How Do You Make The Vegan Lifestyle Affordable? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 05-22-2019, 11:45 AM
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How Do You Make The Vegan Lifestyle Affordable?

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One of the main objections to any method of healthy eating is that it costs more than a fast food lifestyle. This viewpoint definitely applies to sticking to a vegan diet. The truth is, any type of food plan can be more – or less – expensive to stick with, depending on how much effort you’re willing to put in. Eating Vegan Doesn’t Have to be Expensive
What tips do you have for making the vegan lifestyle affordable?
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#2 Old 05-24-2019, 07:17 PM
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Produce section, whole grains, dried beans, lentils, tempeh, tofu are all affordable, though sometimes it takes knowing where to shop. Many larger 'regular' grocery stores are not a good choice, while the more health oriented, farmers markets, Asian grocers and of course, Aldi and Trader Joes, are better bets.
Subscribing to a local community farm shares or the misfit type produce boxes are often good buys.

Stick to whole plant foods.

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good
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#3 Old 06-06-2019, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by CricketVS View Post
Attachment 16346



What tips do you have for making the vegan lifestyle affordable?


The vegetarian/vegan lifestyle is always affordable, unless you're buying a lot of specialty foods.


Here is a photo from a wonderful book: Hungry Planet: What the World Eats (https://www.amazon.com/Hungry-Planet.../dp/0984074422 ). It's a picture book showing families from all over the world, posing with their typical groceries. Look at what this family eats. Their foods are beans, rice, vegetables, and perhaps some milk. Are they rich? No. Are they slim, with nice white teeth? Yes.

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_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/

Last edited by David3; 06-06-2019 at 09:57 PM.
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#4 Old 06-07-2019, 09:53 AM
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If you're on a super tight budget, try Walmart. Big bags of dried beans and lentils and grains and 5 lb bags of frozen veggies. You can splurge on what I think of as vegan fast food...cans of cooked beans and veggies for less than $1!
This minimal cost diet would be healthier than 90% of what Americans eat.
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#5 Old 06-08-2019, 03:09 PM
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I differ with some of the opinions. Fresh produce is very expensive compared to processed foods. This is one reason why low-income families (meat-eaters or veg*ns) often have poor diets. I know two vegans who cannot eat anything remotely like a legume. Moreover, a lot of folks simply don't care for peas, beans, etc. Many people have dietary restrictions due to health issues, so specific food recommendations aren't always helpful

(An aside: It's also not enough to say that veganism is cheaper than eating meat. That may be true, but it's not helpful in terms of how people with limited budgets can eat healthily but affordably.)

I live in a state with an abundance of fresh produce, but it's not cheap. TJ's has a massive distribution center in my town, but we don't have a TJ's store (yeah, weird, huh?). I find very little at the local Aldi that I'd spend money on. Wilted vegetables are the least of my gripes about Aldi. The farmer's markets here are expensive and usually so over-chemicaled that you can almost see "Miracle-Gro" stamped on the vegetables. It's a shame, because I know there are farmer's markets with good produce at good prices. A community gardening project has just begun near me, and while I won't be gardening, I've donated enough money to cover someone's membership fees for the two growing seasons we have here. I'm hoping to reap a little benefit vegetable-wise. It won't affect my food budget, but just having some fresh produce organically grown will be nice. I think most people have access to regular grocery stores and little else.

It's important to keep in mind that people might also have transportation and/or time issues when shopping. I'm one of those who has a very busy schedule and precious little time for shopping.

I really hate to cook, but my budget doesn't have room for eating out all the time. So I have to suck it up and cook. My tip for making vegan meals a little more affordable is to make large(-ish) batches of things and freeze leftovers for later meals. I like stews, potato salad, "chicken" salad (tofu!), casseroles and other things I can make in amounts that are cost-saving and time-saving. I've found that it's cheaper to make large batches (not massive amounts) rather than small batches for just me. It also saves cooking later. I hate it while I'm making something but love it later when all I have to do is thaw and re-heat something.

This may not work for everyone, although it's not as up-front expensive as buying in bulk. I'm looking forward to more ideas that make food buying a little easier on wallets. I have vegan, vegetarian and meat-eating friends, many of whom are always looking for ideas to reduce costs, so keep the ideas coming.

Btw, has anyone had any luck cost-wise with ordering from places like Amazon?
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#6 Old 06-08-2019, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Citrus333 View Post
I differ with some of the opinions. Fresh produce is very expensive compared to processed foods.

Fresh produce and processed foods aren't the only options, are they? Frozen vegetables are a lower-priced option, and they are widely available.

I used to buy these frozen greens all the time, to make lentil, barley, and collard greens soup:






Certain, physically-durable vegetables are inexpensive, no matter where you buy them. In particular, bulk fresh carrots and onions are low-priced.

Hispanic and Asian markets often have very good prices on vegetables. If you live near a market in an African community, you will often find good prices on fresh greens (mustard greens, kale and/or collard greens).

.
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_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/

Last edited by David3; 06-08-2019 at 08:43 PM.
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#7 Old 06-08-2019, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Citrus333 View Post
Many people have dietary restrictions due to health issues, so specific food recommendations aren't always helpful

The most common food allergies are to the 9 below-listed foods. Beans, peas, and other starchy legumes do not appear to be common allergens. Of the common grains, only wheat appears to be a common allergen. As vegans, we automatically avoid 4 of these 9 allergens.

1. Cow's milk
2. Eggs
3. Peanuts
4. Tree nuts
5. Wheat
6. Soy
7. Fish
8. Shellfish
9. Sesame

https://www.foodallergy.org/common-allergens


The Vegan Society has a good web page about vegan nutrition, with links to vegan nutrition books written by Registered Dietitians: https://www.vegansociety.com/resourc...ition-overview


.

.

_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/
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#8 Old 06-08-2019, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Citrus333 View Post

I'm one of those who has a very busy schedule and precious little time for shopping.

Here was my typical shopping list when I first moved out on my own. My shopping was fast, and I only shopped once per week:

Lentils and/or canned refried beans
Brown rice
Onions
Mustard or collard greens (usually frozen)
Carrots
Spaghetti
Bread
Peanut butter
Inexpensive sauces, if needed (mustard, canned spaghetti sauce, soy sauce, salsa)

.

_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/

Last edited by David3; 06-08-2019 at 09:38 PM.
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#9 Old 06-08-2019, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Citrus333 View Post
It's important to keep in mind that people might also have transportation and/or time issues when shopping.

When I was single, my shopping vehicle was my bicycle, with rear-mounted grocery bag baskets (also called panniers) attached. Grocery bag baskets secure your grocery bags low on the bike, so they don't interfere with your balance or steering. Also, you won't really notice the weight of the groceries when you ride, because the bags' weight is being supported on your bike, not on your back.

Any full-service bicycle shop can install these types of baskets onto your existing bike.

The best grocery bag baskets are the ones that fold up when you don't need them.

If your bicycle has gears (i.e. 10-speed bike), this will make it easier to begin pedaling from a stop.








A 3-wheeled bike, with a built-in rear basket, can also be a pretty inexpensive shopping vehicle. Be sure to buy a tricycle with gears; shifting to a low gear will help you to start pedaling from a stop.






And, FFS, don't carry groceries in a bicycle front basket! The weight of the groceries, placed on your bike's handle bars, will interfere with your steering. Dangerous!
.
.
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_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/

Last edited by David3; 06-08-2019 at 09:33 PM.
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#10 Old 06-10-2019, 02:56 AM
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I got rid of my car a few years ago. One of the good things about riding a bike to the store is that I'm much more concise about what I purchase, and there is a lot less waste due to spoilage.

I'm pretty consistent in what I spend at the store. I average $6-$7 a day for everything... food, drink, alcohol, restaurants, shampoo, toilet paper, etc.

I buy a lot of things in bulk and do batch cooking, then freeze the meals. It goes quickly with a pressure cooker. In an hour and a half today I made up 14 servings of lentil-potato soup, 2 big loaves a bread dough that I divided to make 10 servings of frozen pizza dough, homemade dry corn muffin mix for 20 muffins, 12 plain cupcakes, 24 fudgesicles made from over-ripe bananas and cocoa powder, 4 big salads, and a big jar of vegan 1000 Island dressing. Total cost was a little over $10.

I have a garden too. Chard grows like a weed around here, it doesn't need that much soil, and it stores in the fridge for weeks.
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#11 Old 06-11-2019, 05:35 PM
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Keep the Beyond Burgers and vegan cheese to occasional.

I think if I were doing the weekly shop I might do the panniers thing, but my wife does the weekly shop, so it's not worth it.

I do cycle to the shop if it's just to buy a few things, rucksack or occasionally +1 bag over the handlebars when the rucksack gets full.

For some people a once a month big shop via car (or public transport or taxi) supplemented by weekly cycling restocks could work.
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#12 Old 06-13-2019, 07:35 AM
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Eating vegan plant based doesn't mean you are eating healthy if you opt for mostly fast food and processed foods. Are they cheaper? Not in my opinion. While a bag or can of something appears to be less money than fresh foods, the processed foods usually leave you wanting more to eat as they are nutritionally inferior and have additives such as salt, fat and sugar that are highly addictive substances. Do you think a bag of potato chips is cheaper than buying a bag of potatoes, or even a single potato for instance? The old saying of I bet you can't eat just one is so true with potato chips because of the added fat and salt and sugar if it's a BBQ flavor. Yet look at the serving size and calories on the bag and unless you only plan to eat one bag of chips and hardly anything else for the day, you probably have consumed nearly a day's calories and yet your body is starving nutritionally, and you gain weight. So then what? You eat more food to satisfy your urge to eat and you gain even more weight, your health suffers, you might end up on drugs for the pain issues of a poor diet, etc. And so the cycle begins.

Buy a single potato and eat it without all the additives and you will feel more satisfied because you are feeding you body food and not junk. Potatoes, dry beans, rice are all cheap and affordable foods. You must cook them of course, but they are far less money than buying a can of beans with additives that don't even taste as good as making your own beans. Yes in our fast driven world, you must cook your own food and plan ahead to do so, but once that becomes a habit it's not so bad. Isn't it better than driving to a fast food restaurant or grocery store to pick up a can and driving back home and then preparing your meal? All that driving back and forth, your meal could be cooking at home, while you do something else like exercise or clean the house, etc.

Buy beans, rice, etc in bulk and soak overnight while you sleep and cook them in the morning. Cook enough for one day, or a few days, depending on your needs. Add a bit of fresh foods to flavor the cooked beans and rice for example, green onions, lettuce, tomato, and you have a healthy meal that doesn't cost much.

There is a hidden cost when you buy too much fast foods and that is the medical costs. You may not feel ill now, but eat fast food for years and you will be suffering from weight gain, migraines, diabetes, heart disease, etc. Those issues do not happen over night, but they do happen. I have a friend who lives off fast food and other junk foods and she is on all kinds of drugs, has had numerous surgeries, is overweight and is sick nearly every day. I tried to help her, but she flat out told me she won't change her diet. So she has to live with the pain and take drugs as that is her choice. She will probably die of heart disease, cancer or diabetes one day, but she made her choice to eat junk and not even give healthy foods a chance!

I have been eating healthy vegan plant based for over 32 years and I do not go to the doctor, do not take any medication at all (I am 63 years old), and feel great! My food budget is my medical plan. I would rather pay more for healthy foods than to pay the doctor later for poor food choices. I do not have health insurance now, but when I did I didn't really use it as I had no need to see a doctor. Plus I know myself better than any doctor will ever know me, no matter what questions he/she asks it is NEVER about my food choices! Doctors know nothing about nutrition even in the 21st century! Look around, America is the sickest, fattest country that is hooked on drugs (legal ones) and there are doctor offices on every corner with several hospitals in every city, and yet people don't get it! If all the drugs and doctors worked, we would be the healthiest country! Big corporations and big pharma are all keeping people right where they want them and that is dependent on their products, all while they reap the huge profits! For that reason alone, stop supporting these big ass companies with your hard earned dollars!!!!

So eating healthy is not giving into the fast food temptation or you will get hooked and won't be able to stop. Fast foods are like drugs as they know how to keep you coming back for more by putting in the right amount of fat, sugar and salt, all addictive substances. Even more addictive than taking drugs. And the bottom line for all those companies is profits before people.
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#13 Old 06-26-2019, 09:05 PM
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I don't even soak my beans. I just throw in a crock pot with some water, cook 'em, mash 'em, put them in glass containers and freeze 'em. They're great for quick thick soups. One pot lasts a week or more.
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#14 Old 07-15-2019, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by James N. Dawson View Post
I don't even soak my beans. I just throw in a crock pot with some water, cook 'em, mash 'em, put them in glass containers and freeze 'em. They're great for quick thick soups. One pot lasts a week or more.
I do the same but I now use an electric pressure cooker instead of the slow cooker. Both work great. I use chickpeas with tomato and Indian spices and put mason jars of delicious channa masala in the freezer. Or chili with red beans and peppers, onions and chili spice. Or black eyed peas with just salt pepper and olive oil, and a bit of thyme.

You can really eat delicious food on the cheap with a vegan diet!

Last edited by blue_green_gold; 07-15-2019 at 08:17 AM.
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#15 Old 07-15-2019, 08:26 AM
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Great post vegangal55! It is so true about saving money on health care. I'm 67 and was vegetarian for 45 years, now vegan for six. I have the blood work of an exceptionally healthy twenty year old and take no meds, while literally all of my workmates in my age category take beta blockers, statins, and/or Metformin...while suffering from horrible symptoms. It is so worth it to take a few weeks or months to change your eating habits. Your tastes change, too. I never enjoyed my food as much as I do now.
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#16 Old 07-24-2019, 05:59 PM
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Blue Green Gold so true, I have never enjoyed my food more either. Real food tastes the best! People have to stop eating junk to really taste food. It's like people who quit smoking say food tastes better than ever. But all those addictive foods numb your real taste buds too. You have got to want to be healthy and work at it until it is second nature to eat real food and not processed stuff. Good for you!!!
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