for a sweet banana milk.

Potatoes/sweet potatoes:
Always easy to find, and you can cook a bunch at once so you have them for the week!

Parchment paper:
If we plan to bake anything in the oven, we always pick up some parchment paper. We don’t keep oil or spray oil in the house. It makes things a lot easier and less sticky to use parchment paper.

Other tricks of the trade:
Another secret to traveling full time around the country, is Amazon. We have an Amazon prime account which means we pay a little bit to get A LOT of 2 day shipping. And the best part? You can order food through Amazon. Here are some of the things we’ve purchased through Amazon:

POMI tomatoes
dry beans
gluten free oats
whole grains
unsweetened non dairy milk
whole grain cereals
Ground flax seed
Eden organic no salt added beans

Benson’s Gourmet seasonings:
This is by far the best salt free spice line that we’ve tried. You can only order it online, but it’s worth it (or at least we think it is).We stock up on our favorites every few months. My favorite is “Table Tasty”.

Jeff Novick’s Fast Food DVD
My husband and I have very busy schedules most of the time, and sometimes don’t have time to make a complicated meal. We have come to love all of Jeff’s recipe’s in his DVD “Fast Food” which only uses basic ingredients, found in any grocery store.

Remember, sticking to the basics can make your new plant-strong life a lot easier and keep you on track to a healthier life.

How have you made things easier at the grocery store?



Natala Constantine is a plant-strong advocate and works with the Engine 2 Team. She has a passion to help others and make plant-strong living as simple as possible.

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Natala Constantine
  • Jimmy
    Posted at 15:56h, 04 November

    Benson’s Tasty Table is my favorite seasoning as well. Great tips, Nat!

    • Engine 2 Team
      Posted at 11:39h, 08 November

      love that stuff!

  • Katie S.
    Posted at 21:36h, 12 November

    I just ordered Eden’s beans off Amazon! What kind of pressure cooker do you have? I was looking at them on Amazon and they looked like they were for canning.

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