Thursday, May 12, 2016

Getting Ready to Be Challenged!

I've decided that I'm going to do a seven day challenge, which will be eating a healthy, vibrant vegan diet on five dollars a day. I might even do three dollars, I'm still undecided. I'm going to try to be really fair and realistic, and go to a regular grocery like Fred Meyers or Safeway, not Trader Joe's and Grocery Outlet which aren't available for everyone. There are so many high profile vegans out there promoting the diet/lifestyle, and everyday there are new vegan foods popping up, but the bottom line is that a lot of vegans eat a somewhat expensive diet. Or, they live in California where there are year round huge farmer's markets with all the produce. And a lot of the vegan specialty foods come at a high price too. And all of that can be a turn off. I hear "but isn't eating vegan expensive?" as often as "what do you eat/ where do you get protein?" Like any diet, eating vegan can be as cheap or as expensive as you make it. I'm not going to let myself use anything in my pantry, except for spices and oil. I'm either going to do this next week, or the week after. It depends on how prepared I feel. I want non vegans to feel like a vegan diet is doable for the long term, regardless of your income.  When I lived in Erie, I lived in what I would call a food desert. The only store in my neighborhood was a terrifying bodega that was questionable at best. Not even a banana was sold at that store. The closest grocery was about two or three miles away, and that was the Co-Op. Don't get me wrong, loved the Co-Op but it's not where you buy all of your groceries if you're on a budget. The next closest store was much farther, and it was Giant Eagle which was not the greatest, and their produce left A LOT to be desired. There were no farmer's markets ever, like even in the summer. Erie is actually in the top three of unhealthiest cities in PA. I remember I looked it up once. So, anyway, I say all of that to say that this challenge is for everyone who might be stuck in unhealthy cities, and dealing with a budget. The wage for servers in Erie is STILL $2.13 an hour! Talk about unhealthy. Anyway, I have never not been on a budget my entire adult life. I'm not talking about a "budget" where you're planning for your future, I'm talking about living paycheck to paycheck, and digging in your couch for change type of budget, so this challenge will feel like home! I loathe and detest menu planning, it makes me want to give up on food, so I'm going to just jot down some of my fave cheap meals, and ideas for more cheap meals and then do a shop.
I had a budget friendly day yesterday. I used up some leftovers and scraps I had laying around. I made a green juice with some stems from broccoli and kale, along with spinach, pear and cucumber.
I drank it while reading an article about what gets served to sick people in hospitals. Spoiler alert- It's total crap!
I said it the other day, and I'll say it again, this issue of VegNews is really great. They can be a hit or miss with me, and this one is a hit!
I also had a budget friendly meal of curried lentils over rice. I got super crazy and used red lentils and brown/green lentils!
I had a little mini pita in place of Naan, which I've just accepted that I will never be able to eat again. It is never vegan! This is an example of a meal that is super cheap, makes lots of leftovers, and doesn't have a ton of specialty ingredients and superfoods. But, it is rich and satisfying and certainly doesn't feel like a  budget meal. I've recently been using coconut cream in my curries, because it's cheaper than coconut milk and it takes only like one or two tablespoons for that creamy coconut flavor you want. So, one can or box goes a long way!


13 comments:

  1. I think you will do great on this challenge and I am looking forward to seeing what meals you have. Funnily enough about half an hour ago Matt and I were just having a conversation about such a challenge after reading about some vegans existing on £1 a day in the latest Animal Aid magazine (UK campaigning charity). I think he would be great at it but I think I'd struggle to be as creative, I like to have a recipe, lol. There was also a fundraising challenge called Live Below The Line over here a couple of years ago and two people I know in real life who are vegans blogged about their experiences. I see if I can find the links in case they are of interest to you.

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  2. Here's Andrea's posts from the Chocolate and Beyond blog http://www.chocolateandbeyond.co.uk/live-below-the-line/
    and Amy from Botonian Vegan blog https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/2015/amycox85

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    1. Thanks, I will check them out! I feel mostly confident, but also a little nervous that I will get bored and stressed out. But there are times in mh life where five dollars a day to eat on would have been considered a luxury, so I feel pretty good.

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  3. That is a serious challenge to yourself, I am curious to see how you managw it.

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    1. I'm curious too. I feel pretty confident, but it's easy to say that now. I do know I'll probably daydream about gardein, and Chao, and all kinds of foods.

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  4. This is a great challenge, I'm really looking forward to seeing how you do it! I'm sure we'll learn a lot from it!

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    1. I think it will be educational, and interesting, I can't say it'll be a lot of fun! But, like I said above this will feel pretty familiar, and maybe I'll discover some delicious super cheap dishes! The world can always use more of those!

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  5. I LOVE this challenge and would love to participate as well! Also...I recently grabbed that same VegNews! Woot! I miss that publication!

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    1. I'm starting either Monday or Tuesday, and I would love to have a challenge buddy! This new VegNews is one of the better issues I've seen in awhile! I;m glad they're back!

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  6. A $5-a-day budget for healthy vegan food in the US seems very extreme. $3/day, I think might be bordering on nutrition deficiency. I'm an experienced penny-pincher, and the least I've been able to spend for reasonable vegan food is about $15/day. Fruits and veggies add up quick. You got me interested in seeing how close you can get to the $5/day challenge. Kudos to you for trying this out, and I hope to learn some good meal budgeting tricks. Good luck!
    ⓋCarol B.

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    1. Thanks! I really just want to show that you can eat foods beyond Top Ramen and other gross things if you're on a budget. I'm obviously going to have a lot less produce to work with, so that will be difficult, but I just want to see what I come up with.

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  7. Good luck with challenge. As for vegan naan, I recently made some with a really great recipe: http://www.veganricha.com/2011/12/naan-plain-garlic-stuffed-and-more.html

    We had leftovers and make indian naan pizzas. It was great. Much better than any store bought prepackaged naans.

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