The 5 Best Plant-Based Products of the Week from the Editors of The Beet
When you decide to try to eat a mostly plant-based diet, the first question is: Where do I get my protein? (That's easy: You get it from the same place animals do: Plants! Vegetables, legumes, and whole grains provide you with plenty of protein. Check out this list for the 20 vegetables with the most protein per serving.)
The next reaction is usually to ask: What do I eat, and what should I buy? Shopping for healthy, plant-based, dairy-free or fully vegan items can be overwhelming. That's why we created this column to recommend the items we are loving right now, and that we would buy over and over again.
When shopping: First hit the fresh produce aisle, and buy everything you love to eat (zucchini, broccoli, salad greens, peppers, artichokes, asparagus, and apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, grapefruits, etc.) that you know is full of vitamins and antioxidants, healthy fiber and plant-based nutrition. Check out our hundreds of delicious recipes for ideas of what to make, including dinners, snacks, desserts, and every type of food you love, from Italian to Thai. We publish a recipe of the day. If you have not signed up for our newsletter, do so now!
Each week the editors of The Beet do the shopping and taste testing for you, so you can know which items are worth it and which ones are a pass. Here, we recommend our favorite items (and the ones we like to buy ourselves). Some are treats or indulgences, but they are healthier treats, so decide for yourself how many or how often to eat. Get ready to love every plant-based bite!
1. Sakara Life's Cacao Powder Metabolism Booster
Okay so I went to the kitchen in search of chocolate. It was 4 p.m.and I hadn't slept well the night before and I needed a swift kick of energy and sweets (my day was imploding). I saw the bag of Sakara Life's CacaoPowder and thought: This looks like something that's better for me. A scoop, an icy cold chocolate frothy drink, and all thoughts of chocolate treats were out of my head.
The website claims this powder will "fire up your metabolism, stabilize blood sugar, enhance energy and help control cravings." I don't know about the first two (I didn't have a way of checking those) but it definitely helped me power through my work, keep my focus, and banish my chocolate urge.
Cacao, the company says, can restore a healthy metabolism (which can help promote weight loss) and improve mental clarity and sustained energy. Whether this powder is your secret elixir or not remains to be seen, but it hits the spot when chocolate urges strike. As for metabolism, I did eat a massive amount of Chinese food that night and never felt like the extra calories stuck the next day...so who knows. For now, and going forward, I am a Cacao fan.
MingsBings Plant-Based Stuffed Flatbreads
Growing up in Massachusetts in a PBS-watching household, Chef Ming Tsai was a big name in my family. My parents would regularly go to his now-closed restaurant Blue Ginger in Wellesley for date nights, and I remember spending many afternoons on the couch with my mom watching Simply Ming, gathering inspiration that we would experiment with together in our kitchen.
Now, years later, my dietary restrictions have changed as a vegan, but my love for food has not. I was so excited to hear that Chef Ming Tsai's latest foray was into plant-based foods with MingsBings, a line of frozen Chinese flatbreads stuffed with veggies, buffalo cauliflower, and vegan sausages and peppers. The products have a rather heartwarming story behind them– Ming's wife Polly was diagnosed with cancer in 2017 (and has since recovered) and quickly transitioned to a vegan diet. Ming noticed a lack of accessible, frozen plant-based options and decided to make his own.
These delicious flatbreads are the perfect quick bite and crisp up so well in the oven. My personal favorite is the Buffalo Cauliflower Bing, but all of them were amazing and far surpassed the quality of your typical frozen food. Even better, a portion of the proceeds goes to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Family Reach, which helps to alleviate financial burdens from the families of those diagnosed with cancer.
You can purchase MingsBings online on the brand's website here.
1. Cheribundi, Natural Tart Cherry Juice
If you're an athlete or an active person, add Cheribundi cherry juice to your list of exercise essentials for the best post-workout fuel to recover faster and protect your body from injury. Natural tart cherry juice is loaded with antioxidants that help boost immunity and speed up natural recovery after strength training. I drink a Cheribundi almost every day after a long workout or run. Not only does the drink taste refreshing but I feel less tension in my muscles and more relaxed, allowing me to keep moving throughout my day instead of resting or napping.
While there are tons of cherry juices at your local grocery store, Cheribudi is one you can trust since their Pure cherry juice isn't concentrated, doesn't contain GMOs, doesn't include artificial sweeteners, it's everything the label says it is. In each drink, there is 400 mg of potassium, which helps your body regulate fluid balance and muscle contractions. There are no downsides to this drink and my athletic performance is better when I drink Cheribundi.
If you want to purchase Cheribundi, click here.
1. Cado Ice Cream
I was standing in the ice cream aisle at the grocery store debating which dairy-free ice cream to buy when I spotted Cado Ice Cream. What caught my eye was that this dairy-free and vegan ice cream was made with avocados. Cado Ice Cream is the first non-dairy ice cream brand to create an avocado-based frozen dessert. The creamy consistency and decadent flavor make this frozen treat irresistible and I guarantee you will have more than one scoop.
The best part about this ice cream is that it's a healthier alternative that is free of artificial flavors, stevia, soy, corn syrup, and GMO. It also has 50% less sugar than most ice creams with about 12 grams per serving. Cado Ice Cream comes in 8 flavors including Deep Dark Chocolate, Mint Chocolate Chip, Cookies & Cream, Java Chip, Salted Caramel, Vanilla Bean, Cherry Amaretto amd Simply Lemon. Out of all the flavors I've tried, I can say all flavors are equally as delicious.
You can buy Cado Ice Cream at major retailers including Stop & Shop, Walmart, and Whole Foods or order online here.
1. Lightlife Smoky Tempeh Strips
There's not much that I would use the Tempeh Strips for, but without them, I couldn't keep having one of my favorite lunches: a plant-based B.L.T. Lightlife's Tempeh Strips provide the perfect substitute for animal bacon in any lunchtime sandwich, and delivers the exact taste and nutritional value that I desire.
The Tempeh Strips could not be easier to cook. After quickly pan heating them, you can place them perfectly on top of a T.L.T.A (Tempeh, Lettuce, Tomato, Avocado). With a little lemon vegenaise, salt, pepper, you've got a simply delicious lunchtime meal. If the T.L.T.A doesn't seem like the meal for you, the Tempeh works for breakfast "bacon" and as the perfect topping to a garden salad.
Lightlife's Smokey Tempeh Strips can be found at Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Amazon, and several other retailers between $6.99 and $10.99. The soybean-based protein alternative is one of my favorites on the market because it's both easy to cook and delicious to eat.