Hi! I am seriously contemplating a vegan diet. Currently, I eat a lot of plant based foods, but have not made the leap to veganism or vegetarianism. My goal is to become healthy. Right now I am pre-diabetic and a bit overweight. At 52 yrs old, I just finished school for a complete career change, and now it's time to change my physical being.
My question is...How do you afford this diet?? When I go into Whole Foods and start pricing the ingredients needed to prepare a week's worth of food, it is actually double of what I currently pay.
I never eat out and never eat processed foods.
I truly want to change, but need some hints as to how to do this affordably.
I would recommend a book called Supermarket Vegan by Donna Klein. It is a cookbook full of easy, delicious, vegan meals and all the ingredients used in this book can be purchased relatively cheaply at any major supermarket. I personally recommend Trader Joe's because their prices are very reasonable and they are very veg-friendly. I have been using this Supermarket Vegan recipe book to cook for my boyfriend and myself, and the grocery bill comes to about $400 a month, or $50 per person per week. I never shop at Whole Foods; I'm a student and it's too expensive for me. Since I started cooking vegan food from scratch from this cookbook, our grocery bill has gone down. Hope this helps!
For inexpensive vegan recipes, I recommend Everyday Happy Herbivore by Lindsay Nixon and Vegan on the Cheap by Robin Robertson. Lots of ingredients for these recipes can be found at any regular grocery store. And I agree that Trader Joe's is a great place to shop! For the few recipes that have items not found at a supermarket or Trader Joe's, you can get some good deals online. I got some items at amazon.com and got free shipping for buying a number of non-perishable items at decent prices. But I've been able to make most of the recipes in these books without having to buy anything outside my neighborhood stores or anything expensive. I'm still making the transition to vegan- for the past two months I've been eating a plant-based diet six days a week, and am working on convincing family members that if I don't eat animal products with them once a week, it doesn't mean I don't love them! I have convinced my daughter and husband to eat a plant-based diet with me at least six days a week, but extended family Sunday dinners are a little trickier. Making the leap to a full time vegan diet is my goal, though, after learning more about just how badly animals are treated. And it has actually been much cheaper for me since I started cooking only vegan meals for my family and myself- I think this can actually be the most budget-friendly way to eat if you use lots of grains and beans, and there are lots and lots of great recipes for these cheap foods!
Veganomicon also has recipes marked supermarket friendly. No special ingredients needed. If your local library has vegan cookbooks it's a good way to preview to make sure the recipes are right for you.
Many vegan foods are inexpensive: dried beans and bulk grains for example. If you have time you can cook up a big pot of beans then freeze them in small recipe or meal-size portions.
I think I borrowed all the vegan cookbooks I could find in all the county libraries. the computer made it easy to reserve them and have them sent to my local library. It started after I picked up "The Concious Cook" from the new books section without realizing it was vegan. Unless you are a real foodie and have hours to spend cooking, I woud not recogmend that book, but it did open my eyes to how good vegan food could be. I buy a lot of my stuff from the bulk bins at WinCo, our local chain of discount, bag it yourself, grocery stores. I also found a good supply of cheep beans at a grocery store that buys overstocks and close to date foods. I would not say that I spend any more now than I did before learning to cook this way unless something happens and I need precooked meals for the family (I have been to the ER 3 times since May and admitted 2 times) since the guys are too lazy to cook for themselves. I think I have been in Whole Foods once since it opened here and had major sticker shock. There are many recipies on here that do not require "weird:" ingredients.
Crock pots work great for cooking the large amounts of beans for freezing.