Cracked Grain Pumpernickel Bread

Cracked Grain Pumpernickel Bread

This bread is yummy. It is a little reminiscent of a loaf or bran muffins. It is a very heavy, nutrient-dense, high fiber bread. It does not hold together like regular bread, so works better for open-faced sandwiches rather than traditional sandwiches. It is wonderful with nut butter and bananas or with avocado and tomato slices. It can be toasted, if desired. Enjoy!


4 cups (1 L) cracked multigrain cereal (e.g 8-grain or 12 grain)

2 cups (500 ml) mixed seeds (chia, pumpkin, sunflower, etc)

1 cup (250 ml) ground flaxseed

1 cup (250 ml) rye flour (or other whole grain flour

1 tsp (5 ml) salt (or 1 ½ tsp (7 ml) , if desired)

5 ½ (1375 ml) cups hot water (just below boiling)

¾ cup (185 ml) molasses

3 Tbsp (45 ml) apple cider vinegar

1 tsp (5 ml) baking soda


Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. In a large bowl, stir together cereal, seeds, flour and salt. In another bowl stir together water, molasses, vinegar and baking soda.

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir well for at least 2-3 minutes.

Cover and let stand overnight or for 4 hours.

Spray or oil two loaf pans. Divide dough into the 2 pans.

Bake for 1 hour then lower the heat to 250 degrees F and bake another hour or more until firm. 


Cracked Grain Bread (2)

Kick Diabetes Essentials Just Released!

I am excited to tell you that Kick Diabetes Essentials has been released. This book provides the fine details of how to kick diabetes with a plant-based diet and lifestyle. It is jammed packed with research, practical guidelines and delicious recipes. This book provides a thorough analysis of plant-based vs low-carb (e.g. keto) diets. It is a must read for everyone who wants to prevent or treat diabetes with the healthiest diet on the planet. The guidelines are not only appropriate for those with diabetes, but also those who have or are at risk for other chronic diseases. 

Just Released!

Just Released!

The Three Sisters Go Green

From: The Kick Diabetes Cookbook


Makes 6 cups (1.5 L)

The three sisters––squash, beans, and corn––were the main crops of several Native American nations. These plants benefit each other, so they were grown close together. Not surprisingly, the combination of this companionable trio benefits people as well. Adding greens makes the mix even more powerful. Vary the seasonings to suit your taste. You can replace butternut with other small winter squashes, but the others may be more difficult to peel.


1 cup (500 ml) water or vegetable broth

3 cups (750 ml) peeled and cubed butternut squash

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1½ cups (375 ml) fresh or canned diced tomatoes

1½ cups (375 ml) cooked or canned pinto beans or pink beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup (250 ml) frozen or canned corn

1 green chile, minced (optional)

1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cumin

1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried oregano

½ teaspoon (2 ml) salt (optional)

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cups (500 ml) stemmed and thinly sliced kale or other dark leafy greens, packed

2 tablespoons (30 ml) minced fresh cilantro or parsley


Put the water, squash, onion, and garlic in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes. Add the tomatoes, beans, corn, optional chile, cumin, oregano, optional salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add the kale and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is tender, 3–5 minutes. Sprinkle the cilantro over the top just before serving.


Three Sisters Go Green

The Kick Diabetes Cookbook is Out!!!

The Kick Diabetes Cookbook by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina (publisher – Book Publishing Company) is available now. This book provides a tested plan for managing and reversing type 2 diabetes. With over 100 recipes and step by step guidelines, it will serve as an invaluable resource. All the recipes included are sugar-free, oil-free and meet the guidelines for <1500 mg sodium per day. The are based on whole, plant foods and help you to maximize the most protective components in the diet, while minimizing those found to be the most pathogenic. You will love how easy they are to prepare. 


Dr. Michael Greger (founder of and author of How Not to Die) says, “If you intend to reverse diabetes or support someone in this process, get a copy of The Kick Diabetes Cookbook and make it your constant companion.”

Dr. John Kelly (founding president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine) says, “Properly selected and prepared plant foods can reverse insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Reverse your diabetes and enjoy full remission using the nutritional approach so enjoyably presented in The Kick Diabetes Cookbook.”

Dr. Wes Youngberg (assistant clinical professor at Loma Linda University, founder of Diabetes Undone and author of Goodbye Diabetes) says, “I’ve been helping patients reverse diabetes for nearly 20 years. There is no one I would trust more to give me nutritional advice than Brenda Davis. Using this cookbook is your best bet for reversing diabetes.”

Julieanna Hever (co-author of Plant-based Nutrition Idiot’s Guide and The Vegiterranean Diet) says, “With the unprecedented rise of type 2 diabetes, there has been increasing confusion surrounding diet-related treatments. The Kick Diabetes Cookbook is a welcomed solution packed with simple advice, detailed charts and guidelines and delicious, easy recipes.”

Check out the recipe section for recipes featured from the book!




The Kick Diabetes CookBook

Optimal Eating Guidelines




An optimal diet is one that:

  • minimizes risk of disease
  • treats existing disease
  • meets all nutritional requirements


The following guidelines are meant to help you achieve optimal health. Be sure to include variety in your choices to maximize nutrients and other protective dietary components, and also to minimize potential contaminants.

  • Whole foods, plant-based diet
    • 7+ servings non-starchy vegetables
    • 3+ servings fruits
    • 3+ servings legumes/legume alternatives
    • 3+ servings grains and/or starchy vegetables
    • 1+ serving nuts and seeds


  • Unprocessed or lightly processed foods*
  • Minimal refined carbohydrates
  • Minimal concentrated sweeteners**
  • Minimal ground grains such as flour (intact or cut whole grains are preferred)
  • High fiber (35-60+ grams per day), including a variety of fiber-rich foods
  • Moderate fat from healthful sources; mainly from whole plant foods (15-25% of calories from fat)
  • Minimal added fats or oils***
  • Low saturated fat (<5-6% of calories)
  • Zero trans fatty acids
  • Sufficient omega-3 fatty acids
  • Generous inclusion of colorful, anti-inflammatory, phytochemical and antioxidant-rich foods
  • Low dietary oxidants
  • Low environmental contaminants
  • Low glycemic load
  • Moderate sodium (< 2300 mg/day; <1500 mg/day for sodium sensitive individuals)
  • Organic, where possible
  • Nutritionally adequate


*Gentle processing such as blending, grating or other simple methods of food processing are acceptable.  Heavily processed foods with added fat, sugar and salt are to be avoided.


** Concentrated sweeteners are minimized, and, if used, are used sparingly for culinary purposes (e.g. 5 ml/1 tsp maple syrup in a sauce or dressing).


***Fats and oils are minimized, and, if used, are used sparingly for culinary purposes (e.g. 5 ml/1 tsp sprayed to prevent sticking; a few drops of sesame oil as a flavoring).


Eating Disorders in Vegans and other Vegetarians… setting the record straight


(From Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition, 2014)


Many experts believe that vegan diets (and other types of vegetarian diets) can increase the risk of eating disorders. Some treatment centers consider the reintroduction of meat a necessary part of recovery. These beliefs are based on data released between 1997 and 2009 that reported significantly higher rates of disturbed-eating attitudes and behaviors, restrained eating, and disordered eating among vegetarians compared to nonvegetarians.1-5


Currently, approximately 50 percent of adolescents and young women with anorexia nervosa eat some form of vegetarian diet; whereas only 6 to 34 percent of their nonanorexic peers in the general population eat a vegetarian diet.6 Although one might logically conclude that vegetarian diets cause eating disorders, evidence indicates that vegetarian diets are typically adopted after onset and simply mask eating disorders. In other words, vegetarian diets are used as a means to facilitate calorie restriction and legitimize the removal of high-fat, high-calorie animal products, and processed or fast foods made with these products.6, 7 One research team quite appropriately labeled this phenomenon “pseudovegetarianism.”8 This isn’t to say that vegetarians can’t develop eating disorders or that individuals with eating disorders won’t decide to become bona fide vegetarians while they’re ill. Both possibilities exist. However, true vegetarians can typically be distinguished by their motivation.


A 2013 study of 160 women (93 with eating disorders and 67 controls) examined the motivation for becoming vegetarian in those who were vegetarian or who had ever been vegetarian. Almost half the participants with a history of eating disorders cited weight concerns as a primary motivation for becoming vegetarian; in the control group, none of the participants became vegetarian as a result of concerns about body weight.6 In 2012, two research papers provided valuable insights into the supposed link between vegetarianism and eating disorders. The first paper reported that vegetarians and pescovegetarians weren’t more restrained in their eating patterns than omnivores; however, semivegetarians (no red meat consumption) and flexitarians (occasional red meat consumption) were significantly more restrained than omnivores or vegetarians.9 In addition, the fewer animal products the vegetarians ate (in other words, the more vegan they became), the less likely they were to exhibit signs of disordered eating. The authors noted that while the semivegetarians and flexitarians were motivated by weight concerns, vegetarians and pescovegetarians were motivated by ethical concerns. The second paper (which included two separate studies) carefully separated true vegetarians and vegans from semivegetarians and omnivores.10 The findings added to the evidence suggesting that semivegetarians are at greater risk for disordered eating than omnivores or vegetarians. The investigators found that vegans had the healthiest scores of all dietary groups and speculated that vegan diets may actually be protective against developing eating disorders.10 Although these are preliminary findings, they do effectively challenge conventional thinking. Furthermore, the conclusion makes sense, given the other-directedness of vegans (their concern for animals and the environment) as opposed to the innerdirected nature of eating disorders.


To provide effective treatment for vegetarians with eating disorders, the first determination must be whether the patient is a true vegetarian or a pseudovegetarian. If the individual is a pseudovegetarian, the reintroduction of animal products can reasonably be considered a valid step in the normalization of eating. On the other hand, the reintroduction of animal products is unnecessary and potentially damaging for true vegetarians or vegans. Individuals who are ethically committed to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle will resist any attempts to force them to forgo their values. They’ll feel disrespected and disconnected, making it difficult for them to trust their health care providers and work honestly at recovery. For true vegetarians, the addition of higher-fat, higher-calorie vegetarian foods is recommended. For vegans, this includes nuts, seeds, nut butters, avocados, tofu, legumes, starchy vegetables, and whole grains.


Vegans and vegetarians who have eating disorders should ask themselves this question: Was the decision to become vegetarian influenced by a desire to achieve a lower body weight—and is this still true? Some who initially select a vegetarian or vegan diet as a means of eliminating fattening food end up becoming convinced by the ethical, ecological, or health arguments in favor of this eating pattern. Although returning to an omnivorous diet is a part of recovery for some individuals, it’s not necessary for everyone; recovery doesn’t require eating animal foods again. Vegans and vegetarians can achieve complete recovery without forsaking the beliefs and values of this empathetic lifestyle.



1. Lindeman M et al. Vegetarianism and eating-disordered thinking. Eating Disorders. 2000; 8(2):157–165. 85.

2. Bas M et al. Vegetarianism and eating disorders: Association between eating attitudes and other psychological factors among Turkish adolescents. Appetite. 2005; 44(3):309–315.

3. Klopp SA et al. Self-reported vegetarianism may be a marker for college women at risk for disordered eating. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2003; 103(6):745–747.

4. Neumark-Sztainer D et al. Adolescent vegetarians. A behavioral profile of a schoolbased population in Minnesota. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 1997; 151(8):833–838.

5. Robinson-O’Brien R et al. Adolescent and young adult vegetarianism: better dietary intake and weight outcomes but increased risk of disordered eating behaviors. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109(4):648–55.

6. Bardone-Cone AM et al. The inter-relationships between vegetarianism and eating disorders among females. J Acad Nutr Diet. 201;112(8):1247–52.

7. Amit M. Canadian Paediatric Society, Community Paediatrics Committee. Vegetarian diets in children and adolescents. Paediatr Child Health. 2010;15(5):303–314.

8. O’Connor MA et al. Vegetarianism in anorexia nervosa? A review of 116 consecutive cases. The Medical Journal of Australia. 1987;147(11-12):540–542. 92.

9. Forestell CA et al. To eat or not to eat red meat. A closer look at the relationship between restrained eating and vegetarianism in college females. Appetite. 2012;58(1): 319–25. 93.

10. Timko CA et al. Will the real vegetarian please stand up? An investigation of dietary restraint and eating disorder symptoms in vegetarians versus non-vegetarians. Appetite. 2012;58(3):982–90.

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Avocado Sauce



Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Avocado Sauce


Sweet potatoes (also called yams) are among the most nutritious and delicious of all the starchy vegetables. Use sweet potatoes with the bright orange flesh for this recipe.



  • 4 medium-sized sweet potatoes


Potato Filling

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable broth (or 1 Tbsp olive or avocado oil)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 c cooked black beans (or one 15 oz can drained)
  • 1 1/2 c corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 1/2 c diced fresh tomatoes
  • sweet potato pulp from the baked sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 c cilantro (or parsley), chopped
  • seasonings to taste (e.g. ¼ tsp smoked paprika; 1/2 tsp each salt, coriander, turmeric, oregano, basil, thyme; 1-2 tsp chili powder)
  • 1 tsp minced chipotle or other hot pepper (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice


Avocado Sauce

  • 1 ripe, medium-sized avocado
  • 1/4 cup plain vegan yogurt, vegan mayonnaise (or creamy vegan salad dressing)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • Dash of favorite hot sauce (optional) or cayenne
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • Salt to taste



  1. Wash sweet potatoes and pierce with a fork. Place on a cookie sheet lined with a silicon mate or lightly oiled. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 45-60 minutes, or until soft.
  2. While potatoes are baking, prepare the avocado sauce. Blend together avocado, lime juice, garlic, vegan yogurt or mayonnaise and salt in a blender or food processor until smooth. If you are not using the yogurt or mayonnaise, you may need to add a little water or non-dairy milk to thin mixture for piping. Put sauce into a zip lock bag and refrigerate.
  3. Prepare filling for potatoes. Heat oil or vegetable broth on medium heat and add onions, peppers, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add black beans, corn, tomatoes, hot pepper (if using), salt and spices, and turn heat down and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Turn oven off. While the mixture is simmering, remove cooked sweet potatoes from the oven and slice each potato in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out about half the flesh in each potato, leaving plenty of potato so the skin remains firm and the potato can hold its shape. Put hollowed out potatoes back in the oven to keep warm.
  5. Stir the sweet potato flesh into the black bean/corn mixture and let cook another 5-10 minutes so spices are nicely distributed. Turn off heat. Add cilantro and lime juice.
  6. Remove potatoes from the oven and pile filling back into potato halves.
  7. Remove avocado sauce from the refrigerator and cut a hole in one corner of the bag (at the bottom). Pipe avocado sauce over filling. Serve with a large salad or green vegetables.




Salad Dressings



Salad dressings are generally based on oil, vinegar (or lemon) and sugar. Oil-free dressings are generally very high in sugar and sodium.  They do little to enhance the nutritional value of salad. These dressings are whole-food based so much more nutrient-dense than store-bought dressing. The fat comes from seeds or nuts and the sweetness from dried fruit. Enjoy!



Golden Hemp Dressing

 Makes about 3 cups of dressing.

One-quarter cup of Golden Hemp Dressing provides omega-3 fatty acids and is packed with riboflavin and other B vitamins, including vitamin B12. If you prefer, use yellow zucchini, complete with peel.


1/2 cup hemp seeds

1 cup water

2 cups zucchini, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes

3 Tbsp light miso

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp ground cumin or turmeric

1/2 tsp garlic, crushed (optional)

1 tbsp golden raisins (or other light-colored dried fruit such as pears or apples) (optional)


Place all of the ingredients in a blender, and process until smooth. Store in a sealed glass jar, in the refrigerator, for up to two weeks.



Green Goddess Dressing: Replace mustard and cumin with 1 cup of fresh herbs (basil, oregano, and parsley work very well), and double the amount of garlic to 1 tsp. Keep the skin on the zucchini.


Lemon Tahini Dressing

Makes 1-1/2 cups (375 ml)


Tahini is a delicious sesame seed butter used that became well known in the West with the introduction of Hummus. Tahini may be used to flavor sauces and soups, or to give creamy texture in a dressing like this one. Stir tahini before using as oil may separate.  Try this dressing on salads, steamed broccoli, and baked potatoes.


1/2 cup (125 ml) tahini

1/2 cup (125 ml) water

1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon juice

1-2 Tbsp (30 ml) tamari or 1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)

2 cloves garlic, (optional) (not necessary to chop if going in a blender)

1 tsp (5 ml) cumin powder (optional)

Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)


Put the tahini, water, lemon juice, tamari, garlic, and cayenne in a blender and process for 30 seconds or until smooth. This dressing will keep, in a covered container and refrigerated, for up to 3 weeks.


Creamy Cashew Dressing

Makes about 2 1/2 cups of dressing.


1 cup cashews, rinsed

1 1/2 cups water

1/4 cup white wine vinegar (or other light-colored vinegar)

2 Tbsp light miso

2 cloves garlic

3-4 dates (optional)

1 tsp horseradish (optional)

1 tsp Dijon mustard (optional)

Fresh ground pepper to taste


Blend ingredients on high speed until smooth and creamy. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

The Vegan Plate

Vegan Plate art BIG hi res (2)


Graphic from “Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition”  (2014) and from“Becoming Vegan: Express Edition” (2013), both by Registered Dietitians Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina, Book Publishing Co.

This vegan food guide was designed to ensure that your diet provides all the nutrients you need for good health. While following the guidelines provided will ensure most nutrients, some deserve special attention. These are addressed in the section titled “Other Essentials”.


Food Guide


Other Essentials

Here are recommendations on a few essential nutrients of interest to vegans: omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B12 and D iodine. For more.


Omega-3 fatty acids. Include at least one of the following:

• 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of ground flaxseeds or chia seeds
• ¼ cup (60 ml) of hempseeds
• ? cup (85 ml) of walnuts
• 1½ teaspoons (7 ml) of flaxseed oil
• 1½ tablespoons (22 ml) of hempseed oil
• 2½ tablespoons (37 ml) of canola oil

Taking supplement of 200 to 300 mg of supplemental vegan DHA two to three times per week may be beneficial for some individuals (such as during pregnancy or for those with diabetes). A supplement that combines DHA with EPA can also be used.


Vitamin B12. Include one of the following:

• A daily supplement that provides at least 25 mcg of vitamin B12
• Twice a week, a supplement that provides at least 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12
• Three servings daily of foods fortified with vitamin B12, such as nondairy milks, vegan meats, or breakfast cereals, totaling 4 mcg of vitamin B12 for the day (100 percent of the daily value). For one of those servings, you can use 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of Red Star Vegetarian Support Formula nutritional yeast flakes.


Vitamin D. Get vitamin D in the following ways:

• Expose your face and forearms to warm sunlight (between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., without sunscreen) day, for fifteen minutes if you have light-colored skin, twenty minutes if you’re dark-skinned, and thirty minutes if you’re a senior.
• If you can’t get enough sun exposure—for instance, during winter, especially in northern latitudes—take a supplement or eat fortified foods. The recommended daily vitamin D intake for adults is 600 IU (15 mcg) to age seventy and 800 IU (20 mcg) after seventy. Amounts of vitamin D as high as 1,000 to 2,000 IU (25 to 50 mcg) are considered safe.


Iodine. Include one of the following:

• A multivitamin-mineral supplement that provides 150 mcg of iodine
• About ? teaspoon (2 ml) of iodized salt. Note that sea salt generally isn’t iodized; if it is, this will be declared on the label.

Practical Pointers

In addition to the preceding tips, a few simple dietary approaches will help ensure optimum nutrition and well-being:


Eat a wide variety of foods from each food group. Variety helps ensure you consume sufficient quantities of a broad range of nutrients, phytochemicals, and fiber. It also makes meals much more interesting.
Fill at least half of your plate with vegetables and fruits.
Be moderate in your intake of concentrated fats, oils, and added sugars. These foods are generally rich in calories but poor sources of nutrients. Excessive intakes of fat and sugar will crowd out foods that offer valuable nutrients. It’s better to use whole foods such as seeds, nuts, avocados, and olives as your sources of fat, and fruits as your source of sugar, rather than extracted oils and sugars.

Watch your sodium intake. Using ready-to-eat processed foods can make life easier, but relying excessively on canned, frozen, and other processed foods can result in excessively high sodium intakes.

Aim for an hour of physical activity each day. Activity is central to energy balance and overall health. It also helps maintains muscle strength, bone density, balance, and mental well-being.

Drink enough water to stay hydrated. Fluids such as water, herbal teas, and vegetable juices can help maintain good health and prevent kidney stones and urinary tract infections. Let thirst be your guide.

Budget-Wise, Plant-powered Eating



Many people who are on a budget believe that eating healthy is next to impossible. With the escalating cost of fruits and vegetables, they opt for processed foods such as boxed macaroni and cheese, ramen noodles or white rice and canned meat. Eating out usually means fast food such as burgers, fries, tacos, or fried chicken. These are the types of foods most strongly linked with overweight, obesity and chronic diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and even some cancers. Processed foods and fast foods concentrate potentially harmful dietary components such as damaging fats, refined carbohydrates (both starches and sugars), salt, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Such foods are often produced unsustainably, and tend to be over-packaged.

So how do we assist food insecure consumers in making the shift to a plant-strong diet? How can help individuals and families design diets that maximize health protective components such as fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein, essential fats, phytochemicals and antioxidants? First, we need to help consumers see the bigger picture. Healthful eating leads to increased well being, fewer sick days, better stamina, improved immune function, and vastly reduced risk of disease. Furthermore it means reduced health care costs, and more joy-filled lives.

Plant-centered diets can be simple or extravagant – just remember that the poorest people on the planet rely largely on beans, grains, and vegetables for their sustenance. These foods are not only economical but are earth-friendly as well. Here are 10 tips to help consumers make penny-wise, nutrient-rich choices, and a delicious, nutritious menu that will fit any budget!

  1. Grow your own food. Grow vegetables, herbs, berries and sprouts. If you are able, plant a fruit tree. If you do not have room for a garden, grow vegetables and herbs in containers on your balcony or doorstep, or rent space from a community garden. Always have sprouts on the go. Growing sprouts is easy, inexpensive and takes very little space. All you need are jars with sprouting lids (mesh bags and elastics also work on the jars), or sprouting bags, and seeds. Kamut or spelt berries, mung beans and lentils are all great choices. Sprouts contain a vast array of nutrients and are many times higher in protective phytochemicals than their unsprouted counterpart.
  2. Prepare your own food. Learn basic food preparation skills such as cooking grains and beans. Make as much as you can from scratch – soups, stews, patties, loaves, healthy baked goods, breakfast cereals, smoothies, salad dressings and sauces. Cook in big batches and freeze portions for instant meals at a later date.
  3. Buy whole foods in bulk. Unprocessed foods are less expensive and far more nutritious than their processed counterparts. A couple of potatoes might cost 50 cents but turn them into potato chips and the cost will be closer to three dollars. Buying in bulk is best for non-perishables such as grains, beans and canned or jarred goods as the cost per unit is usually significantly lower. If you have access to bulk fresh produce, dehydrating, canning or freezing can be very economical.
  4. Eat legumes for protein. Legumes – beans, lentils, peas, and chickpeas are the least expensive, most nutrient dense protein choices on the planet. They provide high protein, iron, and zinc, but are low in fat and are cholesterol-free. In addition, beans are brimming with fiber and phytochemicals. They are the best nutrition bargain on the block. The easiest way to begin using beans is to throw a few cooked beans into a soup or on a salad. Progress to bean-based main dishes such as spicy black beans over baked yams or lentil curry. Cook a big batch of beans and freeze in 1- or 2-cup bags. Lentils do not need soaking and are very quick cooking compared to other legumes. Dried beans are more economical than canned.
  5. Minimize processed, packaged, convenience and fast food. Think nutrients per dollar and you will quickly see why highly processed and fast foods are no bargain at all.
  6. Buy local and in season. Find out where local, seasonal foods are available in your community. When you buy local you avoid the added cost (both financial and ecological) of shipping foods long distances. Also, you can find incredible deals on very fresh foods. Produce tends to be one of the more expensive parts of the food bill for those on a budget, so be sure to take advantage of less expensive options such as cabbage, carrots, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes. Also, consider frozen options when fresh are just too costly.
  7. Plan your meals. Make a week long menu and a list of everything you will need to buy to prepare your meals. Factor in snacks as well. Be sure to look at what is one sale at the stores you shop to help you plan your menu. Build it around items that are on sale that week.
  8. Shop smart. Check unit prices on foods. Shop at stores that are close to one another to save gas and time, but do consider shopping at several stores. Don’t shop on an empty stomach, as you will be more prone to impulse purchases. If possible, go to farmer’s markets (you can often get great deals at the end of the day) or directly to farms. Check out local ethnic stores as some have much lower prices on basic staples.
  9. Drink water. Do not waste money on soda or other beverages with no nutritional value. Stick to water (not bottled – tap water is fine; filter if you are able). Teas are can be reasonably inexpensive.
  10. Waste not, want not. Do not throw food out unless it has gone bad. Eat leftovers for lunch or re-purpose them for dinner. Make a soup, casserole or salad with leftovers or freeze them for later use. Keep tabs on what is in your fridge so nothing goes to waste.



Super Simple Plant-based Menu

This menu, from Cooking Vegan (by dietitian Vesanto Melina and chef Joseph Forest, Book Publishing Co) is nutritious, economical and simple. There is just one meal to prepare–Stir Fry 101, with rice; stir fries allow for infinite variation. For lunch, either rely on canned soup, or save even more by cooking in quantity and freezing portions. Lentil soup or split pea soup are other high protein options; you’ll find outstanding recipes in Cooking Vegan. Vary this basic menu according to your preferences, as much as possible relying on whole plant foods. When eating completely plant-based, include a vitamin B12: supplement (such as 1000 mcg twice a week).



2 slices of whole grain toast, each with 2 tsp of almond butter or peanut butter, plus 1 cup calcium-fortified juice


1 bowl oatmeal with 1 cup calcium-fortified soymilk, your favorite fruit and 2-3 tablespoons of walnuts and/or seeds (pumpkin, hemp, chia, etc.)



Black bean soup, 11 oz can

Whole grain crackers, 4

Apple, 1 (or other fruit)



Stir Fry 101, 2 1/4 cups vegetables and chickpeas

Brown rice, 1 1/2 cups



Trail mix: 1/3 c walnuts, peanuts and other nuts and seeds, 1/2 c figs or other dried fruit


Nutritional analysis of menu: calories: 1992, protein: 61 g, fat: 68 g, carbohydrate: 305 g, dietary fiber: 55 g, calcium: 992 mg, iron: 18 mg, magnesium: 617 mg, phosphorus: 1269 mg, potassium: 3946 mg, sodium 994 mg, zinc: 11 mg, thiamin: 1.5 mg, riboflavin: 1.2 mg, niacin: 26 mg, vitamin B6: 1.9 mg, folate: 548 mcg, vitamin A: 744 mcg, vitamin C: 391 mg, vitamin E: 21 mg, omega-3 fatty acids: 3 g

Percentage of calories from: protein 12%, fat 29%, carbohydrate 59%


   The process is fun, you can create your masterpiece alone or in company, and the combinations are unlimited. A traditional stir-fry is made over high heat in a round-bottomed cooking vessel known as a wok. This recipe can be made in a frying pan or wok and uses very little oil. Serve with cooked rice.


1 tablespoon canola oil, olive oil or other vegetable oil

1/2 onion, large diced

1 cup sliced carrots, cut diagonally

1 cup broccoli florets

1 cup cooked chickpeas

1 cup sliced red peppers

1 cup trimmed snow peas

1 cup sliced bok choy

1/4 cup stir fry sauce (made with 2 tbsp fresh minced ginger, 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce, and 1/4 cup orange juice concentrate


use commercial stir-fry sauce to taste


Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat; heat to 400 degrees F if using an electric frying pan. Add the onion and cook until it begins to turn brown. Add the carrots, broccoli, and chickpeas and cook until the carrots and broccoli are almost tender crisp. Add the peppers, snow peas, bok choy, and sauce and cook for 1 minute or until the vegetables are warm and wilted.


Per serving (2 1/4 cups): calories: 378, protein: 16 g, fat: 9 g, carbohydrate: 61 g, dietary fiber: 11 g, calcium: 180 mg, iron: 7 mg, magnesium: 115 mg, phosphorus: 311 mg, potassium: 1329 mg, sodium: 605 mg, zinc: 2.3 mg, thiamin: 0.5 mg, riboflavin: 0.5 mg, niacin: 7 mg, vitamin B6: 0.9 mg, folate: 322 mcg, pantothenic acid: 2.25 mg, vitamin B12: 0 mcg, vitamin A: 749 mcg, vitamin C: 308 mg, vitamin E: 5 mg, omega-3 fatty acids: 0.2 g

Percentage of calories from: protein 15%, fat 23%, carbohydrate 62%


Stir Fry Variations:

  1. Replace any of the vegetables with seasonal, economical options – sliced celery, green or yellow beans, green onions, green or yellow peppers, zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, Napa cabbage, green or red cabbage, okra, mung bean sprouts, sugar snap peas or frozen peas all work well. Be creative!
  2. Add 2 cloves garlic, minced and/or 1 tablespoon minced ginger.
  3. Replace the chickpeas with cubed firm tofu, marinated tofu, tempeh, veggie “chicken” (such as Gardein), or sliced seitan.
With special thanks to Vesanto Melina, who co-authored this article, and provided the recipe!