Eating a vegan diet is definitely not limiting – the key is experimenting with all different types of recipes, getting creative with your veggies, nuts and grains and having a good variety of meals in your diet. However no matter what is going down, I always ensure these three items are always on my shopping list.
1. Raw Organic Cacao Powder
Cacao (pronounced ka-kow) beans are the seeds of an Amazonian fruiting tree and source of all chocolate and cocoa products. This ancient superfood is rich in antioxidants and Cacao beans contain 10,000 milligrams (10 grams) per 100 grams of flavonol antioxidants. This is a whopping 10% antioxidant concentration level! This makes cacao one of the richest sources of antioxidants of any food. Raw Cacao products are also a great source of beta-carotene, amino acids (protein), Omega-3 EFA’s, calcium, zinc, iron, copper, sulphur, potassium, and one of the best food sources of muscle relaxing, stress relieving magnesium! I was once a self confessed ‘lindt’ addict – I needed to have at least 2 lindt balls per day one after lunch and one after dinner. Nothing wrong with this, but once I discovered the raw purest form of chocolate – in the cacao powder and nibs I never looked back to conventional chocolates. I use 1 teaspoon of raw organic cacao every day, either in my green smoothie or topped on some millet or quinoa flakes for breakfast. I will also make up a batch of cacao treats weekly, some of my recipes can be found here and here. This without a doubt satisfies my chocolate cravings and provides all the nutritional benefits of raw cacao as mentioned.
2. Coconut Water
There have been countless posts on my website preaching the coconut gospel and for very good reasons. In Sanskrit, the coconut palm is known as kapla vriksha, meaning “tree which gives all that is necessary for living”, since nearly all parts of the tree can be used in some manner or another – which I think is pretty darn amazing – a true super food! One of my fave posts outlining all the glorious benefits of the coconut can be found here. This is when I first discovered wonder food in Thailand last year. The biggest healthy claim is Coconut Water is rich potassium; with any typical serving of 569 mg (almost twice as much as a banana) this mineral helps regulate blood pressure by counteracting the stimulating effects of sodium which helps prevent related issues like stroke and heart attack. I have been doing a lot of Bikram Yoga of late and coconut water has been my saviour – helping replace all the lost fluids through sweating and detoxification. I will either drink it directly from the green coconut or add the water to my green smoothie in the morning. My obsession with coconut goes beyond the water; as I use the coconut oil as a hair and body moisturizer; and also in cooking. The flesh I like to eat as a snack or add to my smoothies.
If I were a vampire – Spirulina would be my blood. No joke I seriously am addicted to the green stuff and like the vamps gain energy and youth from drinking blood, so do I from drinking spirulina ha ha! Spirulina is nature’s richest whole-food source of complete protein (containing 60%, highly digestible protein as it contains every essential amino acid). Rich in GLA (gamma linolenic acid), it also contains important B complexes including bio-available B12 and other essential organic, whole-food minerals and trace elements. Being vegan it is important to take Spirulina for its rich protein, Vitamin B12 and Iron contents; however non-vegetarian/vegans can of course benefit from taking this marvelous food. More of the health benefits and ways to incorporate Spirulina into your diet can be found in my post here.
What are 3 Health Foods You Cannot Live Without?