Shopping list

The real foods you need to eat well are simple: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans/legumes and protein. I generally choose vegetables that are quick and easy to prepare. Protein can take the form of eggs, dairy, soy and vegetarian proteins, meat, fish and fowl. I tend to use mostly vegetarian proteins for several reasons: taste preferences, health, ease of handling/cooking and cost.

Below is my “typical” kitchen stock list, which includes my favorites in each category. My stock varies a bit according to my mood and the season. Sources include the local farmers market, food coop, the grocery store and a few online shops for specialty items, like herbs, spices and teas. Consider this merely a guideline – having a “master” shopping list can save you a lot of time! You can use it to do an inventory before you shop & keep a copy in your purse or wallet.

Frozen Vegetables
Source: grocery store
Chopped broccoli
Chopped greens: mustard, collard, kale, etc.
Corn (organic)
Butternut or winter squash

Fresh Vegetables
Sources: farmers market, food co-op, grocery store
Sweet potatoes
Red skin potatoes
Lettuce or salad greens
Cooking greens (kale, chard, collard, beet greens, etc.)
Zucchini or summer squash
Green or yellow wax beans
Herbs (basil, mint, cilantro, Italian parsley are my favorites)

And whatever else sparks my fancy at the farmers’ market! I tend to buy only basic and/or hard-to-find-local items at the grocery store: tropical fruits, onions, sweet potatoes, mushrooms.

Fresh Fruit
Sources: farmer market, food co-op, grocery store
Berries (locally grown)

I’ll buy organic and low- or no-spray fruits at the farmers’ market, though I prefer to buy organic apples and pears, and those aren’t grown locally. Citrus fruits, pineapple, kiwi and watermelon are among the veggies considered low risk for chemical residues, so I save my money and buy conventionally grown. Berries are a mixed bag in terms of pesticides and also so fragile and susceptible to mold/spoilage, so I most always get those fresh from the farmers market. And you just can’t beat that fresh-picked flavor!

Grains, Seeds & Nuts
Sources: food co-op, grocery store
Brown rice
Gluten-free (brown rice) pasta
Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oats
Bob’s Red Mill Tasty Gluten-Free hot cereal
Cold-milled ground flax
Sesame seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Almonds, pecans or walnuts

I buy some of these items at my co-op or health food store’s bulk section, depending on cost. Locally, I find that brown rice is often cheaper in bags while more “exotic” grains like quinoa are cheaper in bulk.

Beans & Legumes
Sources: food co-op, grocery store
(Dried unless specified)
Black beans
Pinto beans
White beans
Soy beans
Split peas
Assorted plain, canned beans
Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans (canned)

Dried beans are an incredible source of cheap, high quality nutrition! I find the best deals for mainstream varieties to be the bagged Goya brand beans at my grocery. I sometimes buy more exotic varieties online or at my food co-op. As for canned beans, they are great in a pinch, when you don’t have time to cook dried. And I love the simple ingredients list and thick, hearty consistency of Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans! They are a regional Upstate New York specialty, made in Mexico, NY (North of Syracuse) and can be used to whip up a super-quick meal with some sliced turkey or tofu hot dogs stirred in. Alas, vegetarian friends, they do have a tiny bit of bacon.

Vegetarian Protein & Soy foods
Sources: food co-op, grocery store, VitaCost
Extra firm tofu
Light Life or Soy Boy Tempeh
Light Life Tofu Pups
Jarrow soy protein powder
Shirataki noodles

I have just started experimenting with shirataki noodles; they can be dressed up quite tastily and are gluten free. These vegetarian proteins are often in the produce section of a conventional grocery store. Except for the protein powder, which I order online from VitaCost. It’s great for a quick protein boost stirred into milk or soymilk and provides lots of healthy estrogen-regulating & bone-building soy isoflavones for the ladies (not generally recommended for those with hypothyroidism or on estrogen replacement, though). I also use it to increase the protein content of hot cereals.

Animal proteins
Sources: farmers’ market, food co-op, grocery store
Eggs (local)
Milk (local)
Yogurt (local)
Pineland Farms cheese
Cabot cottage cheese
Blinkski’s organic chicken sausage

I have committed to buying only local eggs; despite costing twice as much as conventional eggs, they are still a very affordable and are much higher in healthy anti-inflammatory Omega 6 fatty acids.

Condiments, Seasonings & Spreads
Sources: food co-op, grocery store
Natural peanut butter
Ginger People ginger spread
Fruit-only jams
Wheat-free tamari
Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
Stoneground mustard
Cabot unsalted butter
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (cold pressed)
Canola Oil (cold pressed)
Toasted sesame oil (cold pressed)
Rice vinegar
Balsamic vinegar
Apple cider vinegar
Santa Cruz organic lemon or lime juice (bottled)
Ginger People grated ginger & ginger juice
Sunja’s Kim Chi (jar)
Organic herbs & spices

I always look for cold-pressed oils, which are healthier and of higher quality.

Sources: farmers market, food coop
Vanilla extract
Maple Syrup
Raw or turbinado sugar

Coffee & Tea
Sources: Mountain Rose Herbs, Den’s Tea, VitaCost
Jim’s Organic Coffee
Black tea
Green tea
Herbal tea (tisane)

Online sources:
Mountain Rose Herbs:
A very affordable source for Oregon-grown and imported herbs, spices, black & green tea

Den’s Tea:
High-quality Japanese green teas direct from the grower. Their fukamidori sencha is my favorite everyday green tea.

Best price for Jim’s Organic Coffee. They also carry Ginger People products in bulk, Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free products and are my online source for vitamins and supplements.

Note about organic, local, GMO foods:
I’m not getting into a detailed discussion of organic, local or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) here, but it’s something I always keep in mind. I generally follow the recommendations of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) when it comes to deciding which foods to buy organic because of pesticides. But I also buy organic to avoid GMOs in the case of the most “suspect” conventional foods: canola, corn, potatoes, soy and others. I’ll incorporate more info about these issues as I go along. For those interested in learning more, I recommend EWG’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce and the Non-GMO Shopping Guide.

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