Starter Guide

I created this Starter Guide to make eating plant-based, whole foods easier for you. It includes the ingredients I use and meals I cook most often. Along with books, blogs, recipes and other plant-based resources I used when I started out, and those I continue to use now.

This guide will be updated from time-to-time if I learn about new resources or information that may help you, so continue to refer back to it in case there is something new I may have added. Feel free to reach out with any questions!

Caryn

Starter Ingredient List

The below ingredient list is based on the way I stock my own kitchen. This list helps me make plant-based recipes for chefs I follow, and also have enough staples on hand to get creative with my cooking. I eat whole-food, plant-based 95% of the time because it is a way of eating that works best for me and makes me feel my healthiest. So, you won’t see sources of processed/ fake meats or processed meals, but feel free to modify your own list with what works best for you.

Plant-Based Ingredient List

What I Eat in a Day

As I’ve moved to plant-based eating over the last few years, the ingredients I use and types of meals I make have definitely evolved. So will yours. I used to make a lot of dishes that mimicked the foods I ate with animal products, I also incorporated fake foods more often. Now, I stick to simple: whole, high starch, low-fat, low-cost ingredients.

Breakfast
Breakfast usually consists of cooked or uncooked oats (sometimes uncooked oats), buckwheat or quinoa, with plant-based milk, fruit, flaxseeds and a few crushed nuts over the top. Sometimes I also make banana oat pancakes, but that’s typically on the weekend.

Lunch
Lunch is usually leftovers from dinner the night before, or a large veggie bowl with different raw or cooked vegetables over kale or spinach and a homemade dressing such as tahini with lemon. Sometimes I make a big veggie power bowl.

  • Vegetable Bowl: Sweet potatoes, chickpeas, cauliflower, tomatoes over greens with balsamic vinaigrette or a small amount of tahini with a lot of lemon sauce. Many oil-free and low-fat dressing recipes out there!
  • Example: Sriracha Maple Tofu over Salad (I don’t eat a ton of soy at one sitting, but use it more as a condiment).

Dinner
For dinner, Andrew and I typically eat together and make red lentils bolognese with veggies over pasta, veggie curry, thai noodles with veggies and tofu and veggie pizzas.

 

Meal Prep

Meal prepping is so important for getting organized and not feeling bored with your meals. Here is a blog post about my approach if you want to check it out.

Recommended Educational Resources

  1. Books to Read
    • How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Gregor
      This book focuses on the health benefits of eating plant-based. Dr. Gregor’s research and experience has been monumental in the case for eating more plants and this book enhanced our knowledge and motivation immensely. Highly recommend this book, whether you read it or listen to it. We refer back to it on a regular basis!
  2. Movies to Watch
    • Forks Over Knives
      “The feature film Forks Over Knives examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods.”
    • Earthlings
      This is a very difficult movie to watch, as it highlights the exploitation and abuse of animals in the meat industry. However, it is incredibly eye-opening and life-changing, so if you are open to trying it I highly suggest it.
  3. Websites to Follow
    • NutritionFacts.org
      This website was created by Dr. Michael Gregor. He has a full team of researchers who comb through the best and most recent plant-based information available so you don’t have to. It is my first stop for the latest nutrition information, and after reading his book, I subscribed to this site so I’d get notifications of new videos and emails. His videos and articles are backed by the latest research and scientific data.  The ‘About’ page of his site gives you a good feel for how he sets it up.
    • Engine2Diet
      Rip Esselstyn and his Engine 2 team have been working to change the American diet for good over the past eight years. He transformed a Texas BBQ-loving fire station into a plant-based powerhouse, and now he’s dedicated his life to showing you how to live an easy and satisfying plant-strong life.
    • Plant Based News
      A one-stop shop for the latest news in the plant-based and vegan world. I also follow them on Instagram and Facebook.
  4. Chefs/ Food Bloggers to Follow
    As you may have read in my About page, I follow a plant-based, whole food lifestyle, with a focus on high starchy carbs, veggies, fruits, and low fats. This lifestyle often goes by the name of ‘Whole Starch Low Fat’, ‘High Carb Low Fat’, etc.

  5. Podcasts 
    • Rich Roll
      A former lawyer turned vegan and world-class athlete, Rich has done amazing work for the plant-based community. His interviewees are fascinating and centered around all-things wellness. Each of his podcasts are informative for us and inspiring.
    • The Ian Cramer Podcast