August 11, 2021
From Vegan Life

Ditch the junk food and adopt a wholefood plant-based diet for time-saving and cost-effective living

By Karin Ridgers

While I am over the moon that veganism is everywhere, and every supermarket is falling over themselves to show off their latest animal-free offering (come on with the biodegradable plastic already!), I, however, seem to just want to get back to basics. And I am not the only one.

I am lucky enough to be sent fantastic vegan delights to review for my website VeggieVision TV and I must be choosy, as everything we have tried out food-wise has been delicious.

However, some products I have picked up have been a little disappointing, to say the least, and some I feel would put sadly people off vegan options!

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And the more vegan fake ‘meats’ I see makes me just want steamed vegetables, chickpeas, and a little miso soup!

Now, I am an old school vegan – we grew up with V Bites (previously Redwoods). I was delighted to have a chat with Heather Mills (founder) recently and I told her that after 30 years, V Bites is still my favourite vegan meat.

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I also spoke to a good friend of mine the plant-based chef, Keith Squires, who specialises in wholefood vegan cooking. Keith is all about keeping things simple, inexpensive and using the concept of ‘cook once, eat twice’ – now I love the sound of this! I do like eating my leftovers the next day.

Wholefood eating

So, how would one start the day simply, as a wholefood vegan?

Keith says: “Breakfast can range from a light option of fresh fruit and seeds, porridge with toppings, soaked muesli or a more exotic ayurvedic kitcheri (cooked lentils with rice). Plus, fresh fruit and vegetable juices instead of carton ones.”

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“A great mid-morning booster is a glass of freshly pressed vegetable juice. So, wipe down your old vegetable juicer and get going. Carrot, beetroot, celery, ginger and apple are my favourite.”

The mighty slow cooker

Keith is a big advocate of a slow cooker, too – pop your food in while making breakfast and it will be ready for you to enjoy later.

wholefood veganism

“If you load the slow cooker up at breakfast you can have a hearty stew that is ready for lunch. Healthy things like lentils, rice dried beans which go a long way and bulk up as you cook them. For instance, 100g of lentils, bulks up to 300g when cooked. The main other ingredients are basic veggies that go a long way, too.”

Keith has a free seven-day wholefood guide on his website and the recipes sound so good. I cannot wait to try them all out. Turning your wholefood lunch into your dinner is such a time-saving idea, too.

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“A while back I developed our magic meal plan. This was originally for nurses on shift work. We realised that with 12-hour rotating shifts, it meant that most nurses had no chance to cook properly from scratch. This is when we came up with the idea of using a slow cooker or crock pot. The idea being that you can load it up whenever you get home. Sleep and rest then a wonderful one pot meal is ready when you wake up. Then you can take it to work with you in a thermos instead of relying on takeaways and sweet snacks.”


A wholefood vegan way of eating based on pulses, grains and vegetables is very cheap. Lentils, rice and split peas can cost as little as 50p or £1 a kilo. When cooked both expand and double or triple in mass making the real cost less than 50p. The other main ingredients are seasonal vegetables, which are also great value at around £1 or £2 per kilo.

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“We have designed the recipes in my free guide, so you take your lunch to work and save buying a sandwich or takeaway. This soon adds up – we can easily spend £5 on food plus £2.50 on hot drinks, with a snack later, we can be spending £10 a day which really mounts up over a month – and years!”

Now, I am not saying that I am never having a massive vegan burger again or that I won’t try the new must-have vegan thing hitting the news – however, with the help of experts like Chef Keith Squires, I feel for me the way forward is really going old-school wholefood vegan!

For more from Keith, visit

Article by Karin Ridgers.