The plant based nurse

My family's excellent adventure to better health!

Plant serious? Step 2: Rescue your kitchen!

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So, you’ve watched Forks over Knives or heard about the benefits of plant based eating and have decided to dive in and try it out to see if this lifestyle is for you. Where do you begin? My daughter and I were so excited to get started and weren’t really sure where to begin, but we decided we had to start somewhere so we went to the local bookstore and on the vegetarian shelf we found the Forks Over Knives cookbook. We sat down in the cafe at the bookstore and had some lunch while we checked out the cookbook to see what we needed. There was a very helpful section in the front of the book called pantry basics which had a list of basic grains, condiments,and spices.

Pantry basics

Next we picked a couple of recipes from the book that looked simple and not too foreign. We made a shopping list from the recipes we chose and off to the grocery store we went. our first shopping trip was fun and took us a little longer than usual since we had never bought things like nutritional yeast, tahini, or tofu. It really helped to have a partner along. We made a game out of it and ended up  having fun. That night we went home and had our first plant based meal, salad and penne pasta with white wine mushroom sauce.

Penne with white wine mushroom sauce from the FOK cookbook

Penne with white wine mushroom sauce

We all enjoyed it and used this cookbook as our guide for quite some time. Most of the recipes made enough for leftovers, so we didn’t have to cook every night and we were really enjoying trying new foods. Since we enjoy cooking, this worked out well for us, but for those who are not into cooking, starting out simple might be more successful. Instead of making recipes, you can simply cook potatoes and veggies or rice and beans and have a big salad. There are SO many great web sites with easy recipes or easy meal ideas. Some of my favorites are Fat free vegan, Engine 2, Dr McDougall, and Happy Herbivore. One of my favorite easy meals in the beginning was a baked potato or sweet potato with salsa and greens or a salad.  I even found that many of the leftovers didn’t even have to be reheated for my lunch. They were great at room temperature.

After a very short time, I was convinced this was the right path for us and began to realize that I had a lot of foods in my kitchen we needed to get rid of. I donated the non perishables to a food pantry, gave some frozen meats to relatives, and threw some things away. A great video by Rip Esselstyn, The Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue, talks about cleaning out your kitchen and restocking it with healthy plant based foods. Rip even does some cooking with the families he visits. The video is available on Netflix or you can purchase the DVD.

Check out the trailer:

Once we cleaned out the pantry, it really reduced the temptations to give in to just a taste of this or a bite of that from our old way of eating. I think the last thing to go in the fridge was the half and half I used to use in my coffee. Once the container was empty, I decided I didn’t need it anymore. A few months later, the coffee went out the window, too.

Here are some staples we always have in the house and some gadgets I use frequently:


Potatoes, great for a meal or a snack!

Rice and beans and tomatoes

Oats, rice, whole grain pasta, beans, tomatoes, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar.


Frozen fruits and veggies and sprouted grain tortillas

Grain shelf 2

Whole wheat flour, my husband’s rice blend, farro, millet, couscous, vital wheat gluten, polenta, flaxseed meal, and quinoa

hot sauce shelf

Sriracha sauce, lots of Tabasco varities, chili garlic sauce and soy sauce in the fridge

Spices on door

My husband’s solution on the inside of a closet door for our many spices. His new favorite spice store is Penzey’s online

mini chopper

Mini choppers are great for garlic and fresh ginger and small batches of oat flour

Food processor

Food processors are great for making a quick batch of hummus, tofu sour cream, and even tofu pudding or frosting


Lots of greens, fruits, and veggies, of course!

Firm tofu

Extra firm tofu is great for cubing, marinating, and baking to put in Asian dishes


Wooden spoons, citrus zester, citrus reamer, chef’s knife, tongs and bench knife for scooping up veggies. Underneath is a silicone mat we use to roast veggies, bake veggie burgers, roast potatoes and more. I also love my silicone muffin trays for making plantstrong muffins.

  Here’s a great blog and video from Will Kirski, better known as Potato strong about how to get started on the Starch Solution, Dr. McDougall’s plant based program.

Have fun with your food and enjoy!

Author: theplantbasednurse

An RN with a passion for the plant based lifestyle. Plant based eating saved my marriage, strengthened my family, improved our health, and is a blast!

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