I want to start this post with a caveat – I am a huge fan of the plant-based lifestyle and I have tried to go vegan many times, but I have not yet fully succeeded. My last attempt floundered when I was doing a 2-week night-shift around the holiday season. Trust me when I say ICU nurses and Emergency Department nurses ALWAYS have access to candy and dessert, ESPECIALLY around christmas time! And then there was the candy drawer in the family medicine office – let’s just say nurses will always make sure there is some candy around. Maybe it’s because of their motherly nature, or due to their stressful jobs, or because their patients are so grateful to them and bring them candy. Probably a combination. I love my nurses though – couldn’t have survived residency without them!
Despite my unsuccessful vegan attempts at being vegan, my fridge and pantry is almost completely vegan, and I rely on certain products to make the majority of my diet pretty close to plant-based. Trader-joes has been a life-saver. My favorite story about trader joes is that the first voluntarily organic thing my husband ever bought was from Trader Joes! Pretty cool, huh?
I got the idea for this post because I saw this one from A Dash of Soul about the best vegan items at TJs, and after I got myself some of that strawberry coconut dessert, I decided the world needed to know how Trader Joes helps me be practically vegan. Here goes!
- Mildly Spiced Organic Vegetable Burritos: These guys are awesome. You get two burritos for $3.29! Way cheaper than the other frozen burrito alternatives out there – Amys black bean vegetable burritos for example, are generally $3.00 for one burrito. And they are quite delicious. A lot of vegan burritos have a ton of rice, and this decreases the nutrient density of the burritos. These burritos are big on vegetable and bean content. I usually take off some of the tortilla to further improve on the nutrient density.
- Trader Joes Creamy Valencia Peanut Butter – This peanut butter is one of the best peanut butter finds ever! Valencia peanuts are super low in sugar and starch, and have 3g of fiber per 2 tbsp serving. Valencia peanuts are less likely to have aflatoxin, which is something found mostly in peanuts grown in humid climates. Although the government monitors how much aflatoxin is allowed in peanut butter, it’s always good to minimize the possible susceptibility to liver cancer. Valencia peanuts are also generally sweeter. This means they really don’t need any extra sugar to sweeten the peanut butter.
- Trader Joes Goddess Dressing: For those who love creamy dressings, this one comes as a salad-rescue. This dressing has a tahini base and is one of my favorites, next to just using lemon, salt, pepper and olive oil. The tahini flavor isn’t over-bearing either. Beware the fat content though! 18% of your daily recommended intake!
- Trader Joes Cruciferous Crunch Collection Salad Mix: The easiest salad you will ever make is using a small handful of this salad mix, and combining it with a bigger handful of any other salad green (eg. Arugula, Spring Mix, Mache) and adding a small handful of nuts. Toss with the above dressing, and voila! You have a salad that is crunchy and flavorful, and of course, packed with immune-boosting, cancer-fighting cruciferous vegetables.
- Trader Joes Organic Oats and Flax Seed Oatmeal: Flax seeds pack lots of nutrition. They are high in fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. Flax seeds and oats are both particularly high in soluble fiber, which is really good for decreasing your cholesterol (soluble fiber binds to bad cholesterol and fat). Soluble fiber also is particularly helpful for improving your gut flora as it has prebiotic properties (helps build a favorable environment for good bacteria to grow). Thats why this product is a staple in our house. Beware – it does have some sugar – 1 packet has 11g to be precise. That’s about 2.5 tsp. I’m willing to live with that.
- Trader Joes Dark Chocolate Chips – I know, they are a dime a dozen – most dark chocolate chips are vegan, too. However, a lot of dark chocolate chips are kind of hard and you might as well be biting into very sweet cacao nibs. The way these are formulated, they are super deliciously easy to bite into. Throw them in your oatmeal, eat them on a peanut butter sandwich with some toasted coconut, blend them in your smoothies – these are magnesium containing, anti-oxidant rich, pure decadent, deliciousness. 1 tablespoon of these contains 8g of sugar, so something to watch out for.
Do you have any TJs favorites? Would love to hear yours!