When buying groceries, there are for sure some staples that always go into my trolley. Items that I use on a daily basis and that I don’t even need to add on my shopping list. Some of these I buy regularly and some are items that last quite long.
Although lemons are unfortunately so expensive here in Thailand, I can’t help but buy them regularly. I add half a lemon to a liter of water first thing in the morning. I have a liter of water with lemon, apple cider vinegar and a dash of cayenne pepper every single morning. It is so thirst quenching and re-hydrates me after my sleep. Also, I make sure I have enough lemons for my weekly hummus!
I absolutely love ginger in everything! When I was sick a few weeks ago, I added it to basically all my meals. I unfortunately don’t have a juicer anymore, so I just blitz up the ginger with lemon and water in my blender and sip on this concoction all day. I also add almost a handful of fresh ginger to my daily smoothies, in curries and hot tea.
Once again celery is an expensive item to buy here. But, to me it is something I enjoy and is a versatile ingredient in my fridge. I use it in my daily green smoothies, together with cucumber, banana, pineapple and ginger. I also chop it into my quinoa with some carrots to make a more nutrient packed quinoa mix. Celery is an excellent source of antioxidants and beneficial enzymes, and also vitamin K and vitamin C
Although quinoa is actually a seed, it is seen as a “grain”, and it’s the one grain I always buy. I always have it in my house and eat it on most days. I enjoy cooking it up with some carrots and celery and even add some veggie stock to this to give it some more flavour. It is a staple on salads for lunch, added to a soup or curry or even thrown on a burger. Quinoa is very high in protein; it is also loaded with fiber and contains almost twice as much fiber as other grains. In my store I can find white, red, black or a mixed pack of quinoa. The red and the white taste the same, but I find the black ones a bit grainy and hard, and less “fluffy”. I prefer buying the mixed pack for some nice colour and texture.
Finally, an item that is available in abundance here in Thailand! Yay! Bananas have become such a staple! Now, anyone that knows me, knows that before going plant based, I did not eat bananas at all. I mean, I couldn’t even stand the smell of them. Or bare to peel them. It took a while to get use to eating them, I slowly added them to smoothies and muffins, and now I can almost eat them on their own! (not quite yet though, and I need to put them on a rice cake and drizzle with some or other nut butter. ) I use them daily in my smoothies, in my weekly cookie prep and banana muffins. Bananas are jam packed with essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron. Also bananas are full of those good carbs in my diet.
- Rolled Oats
Growing up my mom often made us oats, and unfortunately, I never liked it. So, growing up, it was not something I added to my grocery list. But after seeing a few recipes for overnight oats, I decided to give it another try. And I am so happy I did, because it has become a real staple. Overnight oats is such a smart way to meal prep breakfast if you need to leave your house early. Overnight oats is so versatile and can be made into whatever flavor you prefer. I love adding cacao and fresh passion fruit to mine, or even a handful of mixed frozen berries! I often also use my rolled oats as a flour substitute. I just blitz the oats up in my food processor and use it in muffins and pancakes. It’s also the key ingredient to my favourite granola.
I am very lucky to live in a country where tofu is so easily available and affordable. It has been something that I always buy and love to eat. It is such a nice boost of protein to add to my meal. I usually just soak it in some soy sauce or liquid aminos, with some garlic salt and pepper for about 15 – 20 minutes if I have the time. I then bake it in the oven for about 25 minutes. For pastas, veggie dinner bowls and salads I usually cut it into cubes, and for burgers I cut them into little tofu steaks.
I always have flaxseeds in my fridge. I buy them whole and grind them up in my food processor as soon as I purchase them, and store them in the fridge. I sprinkle flax on my salad every day, and love the taste and texture it adds. I also use it as a substitute for egg in baking. Just mix 1 tablespoon of flaxmeal and 5 tablespoons of water and let it sit or a while. Flaxseeds are high in omega 3 and fiber and such a good seed to add to any meal.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
This is another staple that lasts quite long, and something I always have in my cupboard and use on a daily basis. I love the taste of the apple cider vinegar and drink it in water in the morning and also add it to my green tea with some cayenne pepper at night after dinner. It has a refreshing taste and since kombucha is not that easily available where I live, it’s a nice alternative to that for me. I also add a spoonful to my vegan cheese sauce to give it some tanginess.
Although nuts can be expensive, they are something I always have in my fridge to use when needed. I use peanuts and almonds to make my own nut butters. They are so easy to make and require literally just the one ingredient. I find it so satisfying and rewarding to make and eat my own peanut and almond butter. Cashews are awesome to soak in boiling water and add to pasta sauces to make it extra creamy, they are also the secret ingredient to make a delicious cheese sauce. I also use peanuts in my vegan basil pesto, as they are a lot more affordable than pine nuts, which are ridiculously expensive! Pecans and walnuts are also nuts that I have around, and add them to my granola and sneak them into some banana muffins.
This is one treat I cannot live without! I am obsessed with the taste and really need to restrain myself from eating the whole jar! Although tahini is super hard to find in Bangkok, I have found two places where I can buy it and it’s for sure something I stock up on! (It was the first thing I asked my sister to please bring me when she came to visit!) I use it when I make hummus, drizzle over chocolate smoothies, mix into granola, pour over sweet potato and broccoli, well basically with everything. Although tahini is a calorie dense food, it is so high in minerals, vitamin B and a really good source of calcium and some good fats. In moderation (most of the time) it is such a amazing product to add to your diet.
These are just a few of the staples I have in my house. I like to buy food that is clean and as far as possible, organic. I like items that are versatile and can be used in many of the dishes I like to prepare. When I have these staples in my house, it is very hard to find an excuse not to cook and use them in nourishing meals. I am so grateful to be able to walk into a grocery store and buy healthy and nutritious food in abundance. Every time I open my fridge and see a rainbow of colour, I am so thankful to be eating a healthy, plant based diet.