I have been a vegetarian for almost 18 years, and I can tell you through experience, you can do it the cheap way or you can do it the expensive way. And, either way can be healthy.
I started out doing it the cheap way, as a university student in my very first apartment. I was earning an MA in journalism while my husband worked at the campus library. We ate lots of pasta with tomato sauce and chickpeas, burgers made from textured vegetable protein and Asian noodle dishes with stir-fried veggies and tofu. We spent about $35 a week on groceries.
Over the years, I gradually started to lean more towards the expensive way. I love food…and if it’s healthy that’s even better. As you know, sometimes these healthy products come at a higher cost, but if you pick them right, they are worth the added expense.
I have tried many natural and organic products over the years, and I have settled on quite a few favourites. I want to share some of them with you so maybe you can discover a few new items without wasting your money on less palatable ones first. These products are tried and true.
Experts tell us that steel cut oats are a less refined, healthier form of oats. Problem is, I just don’t feel like taking the time to cook them in the morning. That’s why I love these Country Choice Organic Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats. Once the water boils, they are ready in less than five minutes, and they are great with some fresh fruit, a little drip of maple syrup and some non-dairy milk.
Barbara’s Peanut Butter Puffins cereal is obviously meant to be eaten at breakfast, and that is how my daughter eats it. I, on the other hand, eat it throughout the day for snacks (sans milk). These little nuggets are tasty! They are made from natural ingredients and low in sugar and fat.
Food Should Taste Good Multigrain Tortilla Chips are gluten-free, high in fibre, certified vegan and, as the package says, they are a cracker as well as a chip. Use them with salsa, hummus, whatever you like…they are delicious. Even my mom loves them, and she isn’t a granola cruncher like me.
If you are trying to reduce your intake of regular wheat products like I am, I highly recommend these Sobaya Kamut Udon noodles. They cook up just like pasta—no rinsing needed! They are great for Italian or Asian dishes.
In terms of spelt pasta, one of my favourites is Pantanella Spelt Pasta, which I buy at a local bakery. This pasta doesn’t create a nasty film in the water like some spelt pastas do. Not sure how easy it is to find in general.
MI-DEL Gluten-Free Ginger Snaps are a great little treat with tea. And they are gluten-free. What more can I say?
Taste of Nature’s Organic Food Bars are delicious, high in fibre and contain no additives, artificial flavours or sodium. Just yummy vegan, kosher, non-GMO ingredients like nuts, fruit, seeds and agave nectar. My current favourite flavour is Quebec Cranberry Carnival.
While it isn’t a food, Emergen-C is a staple in our kitchen. It is a powdered mix that fizzes up in water. Each packet contains 1,000 mg of vitamin C as well as antioxidants, electrolytes and B vitamins. It works wonders if you feel a cold coming on and is also, I’m ashamed to say, a great hangover remedy.
I gave a packet to my sister to test out. She was astounded to find that her hangover was gone soon after drinking this mix. Next time, I told her, she can even drink one the night before, prior to consuming alcohol and then more the next day. Of course, even drinking water will help alleviate some symptoms. I give this to my kids when they aren’t feeling well too, just in smaller doses. A note to my fellow Canadians: if you are visiting the U.S. anytime soon, buy your Emergen-C there. It costs about half the price.
Except for one time when my daughter was really ill, I have never given regular cough syrup to my children. (By the way, the one time I did, she got worse and we had to go to the hospital.) For a mild cough, we have found that Boiron’s Stodal homeopathic cough syrup helps to reduce symptoms and help them sleep.
I can’t forget the humble apple as both a nutritious natural food and a remedy for what ails us.
I got an organic fruit and veggie delivery this week, and it was a fun treat, like unwrapping a Christmas present.
Aren’t the fruits and veggies naturally beautiful? What are your favourite natural products?