The past couple of weeks in the States, and the World, has been a bit wild to say the least–and it's all due to our new friend that we love to hate, the Coronavirus. It seems as if this virus isn't being slowed down anytime soon and many of us are now having to work remotely and distance ourselves from our daily routines for a couple of weeks. Times like these are not always the easiest and cause lots of stress and anxiety in the community, especially with so much false information going around. But until things are cleared up and we find out what the next steps are, I've come up with a food shopping guide to help you deal with being at home during your self quarantine. Tío Jeremie is here to help you!
A couple of my followers have reached out to me directly to ask what plant based foods and groceries they should purchase? What will go bad and what won't? I do want to mention that I am not a trained nutritionist or health care specialist, however, I have had my fair share of being stuck at home thanks to growing up in the North East during blizzard season. Sh*t, I've even surrived Hurricane Charley in Florida back in '04. Now being vegan is a whole other level of survival mode and I am here to help you make the best decisions. Here's how I shop before and/or during a crisis:
1. Produce: Yes, it's true that fruits and vegetables will go bad! But there is some produce that tend to last longer than others. Think of darker greens with hearty leaves like kale, collards, and spinach. Carrots, garlic, onions, and potatoes are something I always have in my fridge because I swear they never go bad! To accompany your veggies of course you need some sweet fruits like apples, citrusy fruits, and fruits with a harder exterior. And if you're a bougie chef like me and need some cilantro or parsley for garnish then be sure to put those veggies with stems in a mason jar with a little bit of water for longevity!
2. Carby Things: I don't know about you but there is nothing that relieves my anxiety, depression, or stress better than a big bowl of pasta or delicious slice of bread covered in some kind of sauce. It's somewhat of a warm hug around your heart (or stomach)! One thing that I always have in my pantry is a variety of bread and pasta–reason being is for exactly that, VERSATILITY! Bread can be used for sandwiches, garlic bread, croutons, budin de pan, and so much more. Pasta comes in a huge variety of shapes and color! Of course, you can customize the sauce, veggies, and faux meats you add to it to keep it exciting. Pasta has a way longer shelf life than bread does so be sure to use your bread wisely and store the rest in the fridge or freezer to prevent it from molding.
3. Beverage: Feeling thirsty? I am! But luckily my water is still working. However, I have lived through situations like the hurricane where there was no running water and bottled water was super hard to come by. Which is why I always recommend having a water bottle/jug stash in your pantry for emergency situations. On top of water you may want to secure some of your favorite beverages, because let's be honest water is great and all but when you're craving a glass of wine or orange juice–it's going to be hard to get your hands on it when you can't leave your home. Also, packaged powdered drinks to add flavor will probably last you forever so go ahead and buy a pack.
4. Grains & Legumes: Dried goods are a staple for my kitchen because they grow in abundance when combined with water and last forever in the pantry. From beans to rice there is a huge list of recipes that can be made from all sorts of grains and legumes. Think bean burgers or meatballs, rice and beans, garbanzo "tuna" salad, soups, and the list goes on!
5. Canned: This goes without saying. If you're stuck at home thanks to Ms. Rona (COVID-19) or a tornado just struck your home, canned goods are there for you. These last forever as well and are an obvious staple. I know many folks are against canned goods, but when you're hungry and not able to find food elsewhere... trust me you're gonna want those canned beans, sauce, fruit, and whatever else you can get your hands on. Don't be a fool and grab you a couple!
6. Frozen: Unless our electricity has run out or knocked by strong winds, then you need to be utilizing the power of your freezer! If you didn't know, fruits and vegetables that come in those plastic bags in the freezer section are the BEST purchase you can make. Reason being is because they are picked at the peak, which means you are getting the best quality of nutrients from that food. We like to keep our freezer stocked up with bags of veggies, fruits for smoothies and who doesn't love some Gardein plantbased meat for a quick meal. Get creative and stock your freezer because these items tend to last the longest!
7. Snacks: Whether you're into bad sweets or the good kind, I highly recommend having a hidden stockpile of your favorite treats. When the store shelves are empty and you can't get your hands on those vegan gummies or oreos you're going to thank me later.
Now that you have Tío Jeremie's recommendations for shopping during hectic times, I'd like to remind you to that these things happen and you (WE!) will get through this. Be sure to follow the proper guidelines put out by the certified folks and you will be okay. Things like at-home exercises or breathing exercises help to relieve stress, watching a Netflix series or your favorite YouTubers get rid of that boredom, playing a game or doing an activity with your partner or family help to ensure you don't go stircrazy and argue while you're all stuck at home. Utilize this time to reconnect with yourself and pick up the hobby or career you wanted to try out. I also recommend following a routine–as many states/cities are calling for a shut down–while being stuck at home, this will help to ease your mind and keep you busy. Binge watching shows while answering emails from your laptop on the couch is great for the first few days, but trust me these things get old super quick! A routine or schedule will help keep you occupied, motivated, and on track.
Whatever it is that you're going through, whether it be the Coronavirus, depression, or a storm's aftermath–I hope that this guide helps to bring you some kind of peace of mind and that it helps keep you focused on the things that are important! Together we can get through this and come out better on the other side. May these next few weeks be a time to recharge, do those things you've been meaning to do, and I promise you that we will we see the sunshine soon enough (Summer is around the corner after all).