This Starter Guide includes:

  • Tips to make eating plant-based, whole foods easier for you
  • The Ingredients I use and meals I cook most often
  • Books, blogs, recipes and other plant-based resources I used when I started out, and still use now

This guide will be updated from time-to-time as I learn about new resources, so continue to refer back to it in case there is something new I may have added!

Starter Ingredient List

The below ingredient list is based on the way I stock my own kitchen. They are the ingredients I have found to be in most plant-based recipes I find, and the right staples to keep 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 on this list, but feel free to modify your own list with what works best for you!

Plant-Based Ingredient List

What I Eat in a Day


  • Oat bowls, or sometimes buckwheat or quinoa, with plant-based milk, and fruit, flaxseeds and crushed nuts over the top
  • Chickpea scramble, made up of chickpeas, zucchini, potatoes, onions, garlic and different spices all sauteed in a skillet
  • Banana oat pancakes, but that’s typically on the weekend


  • Leftovers from dinner the night before
  • Large veggie bowl with different raw or cooked vegetables over kale or spinach and a homemade dressing such as tahini with lemon


Meal Prep

This is a huge time-saver! Here is a blog post about my approach if you want to check it out.

Recommended Educational Resources


  • 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!
  • Plant-Based Nutrition, 2E by Julieanna Hever and Raymond J. Cronise
    I love this book for the science-backed information about plant-based nutrients. Especially the disruptive research by Ray Cronise on amino acids, fats, intuitive eating, metabolism and more.
  • The Starch Solution by John A. McDougall, MD
    Bringing more starches into my diet has been a game changer. I’ve also learned why I shouldn’t refer to foods as ‘carbs’, and why starches are so important to our health. Don’t fear starches – our brains need them!


  • 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.”
  • What the Health
  • The True Cost
  • Earthlings
    WARNING: 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.


    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.

Chefs/ Food Bloggers


  • 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

Hi, I'm Caryn! I combine my love of new foods, different cultures and simpler living to make plant-based eating easier, and more exciting, for you.

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