Vegan Tips

Yes, you can be broke AND vegan

Quite often the vegan life-style and diet gets a reputation as being expensive and only for rich people. This is exclusionary dialogue that tells people of different incomes, classes, and colors that veganism is only for rich people. This argument is obsolete, unfair, but most importantly simply untrue.

There are a multitude of reasons to go vegan. One of them is largely your health. Other reasons include animal activism obviously, but there are also the vast environmental benefits that come with being vegan. The reasons to go Vegan outnumber the reasons not to. With Dr. Michael Greger and other groups such as The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine by Neil Barnard publishing scientifically-backed articles about health benefits, it is hard to not want to be vegan. 

So here are mistakes that beginner vegans make that often break the wallet. When beginner vegans transition off of heavily meat based diets, they begin with very expensive products: frozen burritos, fine nut cheeses and other expensive artisan goods. In reality, the vegan diet is simple. It is largely based upon eating produce in abundance. Another common mistake that new vegans make when they begin going vegan is literally trying to “veganize” all of their favorite non-vegan dishes. You don't have to. In fact, it is important to try new foods. Quinoa, stir fries, smoothies, overnight oats, are all fun vegan-friendly dishes that also save you tons of money.

Here are tips on how to save money as a vegan

1) Buy in bulk. Buying your staples in bulk like oats, rice, or other staples can save a lot of money.

2) Soy isn't bad for you, but that doesn't mean you need to eat it either. Soy products such as tempeh are sometimes very expensive. 

3) This also means you don't necessarily need to buy mock meats. While a huge fan of foods like Seitan and Soy Curls, there are other more inexpensive ways to get protein in.

4) LEGUMES! Black Beans, Pinto Beans, Lentils. These are some of the heart healthiest and most fibrous foods that offer good amounts of protein.

5) Speaking of protein, you don't need as much of it as you think you do. All foods contain small amounts of protein and beginner vegans fall into the trap of immediately buying all sorts of protein powders and other supplements. Nature offers most, if not all, of what we need.

6) While there are better "branded" vitamins, don't worry too much in the beginning about things like "Bioavailability" Liquid Vitamins Vs. Not Tablet Vs. Fast Dissolving.  Start out with a vegan vitamin B12 tablet.

7) DON'T LET YOURSELF BECOME IRON DEFICIENT! Nutrient dense greens offer all the iron we need. And a bonus? Rather than put your money on iron tablets and other products you don't need yet, look up foods that are rich in iron... and once you do that...

8) Cook with an iron cast pan. Cooking in an iron cast skillet can add tons of iron to your food and therefore to your body. 

9) Google “broke vegan food hacks.” But more importantly, invest in a cooking book. It is often funny how people who transition to vegan diets think of all the food they will no longer be eating, when realistically, most people eat the same food almost every day. We are all creatures of habit. So make food fun! Start cooking and experimenting

10)COMPARE GROCERY STORES- but no black and white thinking! A lot of new vegans automatically think "Whole Foods now that I'm a vegan" You can buy vegan food anywhere. Like I said before, it is largely about eating plant-based and such food is ubiquitous and is found anywhere. That being said, don't knock Whole Foods either! I noticed Whole Foods carried the cheapest and largest amount of hummus I could buy.  

There is so much value in veganism. You are doing something that is positive for your health, the animals, and the environment. All life transitions tend to be hard. So enjoy the transition even if it is a challenging one. I promise it will be worth it.

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Michele Quiles

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