My recent trip to “Bulk City” made me think of all the confusion that can occur in a ginormous place like this. I know that a normal grocery store can cause a lot of annoyance and unwanted purchases, so my last trip to this large store was purposeful – I was on a mission to find convenience items that add a PUNCH of healthy benefits for anyone trying to maneuver this plant-based journey with me or someone just trying to make BETTER choices for themselves/family. I found many staples that come in bulk which saves me MONEY, convenience, and trips to the grocery story.
I know this is a tough one for many people because they taste like ‘dirt’, but I have always had a fondness for beets- cooked beets were my son’s, Charlie, first real food.
WHY beets? Beets contain valuable nutrients that can lower blood pressure, fight cancer and inflammation, boost stamina and even detox your system. Now with all that goodness, one must be careful because this vegetable contains the highest amount of sugar, so eat in moderation.
(add to your smoothie, chop up and add to an arugula salad or an heirloom tomato salad)
#2 Guacamole and/or Avocadoes
My local bulk store has 2 different kinds of guacamole that are a MUST in my cart.
Why Avocados/Guacamole? This nutrient dense vegetable is a strong antioxidant, 3.4 grams of fiber are in just half an avocado which can keep you feeling full longer, the monounsaturated fats lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, decreases your cholesterol levels.
(add to your smoothie, grill and add to a salad, half and slice and add to a soup, or mash up and add to whole grain toast, tomatoes, and a balsamic glaze, or just half, add a sprinkle of Himalayan salt and eat)
#3 Whole Grains, Bread and Crackers
Lets be honest- we all go to these stores for the bulk items, and these items are perfect. I grab the bread and freeze what I don’t use for later. I have purchased the quinoa and brown rice pouches for convenience add ins for our dinners. My entire family grabs a handful of these crackers for snack, a perfect side to soups, sandwiches or to dip in our guacamole and hummus (also a top pick).
- My favorite choices are pictured below because of their ingredients.
- Turmeric: cancer fighter, natural anti-inflammatory, detoxifier, aids in fat metabolism
- lentils, quinoa: high in protein,
- flax, chia : high in fiber
Why Whole Grain? Unless you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance you don’t want to miss out on the nutrients that come from whole grains. Whole grains provide you with fiber that can control blood sugar and reduce your colon cancer risk due to their digestive support, plant-based proteins that support weight, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.
I do, on occasion, grab some canned beans or my favorite bagged Garbanzos in bulk for convenience. I prefer using my pressure cooker to make beans because it is cheaper and you can control the add-ins.
Why beans? Well, this is an easy answer- PROTEIN and FIBER
(beans can replace the animal protein in almost any recipe- can even add protein to a blondies recipes)
I have a few neighbors that make their own kombucha, and this is a summer goal of mine but until then I will be purchasing mine in bulk from Costco.
Why Kombucha? Kombucha is a beverage known as the ‘immortal health elixir’ is fermented which adds a large number of healthy bacteria (probiotics) to the drink. These bacteria line your digestive tract and support immune system which we have discovered is our ‘second brain’. If you have an unhappy gut, you have an unhappy life.
I no longer consume dairy, it is difficult for me to get probiotics- and with all the beans I am consuming- my digestion (bloating) needs all the help it can get. My boys love kombucha and ask for it when their tummies are upset or they want something instead of water to quench their thirst. It is high in sugar, so I wouldn’t recommend it at every meal.
#6 Fresh Produce Aisle
This is a no brainer- I never skip this section even when I am already freezing. I fight the cold to grab the large salad containers, extra large berry bins, Banana bunches, English cucumbers, large cruciferous vegetable bags,- we go through these so quickly that it is a staple every time. We freeze the extra fruits for smoothies and eat up the veggies before we even know it.
#7 Must -Haves
I don’t know how anyone walks out of this place with only a few items. Every aisle has something that makes an herbivores life easier, fancier, and a little bit more exciting. (sounds like an oxymoron, right)
Almond milk cartons– IN BULK!!!!
Salad toppers – nut mix
Lara bars – yes, I have a recipe for these, but some times convenience wins
Trail mix and nuts
frozen black bean burgers – I prefer making my own because I know exactly what they are made out of, but (again) having the ability to just throw one on the grill and add onto a salad makes for an easy lunch during my summer
Hemp Hearts- I don’t always have to purchase this large bag, but I keep enough around the house to add to muffins, smoothies, and pancake batter for added protein.
Nuttzo Nut and Seed Butter– filled with 7 nuts and seeds: cashew, almond, Brazilian, flax, chia, hazel, and pumpkin seeds – the boys love the texture and I love the added benefit of flax and chia.
The trip to your local ‘bulk store’ does not have to be overwhelming. With this list in hand, I hope you will find it purposeful and productive. “And may your vegan life NEVER be boring!”