The best CLEAN plant-based groceries (best clean vegan foods to buy)
written by Nina Shantel, blog: RealDietHelp.com, published March 7, 2023
Since I have food allergies, sensitives, and autoimmune conditions, I make sure to buy only certified organic, gluten-free foods, free of preservatives and inflammatory ingredients. Many people are searching for anti-inflammatory, alkalizing foods so I created a list of my favorite, healthy, plant-based, vegan foods to share with you.
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The best tasting organic vegan teas
Best CLEAN chocolate tea
My favorite all-time dessert was homemade chewy brownies, but I don’t consume sugar, oil, or flour anymore, they just don’t make me feel good. I can make raw vegan brownies, but there is just too much fat (from the nuts) and I only eat dates if my blood sugar is low because dehydrated fruit is highly glycemic. Numi Chocolate Pu-erh tea has a subtle chocolate aftertaste with zero calories and zero guilt, which reminds me of my favorite treat.
Best CLEAN mint tea
Mint bamboo tea is refreshing, it makes me enjoy filtered water that much more. Bamboo contains naturally occurring silica, which supposedly removes aluminum from our bodies; this is important because aluminum is one of the main causes of Alzheimer’s.
I pop a tea bag into my room temperature or cold water, and let it steep about 10 minutes (I don’t even heat the water), that’s it. I gave it to my mom, husband, neighbor and an acquaintance to try, and they all loved it (my neighbor even bought a box for herself). For people who don’t like the taste of water, this tea is just what you need. Just pop the tea bag in your water bottle and go!
Best CLEAN spice tea
Good Earth Spicy tea reminds me of a spiced orange soda, but without the bubbles, it’s delicious!
BEST superfood powders
Amla, also known as the Indian Gooseberry, has been shown to lower inflammation, blood sugar and cholesterol levels; it’s the highest antioxidant known. Amla tastes both bitter and tart, and downright awful so I put mine in a capsule and down it with water. Some people put 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon their smoothies and say they don’t notice the amla flavor (I do). The amla powder I like best so far is shown below; it’s certified organic, priced well, vegan and gluten-free.
Turmeric is another superfood. The magic is the curcumin which is part of turmeric. Don’t bother spending more money to get curcumin, because it is usually cut with other ingredients, sometimes harmful, to make more money off of you. The other problem with getting curcumin, which is an isolated ingredient, is that the body may not recognize it as food, since it’s processed and causes inflammation.
Get the whole food in the powder form, it’s less expensive and safe. I sprinkle turmeric in soups and pour some into clean vegan capsules.
Simply Organic Turmeric Root powder contains one ingredient: organic turmeric powder.
Boswellia is a bitter ayurvedic anti-inflammatory Indian spice that I scoop into vegan capsules and down with a glass of water.
Boswellia by Banyan is certified organic and assists with detoxification and pain relief.
Watch the video below on how I pump up the benefits of Boswellia by adding a few additional common household spices.
Best sources of omega 3’s
The best sources of omega 3s are in plants in their whole form, not in the form of oils or powders. The highest concentration of omega 3’s are in chia seeds and flax seeds.
I make chia eggs by adding 1 tablespoon of chia seeds to three tablespoons of water, let it sit for five minutes and stir. Some people like to make chia pudding, add chia seeds to smoothies or oatmeal, to add additional healthy fats to their diet, or add it to foods as a natural thickener.
I like to grind up one tablespoon of flax seeds in a coffee grinder and sprinkle it on top of oatmeal or berries with cinnamon, which gives my breakfast or snack a satisfying crunch. I’ll also add flax seeds to my smoothies to make them creamier.
Store whole chia seeds and flax seeds in the refrigerator and grind right before eating as pre-ground seeds can go rancid quickly.
If you cannot tolerate chia or flax seeds, even in small amounts, you can apply small amounts of refrigerated flax oil to dry skin, such as the arms or legs (don’t apply to the eye area).
Do not consume any oils, except for flax or chia oil, as oils damage endothelial cells, increase cholesterol levels and lower immunity.
Best B-12 supplement
This B-12 organic spray from Garden of Life is my top-pick because it doesn’t contain any GMOs or any other vitamins. This spray tastes like punch so it’s a pleasant flavor. It contains 500 mcg of B-12 in one spray. Per Dr. Greger on his site, nutritionfacts.org, most adults need 2000 mcg of B-12 per week, so one spray of this B-12 supplement, every other day, will supply all the B-12 you need.
Many products, like almond milk, and multi-vitamins contain B-12, so may need less.
Most B-12 supplements are a B-complex, and contain other B-vitamins, which is completely unnecessary since all vitamins and minerals, except for Vitamin D, which is a hormone, can be found in whole plant foods.
Many vitamins are synthetic and are GMO, which means they act more like pharmaceutical drugs with unknown side effects, potentially increasing risk of allergies, autoimmune conditions, headaches, and cancer.
I make sure everything I purchase is either non-GMO or certified organic.
Best vegan iron supplement (that doesn’t cause stomach pain)
Iron deficiencies can be due to internal bleeding (including menstruation), consuming too much calcium (dairy or a calcium supplement), prescription and over-the-counter drugs, coffee and tea, eating a diet that is low in iron-rich foods (eat leafy greens and legumes for healthy forms of iron), low B-12 (see my B-12 supplement of choice above), or having an autoimmune condition like cold agglutinin disease (CAD) which destroy red blood cells. There can be other causes too.
Make sure to work with your doctor to determine the cause of your iron deficiency and get routine blood tests to make sure your iron levels are not too low or too high, as both are dangerous.
I have tried several forms of iron supplements, pills and liquids, which caused constipation and stomach pain. I watched a video on YouTube where a woman said she was able to regrow her hair that fell out from her iron deficiency with MegaFood Blood Builder – Iron Supplement, so I bought it and my iron levels rose and I didn’t have constipation or stomach pain or any other negative side effects like the previous supplements.
This non-GMO iron supplement from MegaFood contains excessive levels of B-12, so don’t take another B-12 supplement with this and get your B-12 levels checked often while taking this.
My preferred B-12 supplement is NutriGold’s Iron Gold because it doesn’t have B-12, Vitamin C or folate. You shouldn’t need to supplement with vitamin C if you are eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, or folate if you eat sufficient amounts of of leafy green vegetables. Unfortunately, NutriGold’s Iron Gold formula is often out of stock, which is why I also listed MegaFood as an option.
Best detoxifying products
Activated charcoal is given in hospitals to patients who have consumed something harmful (a poison). Everyone should have activated charcoal at home in case of emergency (but call 911 too!).
Because activated charcoal removes toxins and minerals, it’s important not to activated charcoal before or after eating, so I take one to two capsules with eight ounces of water in the middle of the night (every night) when I get up to use the bathroom.
BEST digestive enzymes
If you avoid beans and/or cruciferous vegetables because of gas, bloating and digestive pain, try these digestive enzymes from PlantFusion. Dairy, sugar and animal products cause gut dysbiosis and bad bacteria to grow, so make sure to avoid those foods and to only buy vegan digestive enzymes.
PlantFusion’s vegan digestive enzymes work best when I swallow them right before eating. Over time, you will be able to eat a lot more beans and other gassy plant foods if you eat them consistently and increase the volume over time, while also avoiding inflammatory foods.
Best tasting CLEAN organic vegan chocolate protein powder
While I advise people to eat whole foods, and inform them that only way someone has a protein deficiency is when they are eating pure sugar, or aren’t eating enough calories, people will consume protein powder anyway, so I might as well let people know of a delicious tasting vegan protein powder with mostly organic ingredients, which is Orgain’s Simple Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup which I pair with my homemade hemp milk and 1 1/2 frozen bananas.
Orgain’s Simple Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup protein powder non-GMO and contains sugar in the form of coconut sugar. It has 140 calories, 7 net grams of carbohydrates and 20 grams of protein for two scoops. This protein powder is delicious on it’s own with a cup of unsweetened plant milk.
If you crave a chocolate shake, give this a try. It appears that Orgain no longer makes this exact formulation, which is why the cost is around $2.60 a serving. I don’t like the ingredients in the newest formulation of their Chocolate Peanut Butter protein powder (the word “cup” is no longer on the package to differentiate it from the original) because it contains stevia, oil and gums. You can sometimes find this protein powder at Costco.
Best CLEAN vegan organic vanilla protein powder
This creamy vanilla protein powder by Orgain is what we sometimes use to make smoothies, high protein oat cookies, and oatmeal (add this protein powder, walnuts and coconut flakes to make the most delicious vanilla oatmeal).
Orgain’s Simple Plant Protein Powder in Creamy Vanilla is gluten-free, vegan, certified organic, and stevia-free (I don’t like the metallic taste of stevia). It does contain sugar in the form of coconut sugar, but not too much, as two scoops (I use one or less) contains just 9 grams of net carbohydrates.
Best CLEAN vanilla extract without alcohol
When I’m making a raw dessert, like a fruit smoothie, where the food isn’t cooked, I don’t want the taste of alcohol to overpower the flavors, so I choose a non-alcoholic vanilla in glycerin. The other brands that are less expensive are synthetic, a combination of chemicals that smell and taste like vanilla. Simply organic has the most natural flavor of vanilla I’ve tried.
Best priced CLEAN thick balsamic vinegar
This Napa Valley balsamic vinegar is thick, an excellent price and versatile. It has a tart and sweet flavor that can be used in a variety of dishes. I use this on almost all of my salads, on strawberries, and on drizzle it over my blueberry oatmeal.
The BEST gluten-free teriyaki sauce (oil-free and sugar-free)
Coconut Secret’s Teriyaki Sauce is not only delicious, but also gluten-free, sugar-free, oil-free and certified organic. The only downside is that it is much more expensive that other teriyaki sauces, but well worth the splurge.
The BEST gluten-free, organic, soy-free sauce
Coconut Secret has the best tasting low-sodium, gluten-free, soy-free sauce. It’s also organic, kosher and sugar-free. It contains just two ingredients: tree sap and sea salt. It is the perfect blend of salt and sweet that can turn most meals from bland to yummy. Coconut Secret costs more than other coconut aminos but it tastes better and contains less sodium than the other brands I’ve tried.
The BEST gluten-free, organic penne pasta
red lentil pasta with pumpkin sauce
This red lentil penne pasta is delicious paired with a rich, sticky sauce like my potato and carrot vegan cheese sauce (recipe in The High-Five Diet paperback book), or my pumpkin sauce (recipe found on my blog, to find go tothe search bar).
You can also find Sedanini’s Red Lentil Gluten-Free penne pasta at most Trader Joe’s markets.
The BEST gluten-free, organic ramen noodles
I wish these ramen noodles were around when I was in high school because these are healthy, gluten-free, sugar-free, oil-free and certified organic. It takes just a few minutes to cook. It’s best with soups and Asian dishes.
Best CLEAN nutritional yeast
I use nutritional yeast on pasta, to make soups and stews thicker, or to give food a “cheesy flavor.” I used to buy fortified nutritional yeast because I thought it was great that it had added Vitamin B12 until I got my B12 blood work back and saw my B12 levels were extremely high.
High B12 has been correlated with lung cancer, but it could be that those individuals were consuming a lot of meat and that was why their B12 levels were high. Even so, vitamin levels can be dangerous at high levels which is why I only buy non-fortified nutritional yeast now.
I’ve tried several different brands of nutritional yeast and I like Anthony’s non-fortified nutritional yeast the best as it’s consistent and non-GMO. It has one ingredient: yeast
Best priced CLEAN organic oat groats
Oat groats are the whole form of the oats that most people eat as oatmeal. I use them in place of brown rice because brown rice has too much arsenic.
How to make oat groats. One minute YouTube video demonstration
Best CLEAN gluten-free, organic graham crackers
These graham crackers from Mary’s Gone Crackers are so delicious, they taste like cookies. They are organic and gluten-free, but they aren’t vegan because they contain honey. They do have other ingredients I don’t like such as palm-fruit shortening (a saturated fat), coconut sugar (it’s still sugar), and sunflower oil (all oils are inflammatory). If those ingredients don’t matter to you and you’re going to eat cookies and crackers anyway, these are a much healthier choice than the majority of others in the marketplace. All three flavors, honey, chocolate and cinnamon, are delicious:.
The best CLEAN gluten-free, vegan seed crackers
Mary’s Gone Crackers has gluten-free seed crackers without sugar or that weird salty-film that is on the top of a lot of gluten-free crackers (yuck). I like the Super Seed Everything crackers the best. Pair these seed crackers with your favorite spreads or crush them and sprinkle on top of soup or salads for a savory crunch.
the BEST vegan chocolate bars
I don’t like chocolate with spices or different flavors; I like my chocolate to taste like sweet chocolate candy and this one by Enjoy Life is my favorite (and the only one I eat). It contains just three ingredients unsweetened chocolate, cane sugar, and cocoa butter. While sugar is inflammatory, it’s probably the healthiest of the chocolate bars that aren’t raw. I’ve seen these for sale at Jimbo’s and at Sprout’s markets too.
The best VEGAN chocolate chips
People who have tried these chocolate chips by Enjoy Life are surprised they are vegan because they are rich, chocolatey and melt in your mouth. They contain just three ingredients: cocoa, brown sugar and cocoa butter. They are also gluten free, so those that cannot eat gluten, can eat these.
Sugar is inflammatory, so limit your consumption of foods containing sugar.
I have also found these delicious chocolate chips at Trader Joe’s markets.
Best CACAO nibs
Cacao nibs is a true healthy chocolate because it is in its purest form without added ingredients like sugar. I like sprinkling cacao nibs on top of a banana smoothie, or I will blend them into a smoothie for a little crunch throughout.
Cacao nibs are also delicious with granola and on top of vegan ice cream. Cacao nibs are bitter which is why it’s best with a sweet desert and only add a tablespoon or less.
These cacao nibs by Nativas are my favorite because they are fresh, crunchy and have a pure chocolate flavor.
The BEST CLEAN vegan fruit and nut bars
These Peanut Butter and Jelly fruit and nut bars by LaraBar are my favorite; they taste like a candy bar and contain whole plant foods. They are gluten free and contain just three ingredients: nuts, salt, dates, cherries and peanuts.
This PB&J Larabar is not organic and high in fat at 10 grams of fat for one bar, but it’s preferable to a low-fat, high-protein bar with isolated proteins or dairy.
Mastering Diabetes recommends no more than 10 grams of fat per meal, and no more than 10 grams of fat per day.
The BEST plant-based fruit and nut bars
These KIND plant-based, gluten-free, Almond and Coconut fruit and nut bars are truly decadent. They are not technically vegan because they do contain honey.
The KIND Almond and Coconut bars are high in fat at 14 grams of fat per bar. Mastering Diabetes recommends no more than 10 grams of fat per meal to prevent insulin resistance. The ingredients aren’t organic and it does contain sugar, but it’s better to eat one of these treats than a dessert or bar that contains lactose, butter, tropical oils or whey protein powder.
Best CLEAN organic canned black beans without salt
I drain and rise S&W black beans to make black bean soup or a Mexican corn and black bean salad. The ingredients are just black beans. You can find salt-free black beans at most supermarkets.
The BEST vegan pizza
The best premade frozen vegan pizza I’ve tried is Amy’s Roasted Vegetable made with Artichoke Hearts and Organic Vegetables.
Amy’s Roasted Vegetable Pizza without Cheese contains wheat so it’s not for people who are celiac or sensitive to gluten. I’ve tried Amy’s vegan gluten-free pizzas, but the gluten-free pizza crust doesn’t taste very good.
Amy’s Frozen Roasted Vegetable Vegan Pizza is delicious but it does contain wheat, sugar and oils, but it’s a huge upgrade compared to the cheese and meat pizzas most people eat.
If you don’t have time to make your own vegan pizza, Amy’s Roasted Vegetable prepared pizza will not disappoint even the most picky pizza lover. You can sometimes find this product at small and large grocery stores.
I will be updating this list regularly, so save a copy of this link when you are looking for new, healthy, plant-based, vegan grocery items.
Check out my CLEAN cosmetics list by clicking the image below