And yes if you do choose to purchase Madagascan vanilla powder from a tiny independent health food store on a high street in a relatively affluent neighbourhood to make your grain free vegan muffins then you would be entirely correct.
As you can probably tell I don’t do this. Anymore.
No but I did, & then I found the key to saving myself time & money was to do my shopping online.
When supporting someone through a swap to a more healthful way of life the key to making it work in the long term is relatively simple. Of course there is a significant mindset change, yes we often have to work on things like food cravings, blood sugar issues & digestive dysfunction, but fundamentally it comes down to what you have on hand when hunger strikes.
A cupboard full of snack foods versus a fridge of vegetables & stocks of whole grains, nuts, seeds & pulses, well you can see that there’s going to be a difference in what you will end up consuming as a result. I do understand however that if these are not things that you are used to having/using, if you’re starting from scratch, then yes the initial bit can seem a little effort intensive & pricey. To ease this transition however I have a couple of top tips.
- START SLOWLY: Coming from personal experience I know there can be an element of overexcitement, I have endless recipe clippings & bookmarks waiting in my internet browser & would at 1 time have purchased ingredients for them all in 1 go, spending a fortune & then obviously realising that I neither had the time to make them all or the capacity to eat/freeze everything I had made! So I suggest 100% retaining that level of enthusiasm but just pick a few products at a time – a grain, a lentil/bean/pulse, perhaps 2 kinds of nuts or a nut & a seed, & then if you wish you can add a few slightly off piste things that just take your fancy (edible rose petals anyone?!).
- BULK BUY: Continuing on from the above once you have a routine of things you know you enjoy, or you may already be able to say ‘I eat brown rice regularly’ or ‘ Quinoa is my staple lunch time carbohydrate’ then opt for larger quantities. Get some glass jars or re-use those from other products you have finished, decant a manageable amount to have in your kitchen & then store the rest somewhere dark & cool to keep them fresh. The only point I would make here would be with nuts & seeds, their fabulously healthful oils can go rancid over time if not stored correctly, personally I go through cashews like some kind of deranged monkey, & I sprinkle pumpkin seeds over most meals/myself/those within a 5 mile radius, so I know that if I purchase a 1kg packet of each they’ll be gone within 4 weeks no problem. Hazelnuts & sunflower seeds on the other hand I use less often so I would only go for 250g-500g at a time.
- BE CREATIVE: Again this can come in stages but as you become more used to the idea of cooking things from scratch a whole new money saving door will open. I refer here predominantly to those products that are convenient – nut milks, nut/seed butters, pre-flavoured rice or grain pouches, those kind of things. I am not averse to purchasing high quality options here for when time is really tight (I do) but if we are trying to keep count of the pennies then chucking a few almonds into a food processor & leaving them to blend until smooth will pretty much halve your outlay when compared to buying a jar of almond butter. And similarly progressively adding to your armoury of dried herbs & spices over time will mean you avoid expensive pre-blended mixes or things like those individual packets of infused grains. They are a good stepping stone to begin with but once into the swing of things batch cooking a few portions of something like rice at a time to dip into over the week will become an easy exercise (you can also freeze cooked grains – lay then out flat to cool quickly then portion & tuck them away for later use). And not only will you save money, you will also be in charge of the ingredients (even the good pre-flavoured ones will contain some additives), & as a lovely aside this is also more environmentally sound too.
And that’s pretty much it, my recipe pages are bursting with ideas on using all of these wonderful ingredients if you need a little inspiration.
Any questions or comments as always do not hesitate to be in touch.
With healthy wishes,