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There are few things that make me happier than a well stocked pantry! If you’re vegan or plant-based or gluten-free or anything-free, people often ask you “BUT WHAT DO YOU EAT?!” If you’re just starting out with a new diet change, it can be easy to rely on quick food, frozen food, and filling food that isn’t necessarily the best choice, nutritionally. I was there and I’m still there from time to time when I haven’t gone grocery shopping or prepared good food choices to keep on hand! But the very best thing you can do for yourself to make it easier and more appealing to make more nutritious choices is to have a well-stocked pantry. In addition to fresh fruits and veggies, this will make sure you always have some awesome ingredients on hand! These are some of my staples:

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|| Unrefined coconut oil || Safflower seed oil || Olive oil || Coconut oil cooking spray || Spices and herbs (especially cayenne, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, and thyme) || Extracts of vanilla and peppermint || Apple cider vinegar || Coarse sea salt || Cracked pepper || Nutritional yeast || Cacao powder || Nut butter || Spirulina || Assorted tea ||

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|| Assorted cookbooks (just a small fraction of my collection! || Omega juicer || Food processor || Waffle maker || Vitamix blender (not pictured) ||

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|| Brown rice || Oats || French green lentils || Quinoa || Raw cashews || Dates || Organic canned chickpeas || Dried black beans || Gluten-free pasta || Almonds || Pecans || Walnuts || Sesame seeds || Shredded coconut || Dried cranberries || Raisins || Organic popcorn kernels || Tortilla chips (because I’m an unapologetic chip fiend) || Sun-dried tomatoes || White wine vinegar || Rice vinegar || Toasted sesame oil ||

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|| Tapioca starch || Brown rice flour || Chickpea flour || Oat flour || Spelt flour || Cornmeal || White Rice Flour || Coconut flour || Teff flour || Almond meal || Baking soda || Baking powder || Xanthan gum || Potato starch || Corn starch || Organic coconut sugar || Organic cane sugar || Organic brown sugar || Organic powdered sugar || Applesauce || Blackstrap molasses || Dairy-free chocolate chips ||

Now you’re probably looking at all of this and going “Oh crap, I don’t need to buy all of that, do I?!” Nope! I like being able to have all these options in my kitchen, and I don’t tend to eat out very often, so it makes sense for me. But do what makes sense for you! If you’re not a regular baker then forget the whole bottom shelf! If you are looking to get a lot of different gluten-free flours or you’re looking for affordable nuts, seeds, or grains, I encourage you to check out the bulk bins at your local grocery store. That is where I find the best prices for things like oats, lentils, brown rice, etc. The other good thing about this is that you can get as much or as little as you want! That way you’re not committing to buying huge bags of brown rice flour if you just need it for one recipe. Or you can try out something like quinoa and decide if you like it or not before buying more!

Like I said, I love to have plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables on hand as well. By having different grains, beans/legumes, and spices in my pantry, I can combine them with a couple of veggies and have a complete, nutritious, and delicious meal even when I’m not feeling that inspired in the kitchen!