Vegan Starter Kit

The other day, a friend of mine posted this on my facebook page:

Melissa! I have a couple of questions for you. 1) Do you know of any good vegan cookbooks and 2) Do you know of any blogs or other resources? I’m playing with the idea of going vegan but definitely need more resources to help me feel confident in my food choices, etc. Thanks! and how’s life? 

It probably goes without saying that I was giddy with excitement when I saw this message.   I decided to put a little starter kit together for her and for anyone else who might be teetering on the edge of a plant based life style.

Before I dive into some of my favorite resources, let me reassure you–if you eat a variety of plants (fruits, veggies, greens, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds) throughout your day/week, you WILL get enough protein as well as all the other beautiful nutrients your gorgeous bodies needs to thrive!  Have fun!


Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin

This is the book that took me from a cheese crazed vegetarian to a completely animal product free diet.  These gals give it to ya straight but with humor.  It will probably make you laugh and it will help you understand why consuming “rotting animal flesh”, as they call it, and other animal bi-products is bad for our health, the environments health, and the health of animals (which are all intimately connected).  They also have a recipe book–Skinny Bitch in the Kitch.

The China Study by Dr. T Colin Campbell and Thomas Campbell

Many of my plant based heros based their journey into vegan-hood on the incredible findings of this comprehensive study.  Its an eye opener and exposes the links between animal protein and certain types of cancer growth.  Insane.

Thrive and Thrive Foods by Brendan Braizer

Brendan is a professional ironman athlete and an advocate for plant based eating.  The guy is a stud.  He has great information and delicious recipes in both his books.  The first book is mostly about sport specific nutrition while the second book in a compilation of some of his favorite vegan recipes. The information and recipes in both books will leave you fired up and deliciously satisfied!

The Joy of Vegan Baking

Cause even vegans can be naughty from time to time.

Websites/Blogs/Internet Resources:


He’s a runner, he’s a vegan, he’s got great info on his blog.  He writes about food, motivation/lifestyle, running, and the sorts.  I like it.


This gal sustained me while living in Korea.  I owe it to her to give her a shout out.  This is particularly useful if you are living in Korea 🙂


Kriss Karr was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer like 10 ish years ago.  Instead of rolling over and dying, this diva went to work learning how to live in such as way as to put cancer in its place.  She is vibrant, gorgeous, and ALIVE!  She has lots of great guest writers.  She also has a book–Crazy Sexy Diet which I really enjoyed.

Thrive in 30  Brendan Braizer

Gives the low down on plant based eating in 30 days!

Grocery List:

I shop at Costco for big bags of nuts, grains, dried fruit.  I buy most of my “health food” stuff such as hemp protein, maca powder, and supplements at  Use my code VOK916 and get a $5 discount off your first order (and I get a little kick–we both win).  I also shop at Fred Meyer, Trader Joes, and Whole Foods (and my parents garage from time to time….)

Fruits and Veggies galore…very important in my kitchen:

  • spinach
  • mixed lettuce
  • chard
  • Bananas
  • frozen berries
  • apples
  • lemons
  • limes
  • cucumbers
  • bell peppers
  • sweet potatoes
  • butternut/other squash
  • onions
  • mushrooms
Smoothie and energy bar goodies:
  • Hemp protein
  • maca powder
  • ground flaxseed
  • chia seeds
  • agave nectar
  • stevia
  • dates
  • dried cherries
  • dried blueberries
  • raw almonds
  • raw walnuts
  • other seeds and nuts: sunflower
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • coconut oil
  • almond butter
  • sunflower seed butter
  • sundried tomatoes
  • kalamata olives
  • nutritional yeast
  • Almond milk
  • Vegan dark chocolate (read the label to check for milk fat)
  • oats
  • quinoa
  • wild and brown rice
  • barley
  • Dave’s Killer Bread (Spelt is my favorite–5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per slice!)
  • mixed lentils
  • garbanzo beans
  • black beans
  • mixed beans for soups
In a Pinch:
  • Amy’s veg soups, vegan frozen pizza, Indian wraps (Dairy and Egg Free)
  • Lara bars
  • Vega Energy bars (expensive–I get them from iherb and use them sparingly)
  • B-12 spray
  • D Spray
  • Emergen-C
Other Resources:

You can look up veg and veg friendly restaurants in cities all over the world!  Do you know how many times I’ve utilized this?  It’s wonderful.

The Internet! 

We have the world at our finger tips!  Research!  There are so many great blogs and sites out there with recipes.

Have fun, enjoy, smile, laugh at yourself when you goof up.  Laugh when people make judgmental statements about the new you!  Laugh when you realize there was fish sauce in your “vegetarian” meal.  It’s okay.  We ain’t perfect.    Dude, just laugh.


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