Ak-Mak Sesame Crackers Ak-Mak nostalgia runs deep. My own mom bought me these and now I buy them for my daughter, Sally, who, it’s fair to say, is obsessed. Sally takes them topped with jam or applesauce or avocado mash or she takes them neat. They’re also perfect with hummus. The wheat is whole, organic and non-gmo. A touch of honey makes them mildly sweet and sesame seeds top them off perfectly. They do contain butter, though, so they’re not for the strictly plant-based eater.
Erewhon Corn Flakes Cereal for dinner is my best guilty pleasure. A big bowl of something crunchy with ice cold Brazil or hazelnut milk serves a certain craving like nothing else can. But the boxed cereal aisle is a treacherous landscape. So many are too dense and overly complicated with added sugars and difficult-to-digest combinations of nuts, seeds and grains. Erewhon’s Corn Flakes contain just 2 ingredients: organic, non-gmo milled corn and salt. I give them to my kids, and yes, on occasion, I call them dinner.
Jovial Einkorn and Gluten Free Pasta I’ve come to rely pretty heavily on Jovial for its ancient grain and gluten free pastas. Their brown rice pastas are a good foil for the classic wheat-based variety and don’t deliver the sweetness of corn or the more intense flavors of beans or buckwheat. The texture holds up and they come in some amazing shapes. Einkorn is the most ancient form of wheat and is unmodified and unhybridized. It's higher in minerals than modern wheat and many find it easier to digest. If you can tolerate gluten, give it a try.
Felicia Organic Buckwheat Pasta I used to seek out gluten free pasta simply to avoid wheat and its perilous effects on my husband, and possibly on us all. But now, with so many choices for pastas made from great quality grains, the gluten free aisle offers more than just a replacement for wheat. Buckwheat is one of my favorite grains (some call it a pseudo grain) not only for its gorgeously nutty flavor but also for its high mineral content. These dark brown noodles pair perfectly with shallots, mushrooms, dark leafy greens and a big handful of parsley.
Sauerkraut and Kimchi Fermented vegetables make an appearance at every meal on both mine and Kerrilynn’s tables. We toss them into salads, puree them into raw soups and top off our dragon bowls and sandwiches. The more you eat of these magical living foods, the more you crave and so once you’re in, you can’t be without. With a jar of good organic kraut costing $8 to $10, you’ll want to start making your own, but a host of great brands keep things easy and give us ideas for flavors and combinations to ape. My new favorite discovery is Hosta Hill’s Gochu Curry Kraut, a bold blend of Korean kimchi and Indian spices. Other favorite standbys include Hawthorne Valley, an upstate NY biodynamic farm. Their Curtido and Turmeric Feuerkraut are both perfect. Mother In Law’s Kimchi is a great classic. The standard version contains anchovies, so if you don’t eat fish, look for Vegan in orange on the label. Oregon’s It’s Alive! channels the best of the west and in Los Angeles, my favorites are from Cafe Gratitude, Moon Juice and Dave’s Korean.
Jovial Tomatoes I used to lean heavily on canned tomatoes but health concerns have me steering clear. Enter Jovial and their glass jars of organic whole peeled or crushed tomatoes. Weeknight pasta sauce is back in play. As is my favorite cauliflower gratin from Deborah Madison. I swap the feta for nutritional yeast.
Jackson’s Honest Potato Chips I can’t quite call these a health food, but if you’re in need of chips, it just makes sense to reach for ones made with real sea salt and a higher quality oil. Jackson’s uses organic coconut oil for its high levels of lauric acid and anti-inflammatory ways. Their story inspires as does their foundation. And their company motto tells it all: Goodness, pass it on.
Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise My son, Louis, is a mayonnaise lover. Sometimes we make it fresh, either the vegan variety made from aquafaba or the classic French version made from egg yolks and oil. But for the times we’re not so flush with time, we keep Sir Kensington’s on hand. I choose the version made with avocado oil. Soy free, sugar free and perfect.
Sunfood Botija Olives Simply the best olives I’ve ever tasted and made properly through natural fermentation. They’re a splurge, but well, well worth it.
Moon Juice Crackers Moon Juice’s crackers are lighter and brighter than other raw crackers because they rely on fresh and fermented vegetables instead of just seeds. Spread with a touch of raw nut cheese or tahini and a big slice of heirloom tomato, these round out my dinners on many nights. My faves are the Cumin & Chard Crisps and the Green Fermented Seed Crisps.
Oatly Oat Milk I like to keep a fresh supply of homemade nut, seed or coconut milk in the house, but once in a while I indulge in the ease of the store bought variety. Sally is in love with oatmilk and frankly, I haven’t had much success making it myself. Oatly is suddenly everywhere and the swell of love for it has been tempered by concerns about the oils in their ingredient deck. If this concerns you, look for the white package, the “low fat” variety, that contains no added oils.
Hilary’s Veggie Burgers Hilary’s makes the cleanest and best tasting veggie burgers I’ve found. I buy the classic variety in the green box for my kids and the spicier Adzuki Bean variety for my husband and myself. The kids love a “veggie burger sandwich” with some avocado and vegan mayonnaise. When I’m eating lighter foods, they’re a great way to add heft to my husband’s dinner. We also use them in tacos. With a big spoonful of sauerkraut and some avocado.
Anita’s Coconut Yogurt Our love for Anita’s is no secret. This thick and creamy, probiotic-rich yogurt works as a topping on spicy curries and soups. And a few spoonfuls straight from the source can finish off a meal like the richest desert.
Honey Mama Chocolate Sprouted almonds or coconut are the base of these insanely delicious and nutrient dense bars. They must be kept in the fridge if you can “keep” them at all. The mint version is your high health version of a Peppermint Patty. But proceed with caution because once you start…
Bread Both Kerrilynn and my husband, Laurent, keep it gluten free. Laurent loves the buckwheat based breads from The Gluten Free Bakery by Our Daily Bread. I buy them at the Greenmarket, Union Square. If you’re vegan, reach for the Flax variety as the others contain egg. If you’re after sourdough, both Vegan Mario’s and Grindstone Bakery in California make incredible gluten free breads made from simple, quality ingredients. And both companies will ship. At Vegan Mario’s we go for the Extra Sour Ryeless. At Grindstone, the Quinoa Fennel. If you eat some gluten, go for She Wolf in New York and Bub and Grandma’s in LA.
Miyoko's Vegan Butter I might have never picked this up myself, but my dad's wife Helen gave me a pack. Its ingredients are pretty clean and I love the fact that it's cultured which gives it a tangy (and insanely delicious!) butterlike taste. It also comes as a wide European-style stick, not in a tub. And so I've resurrected my favorite butter dish from Conran's. My toast ritual is back.
Majestic Garlic Sprouted Hummus Made from sprouted chickpeas, this raw hummus is easier to digest than it’s cooked cousin. The chickpeas are whipped giving it a light texture. I love the smokey Chipotle version or just keep it classic. On sourdough toast or spooned onto the side of a dragon bowl, this is definitely the way to do hummus.
Andean Dream Quinoa Cookies Vegan, gluten free and non-GMO, these simple cookies come individually wrapped in recyclable mylar. As they explain on their site, this keeps many a parent from reaching for less desirable Ziplocs. They're a breeze to throw in the lunch box. And since they're made without nuts and seeds, they're not only allergy friendly, but easy to digest for little and big bodies alike.
Bjorn Qorn From two Bard grads, this beyond delicious umami popcorn is made from non-GMO corn and vegan and gluten free seasonings like nutritional yeast. “Sun popped” and produced with solar energy, Bjorn Qorn is a gift that keeps on giving.