NMA Radio: Staple Foods in the Vegan Athlete’s Pantry

glass jars with spices

Today it’s all about the staples: for a new vegan, it’s easy to find cookbooks and recipes that guide you through dinners, but what about a simple bowl of cereal, toast, or cup of tea?

With an increasingly large number of vegan substitutes available, it can feel like an overwhelming task to choose the healthiest ones. Not to mention making sure your favorite bread or pasta is actually 100% plant-based.

Inspired by a listener question, co-host Doug and I dig deep into our pantries and refrigerators to discuss the most common staples you’ll find in our vegan kitchens.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Milk substitutes — what are the differences?
  • Eliminating the need for butter
  • Cooking with different oils (or none at all)
  • The spice dilemma
  • The nuts, seeds, and flours we keep in stock

Click the button below to listen now:


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  1. Doug is really funny. I too, will totally drop something from our diet if I read something scary. I go overboard with the quality of food for that same reasons. I grew up eating junk. I don’t want my now 8 month old to have anything but, high quality food. Also, Ezekiel bread doesn’t taste like cardboard. But that’s probably because I also toast it and put peanut butter on it.

  2. Can you post a link to the pancakes that you said your kids eat everyday? They sounded great, but I couldn’t understand which website you were referring to…

    Thanks! Great stuff!

  3. I just wanted to comment on the almond milk. I make it at home as well because it’s so much easier and quicker and then I don’t have to worry about any questionable ingredients. However I used to remove the pulp with a nut milk bag and it definitely got tedious. Then I would have all this pulp I wouldn’t know what to do with. So once I tried to just leave the pulp in there. Totally fine! I usually just add the almond milk to a smoothie, cereal or oatmeal, whatever. In that case you don’t even notice the pulp. I guess if you were adding to coffee then it wouldn’t work out so well. I did try to just mix my protein powder with the pulpy almond milk and I was kinda choking on the little bits as they went down. Haha. Otherwise I don’t bother straining the pulp out anymore.
    I also wanted to just add in a clarification. You mentioned that tahini is made from sunflower seeds but that is not correct. Tahini is made from sesame seeds. I’ve never actually tried sunflower seed butter. I have tried pumpkin seed butter and I didn’t like it too much. It’s very dry (I destroyed my toast trying to spread it!) and it’s kinda bitter. I don’t know. Maybe better use for a smoothie!
    I love listening to your podcasts and awesome job guys!

  4. Michele Lindsey says:

    Hey Matt. Now I could have totally misheard this but did I hear you and Doug say you don’t eat brown rice??

    • That is my question as well!! I hadn’t really heard much of the whole arsenic rice issue until this podcast and now I’m freaked out by it. I actually prefer brown rice to white rice…

  5. Hey folks, great podcast as usual! Just wanted to clear up that tahini is actually sesame seed butter, not sunflower! And extremely easy to make. You just throw sunflower seeds in a food processor and process for a good 10-15 minutes or more until the oils release and you get tahini! Lovely stuff, and much cheaper to make it yourself. Actually, that’s how you make all nut butters! Just blend any nut/seed until the oils release and the mixture turns to butter. Yum!

  6. Hey! Enjoying your podcast. My husband and I are back on the plant-based track after a failed attempt about 3 years ago : ) Wanted to let you know, you mentioned tahini in this podcast–it’s actually made of sesame paste–not sunflower paste. Just FYI. I know this because I had one son allergic to sesame and we had to keep hummus out of the house (sad). Now he’s outgrown that and our second son is tree nut allergic…

  7. Loved this podcast! Dave’s Killer Bread is my favorite if you guys haven’t heard of it! Also, love Roots hummus… Wish I could get it in Colorado. The only question I have is how you keep hummus oil-free if you are using tahini? Tahini, in theory, is just sesame seeds and oil.

    • Tahini is just sesame seeds, no addition of oil is needed! You simply throw raw sesame seeds in a food processor and leave it running until the oils naturally release from the seed and voila! you have Tahini 🙂 That, along with any nut and seed butter, is so simple to make (given you have a good food processor), that it makes it near impossible to justify buying the darn stuff!

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