Vegan on the Cheap: Beans and lentils

Money has been rediculously tight for me the past few months, tight like this afternoon I spent the the last $4 in my checking account on a bag of dry lentils and some day old rolls so I can have stew for dinner tonight. The past week beans have been a godsend for my meal planning. I’ve come across several people who seem to think beans are horrible for you either because they’re a dreaded carbohydrate, people don’t trust the cans they come in, or because the have “anti nutrients”. I usually just make sure to rinse them off if they’re canned to get the salt or any additives off and the supposed antinutrients can be taken care of just by soaking the dry beans before cooking them. 

Beans  and other legumes like lentils are wonderful and should be a dietary staple whether you’re vegan or not. They ARE a staple in most cultures. They are high in protein, fiber, iron, and folic acid. They are also low in fat, low glycemic index, a COMPLEX carbohydrate and low in cost. They’re one of the best foods for someone on a budget.

When people say going vegan is too expensive, I assume they’re thinking of packaged veggie burgers, quinoa, soy milk costing more than cow milk. In my experience soy milk cost more than regular milk but less than organic “grass fed” cow milk. I can understand thinking that when you see a pound of quinoa for $7.78 (that’s the exact price I saw when I bought the lentils) and chicken’s $2.99. If you’re worried about cost I’d go for regular food you’re familiar with that happens to be vegan before fancy “health food” like quinoa. I have no problem with eating quinoa. When I compared labels it was more nutrient dense than the brown rice but less nutrient dense than the lentils. I just don’t think the benefits outweigh the price tag when I can get five times the amount of rice or legumes for the same price. 

Links on beans and vegan diets:

http://theveganrd.com/2014/02/plant-protein-why-vegan-diets-need-beans.html 

http://nutritionfacts.org/index.php?s=beans 

 

 

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