21-Day Vegan Kickstart

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Forums: April 2012 Kickstart Forum: not at all happy
Created on: 04/19/12 12:30 PM Views: 5976 Replies: 28
not at all happy
Posted Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 12:30 PM

I am sick and miserable and exhausted . could not stay on this diet because of the high expense. Of course, I have enough money to eat all the beans and rice I want. The failure is found in the list of things I could not afford each week, the fresh fruits and veggies. I am still waiting for Vegan on four dollars a day and hoping it was not written three or four years ago when prices were lower. Nice menus here if you are a well off yuppie type.

Janeoverton

RE: not at all happy
Posted Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 12:33 PM

How different is this from the way you usually eat? Instead of trying to follow the menu exactly you could try just modifying what you usually eat with the few rules this diet requires. That's what I'm doing, and it's working well for me.

1) No meat or dairy
2) No sugar or oil
3) Whole wheat over white

What is it that you are finding so expensive?
Aren't you saving lots of money *not* buying meat?

RE: not at all happy
Posted Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 12:38 PM

People definitely have to choose recipes that work for their budgets, availability, taste preferences, and schedules. I hope you do not feel these menus are mandatory. They are meant to provide a variety of ideas.

There are plenty of suggestions to work within a tight budget, including recipes where you can use canned beans, frozen vegetables, pasta, and of course, beans and grains (of which there are dozens of varieties) as you mentioned. Plant-based diets that focus on whole foods, not processed or prepared foods, can be incredibly inexpensive.

I hope you will stick to the diet and reap the health benefits while staying within your budget.

Susan Levin, MS, RD
PCRM Director of Nutrition Education

Edited 04/19/12 12:42 PM
RE: not at all happy
Posted Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 12:41 PM

Brown rice, beans, apples and Kale is what I've been eating which is very economical.

RE: not at all happy
Posted Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 1:44 PM

I suppose, if you're one of those coupon clippers who is used to spending $20 to get two weeks' worth of processed food, then yes, it's likely that eating whole fresh food will cost you more than $20. Sadly, there aren't a lot of coupons for fresh veggies and fruits. However, that's not to say that there aren't ways to save on fresh fruits and veggies. Buying in-season produce helps (the kickstart is global so the menus don't know what's in season where any one individual might live). Learning to mix-n-match helps - if the recipe says chard and kale is cheaper that week, get kale. If bell peppers drop in price (as they do in late summer often), get a big bunch and slice and freeze them yourself for later use. Stock up on sale items that are reasonably close to fresh - basic frozen veggies (the kind that aren't swimming in sauces) and canned tomato products are two good areas that you CAN find coupons and specials. We buy the large cans of crushed tomatoes which are often $1 per can, brand varies but we don't care about brand, just about ingredients (check sodium for example), and they're shelf safe for quite a while - that gives us pasta sauce, chili, soup, pizza without buying extra stuff. Oh, yeah, that's another thing - find multi-use ingredients rather than buying separate pasta sauce, soup, pizza topping. Buying up canned tomato product and then adding a pinch of seasoning (yes, spices can run expensive but they last quite a while because you only use small amounts at a time) can cover a whole lot of meals. Fresh meals from scratch actually do come out fairly inexpensive most of the time (providing that you have a source for decent food options, I know some areas just do NOT have access to good quality fresh food at reasonable prices, "grocery deserts"). The thing is, buy up staple, shelf stable items (like dry beans) in quantity when they're cheap and add in the veggies along the way. So, I might spend a bunch once a month on dry beans of various kinds, brown rice, quinoa, lentils, frozen veggies, canned tomato products. Then, on a more weekly basis, spend just enough to get the greens and veggies - making sure as much as possible to look for the in-season items, and whatever else is on the lower price end. So, right now we're back to eating Gala apples because the southern hemisphere autumn is causing their price to drop. The rest of the apples are more expensive so that's out. Grapes, pears, etc. are also going up now. In mid-March, we buy potatoes and cabbages (on sale for St Patrick's Day usually) and invent new ways to combine them with beans and such - sliced potatoes layered with blanched cabbage and cooked beans and then baked and served with a drizzle of mustard is hearty, yummy, and really CHEAP - and it's still a leafy green, some protein, lots of fiber. In June, we'll buy strawberries because the locally grown ones will be the cheapest fruit around - for a short time. In Sept-Oct-Nov we buy the "assorted thirds" apples at the local orchard - they're delicious but not big enough or perfectly round enough for the premium prices. They run $1 or more less than their compatriots that are more "perfect". We eat some, sauce some (and can it), and can some as "pie filling" slices. Late fall is also squash season - pumpkin, acorn, spaghetti squashes etc (we've come to love spaghetti squash now that we know how to cook it). Likewise, things like turnips get cheap in winter. We also make sure that we make big batches so we can get multiple meals (a dinner and at least one lunch) out of them as much as possible. We made a pot of soup in the winter using turnip, parsnip, carrot, celery, potato, onion, beans, veggie stock (we make it out of the ends and peel bits of the veggies - stash in freezer until we've got a big bag then cook it down and store in portion containers, either freezer or fridge depending on timeframe for use). We got probably 3-4 meals' worth (for 4 people eating on it) for about $10. Seriously, because the root veg were down to around 15 CENTS per pound (and 2 lbs of turnip goes a LONG way).

The menu plans are ideas, introductions to new foods, but they are not mandatory (I think someone already said that). This is designed as a way in to learning a new way of eating *for a lifetime* which means adding, changing, adapting it for long term. For that matter, there are folks who cannot eat wheat, soy, nuts, whatever - so they change things up. And, there are folks who just cannot swallow spinach or hate the smell of chickpeas and they just swap things out (white beans for chickpeas in hummus, for example).

Vegan eating can be as expensive or inexpensive as one chooses to make it, just like anything else. It does take learning about the foods and a change in mindset about things, and that can be hard and take time. But, over time, it becomes second nature and well worth it, especially when dealing with chronic medical situations (whether it's type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, etc - the costs of food are generally better spent than paying for increasing medication).

--Deb R

RE: not at all happy
Posted Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 2:33 PM

Wow, Bugsmom, that is truly impressive. Smile

RE: not at all happy
Posted Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 5:13 PM

One more idea. I know trying new recipes with spices I do not have can make them expensive. Try buying the spices in bulk instead of in a jar. You can usually get what you need for under a quarter.

RE: not at all happy
Posted Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 5:55 PM

negandhi wrote:

Wow, Bugsmom, that is truly impressive. Smile

I agree! Awesome bugsmom!

RE: not at all happy
Posted Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 10:07 PM

Bugsmom - your post made me so happy. Why? Because it is true.

Seriously being vegan is no more expensive than not being vegan. It just really depends on the choices you make regarding what you are putting into your body.

I understand that it can be overwhelming becoming vegan, learning about whole foods, vegetables etc. Though if you take the time to learn about the right foods for you, it's surprising how not over the top money wise it is. It takes time to get it down & realize you don't have to buy some expensive ingredient because a recipe calls for it. So many healthy substitutions & choices are out there with a little research. being a vegan does not mean breaking the bank.

On that note a vegan diet is not for everyone, but neither is boxed macaroni & cheese or steak & potatoes.

Some people are willing to balance it and some are not. Kind of how it's really easy to buy "diet food" in a box = way more expensive & usually very bad ingredients.

www
RE: not at all happy
Posted Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 11:23 PM

bugsmom, yes impressive and I agree with you though it is not always too practical. We have never eaten much processed food. It tastes vile. I have been mostly vegetarian for years so not eating meat is not a big change. Getting rid of dairy is much harder. I used to be a farm wife and we had a big garden. We dont do that anymore. It is really unfair of me complain when I am starting with so many physical problems that I expect going vegan will help fix. This will work, it will just be deucedly hard and require lots of planning and some new equipment. I got the vegan on four dollars a day book today.

for instance, they say a breakfast scramble is .50 a serving.
ingredients are tofu which is 1.99 here
red pepper 1/4
green pepper 1/2
garlic
small onion
parsley
tumeric
salt and pepper
so-to make it for .50 a serving, just scramble the tofu with salt and pepper and skip the tortilla you are supposed to roll it in. all of the recipes i have read so far are like this. Hot cereal .25 a serving, that is if you skip the nuts and fruit to go in it. even blender soup is billed at .75 a serving.
for one serving 1.5 tomatoes
3 celery stalks
lemon and pepper sauce.
To make this for .75 a serving just blend up 1.5 tomatoes.
Unfortunately, this is what is real. I am not cherry picking the recipes, either.
quinoa in the save cash quioa loaf for .75 a serving; Quinoa is eleven dollars a pound here. That cost per serving is not going to happen. The book was an unfortunate waste of ten bucks.
Dont paint me too black. I really enjoy the forums and the recipes. I like getting responses to my comments and like reading other peoples comments and responses. I am really getting an education. This WILL work!

Janeoverton

RE: not at all happy
Posted Friday, April 20, 2012 at 1:32 AM

janeo - keep up the research on the foods and you should be fine. I know how crazy some recipes can get with their ingredients & it can be intimidating when people only talk about pure organic & the most expensive items.

In reality it is about what is best for your body. I admit getting swept up into the whole shebang of eco this, green that, vegan this etc., and one day I just stopped and said to myself this should not be this hard. So I started with whole foods and found my way with it that way. I actually started planning my week out so that I could stay with in a budget.

Dairy was the hardest thing for me to rid myself of. I am allergic (so the milk wasn't a biggy lol), but man giving up cheese & ice cream. but once I did my allergies in general disappeared and I didn't feel sick all the time.

Good luck to you on this journey! Smile

www
RE: not at all happy
Posted Friday, April 20, 2012 at 7:53 AM

Great post because many of us are on tight budgets with little $$ to spare and the suggesions are useful. If you follow the international news you will know that there are economic problems and unemployment in many countries as well as the USA. However, it is still cheaper for me to eat vegan than going back to meat and dairy if I eat local produce seasonally (as noted by Bugsmom). It gets really expensive if I want fresh tomatoes in the middle of winter for example - off season and imported = lots of $$.

The longer I eat this way the more inventive I get making my own meals rather than having to follow a recipe and that saves money and reduces waste. I can now make a great vegetable bean cassarole with whatever veggies are in the house that need eating (if not so fresh) and whatever beans are on hand. It never gets boring as the ingredients change so the taste changes. I am also lucky I have space for a bit of a vegetable garden which also helps. What was a flower garden when I moved into my present house now only has plants I can eat.

The other expense I have noted for myself is how much I eat as I have a "hearty" (for lack of a better word thats still polite - I dont want to call myself greedy) appetite and can eat two portions as a normal meal size if I do not watch myself. This is partly to blame for my weight gain in the past. It wasnt just what I was eating but how much. Getting portion sizes down to where they should be has made meals go further (leftovers for another day) and therefore made a difference to the overall cost of groceries.

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food - Hippocrates.

Edited 04/20/12 7:58 AM
RE: not at all happy
Posted Friday, April 20, 2012 at 8:37 AM

It's all about balancing things that work - no point spending money on recipe ingredients you don't like and won't eat, for example. If you can get it, fresh veggies. If not, frozen veggies. If not that, canned veggies (and rinse well). If you can, organic; if it's a choice of buying one organic bell pepper or buying conventional bell peppers PLUS a pound of apples, that's a no-brainer - get the most you can for the money. The point is to get the most color, variety, nutrition you can within your circumstances and preferences.

At our house, we plan meals in a two week cycle (my pay cycle). We always (pretty much year round) plan one night to have veggie chili - it's inexpensive and makes enough for several meals. We stock up on packages of frozen already sliced multicolor bell peppers when they're on special since bell peppers are the most expensive part of the chili - cans of diced or crushed tomatoes, frozen corn, dried beans, onions are usually inexpensive. We also do a lot of soups - again, large quantity/multi meals inexpensively. And we'll round out the inexpensive parts with the more expensive stuff - throw a colorful fresh tossed salad next to the soup for example or plan a beans & rice night in the same menu cycle as a more expensive meal with fresh chard and mushrooms. I'll use the grocery circular to figure out what fruits and veggies and other bits are on special and we work out the menu from there. Keys are planning things out - are there special events or circumstances we need to account for in the next two weeks? Are there staple items we're low on? etc. For example, I know that the first shopping trip of May will be a little more expensive because we're running low on wheat berries - we grind our own whole wheat flour and make most of our dough products from scratch (shaped pasta is one exception because it requires equipment we don't have), so I'll be ordering our usual large sack of wheat - a chunk upfront but it lasts for several months.

Granted, we have a bit of a unique circumstance - hubby is the at home full time adult and he's an awesome cook/baker who manages to handle all the household and cooking duties despite necrotic osteo arthritis in one hip (an injury at age 11 which also caused one leg to be approx 2 inches shorter than the other, standing for long stretches can be painful) so we have time on our side as far as cooking from scratch. On the flip side, though, living on one income (mine) in CT (one of the most expensive places to live in the US) means keeping a careful eye on the food budget since that's one of the few areas we can control to a greater extent (the taxes and mortgage aren't going to vary, except maybe when taxes go up!!)

--Deb R

RE: not at all happy
Posted Friday, April 20, 2012 at 12:00 PM

There are so many ways to dress up rice and beans for a variety of dinners. I like this basic plan by Jeff Novic, R.D.

Five Ingredient Meals
Courtesy of Jeff Novick, RD

1) A cooked starch - either brown rice, whole wheat pasta, diced boiled potatoes, or quinoa - the amount is up to you but around 4 - 6 cups. If you don't have the starch already cooked, allow time to do so before assembling the dish.

2) Canned tomatoes - 28 oz. diced tomatoes or tomato sauce, preferably low or no salt

3) Frozen mixed veggies - your choice - about 24 oz.

4) Canned beans - 16 oz., drained, of whatever kind you like. preferably low or no salt (You can also use pre-cooked dried beans which are cheaper)

5) Spices - use your favorite mixtures - like Italian, or Indian curry, or Mexican. You can add onion powder & garlic powder to taste

6) Optional - fresh minced or frozen greens like spinach or kale.

Directions: Start the tomatoes simmering in a large pot and add spices. Then stir in cooked starch, frozen veggies, beans, and greens and cook for 10 minutes or so until it is piping hot. Adjust spices to taste before serving.

Notes: You can make a wide variety of meals with these basic ingredients. For example, an Italian dish might use pasta, tomato sauce, an Italian veggie mixture, black beans, and frozen chopped spinach.

For Indian curry you might use potatoes, diced tomatoes, frozen
cauliflower, garbanzo beans, and curry powder.

For Mexican you could use brown rice, diced tomatoes with green chilies,
pinto beans, Mexican blend veggies (corn & peppers), chili powder & cumin. You can get creative and try new combinations, too.

The idea is to have really quick meals that are nutritionally complete. It saves time to cook a big pot of pasta or brown rice that you can use for more than one recipe.
If these amounts make too much, just cut them by half or cook the whole recipe and eat the rest as leftovers for lunch the next day.

If you use the no salt canned products and you feel it tastes bland, you can sprinkle a little salt at the table as your tongue will get the most bang for your sodium buck if you add it on top of the food right before you eat.

RE: not at all happy
Posted Friday, April 20, 2012 at 12:23 PM

don't give up janeo -- we're all rooting for you!

RE: not at all happy
Posted Friday, April 20, 2012 at 1:04 PM

veg4life wrote:

There are so many ways to dress up rice and beans for a variety of dinners. I like this basic plan by Jeff Novic, R.D.

Five Ingredient Meals
Courtesy of Jeff Novick, RD

1) A cooked starch - either brown rice, whole wheat pasta, diced boiled potatoes, or quinoa - the amount is up to you but around 4 - 6 cups. If you don't have the starch already cooked, allow time to do so before assembling the dish.

2) Canned tomatoes - 28 oz. diced tomatoes or tomato sauce, preferably low or no salt

3) Frozen mixed veggies - your choice - about 24 oz.

4) Canned beans - 16 oz., drained, of whatever kind you like. preferably low or no salt (You can also use pre-cooked dried beans which are cheaper)

5) Spices - use your favorite mixtures - like Italian, or Indian curry, or Mexican. You can add onion powder & garlic powder to taste

6) Optional - fresh minced or frozen greens like spinach or kale.

Directions: Start the tomatoes simmering in a large pot and add spices. Then stir in cooked starch, frozen veggies, beans, and greens and cook for 10 minutes or so until it is piping hot. Adjust spices to taste before serving.

Notes: You can make a wide variety of meals with these basic ingredients. For example, an Italian dish might use pasta, tomato sauce, an Italian veggie mixture, black beans, and frozen chopped spinach.

For Indian curry you might use potatoes, diced tomatoes, frozen
cauliflower, garbanzo beans, and curry powder.

For Mexican you could use brown rice, diced tomatoes with green chilies,
pinto beans, Mexican blend veggies (corn & peppers), chili powder & cumin. You can get creative and try new combinations, too.

The idea is to have really quick meals that are nutritionally complete. It saves time to cook a big pot of pasta or brown rice that you can use for more than one recipe.
If these amounts make too much, just cut them by half or cook the whole recipe and eat the rest as leftovers for lunch the next day.

If you use the no salt canned products and you feel it tastes bland, you can sprinkle a little salt at the table as your tongue will get the most bang for your sodium buck if you add it on top of the food right before you eat.

Our fav chapter of the Veganomicon cookbook is the mix'n'match section - a bean, a green, a grain is the basics (with other veggies and seasonings added in for various recipes). Once we learned to cook a variety of each, off we went! Back in the day, we'd make "rice a beanie" - cook up rice, add whatever beans were handy, add a can of diced tomatoes, season with tex-mex, italian, whatever seasoning we liked and it was a meal that would last DAYS (when it was just me and the hubby). We weren't looking to be vegan or anything, it was just really cheap to buy rice, canned beans, canned tomato and it stretched really far. By the same token, take those same ingredients and add a can of veggie stock and you've got soup. Serve with bread, rolls, crackers and a side salad and it's enough to serve guests even.

--Deb R

RE: not at all happy
Posted Friday, April 20, 2012 at 7:27 PM

Don't give up, Janeo. I've got money on you lasting the whole 21 days.

Wash your back

Edited 04/20/12 9:11 PM
RE: not at all happy
Posted Friday, April 20, 2012 at 10:21 PM

I find that eating plant-based, I spend no more money than I would have if I was back to my omnivore past. By buying less meat, I spend less money. I don't spend as much on processed frozen foods like I used to. Don't get me wrong....I still buy some convenience foods, and have adjusted the menus to work better for my lifestyle and tastes. Most of the ingredients for many of these recipes you can buy at Walmart. I personally buy a lot at Trader Joes and a local produce market as well, which always has very good prices. The trade off? I feel way better and hope for even more improvement as I go! But you have to do what works best for you, which it sounds like you are doing Smile

RE: not at all happy
Posted Friday, April 20, 2012 at 10:41 PM

Bugsmom wrote:

Our fav chapter of the Veganomicon cookbook is............

Deb,

Did I ever tell you about how that book completely destroyed my super-hero odorless gas. I can't remember If I mentioned it. My gas basically went from super-hero to super-icky in the space of a few minutes. I think some people even described it as "bio-accumulative". Or was it "bio-deplorable". No, "bloody-lamentable". That was it.

I should probably write to Isa De Chandra and tell her about it, because that icky gas isn't gonna convert anyone to veganism. In my case, I think it actually converted quite a few people to paganism.

Anyway, don't say I didn't warn you about this.

Wash your back

RE: not at all happy
Posted Friday, April 20, 2012 at 11:15 PM

Thanks everyone. I feel much encouraged.

Janeoverton


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