Sometimes I think about my acquaintances who are into grass-fed, free range “happy meat” BS and all the mental gymnastics I would have to do to be okay with eating that way. Most of the time I just think I couldn’t afford to eat that way even if I wanted to. Soy and almond milk do cost a bit more than cow milk, but less than “organic” cow milk. I was at Sprouts a while back and they even had unpasteurized “raw” milk for almost $15 per gallon! Even though there’s no proven benefit to it.
So I thought I’d share some tips for eating cheap besides “shop the edge of the grocery store” and “eat plants, not things made in a plant”
- Don’t Worry About Organic. This is practically Heresy to some people I know but nutritionally, organic and conventional produce are about the same. Organic doesn’t mean no pesticides, it just means no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. Like “free rage” Organic is often little more than marketing, and it almost always costs more.
- Eat Soy. And Other Legumes. Unless you have a diagnosed allergy or your doctor specifically tells you to avoid it, soy products like tofu, milk alternative and edamame are generally harmless. And more importantly soy is a cheap, complete protein that’s easy to prepare. Soy and other legumes like lentils, black beans and chickpeas/garbonzo beans are also low fat, high fiber, high protein, and a complex carbohydrate.
- Check the Regular Grocery Store Before Whole Foods/Health food store. Like the organic thing, Whole Foods and The Natural Foods Co-op will often have the exact same brand of something as Food Source or Walmart for a much higher price. I love the Co-op but don’t really want to spend $5 for something I can get for under $3 at Food Source. This also goes for supplements. I was at Rite Aid where I saw a jar of chia seeds marketed as a weight loss supplement for over $10 when I bought two bags of chia seeds at Food Co on the next block for less than $5. Also Dollar Tree and The 99 cent Store are good places to get canned and frozen veggies.
- Buy What You Will Actually Eat. Of course you should buy and eat lots of fruits and vegetables and other healthy food, but it’s kind of pointless to six pounds of something just because it’s on sale if you don’t like the something. Raw spinach will just rot in your crisper if you don’t like raw spinach.
- If you have a yard, grow stuff. If you are going to put the time and water into landscaping, you might as well get something out of it. You don’t have to rip out your lawn to put in a mini farm unless you want to. But growing tomatoes in your flowerbed or planting some fruit trees are always a good idea. Also remember what you will actually eat. My maternal grandmother had an orange tree and peach tree that I loved. My paternal grandmother had a plum tree and hated plums. I have some potted herbs on my porch, and next spring I’m going to start some veggies.
Yesterday was my day off from one of my jobs so I could focus a little more on what I was eating and post to cronometer.
Breakfast: Remnants of a box of Kashi cereal, oatmeal, soy milk, frozen blackberries, chia seeds and a few cups of tea.
Lunch: large helping of Lentil stew with frozen veggies, glass of iced green tea.
Snack: bread with olive oil
Dinner: veggie burger and a glass of soymilk
Nutrition content daily values
Vitamin A 226%
Vitamin B12 192%
VItamin C 108%
Vitamin D 50%
Vitamin K 164%
Omega 3 Fats 282%
This information does not include supplements I take, which are simply a vegetarian multivitamin and a B Complex every morning. All my food is regular food that came from a regular grocery store and the Dollar Store. I posted a while back about veganism and social justice and accessibility. I think I could have done a much better post so that’s what I’m going to focus on in the next few days.
In the past few years I’ve tried to be a better ally to LGBTQIA and People of Color. In this way the vegan community has been frustrating. Aside from the local chapter of Food Not Bombs that feeds food to everyone who shows up, there doesn’t seem to be much to help people go and stay vegan. I had a conversation with someone from the Sacramento Vegetarian Society who didn’t have anything meaningful to say, they seem more interested in “Fat vs. Carbs” than in getting healthy food to people in need. People also seemed more concerned about a gorilla than they were about a toddler and his family who were villified in the media earlier this year. Instead of arguing that zoos are inherently dangerous for both animals and people, a lot of people were calling for the death of the boys mother. Do you think any people of color are going to read those kinds of horrible comments and jump at the chance to eat vegan?
There’s also the fact that “Thug Kitchen” a “ghetto” vegan book written by white people is significantly more well known than By Any Greens Necessary or Vegan Soul Kitchen both much better books written by people of color that I personally recommend.
This needs to change if we want to people to go vegan, because we are asking a lot of people to become a second, third or fourth kind of minority. That means we have to make veganism relavent to them. I try to be respectful by not refering to animal cruelty as “murder” or “slavery” because I don’t consider it murder or slavery. I consider it animal cruelty. So I no longer have “Earthlings” listed on my resources page, partly because of the slavery references, partly because a lot of people have seen it and I don’t think there’s a shortage of graphic video on the internet.
Below are links to other peoples’s sites and channels. If anyone has additional info others might find helpful please comment.
Dr. Breeze Harper http://www.sistahvegan.com
A Privileged Vegan http://www.youtube.com/user/Highonfuit1
Earlier on Facebook I saw a post from The Sacramento Chapter of The Weston A. Price Foundations sharing an article praising the organization. The website naturally had the Paid Endorsement Disclosure at the very end of the “article” waxing poetic about the group. I scanned the article and found assertions like “vitamins A, D and K, nutrients available only in certain seafoods, organ meats, egg yolks and the fats of animals raised in the sunlight eating green pasture“. I keep hearing and reading stuff from fans of Weston A. Price or Paleo diets say that you can’t get enough healthy fats or fat soluble vitamins from plant-based diets without eating what they consider an extreme amount of vegetables.
So I put what I had for breakfast, snacks and lunch, plus what I plan for dinner into cronometer.com to see how I did on these vitamins and other things you supposedly can’t get from plants.
Breakfast: toast with peanut butter, one orange, coconut yogurt with chia seeds.
Lunch: tomato, spinach and avocado sandwich and a glass of almond milk.
Dinner: Kung Pao tofu with lots of vegetables and a little brown rice.
Key nutrients based on standard Daily Value percentages:
Vitamin A 1,283%
Vitamin D 110%
Vitamin E 212%
Vitamin K 1,421%
Right now I’m at Broadway Coffee which I’ve been meaning to check out since I saw it on the other local vegan blog. It’s a nice place with a little free library by the entrance and they didn’t charge extra to use soy milk in my drink. I ordered a soy chai and a vegan banana nut muffin. The vegan fair wasn’t extensive but they had a lot more than Old Soul down the street.
Breakfast today was oatmeal with almond milk, chia seeds and a bit of sugar. lunch was homemade bean burritos. Snack is the chai and muffin and dinner will likely be pasta of some kind.
Anyone reading I encourage you to check out Broadway Coffee, 3200 Broadway across from Immaculate Conception Church.
I have had quite a few people in my social circle saying how unbalanced veganism is lately, all without me saying anything. So I decided to use my Cronometer account. A few of the vegan youtubers I’m subscribed to use it to calculate their nutrition intake so I signed up for it.
Above is a picture of my breakfast of toast with peanut butter, sliced peaches, soymilk and tea.
For lunch I had a big salad made with romaine lettuce, bell peppers, cucumber, a tomato, and homemade vinaigrette dressing.
For dinner I plan to have lentil stew and rice and have added it to my cronometer count.
Sample of my nutrition intake for the day:
Calories 1422, 12% Protein, 37% Fat, 51% carbohydrates
Daily Value of vitamins and minerals:
Vitamin A 386%
Vitamin D 104%
There’s quite a bit more useful information I got from tracking my food with this site and so far I recommend it. I’m a little low in a few things but overall doing pretty well nutritionally and I probably underestimated my calorie intake a bit and I think I need to up my fruit/veggie intake even though I got the “5 a day” . And even though I got well below 2000 calories so far I feel like I’ve had a lot of food. So I certainly don’t feel like I’m deprived or that how I eat is unbalanced. In fact aside from junk food I’m not actively avoiding fat or carbs so much as trying to up my veggie and fiber intake.