We decided to go vegan for a lot of reasons; health, morality, environment, etc. We explain the reasons we went vegan in depth in this article.  

One thing that we didn’t expect after going vegan? It is actually cheaper than the way we ate before!

We couldn’t believe this because the common idea is that eating organic and vegan is reserved for those who are well off.

Well, we aren’t, so let’s dive into how we do it!

Why People Think that Veganism is More Expensive

So, why do people think that veganism is so much more expensive?

Well, because it can become very costly if you’re not careful.

The biggest reason that veganism can be expensive is the fact that there are a lot of people that are eating vegan junk food. Yeah, you can eat vegan/vegetarian and still be very unhealthy.

Processed foods have their own issues, even for vegans. We always recommend going organic as often as possible.

Vegan junk food can become expensive because grabbing a bag of vegan chips is not the same thing as a bag of regular chips. They are more expensive, they probably only a bit healthier than alternatives, and you usually don’t eat the entire bag in one sitting. Usually

Fake meat is another factor that will drive up your price at the grocery store. We love using vegan meat in our food, but we always use it sparingly and stretch it as far as possible.

For example, some packaged vegan burgers are insanely expensive. It literally hurts me just looking at the prices, so I couldn’t imagine buying them regularly. These options are great, and we do eat them occasionally. Purchasing these items frequently will make veganism seem more expensive than it could be.

Buying in Bulk

Buying in bulk is an old tip that is great for vegans.

There are many foods that could be bought in bulk for a cheaper price. For example:

Black Beans

Lentils

Quinoa

Chickpeas

Seeds

Nuts

Granola

The best part is that all of these foods are also very versatile. You can use chickpeas in vegan chili, nacho cheese, you can crisp them like croutons for salads.

Buying things like these will ensure that your pantry is nice and stocked for months to come while also allowing you to eat a variety of foods.

I was a big Ramen Noodle consumer, so it’s important to me to stay cheap while also not having to eat the exact same thing over and over. I love Ramen, but after weeks of only being able to afford that, I got just a bit tired of it.

My body was begging me to stop eating sodium!

Eating More Protein, Fiber, and Carbs

Carbs

You know what my favorite vegan breakfast is?

Grilled potatoes with onions, peppers, mushrooms, and tons of garlic.

I love it, the way I cut and cook them remind me of the home fries that I used to devour while I worked at Bob Evans.

The reason I say that, is there is another reason that eating potatoes is beneficial. It fills me up!

After a bowl or two, I’m usually pretty full. It seems normal, but with my previous addiction to food that really isn’t much.

Eating foods higher in carbs are great at providing energy for our body. I eat potatoes the night before a big run, or pasta which is typical for many marathon runners.

It is worth noting that loading up on excessive carbs can result in weight gain. Let me briefly how carbs work:

  • You eat food with carbs in it
  • Your body digests that and it becomes glucose (sugar)
  • This glucose is used in a plethora of bodily functions, mainly to produce Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), which your body uses as energy.
  • If you eat more carbs than you burn, your body will store this as glycogen, which is known as “stored energy” as your body will then have that glycogen as a quick energy source if needed.

So when I preface this by saying, “I eat a ton of carbs” keep in mind that I also go for a lot of runs. I am a pretty active person, and I eat as much as my body feels like it needs. Tj hates cardio for the most part, (she will tell you all about it too) so she consumes less than me generally unless we are fueling up for an active day. It is important to know what your activity level is and what fuel your body needs.

Protein

Protein performs a plethora of tasks within the body and it’s a topic I would like to learn much more about.

If you have ever donated plasma, they use certain proteins within your plasma to create medicine for others who suffer from a variety of diseases.

The Genetics Home Reference Lists:

Antibodies

Enzymes

Protein Messengers

Structural components (DNA, Cells)

Transport and storage

Proteins are a vastly complicated topic in this regard, but why am I mentioning it here?

Because eating protein will help make you feel more full!

We actually recently ran into issues with our son at school. He started kindergarten, and stopped having an afternoon nap. He had great mornings every single morning almost without fail. In the afternoon, it was an entirely different story.

What happened?

He was suffering from what most would see as ADHD symptoms, and they were huge emotional swings. We consulted with our amazing family doctor and found the US treats it with medication, everywhere else in the world it is treated first by diet.

The conclusion we came to was, of course, his diet. He had been eating school food, like the milk and random treats the teachers gave him like candy.

So what we began to think is his body was not being adequately fueled from the schools state-forced processed junk food.

After we started packing his lunch, we saw immediate changes in his behavior. He went from getting kicked out over stupid, petty stuff to getting good grades on his work and getting in no trouble.

What did we do?

Well, here’s the list:

  • Packed his lunch!
  • Added more protein to his diet
  • Added omega 3-6-9 vitamins
  • Added holistic attention medicine (A+ tablets)

Other than that we really just kept explaining to him how serious getting in trouble in school was, and that he was there to learn. Not that we havent been saying that before to no effect.

What protein rich foods did we start with?

Kale

Spinach

Black Beans

Chickpeas

Quinoa

Broccoli

Seeds

Nuts

Oats

We just varied what we packed for his lunch every day, and surprisingly quickly he turned around. Protein was the biggest change we made, because though he ate like us at home, we all know how amazingly bereft of nutrients school lunches are.

We found creative ways to make these foods yummy and easy to prepare ahead. Chocolate chip protein balls are a favorite and are incredibly healthy. We found Solomon loves pumpkin seeds and cacao nibs are easy substitutes for chocolate chips with more nutrition.

I’m not knocking any school, but I am knocking our government for not caring enough about our children to provide them adequate nutrition at school.

Fiber

We all have heard that eating more fiber will help us feel more full.

What foods are high in fiber?

Broccoli

Kale

Spinach

Celery

Beans

Avocados

Sweet Potatoes

Turnips

Pears

There are tons of them, in fact, fiber is extremely easy to obtain on a vegan diet. Fiber provides a ton of health benefits. In this case specifically, fiber is great at helping us feel more full so that we eat less.

Eating More Vegetables

You know what’s great about vegetables?

They typically include all three of the nutrients I just described in that last section!

Vegetables, primarily leafy greens, are packed with a variety of nutrients. Fiber, Calcium, Vitamin C, Protein, and a long list of others can be included in your diet simply by adding more veggies.

This means that not only will you be much healthier, but you will feel more full. If you add more vegetables to your diet, you will notice that you “eat less.” Which, by “eat less” I do not mean the volume of your meal, because you could eat vegetables all day as they typically are very low calorie.

What I mean by “eat less” is that you will begin to eat less of other foods like vegan meats, because your body will have more nutrients filling it up.

Vegetables are also pretty cheap.

For $50 you can get yourself a pretty respectable amount of vegetables that could last you through every meal for a week if you wanted. If you incorporate shopping at the local farm stands if you have one, you will save even more.

You also do not have to feel as guilty about the volume of your meals, as long as you keep the proportion of food leaned more towards vegetables.

It is also worth mentioning that though it may cost a bit more, you should try to shoot for organic produce as much as you can. Here is a list called The Dirty Dozen, which basically is a dozen vegetables that you should always try to buy organic. This is because pesticides are used more on some foods than others.

For example, coffee. Coffee isn’t the most expensive luxury, but organic coffee, especially fair-trade does cost quite a bit more. But you also must take a couple factors into consideration:

  1. Coffee is among the most pesticide sprayed crops
  2. There is massive amount of energy used to produce and transport this product
  3. It is all too common that workers are treated terribly, which is a reason to buy fair-trade

Vegetable Smoothies

Another great tip is to make morning smoothies!

We love these, and we have literally made them out of just about anything we can. We throw all kinds of random ingredients in there and always get good results. Our son loves these and its a great way to give him a nutritional quick breakfast. We add some hemp protein powder and whatever fruit is on hand, a handful of greens and some almond milk, [email protected]

This is beneficial because blending vegetables and fruit makes it easier to digest. That means first thing in the morning (after you have hopefully had your water on your empty stomach) your morning starts with a massive load of vitamins and minerals.

It all depends what you put in you smoothie, but make sure you keep it primarily vegetables. It is tempting to make a fruit smoothie for the taste, and I do not blame you.

However, starting your day off with veggies will help you feel full throughout your morning. It is also cost efficient because you can make a large smoothie for pennies depending on your grocery habits.

Eating in Season

Eating in season is a great way to save some money.

The logic is simple. If bell peppers are in season, there is a higher supply. If there is a high supply, costs will go down.

The best way to do this is by shopping for local produce! This will not only get you a good deal on fresh produce, but it will benefit the local farming community.

You should ask the grower what growing methods they used to determine if the food is organic. They may promote it that way, but it won’t hurt to ask.

In smaller communities I have found that quite a few people stray from using harsh chemicals on their produce.

Shopping Online

I’m not trying to fuel anyone’s online shopping addiction…

However, shopping online is a great way to save money on vegan food. There are sites dedicated to providing vegan food to those of us that hate leaving the house.

To which I would like to give a HUGE thank you!

We personally have used Thrive.com quite a bit. They offer a wide variety of food at a great price, and I am not getting paid to say that. (Yet, but I would never turn down free ginger yum yums, wink wink Thrive)

Buying online is also a great way to buy in bulk. We have found black beans for more than 50% off before, so we buy them in large amounts.

Shopping online also allows you the chance to compare prices. We always search around on online marketplaces so that we are able to see whether or not it would be cheaper online or at the store.

Grow Your Own Food

Do you have a green thumb?

Well, you’re in luck because as a vegan you can literally grow most of your food!

If you don’t have much space for food in your home, or if you have a small yard, we empathize completely. We really do not have a whole lot of space for growing plants, but we have been pretty successful at it.

Obviously, with lots of space you could grow all kinds of things such as:

  • Beans
  • Corn
  • Pumpkin
  • Watermelon
  • Squash

If you are a bit more limited, like we are, you could grow:

  • Tomatoes
  • Beets
  • Potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Lettuce
  • Kale

Most of these can be grown within containers, so if you have some open space near a window, you can begin growing your own food!

If you’re really limited, you could grow:

  • Basil
  • Sage
  • Aloe Vera
  • Lettuce
  • Other spices

We have grown most of these out of small pots. With herbs and spices, and small windowsill will work fine.

This will at least help you save some money by providing some spices that you would normally have to purchase from a store.

This is also extremely convenient. We like to grow our herbs in our kitchen so it is always nearby and fresh.

Conclusion

Being vegan only becomes expensive when you make it. Which is really true of any diet.

If you make sure you check your prices, curb your cravings, and do your research you can eat healthy for next to nothing.

Trust me, we have eaten this way through many financially hard times.

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