Everyday I try to go vegan or even vegetarian I find it soo difficult. I am 16 and currently a vegan/veg "flirt". My family is hurting at the time and we have no money for anything extra. I find them only buying the basics...
Eggs, 4% milk, Frozen dinners (so many tv dinners, eeew), Lunch meat, bread, cheese. None of these are vegan products my family eats alot of meat. I have never been vegetarian or vegan at all. I find myself starving until the next paycheck comes, as well as my two sisters. It's awful!!! I am a big eater and hate to be hungry I love snacking but can't figure out what there is to snack on as a vegan!? Everything they buy has animal bi-products. I like to drink milk but I can do without meat. I want to feel lighter and become a healthier person. I like to buy fresh fruits and veggies when they are in season. I ride my bike or walk to the farm and get corn, watermelon, strawberries, tomatoes, ect,, when it is summer time. But as of right now those are not available yet, and I find myself going hungry as a meat eater. I can't tell my family I'm a veg, they wouldn't understand and not support it. Please help a teenager with no money or job become a vegan/ vegaterian!!!! Thanks. Advice and suggestions would be great.
I completely understand where you are coming from.... I have been out of work for a couple of years now and finally got a job but I am only working 3 times a week... Money is very tight... I m trying to start out being a vegetarian but finding it very difficult because of money.... I also would like any advice and suggestions... They would be much appreciated.
here are a few tips from someone on a grad student budget: buy stuff in bulk, especially beans and grains. Beans can make a whole meal and they can be put in the freezer when cooked. Also, whatever is in season is usually cheap, right now I'm eating lots of greens, beans, and eggplants (for some reason my local farmers market has eggplants for 69 cents a piece), there should be some winter veggies that are in season where you live, right?
Would it be an option for you to offer to meal plan (including meat) for your family for a week and get the normal grocery money from them to go shopping yourself? That way your family know what they are going to have each day, you might be able to encourage them to try different things (not TV dinners) and you can introduce new foods to the house. Is there one parent (or older sibling?) that you could get on board to help sway the rest of the family?
Fruit/vege and grains are way cheaper than TV dinners and meat, so do you think that maybe showing your family the cost savings would help? If money is tight, they might agree to try it (even a couple of nights a week?).
Dried beans, couscous, rice, quinoa are all reasonably priced. As above some of the winter vege's added to grains or beans is a cost effective meal, that would feed more than just you. Plus they make filling snacks when you add fruit or vege's.
Just some ideas. Look forward to seeing your journey progress.
I second AnnaliesvK. I would highly suggest doing a little research on your own that shows the figures to your parents. Compare the cost of the meat and dairy they are buying with the cost of beans and rice. Show them how it will be far cheaper to get some of the foods you would like to eat as opposed to the ones they are buying now. I remember when I was younger, I wanted to have a pet dog really badly and demonstrated to my parents that I had done a lot of reading on animal care, training, etc., and that I was ready to take on the responsibility. They responded really well because I was so mature about it. You can approach your parents in the same way, and you don't even have to mention the word vegan. Just say "Hey Mom, I'd really like to start eating some different foods because they are really healthy and cheap." And then show her what you've found in terms of cost. Alicia's book does a great job breaking out beans and comparing them to steak.
I am really concerned for your family as, on a diet of what you've described, they may be setting themselves up for some tremendous medical issues in the future--and medical costs are unfortunately never cheap this day and age. Try to make a compelling argument to them that buying veggies, grains and beans is going to do amazing things for their health and well-being that, in the long run, will save them so much more money on medicines. And maybe even in the short term, too!
What if you suggested that one or two days a week you all go meatless. And then make something easy & inexpensive like chili or soup or bean enchiladas or stir fry. Buy packaged or bulk beans & cook them on the wknds, freeze what you won't be using during the wk, you will save a lot of money. Avoid the processed meat substitutes as they can get expensive....try making some seitan & using that instead (it's incredibly cheaper than buying prepared seitan.) I recently learned that frozen vegetables are just as nutritous as fresh & sometimes even better because they're frozen so soon after picking, so consider frozen when fresh isn't available.
I can't think of anything cheaper than rice & beans, there are many cultures that have survived on this for centuries. For you it would just be a matter of finding those rice & bean dishes that everyone would enjoy. Explore some of the vegetarian or vegan blogs for recipes.
As for your snacking, here are some suggestions: peanutbutter on bread, or celery or apples or crackers. I make my own pickled carrots & that satisfies my need for something crunchy. Applesauce w/walnuts & a bit of nondairy yogurt swirled in. Nuts of any kind w/some raisins. Make some hummus to snack on during the week.(to keep the cost down cook your own garbanzo beans) I love taking a sheet of nori & wrapping some hummus w/a pickled carrot in the middle. If you have an asian store nearby the nori should be cheaper there. Check out their veggie prices, too, Check out any Mexican grocery as their prices are much better on produce & rice & beans, too.
Hope all this helps on your way to making the healthy choices you want. I believe any little change is better than nothing.
Meal planning and cutting back meats bought is not only more healthy but also cheaper. TV Dinners take up a huge portion of the money spent on groceries. I can tell you that from experience. We buy meats on sale usually. We go to stores that have the pick 5 meats or bundles for $20. My husband eats most of the meat, but even what he eats now when I cook is less. I buy myself bags of frozen veggies cheap. I LOVE these with my pasta or rice. I also make breads homemade. I know what is going in it that way. Helps a lot! Veggies though cost a lot less than meat does. Maybe you can get your family to agree to a meatless meal once or twice a week then go from there. :)
Meats take up a huge part of a budget. Buying processed food seems as if you are paying less, but in the long run, you'd be able to buy weeks worth of rice, beens, fruit and vegetables. If your family is hurting and you guys are really hungry there usually are food banks banks all over. I don't know where you live, but you may want to contact a church in your area and they probably will be able to get you information for a food bank or lead you in the right direction. There are food banks that are completely free and then others that you lower their costs considerably for different foods. Breaks my heart you are going hungry! Hope this information helps your family.
Well first of all, food should be a priority. You feed your body shit, you feel like shit. So make an investment towards healthy eating. Also, with time, you will realize that spending more money on food with result in having to spend much less money on medications and doctor's visits. You just have to change your mindset, and being vegan becomes a lot easier!
In the colder months I make a big pot of vegan minestrone soup for my lunch for work and it lasts the whole week. I buy the orzo pasta when it's on sale for 50 cents a box and stock up- same idea with the veggie stock and beans. For the vegetables, I stick to whats cheap and looks good, usually carrots and celery. I'm able to stuff my face with a hearty 2 cups of soup at work for the week with some bread or whatever. I clip coupons too. There are coupons for healthy stuff now like almond milk and tofu. If you shop this way, you can eat affordable healthy food and if you can't afford the Sunday paper, ask friends/family to pass on their coupons after their done with them. It just takes planning and learning the sales cycles at your local grocery stores but you CAN eat well and not spend a fortune. I typically pick two fruits or so that are on sale and in season for my weekly fruit (example: grapes were on sale last week for 99 cents a pound, bananas were 49 cents a pound, you get the idea). Lunch meat and frozen dinners are VERY expensive when you break it down. It's cheaper to cook yourself. (of course not fancy meals with ingredients no one has ever heard of). Makes a big pot of rice and beans and you'll be eating it for days....and it's filling!