I am new to the Kind Life and am trying to go completely vegan, but am finding it to be a struggle to stay on budget and feed my family. My hubby and I plant a big vegetable garden every year so fresh produce is not a problem but buying the soy milks and meat substitutes is getting expensive fast. Does anyone have any ideas or tips for eating right on a budget? Any and all ideas are appreciated. Thanks.
I struggle with this as well with 5 of us to feed. Technically being vegan should cost less, just sticking to produce, rice/barley/quinoa... in bulk, dried beans, could be cheaper. Problem is when you have kids I find it difficult to not have the soy/almond milks, cheeses, meat sub's and so forth. Letting go of the meat sub's first would be easiest b/c we're not fooling anyone anyways, just stick with beans for proteins. The milks are impossible for me to do without with my young kids. I find it often cheaper to find some of those products at whole foods versus the health food section of the regular grocery store. Steering clear of processed foods in general, the soy milks, mock meats, with definitely make it cheaper. You can make your own almond, rice and even soy milk. I've made almond and rice, super easy. Problem is, almonds are so expensive I'm not sure if it's even cost effective, rice milk is cheap and easy, but my pediatrician doesn't recommend it b/c it doesn't have any vitamins/minerals/protein that makes rice milk an appropriate replacement. I've never made soy milk, but I think that requiers a soy milk maker?? No idea what that costs. Hope some of this helps, I still struggle to keep my grocery bill down each week as well.
You can make soy milk with a blender - http://www.ehow.com/way_5619112_homemade-soy-milk-machine.html I am pretty lazy as far as that goes, though, I just buy a huge box of it at Costco! I agree with others who have said to avoid the processed stuff (mock meats and cheeses, etc.) It IS hard with kids and so I do buy them sometimes, but I really try to limit it. There are tons of really good "Veggie Burger" recipes out there for making great burgers out of beans/rice/etc. One of the favorites at our house right now are the " Black-eyed Pea Croquettes" out of The Kind Diet. I experiment some with the spices in them and my kids ADORE them. You can dip them in anything, too, not just the dijon glaze that goes with them in the recipe. Experiment with different beans, grains, etc. I make really good tacos using adzuki beans (these teeny red Asian beans). I bought a bunch in bulk for another recipe and then wanted to use the rest! I cook the beans until tender, saute some onions, garlic, etc., add the beans, some chili powder, cumin... my kids love these!
Thanks to everyone for all the great ideals. I am really wanting to make this lifestyle change...but my husband is so resistant. I want to make good food so he will realize that he isn't missing anything.
I have am so sick of all the processed junk, meats, and cheeses that I have been gorging on in the past. I have gained 90 lbs. and am tired, depressed, and sick all of the time and I just know it is because of my unhealthy eating habits. I want to change before my daughter ends up like me.
Hey, Danielle - my hubby can be pretty resistant too. He is vegetarian at home for the most part, but whenever I try to go vegan, he moans and groans. I try to make things that he can add real cheese to. I have a friend that does the same with her carnivore hubby - makes things that he can add meat to, or makes things that can be a main dish for her and the kids and a side dish for him. You can make it work and hopefully if your hubby sees how great you are feeling, he'll be more supportive!
Danielle, I can relate to your husband issues. Mine has been fairly supportive of this transition into veganism, although I think he might be getting some goodies when he is not at home ( he works in restaurants so it is easy to sneak something here or there). If yours is anything like mine getting him to read a book is virtually impossible, so I went the virtual route. We sat down and watched Food Inc. together which is super informative, but if you really want to make him think about his choices, sit down and watch Earthlings. You can watch it for free at their website. It takes an indepth look into slaughter houses and how we treat animals for a lot of different purposes. I hope this helps, keep up the good work. Everyone transitions at their own rate, so just keep doing what you are doing and hopefully he will come around!
I shop a lot at a Asian market not too far from my house and have found that MOST of the ingredients for the recipes in the Kind Diet are available and pretty cheap. I got a bag of saffron threads there for less than $2. I get a lot of beans from there, huge bags of rice, sea vegetables, and some of my produce. I buy my beans dry and soak them (much cheaper for quantity than canned). I focus on creating several different meals from the veggies I've bought most recently or gotten from the garden so that none of them go to waste (right now I have lots of peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, and yellow squash; I also have a TON of raspberries out there). Frozen fruits and veggies are also pretty cheap and are good for serving on top of rice/quinoa/noodles/etc. I try to mostly shop in season, on sale produce (but I have a weak spot for mangos). Finally, I don't buy pre-packaged snacks, "junk food", and waffles most of the time. I make my own, and I store leftovers for quick meals/snacks. Ironically, I didn't give up buying those things because of cost, but I have saved money doing it this way. I gave them up because I got sick of looking up whether or not "ingredient-I've-never-heard-of-ever-in-my-life" was vegan. I rarely eat foods that have ingredients I can't pronounce anymore. My husband and I eat a lot of produce, but we can fit it into our grocery budget because we don't eat out much. Leftovers are also a great way to stretch your meals.
Second the Asian market suggestion. I live in NYC and get almost all of my produce, sauces, oils, and tofu in Chinatown (Hong Kong Supermarket on Hester Street). I try not to buy processed food or to shop at health food stores, which can be pricey. Trader Joe's is very cheap for the staples. I also avoid Whole Foods--too many tempting vegan goodies.
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