The Oh She Glows way to supercharge your diet like you've always wanted to

Aug 26, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. ET
Image: Ashley McLaughlin

Angela Liddon is living that life. Cookbook author, popular plant-based food blogger, new mom and the kind of woman who lives on nourishing, energizing foods that are as Instagram worthy as they are (magically) delicious. So when Liddon came out with her second cookbook, Oh She Glows Every Day, we did two things. First, we devoured those recipes. And second, we picked her brain about making that "healthy eating" lifestyle shift we all want to make.

Let me first say, my boyfriend and I are completely addicted to the Salted Chocolate Hemp Shake for Two. I never thought I'd see that man eat anything with hemp in it. And when I made Liddon's Endurance Crackers (made with chia, sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds), my 12-year-old raved. Another shocker. I don't know who these people I live with are anymore, but I'm not complaining.

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Anyway! Here's what Liddon — a new mom expecting her second baby — told us about supercharging your diet.

SheKnows: When you pick up this cookbook and see all those gorgeous photos and recipes, the first thing you want to do is throw out everything in your pantry and start over with that staples list at the end of the book. But that’s going to be expensive! How do you build that new pantry in an affordable way?

Angela Liddon: I recommend starting with the foods that you’ll use the most frequently rather than the items you’ll use once in a blue moon. There’s no need to get everything at once; you can build your pantry slow and steady! Pantry staples that I use the most are dried and canned chickpeas, lentils, black beans, whole-grain pasta, jarred tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil, vinegars and commonly used spices (that is, garlic powder, chili powder, cinnamon, ginger, cumin, cayenne, basil, oregano, etc.). These pantry items are super affordable, especially when purchased in bulk or from discount retailers. Once you have a pantry base built up, you can consider adding more specialty items, like hemp hearts or coconut oil, as you see fit.

SK: How else do you recommend buying these ingredients without breaking the bank? Some things (chickpeas) are inexpensive enough, but others, like hemp hearts, can be pretty pricey.

AL: We buy a lot of pantry staples from Costco, including chia seeds, hemp hearts, coconut oil and vanilla extract. Not only are the bags/containers much larger than found at traditional grocers, but the cost works out to being quite a bit less. We are also Amazon Prime members, so I will often buy items from Amazon with free two-day shipping. Lastly, I’m a member at an organic co-op, where we will often wait until things go on sale and then buy nonperishable items in bulk. Normally you have to own a business to buy from the co-op, but they also offer family buying clubs, where you can go in with other families, so that can be a fantastic option too.

SK: Any foods you've found to be especially good at supporting you through pregnancy?

AL: I’ve been drinking a lot of fresh green juice during this pregnancy, and I really find it boosts my energy levels. I also make a green protein smoothie once a day, as it’s an easy way to get 25 grams of protein in a single glass! Healthy fats, in the form of hemp hearts, avocado, coconut oil, chia seeds and an algae-based DHA/EPA oil, also keep me feeling satisfied and balanced, and I try to consume them daily.

SK: I know your husband had to be persuaded to give up his fast food and start eating healthier along with you. Were there any particular dishes or ingredients that won him over in a big way? What advice do you have for helping your partner make healthy changes with you?

AL: Eric absolutely loves my veggie burgers, such as my newest Oh Em Gee Veggie Burgers. He also goes crazy for my Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Garlic-Avocado Aioli. Both recipes can be found in Oh She Glows Every Day. These recipes are great ones to serve to plant-based skeptics, as they are delicious, hearty, satisfying and made up of familiar, everyday ingredients. You also can’t go wrong with making any of my vegan desserts. Often you can win someone over with dessert and then gradually introduce other savory foods to them as well.

Keep reading to get Liddon's recipe for Roasted Hazelnut-Almond Granola Clusters, soon to be your new favorite snack.

More: 14 simple ingredient swaps that make vegan eating easier

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