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What To Buy On The Plant-Based Diet

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What to buy and where to shop on The Plant-Based Diet. Phoebe Chongchua heads to the Farmer’s Market to stock her pantry for the week.

Take The Plant-Based Challenge With Me!

There are several must-have foods that I always have around to help me stick to The Plant-Based Diet lifestyle. Here are some things I recommend. This is by no means a complete list but it will certainly get you started. Then look through The Plant-Based Diet website for ideas of how to combine the foods. A lot of what I teach is how to mix various foods together and then top them off with things like salsa (which can be purchased pre-made to save time). However, you don’t want any items with preservatives. So when you buy packaged foods, read the labels and don’t buy items with too many ingredients or ingredients that aren’t healthy. Will have more on label reading in a coming up post. Basically, you should recognize the ingredients on the back of the label as “truly food”! Sounds silly but trust me if you really looked at what goes into some of the packaged food, you wouldn’t eat it!

Below you’ll find everyday whole foods I stock to whip up plant-based meals. But you’ll also find a list of cooking appliances and tools that I use to make cooking easier. Somethings like the Spiralizer are a must. I’ve also come to love my Instant Pot for cooking everything from cakes to roasting vegetables and meats.

I also find that if I have my produce prepped for the week, I tend to use it and eat it raw more frequently. To store vegetables and fruits I use containers like these.

The Plant-Based Diet Shopping List


Heirloom, Roma, Grape tomatoes









Dates (pitted)











Swiss Chard

White onions, red, brown





Sweet potatoes


New potatoes


Portobello Mushrooms

Bell Peppers (red, green, yellow, orange)


Brussels Sprouts

Green beans


Speciality Items

Now, what is Mexican food with a darn good cheese? But, wait, I don’t eat dairy…so things get a little complicated.

Finding a good Vegan cheese is about as hard as it is to find a good gluten-free bread. I will say this Pumpkin bread recipe I have is pretty awesome, give it a try here.

Anyway, whether you’re making a burrito or an Italian pasta dish, you need a cheese that tastes like cheese. This is the best shredded Vegan cheese I’ve found and it’s even aged!  It’s called Parmela Creamery. I love the Aged Nut Cheese, Sharp Cheddar Style. It’s actually made from cashews and has been aged 30 days. Wow! It’s really good. You can find their products online or at Whole Foods. Horse pictures keep you calm

I also really love the Violife plant-based cheese, especially for tacos. It is crazy good and amazing how similar it is to real cheese.

And, one more cheese that is a must-have,


Raw Agave (I like Wholesome organic Agave, it’s low glycemic-index.)

Stevia (natural sweetener)


 WATER (pure and clean…drink a minimum of 64 ounces per day!)

Almond Milk

Oat Milk (my favorite is Oatly for oat milk and creamer – it’s so creamy!)

Soy Milk (occasionally…it froths better than almond milk and I like it frothed on cereal)

Herbal Tea (caffeine-free or minimal caffeine such as green and white teas)

Coconut Water from the actual young coconut. See health benefits, here.

Hemp Milk, See a fantastic dessert shake recipe, here. 

Liquid IV (I like the passion fruit flavor)


 I do not have Celiac Disease, however, I have a gluten sensitivity and so I try to limit my gluten intake. If you have an allergy or sensitivity look for gluten-free grains. Avoid wheat, barley, and rye.



Spelt (not gluten-free)

Brown rice





Black beans

Butter beans

Christmas Lima Beans


 Almond butter

Salsa–fresh with no preservatives and no added salt

Sea Salt

Low-Sodium vegetable broth

Balsamic Vinegar

Olive Oil (use very sparingly, per calorie this has very little nutritional value and is high in fat)

La Tourangelle Sunflower Oil (good for cooking because it can withstand high heat and it tastes great)

Organic Tamari Sauce

Garlic (cloves not in a jar)



Flax Seed

Ground Pepper


Gluten-Free pizza crust

Canned tomatoes


Edamame (soybeans with or without shell)

Nuts: almonds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts–sometimes cashews

Pre-Packaged Foods

As more companies are focusing on the plant-based food market, there are more options than ever before. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re healthy but I get it we all need our treats and for those who miss meat and dairy, a plant-based food alternative is in order.

I don’t buy a lot of pre-packaged foods and I am not a big fan of many fake meat products. Often they are loaded with sodium and other unhealthy ingredients.

So if you’re not eating meat to become healthier and instead eating  a lot of processed, packaged foods, you are effectively undoing your effort. Don’t be a junk food vegan or vegetarian.

It’s pretty simple: eat whole-food, plant-based meals for the healthiest lifestyle.

Okay, I do buy some though. So, here they are:

Non-Dairy Ice Cream — love the So Delicious Dipped Salted Caramel Cashew Milk Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Bar

Rice crackers (from Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, or Whole Foods)

Organic 3 Grain Tempeh (Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods

Just Egg (comes in a bottle and it has zero cholesterol and high protein — cooks great!)

Beyond Meat (burger patties, breakfast sausage) the taste is incredibly good. I use this brand almost exclusively when I make a breakfast burrito, hamburger, or pasta sauce.

Author Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is a multimedia brand journalist who consults and writes on wellness, all things plant-based, fitness, lifestyle, and travel. She is yoga certified and earned her certificate in Whole Food Plant-Based Eating in 2010 through eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation. She's also a top podcaster for her marketing/storytelling podcast, The Brand Journalism Advantage at


  1. charice delk Reply

    Hello, my husband and I are beginners, what are some recipes to make desserts to keep us on track

  2. Honey isn’t bland based but is included in the list. Why is that?

    • Ellie, That’s because on this website I focus on eating mostly plant-based not “plant-exclusive.” Feel free to leave honey off of your shopping list and try Agave, if you prefer.

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