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 also had a budget friendly meal of curried lentils over rice. I got super crazy and used red lentils and brown/green lentils!