Some Tips for Being Vegan On a Budget

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”

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
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