If you are just getting started on a whole-foods, plant-based lifestyle, one of the first things you’ll want to do to increase your chances of a successful transition is to learn how to set up a whole-foods, plant-based kitchen. Having these tools makes all the difference in the world when it comes time to make a meal quickly and easily.

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whole-foods, plant-based kitchen tools.

Hands down my two favorite kitchen power tools are my Cuisinart and my Vitamix.

When you’ve got a mountain of vegetables to prepare or seed/nut butters to make, nothing beats the ease and speed of a food processor like the Cuisinart. Use the shredding disc for a bowl full of shredded cabbage or carrots in seconds. Use the slicing disc for perfect, evenly sliced layers of potatoes or zucchini. Use the chopping/mixing blade for smooth, creamy seed or nut butters at a fraction of the cost of store bought varieties. Here are a few recipes made easier with the help of a food processor:

For sauces, smoothies, and all things pureed, a good blender is worth its weight in gold. Before I owned a Vitamix, I remember trying to make smoothies in a $25 blender. Just shoot me. I have never used a cheap blender that could handle more than two ice cubes, let alone a blender half full of frozen fruit. Without a good blender you end up with a chunky or watered-down version of whatever you’re going for. It’s not pretty…and neither are the words that are tempted to come out of your mouth while you’re trying to get it to cooperate. Trust me. Get a good blender. Here are a few recipes made easier with the help of a good blender:

For busy days and easy dinners, a Crockpot is a must have. I also use mine at least once a week to make large batches of freshly cooked beans to add to other recipes. Here are a few of my favorite slow cooker recipes:

I own several knives, but I honestly only use two: the Cutco paring knife and the Cutco petite chef knife. Both were “I can’t believe I’m paying this much for a knife” purchases from college students looking to make a buck, but I’ve never regretted either purchase. A solid, sharp knife makes hand chopping exponentially faster and easier.

Lastly, on occasion I like to spiralize some of my veggies for use in salads or in place of grain-based noodles. I have this Paderno spiralizer. It’s not a must-have, but it’s a nice-to-have!

whole-foods, plant-based pantry & fridge.

Having a well-stocked pantry & fridge are crucial to success. If we fail to plan, we plan to fail. In my 6-week challenge e-book, I include detailed descriptions of many of the foods & staples you’ll use regularly in a whole-foods, plant-based lifestyle. For those of you who haven’t purchased the e-book, I’ve included a free download of the blank shopping list included with the program to get you started. Just click on the thumbnail below.

supplements you may consider adding to your routine.

While I think supplements are useless and/or harmful as a general rule, there are two that I recommend if you can afford them: probiotics and vitamin B. Probiotics give your intestines a better chance at a good balance of beneficial bacteria as we are exposed to many things each day which damage the balance. If we ate a lot of naturally fermented foods (think REAL sourdough bread, kimchi, sauerkraut, etc.), supplementing wouldn’t be necessary, but…most of us don’t. My husband and I use Udo’s Choice Adult Blend Probiotic. My children take Udo’s Choice Children’s Blend Probiotic. If your kids cannot swallow a pill, Renew Life Ultimate Flora Kids Probiotic is a good option. Warning: if your gut flora is severely out of balance and/or you are extremely unhealthy, supplementing with too much too quickly can cause very undesirable side effects (e.g., diarrhea, gas, bloating), so start slow for the sake of an easy transition. Vitamin B can actually be produced in our intestines IF we have a healthy bacterial balance (it is produced by a certain strain of bacteria, that’s why it’s in animal products). However, again because our intestinal bacteria are not always in perfect shape, our vitamin B production, and therefore absorption (regardless of the foods you eat or don’t), can easily be below par. Currently, we use Jarrow Formulas Methyl B12 5000mcg lozenges to supplement B‐12.

This post was originally published at http://www.lifeunlabeled.com.

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