The “Blues” are #1

Blueberry Chia Pudding

Blueberry Chia Pudding

Chia seeds are a superfood and can be added to a variety of foods for increased nutrition. They make a wonderful pudding that can be enjoyed anytime of the day - even (especially) breakfast.


  • 2 cups freshly made almond milk
  • 1/3 cup organic chia seeds
  • 1 Tsp organic pure vanilla
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries


  1. Combine almond milk, chia seeds and vanilla in bowl. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  2. Stir several times while chilling to ensure pudding is well blended.
  3. When ready to serve layer pudding with fresh fruit in a pretty parfait or wine glass.
  4. Enjoy.

Blue is the rarest of colors in the comestible world. Bet that is a little tidbit of information you’ve never given much thought to, am I right? Go on, try and name more than one or two blue-colored foods! While this is a tough challenge, chances are good almost everyone came up with a little blue fruit called a blueberry.  Native to North America, blueberries are the second most popular berry (next only to strawberries) contributing to their expected 2016 commercial cultivation reaching 750 million pounds on this continent and 1.4 billion pounds worldwide. While available year round blueberries are at the peak of perfection right now, so enjoy them.

I can remember when I was a little girl, I spent hours gathering wild blueberries on the hill behind my grandmother’s home in Corner Brook, Newfoundland.  I ate most of the berries I picked, despite having a basket to bring berries back to the house for everyone to share, and didn’t mind in the least being scolded for it.  I was pretty sure then, (and now) that God must have created blueberries just for me.

They may be small, but blueberries pack a lot of nutrition into their tiny packages. Blueberries are #1 in antioxidant capacity among all fruits, vegetables, spices and seasonings.  The antioxidants in blueberries support our whole body and have particularly awesome benefits for our cognitive health and blood sugar management.

Blueberries are definitely a food you should buy organic.  The pesticides used in conventional agriculture today are particularly problematic for foods like blueberries.  For more information on The Dirty Dozen – Foods You Should Buy Organic, check out the Environmental Working Groups website by clicking here.  To get the most nutritional benefit from blueberries consume them in their raw state. They are perfect to take to work or school, make a great mid-day snack, are delicious on top of your favorite non-dairy yogurt or ice cream, and are a quick and easy addition to your morning cereal.  Here is one of my favorite ways to enjoy blueberries!

Blueberry Chia Pudding

Blueberry Chia Pudding

Chia seeds are a superfood and can be added to a variety of foods for increased nutrition. They make a wonderful pudding that can be enjoyed anytime of the day - even (especially) breakfast.


  • 2 cups freshly made almond milk
  • 1/3 cup organic chia seeds
  • 1 Tsp organic pure vanilla
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries


  1. Combine almond milk, chia seeds and vanilla in bowl. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  2. Stir several times while chilling to ensure pudding is well blended.
  3. When ready to serve layer pudding with fresh fruit in a pretty parfait or wine glass.
  4. Enjoy.

Check out the incredible nutritional benefits of chia seeds in my blog “Pudding for Breakfast”.

Nutrition Facts – 1 Cup Raw Blueberries (84 Calories)

Vitamin K 28.5 mcg 32% DRI
Manganese .50 25% DRI
Vitamin C 14.36 mg 19% DRI
Fiber 14% DRI
Copper 9% DRI


12 Fabulous Fresh Fruits to Buy Now

I Love Fruit

Fruit has been my favorite food for as long as I can remember.  When I was a young girl, my mom always knew where to find me;  sitting under our peach tree reading a good book and enjoying this incredible fruit until I nearly burst. My mother used to tell me I was going to turn into a peach one day – but I never did.  Guess that was just a “momism” right? I eat several servings of fruit everyday.  I just love everything about fruit – its taste, texture, rainbow of colors, its portability, its accessibility, and now that I am a grown up its awesome nutrition. Really, what’s not to love?

With summer here (unofficially) it is the perfect time to enjoy all the mouth-watering, fresh, delicious, nutritious, in-season fruit available at your local farmers’ market or grocery store. Why buy in-season? Well, in-season means flavor and nutrition are at their peak. Moreover, when you buy in-season and local you are also supporting local producers, minimizing the carbon footprint of your purchases, and reducing your food costs. There is a lot to be said for picking your own food or speaking directly with the grower. Its a great experience.

What’s In Season?

Let’s start with stone fruits.

Peaches, cherries, apricots, plums, and nectarines are delicious and nutritious, very portable, and add awesome taste, color and texture to fruit salads and non-dairy yogurts. Stone fruits are good sources of Vitamins A & C and calcium and are excellent sources of potassium and fiber. BONUS BENEFIT of choosing stone fruits – they are low in calories and their natural sweetness will satisfy your need for something sweet without the guilt.

Who doesn’t love berries?

I’m going to confess that I could easily eat berries everyday, all day.  I love how they taste and how juicy they are and their rich colors. I remember spending a lot of time as a child picking wild blueberries on the hill behind my grandmother’s home. As an adult, I still seek out opportunities to pick my own berries – it is such a great way to spend a morning and the payoff – a basket full of beautiful, delicious berries – is well worth the dirt on my knees and stains on my fingers.  Berries  are the quintessential finger food. You can take them to work, enjoy them while watching a movie, snack on them while reading a good book….really they are great anytime, anywhere. AND – NO GUILT! Berries are also low calorie foods.

Berries in general are an excellent source of Vitamin C, are a good source of fiber, and are an exceptional antioxidant-rich food.  Strawberries are a good source of folate, potassium and manganese too.  Raspberries are also high in potassium, and a good source of iron, Vitamin B6 and calcium. Blueberries (I particularly love the flavor of wild blueberries) offer great support to our brain function: in fact, several studies show blueberries can improve memory. Delicious, juicy blackberries are plentiful – growing often uncontrollably along the slopes of many roadsides and walking paths.

Melons are awesome!

This is the perfect time of year to enjoy sweet, juicy cantaloupe and watermelon.  I love these two fruits just by themselves; but there are so many other ways you can incorporate them into your diet. They are awesome in a fruit salad or stirred into non-dairy yogurt. You can add them to your fruit smoothie or just juice them on their own. Some people like to grill watermelon too.

Did you know watermelon is one of the best fruits for hydration?  Watermelon is 92% water – this is why it is so popular on hot days. Watermelon is a very good source of Vitamin C, like other fruit, but it is also a heart-healthy food. Watermelon contains lycopene, an important carotenoid that fights free radicals. Lycopene gives watermelon  flesh its red color – the redder this fruit’s flesh, the higher the lycopene (a very good thing).

Cantaloupe is an incredible source of Vitamins A & C. In fact, a small melon can provide over 375% of your daily requirements of these two vitamins. Pretty awesome, right?  Cantaloupe is also a good source of Vitamin B6, iron and calcium too.

Both these melons are low-calorie foods too.  Don’t you love that????

There you have it – 12 fabulous, fresh, in-season fruits you can find in your local farmers’ market or produce section at your grocer. Want to know more about what’s in season?  Check out this handy chart from CUESA


It’s Heating Up – Hydrate Your Body With Plant-Based Foods


The best, most efficient way to keep your body hydrated is to drink water. As I discussed in my blog post “Infused Water – Stay Hydrated this Summer”, drinking water is a good thing to do but not very exciting so most of us don’t drink enough. Still, water does its job and has no calories, so if you want to hydrate your body and watch your calorie intake, plain old water is for you.

HOWEVER, if you want to add a little zest to your daily water requirements, here are some great ways to hydrate your body with plant-based foods. Just clean and enjoy. It’s just  that simple.

  • Watermelon has a very high water content – 92%. And, it is so sweet and delicious. And, it is very nutritious, And, it is very affordable this time of year. Best part: watermelon is very, very low in calories. So what’s not to love about watermelon? Need more: it is an excellent source of lycopene – a carotenoid that has been found to help protect against free radicals, enhance the functioning of our immune system and promote eye and lung health. (kind of important, right) AND it is an excellent source of vitamin C. Boom!
  • Canteloupe has a water content of 90%. It, too, is incredibly delicious and nutritious; and also low in calories – 1 cup = 56 calories. Awesome! Cantaloupe is an excellent source of vitamins A & C and beta-carotene (another carotenoid phytonutrient).
  • Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, to name a few, also have high water content – from 88% to 91% – and are rich in vitamins, fiber, and phenolic phytonutrients. Berries are convenient, readily available, versatile, and extra-super delicious. They are perfect “little finger” foods for children, are just right for a mid-day snack, fit nicely into a packed lunch and are one of the best “sharing” foods.
  • Cucumbers are one of my favorite veggies. They are crisp, cool and refreshing. Cucumbers have a whopping 96% water content; that must be why they are so compatible with revitalizing drinks such as infused water. Additional benefits to eating cucumbers include: they are high in vitamin C, are a good source of vitamin A, folate, potassium ad manganese; and, if you need more incentive to choose this scrumptious plant-based food, they are low in calories. 1 cup = 14 measly little calories.
  • Celery is another favorite summertime plant-based food that will help keep you hydrated. Celery is 95% water and is an excellent source of vitamins K and C. I love the crunchy nature of celery and it serves as the perfect vessel for almond or peanut butters. It is a portable snack perfect for dipping and, BONUS, it is really low in calories – almost hardly worth counting!
  • Radish is the little veggie that is often overlooked; but when you discover how uniquely tasty it is, you’ll wonder its not always in your fridge. I love the peppery flavor it adds to my salads. Radishes have many great nutrients such as vitamin C & B6, copper, manganese, and folate and is an incredible source of fiber. Again, I sense a theme here, radishes are very high in water content – 95% – and a calorie-watcher’s friend; only 9 calories in 1/2 cup. I recently enjoyed some black radishes. Their flavor profile was not much different from the red radishes we see commonly in grocery stores, but I loved them for the color they added to the plate.

There are plenty of other delicious, nutritious, low calorie, plant-based foods that can help you hydrate your body. Spinach (91%), cauliflower(92%), tomatoes(94%), broccoli(90%), sweet peppers(92%), zucchini(95%), apples(84%), grapefruit(91%), eggplant(92%) Add some to your meals every day along with drinking some fresh, clean, delicious, infused water, and you’ll have no problem meeting or exceeding your body’s water needs.

Got some great suggestions for hydrating with plant-based foods? Share them with Jazzed Up Veggies and our readers by commenting below.

****Please take a moment to open and view the graphic below. It contains some important food safety tips for fresh produce.

Tips for food safety of fresh produce

10 Tactics to Keep Your Immune System Fit to Fight

There is a battle going on everyday in our bodies between good and evil with the outcome determined by whether or not our immune system is fit to fight.  Some of the enemy – a few too many bad bacteria or a mild but annoying virus – might be easy to take down; but fighting off an army of bad bacteria or a viral epidemic presents the need for a more sophisticated defense strategy.

Here are 10 actions you can take to keep your immune system fit to fight:


Build up your immune system by eating organic plant-based foods every day. Organic is important here because all the pesticides, insecticides, antibiotics and hormones used in non-organic foods negatively affect your body’s natural ability to maintain good health. Your liver puts up a pretty good fight, but it can only do so much to remove these toxins from your body; so why not give your liver a break and just don’t let these noxious substances in! Did you know that the regular use (or misuse) of antibiotics in our food supply is largely responsible for the dangers we now face from antibiotic resistant bacteria?


Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, mushrooms and herbs to keep your immune system in tip-top shape.  Vegetables and fruits provide the vitamins and minerals your immune system needs.  They are rich sources of antioxidants – a special ops team that seeks out and destroys free radicals that are just waiting to cause havoc.  Veggies and fruits are full of vitamin A carotenoids, the anti-infective calvary) and vitamin C (an important side-kick to vitamin A). They also provide vitamin B6, folic acid, iron and zinc that keep our cells (thus immune system) strong. Nuts and seeds provide critical support by supplying selenium and zinc. Selenium is a component of glutathione peroxidase, an essential enzyme used by your liver to detoxify potentially harmful molecules. Zinc also helps keep our immune cells functioning at their best. Mushrooms, particularly shiitake and maitake, are excellent immune-boosting foods. There are plenty of herbs that are known to support our immune system. Some of them are  ginger, elderberry, ginseng, echinacea, garlic, larch and oregano.

h2osecurity-background-h2o2Drink water. Keeping your body hydrated has a big impact on your immune system. Your body’s systems need water to function at their best. Sufficient water intake helps to flush toxins out of your body and it helps to properly oxygenate your blood. Your body needs lymph to transport white blood cells, a critical element of your immune system, throughout your body.  Water helps your body produce lymph so if you want your white blood cells to do their job, drink water!

Get some sleep!  You can’t perform at your best when you are tired; neither can your immune system. We all know this – at least on a cerebral level, but accomplishing it is often another thing. Most sleep experts agree we need to unplug from our devices and unwind from our busy lives before we can hope to get a good night’s sleep.  There is a lot to be said for learning to meditate or practice yoga or even just be still prior to going to bed. A cup of chamomile tea might help too. Try it.

Meditation SunsetReduce stress.  There is a good reason why you hear this so often. Daily stress, the kind that we deal with at work, school, on the roadways, in our relationships… get the picture;  puts a lot stress on our bodies – especially our cardiovascular system and an enormous burden on our immune system’s ability to fight the good fight. If downtime is not already in your daily routine, schedule it! You absolutely need to disconnect, breathe deeply and relax throughout the day. There are plenty of ways to reduce stress: listen to music, dance, read a book, meditate, sit in your garden, talk to a friend, laugh out loud, smell the beautiful fragrance of blooming flowers, take a nap, hug someone…..the list is endless but none of these things will reduce stress unless you actually do them. Find what works best for you and DO IT!

sunshineCatch some rays. Vitamin D is necessary to a well functioning immune system. Vitamin D helps to regulate our immune system to prevent unnecessary or lengthy inflammatory responses to perceived threats.  Exposing your skin to the UVB rays of the sun is your body’s best, most efficient and effective source of vitamin D. (sunshine The best time of day to get the most UVB exposure is between 10 am – 2 pm.  What a great reason to get out of the office for a break and catch some rays. You will get the vitamin D you need and can reduce your stress at the same time, BONUS!
***Note: don’t overdue sun exposure – getting burnt is not cool and can put you at risk for skin cancers. Spending 10 – 15 minutes a day catching some rays should be enough.

Exercise. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to get the awesome benefits of exercise. Just move every day – walk, ride a bike, play games outdoors with your kids, do yoga, take up tennis, swim, go on a hike, climb the stairs at work……all of these activities add up throughout the day. The benefits are incredible: your heart will get stronger, your blood will circulate better, your lungs will use oxygen more efficiently, your muscles will get stronger and your digestive system will be more effective at turning food into fuel to keep you energized and healthy.  Exercise causes the release of endorphins in your brain that contribute to a feeling of well-being and help reduce stress. Exercise also helps manage weight. Put them together and all these awesome benefits to exercise help keep your immune system fit to fight.

Maintain optimum weight. Only you and your trusted health care professional can determine what the best weight is for you based on your age, body frame, and health condition; but whatever “number” you decide upon, maintaining your optimum weight will have a very positive impact on keeping your immune system strong.  Excess weight puts extra strain on your body’s systems – making your immune system work harder to keep enemies at bay.  Eating a whole food, plant-based diet, getting exercise every day, reducing/managing stress, drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep will go a long way to helping you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.  Your immune system will thank you for it!

If you are going to consume alcohol, do so in moderation.  Enjoying a glass of red wine or indulging in a cocktail now and again is unlikely to do much harm; but too much alcohol at one time or prolonged regular use of alcohol can do a great deal of harm. Your immune system has enough to do to keep you healthy; don’t tie it’s hands behind it’s back and expect it to do its job. Enough said.

Dont-even-think-of-it-smoking-iconDon’t smoke. I know that addiction to tobacco products is a serious problem and that quitting is very, very difficult; but the negative consequences to your health, and life for that matter, are much more difficult so quitting is really the only option. There are many, many services available to help you quit smoking – most of them free; so take advantage of them. Recruit your friends and family to help you too.  Support is key to successfully quitting smoking.  You don’t need me to tell you what smoking does to your body; but I will tell you that your body will begin to repair itself almost immediately. It will take time to fully undo the affects of smoking; but that time and effort is well worth it.

5 Reasons to Love Organic Apples This Fall

Autumn Apples

Apples are one of my favorite plant foods and, based on apple consumption worldwide, I am not alone. Some of my current go-to varieties are featured in the photo above: Gala, Jona Gold, Honey Crisp and Cripps Pink. Did you know there are over 7500 varieties of apples produced in more than 90 countries around the world? Cool, right? Here is the list of the top 12 producing countries. Does this list surprise you?

Top Apple Producing Nations

I’m sure there are many more reasons to love organic apples this Fall, but here are my top five:

  1. Nutrition tops the list for me! Apples are a notable source of flavonoids and phenolic antioxidants. These antioxidants protect our cells from the damage of oxidation.  Flavonoids, the elements in plants responsible for their beautiful colors, protect our blood vessels and prevent inflammation, as well as enhance the efficacy of vitamin C rich foods like apples. Apples are also an important source of both soluble and insoluble fiber – critical to a healthy digestive system and a healthy heart. Bonus: apples are a water-rich food adding to our cumulative daily water intake. Eating the whole, raw food is the best way to get the most benefit from this incredible fruit. What you may not know, though, is an apple’s skin is a significant contributor to its overall nutritive value so please don’t peel and discard. Eat it!
  2. Apples are an abundant food thus apples are easy to obtain. However, it is very important to choose only organically grown apples because the conventionally grown fruit, #1 on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list, is a magnet for pesticide residues. Further, conventionally grown apples are often coated in wax to keep them looking pristine. Just so we are clear – pesticide residue and wax are not something you want to consume. Look for organic apples at a local farmers’ market like #CUESA Farmers’ Market in San Francisco, #Downtown 3rd Farmers Market in Las Vegas, or #Union Square Greenmarket in New York City; visit an orchard such as Gilcrease Orchard in Las Vegas, or one of the many organic apple orchards in Washington State; or enjoy perusing the bins full of beautiful organic apples in your local grocery market.
  3. Apples are affordable. Abundant supply keeps prices reasonable and, when you factor in the nutritional value of an apple, you get a big bang for your buck. Prices will vary based on where you buy (farmers’ market, orchard or grocery store) and the variety of apple you choose. Of course, I recommend buying directly from the grower whenever possible so you know exactly where your food comes from.
  4. I find apples delicious but I know what I like make not appeal to you. Good thing the variety of apples available means there is something for every taste and texture preference. Some apples are sweet, some are tart, and some are crisp and crunchy while others are soft and silky. Have some fun and try as many varieties as you can find. I happen to like the crisp and crunchy varieties for my morning snack. I had a Honey Crisp apple this morning that was AWESOME! I add some of the sweeter, softer varieties to my morning smoothies. Don’t forget, the skin is not only beautiful to look at, it is chock full of nutrition, so make sure you eat it too!
  5. Apples are very versatile. They make great, portable snacks fitting easily into your handbag, lunch bag, backpack or briefcase. They can also serve as a quick breakfast or light lunch – just spread some almond or peanut butter on apple slices for a quick protein, vitamin and fiber boost. Chop up your apple and add to a salad or a sandwich filling like our Jazzed Up Chickpea Spread. You can add apples to a smoothie too. They add great nutrition and some natural sweetness. Homemade applesauce is great for small children and makes a healthy snack alternative for late-night munchies.

Our conclusion: apples are nutritious, delicious, versatile, affordable and suitable for every age. They come in so many varieties finding one or several you love will be fun and definitely worth the effort. Visiting an orchard or farmers’ market where you can talk to the growers and learn about this little powerhouse plant-based food also makes for a great family outing. So there you have it then, some pretty awesome reasons to love organic apples this Fall or anytime for that matter.

We would love to hear from you. Leave us a comment about your favorite variety of apple or tell us where you like to shop for this delicious fruit.

Nuts About Dates – Vegan Dessert Without the Guilt

Quote - Ernestine Ulmer

“Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.” 
This well known quote, attributed to Ernestine Ulmer, speaks to many of us. Do you remember when you were a child, your mother would often encourage you to eat all your vegetables so you could enjoy dessert? It seems manipulative now; but back then it was a pretty good incentive, right? The reality of dessert is most are really bad for you. If just the sheer number of mostly empty calories weren’t harmful enough, the genetically engineered, obesity-inducing refined sugars, artificial colors and flavors should move the danger meter to extreme. Yet, despite knowing the sad facts about desserts, a significant number of humanoids still crave something sweet.

I’m here to tell you, all is not lost! In a vegan world you can have your cake AND eat it too, (in moderation of course), without guilt. Mother Nature has perfected “sweet” in ways that cannot be replicated by artificial means and with such variety that the whole “moderation” thing will take some discipline. I can, without reservation, encourage you to fall in love with dessert again, just like you did as a child; only this time, let Mother Nature treat you to her naturally sweet, and-oh-by-the-way-good-for-you sensations.

Nuts About Dates – Vegan Dessert Without the Guilt

Yield: 1 dozen bite-sized pieces

Nuts About Dates – Vegan Dessert Without the Guilt

Dates (often imported) are available year round at your local market; however, the very best way to enjoy them is when they are fresh from the farm. In California, the date season begins in September. Fresh dates can be ordered directly from the farms or purchased at farmer's markets.

This recipe is for raw food, so must be kept refrigerated or packed in a climate-resistant lunch bag. While these delicious dessert bites won't be around long, they should be frozen if you plan to keep them longer than 5 days.

Variety is the spice of life, so experiment a little. Try substituting fresh figs (in season in California from May to December). Figs may be slightly less sweet, but they are equally nutritious and delicious. You can also substitute the nuts and seeds as well. Keep in mind some nuts and seeds have higher oil content so you will need to adjust liquids accordingly.


  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted almonds
  • 1/4 cup raw unsalted walnuts, pistachios, or brazil nuts according to your preference
  • 1/4 cup organic oats
  • 1/2 cup raw coconut shreds (remove as much moisture as possible)
  • 1 tbsp organic flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (black or white)
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/8 tsp salt (may be omitted)
  • 3/4 cup Medjool dates (approximately 10)
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves (tightly packed)
  • 2 tsp lime freshly squeezed lime juice
  • zest from 1 lime (can substitute lemon juice and zest if preferred)
  • 1 - 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice


  1. In your food processor, add nuts, seeds, oats, and salt if using. Process (recommend pulse setting) until mixture is coarsely ground.
  2. Add coconut, mint leaves and dates. Process/pulse until dates are well blended with other ingredients. Mixture should be crumbly at this stage.
  3. Add lime (or lemon) juice and zest. Pulse briefly.
  4. Add orange juice until mixture becomes the consistency of cookie dough.If mixture is too wet to form into balls, add additional nut mixture.
  5. Form approximately 1 tbsp mixture into small bite-sized ball. Repeat. Should make 1 dozen.
  6. If desired, roll balls in a small bowl of ground nuts or coconut for a light coating.

How does this dessert recipe nourish your body? Dates are an awesome plant-based food. They are very high in fiber – something seriously lacking in most modern diets. According to nutrition data, they are high in antioxidants, an excellent source of potassium and iron, and a good source of calcium, manganese, copper, magnesium, niacin and riboflavin. If you choose to substitute Figs, your body will also be nourished by fiber, potassium, manganese and copper as well as Vitamins A & B1,2,3,6. Nuts and seeds are just plain awesome. Most are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids and adding a variety of nuts and seeds to your diet will nourish your body with copper, manganese, magnesium, folate, many essential vitamins and fiber. Of course, lime (or lemon) adds valuable flavonoid phytonutrients (help promote a healthy heart) and both orange and lime add all-important Vitamin C to the mix.

So there you go! Mother Nature has done a great job of providing you sweet deliciousness without the guilt. There are a lot more plant-based dessert ideas just around the corner.  Don’t miss a single one – provide us your email in the tab to the right and we will notify you when our next post is available.



Off to the Market – A Plant-Based Grocery List

For some, grocery shopping is a pleasure; for others a chore. I actually love grocery shopping. I enjoy taking my time looking at all the beautiful colors and textures the produce section has to offer. I get excited when I discover an unusual fruit or vegetable and love talking to the produce manager or other customers about how they prepare certain foods. Today there are so many varieties of fresh organic foods to chose from it is often hard to decide. I do, however, make every effort to buy what is locally in season; being cognizant of supporting area farmers, being mindful of the carbon footprint left by transporting foods from other parts of the world to my city, and being aware of the importance of sustainable practices in agriculture.

I’m probably going to make “list makers” uneasy with my next statement; but I have to say I am not a fan of traditional grocery lists. I know they can be good tools to keep us from buying more than we need, but I prefer to be inspired by what I see at the grocery store – especially because 80% of my basket is fresh food. For the other 20% of my basket I keep a reminder in my phone of things I need like TP, parchment paper, cheese cloth, soaps, backup canned or frozen foods, etc. so I can take advantage of special prices or ensure I don’t run out. Having said this, here are some very general suggestions of things you may wish to purchase on your next excursion to the grocery store (or better yet, Farmers’ Market).

NOTE: Choose organic and NonGMO Certified foods whenever possible. Many people have heard about “The Dirty Dozen” – a list of foods you should always buy organic because of the high pesticide loads found in these foods. The list is available at For a list of NonGMO Certified Foods check out this website:

Awesome Sources of Plant-Based Proteins

    beans & legumes (ex: soy,chickpeas,fava beans,black beans)
    nutritional yeast
    seeds (ex: sunflower, sesame, chia, hemp, flax, pumpkin)
    nuts (ex: raw almond, raw cashew, raw walnuts)

Amazing Sources of Vitamins & Minerals

Vit A: carrots, spinach, kale, parsley, bell peppers, romaine lettuce,Swiss chard, sweet potatoes,collard greens,winter squash, broccoli, tomatoes

Vit B1: romaine lettuce, asparagus, Crimini mushrooms, spinach, sunflower seeds, green peas, tomatoes, eggplant, brussels sprouts

Vit B2: Crimini mushrooms, spinach, romaine lettuce

Vit B6: spinach, bell peppers, garlic, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, asparagus, cabbage, kale, watermelon

Vit C: bell peppers, parsley, broccoli, strawberries, cauliflower, lemon juice, romaine lettuce, Brussels sprouts, papaya, kale, kiwifruit, cantaloupe, oranges, grapefruit, cabbage, tomatoes, swiss chard, collard greens raspberries, asparagus, celery, spinach, pineapple, green beans, summer squash

Vit E: sunflower seeds, almonds, Swiss chard, spinach, kale, olives

Vit K: parsley, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, basil, tomatoes, celery, sea vegetables, cauliflower, asparagus, cabbage

Zinc: Crimini mushrooms, spinach, pumpkin seeds, mustard seeds

Magnesium: Swiss chard, spinach, summer squash, pumpkin seeds, broccoli, cucumbers, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, ginger, quinoa, buckwheat, black beans, beets, tofu

Calcium: spinach, collard greens, basil, cinnamon, kale, rosemary, romaine lettuce, celery, sesame seeds, cabbage, broccoli, garlic, tofu, oranges

Chromium: romaine lettuce, onions, tomatoes

Copper: Crimini mushrooms, Swiss chard, spinach, sesame seeds, kale, eggplant, cashews, ginger, pumpkin seeds, asparagus, summer squash

Manganese: cinnamon, romaine lettuce, pineapple, spinach, turmeric, black pepper, collard greens, raspberries, kale, garlic, brown rice

Other Great Foods

Fats: avocados, extra virgin olive oil, nut oils, seeds, soy

Carbs: teff, bulgur wheat, barley, buckwheat, brown & black rice, beans, fruits, most vegetables

****These suggestions are not exhaustive. Have some fun, read, & explore your market. Variety is the spice of life so try new foods and prepare those you love in a different way

****Keep in mind when shopping that the vast majority of your grocery basket should be filled with fresh foods. Many canned foods such as beans and frozen foods such as peas and fruits are also very nutritious so keep some of these on hand for days when you can’t get to the market.

****Most importantly, remember that nourishing your body with the best foods available is your ultimate goal. Be good to yourself.