HCLF Vegan On A Budget

"I could never be vegan it's just way too expensive." If only I had a dollar for how many times I've heard that line. Let's get this straight for those of you that are a little confused. Just like any other diet, veganism can be as cheap or as expensive as you make it. Veganism is not expensive. Vegans survive mainly on beans, rice, pasta, fruits, and vegetables; the cheapest ingredients on earth. Most people are lead to believe that a vegan diet is more expensive because they usually compare the absolute cheapest non-vegan "food" (McDonalds) to buying processed soy substitutes at Whole Paycheck... oops sorry... Whole Foods. Think about going out to a restaurant. What's more expensive; the steak or the veggie pasta dish? 

Here's a little bit of background info on my life just to show you how easy and attainable this lifestyle really is: I had to drop out of high-school and get two jobs when I was fourteen in order to support myself. I am seventeen now and continue to support myself as well as thrive on a HCLF vegan diet. I also live in Hawaii--where food is about double what it is in California. Even the stuff that grows locally. Not only is the actual food more affordable on this lifestyle, but I no longer have to worry about paying for doctor's appointments, therapy, and medications (thank god for insurance at that time)... and I am SEVENTEEN. Imagine how much money a middle-aged man with diabetes and high-cholesterol would save on this lifestyle? How much money our entire country would save on medical and insurance costs??? Anyway we won't get too deep into that. If you're interested in more info on how animal products affect our health I highly recommend watching Forks Over Knives on Netflix. 

Now here are my tips on being thriving on this lifestyle without breaking the bank:

1. Potatoes, rice, beans, legumes, pasta, and bananas. These are some of the cheapest foods available that provide tons of nutrients and they're so versatile. Potatoes, rice, and bananas are definitely staples in my diet because I can buy giant bags/boxes for super cheap and they'll last me a long time. There are so many different ways you can make them. You could eat potatoes every night and never get bored of them. 

2. Buy in season, on sale, and in bulk. Buying fruit in season is always cheaper. Whenever your grocery store has produce you like on sale buy it in bulk and freeze whatever you don't use. I eat tons of bananas so I buy a giant box. If I don't get to all of them before they go bad I always freeze them for smoothies, nicecream, and açaí bowls. You can also defrost them and use them for banana bread later on. I also buy oranges, carrots, romaine, and dates in bulk because these are staple produce items in my diet.

3. Find out if you have a local farmer's market/co-op/wholesale market. This is also a way you can support local farmer's in your community and know exactly where your food comes from. If you go at the end of the day you can usually get stuff for cheaper because they're trying to get rid of whatever they have. I go in the beginning because I need to buy some things in bulk.

4. Don't be afraid of frozen. Frozen fruits and vegetables usually contain more vitamins and nutrients than the canned options and last longer than the fresh stuff. Sautee some frozen veggies with rice, tofu, and a soy-based sauce like tamari and you have an extremely inexpensive, nutrient dense, filling meal!

5. Try to avoid trendy packaged foods and vegan junk food. Most of the pre-packaged "fancy" snacks like kale chips, cookies, hummus, etc. you can make at home for much cheaper (and without added oil/refined sugar/preservatives. These are also not super filling or nutritious items; so save your money for beans, potatoes, grains, nuts, seeds, etc.

6. Buy organic when possible. Believe me I'm all for buying all organic food to avoid pesticides but I know that's not necessarily everyone's reality now. I'd much rather actually have the food than only be able to get a couple of organic things. Try to buy The Dirty Dozen organic (and whatever else is on sale), and then wash everything else/peel it as best as you can.

7. Ask your local grocery store if they have any "over ripe" fruit. A lot of stores throw away produce that they can't sell because it's considered over-ripe. This is especially good for bananas since most people still think that when bananas have brown spots on them it means they're bad. I haven't had much luck with this but don't be afraid to ask!

8. Buy generic labeled items. Brands like Whole Foods- 365 offer some pretty good Non-GMO options for dry items like beans, legumes, rice, etc. Generic brands are usually about half the price of their name-brand counterparts so this can save a lot.

I hope this helped you in some way! Time to get healthy and save some money in the process! xx