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Is veganism only possible with enough money?

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  • seltzermint555seltzermint555 Member Posts: 10,732 Member Member Posts: 10,732 Member
    My husband and I aren't vegan but we eat 6 days a week on about $40-50/week (always between $35-60), eating primarily vegetarian meals (no meat cooked at home but we do consume eggs and some fish). We make almost every meal from scratch though and I realize not everyone has that kind of time (my husband works from home & is super skilled at cooking an amazing meal from some dried beans or tofu and raw veggies).

    Anyway, I know people who eat similarly to the way we do but rely more on prepared items and strive to do 100% organic/non-GMO, and they wind up spending well over $150 per week for a very SIMILAR diet for 2 adult household. A friend of mine thinks nothing of spending $20+ on items to create one everyday dinner for she and her husband. To me that's crazy, everyone's different.

    We do spend quite a bit on dining out (but just 2 meals on Saturday, usually).
  • seltzermint555seltzermint555 Member Posts: 10,732 Member Member Posts: 10,732 Member
    If anyone's looking for serious ideas on a cheap & flavorful vegan diet I recommend Kicki Yang Zhang's YouTube "What I eat in a day" videos, there aren't a ton of them but they are excellent.
  • seltzermint555seltzermint555 Member Posts: 10,732 Member Member Posts: 10,732 Member
    Sorry for posting so many times. But I was just thinking about this and honestly I think of some other eating styles as too costly for the average person. I do not know very much about Paleo or Keto, but I've seen friends posting their meals and can't imagine spending the kind of money it would take for fresh local meat every day and special "keto macarons" as dessert.
  • phildog50phildog50 Member Posts: 30 Member Member Posts: 30 Member
    Beans, rice, veggies and fruit are the cheapest items in the grocery store. Grow a garden! Buying prepackaged frozen boxed crap is expensive.
  • concordanciaconcordancia Member Posts: 5,319 Member Member Posts: 5,319 Member
    Sorry for posting so many times. But I was just thinking about this and honestly I think of some other eating styles as too costly for the average person. I do not know very much about Paleo or Keto, but I've seen friends posting their meals and can't imagine spending the kind of money it would take for fresh local meat every day and special "keto macarons" as dessert.

    Keto would be difficult because carbs are cheap, but at least you can have the cheaper ground meats because you aren't trying to cut fats. Cabbage is one of the cheapest vegetables, but the carbs do add up with that.

    Again, popular keto ends up with a lot of substitutes. I imagine almond flour isn't cheap. I eat a lot of nuts and those certainly aren't cheap, although calorie for calorie they are usually better than most meats. But if you can stand Midwestern casseroles made with cauliflower and cabbage instead of pasta and rice, it is only slightly more expensive and no more time consuming than average.
  • BishopWankapinBishopWankapin Member Posts: 276 Member Member Posts: 276 Member
    This:
    You are talking about meal plans made up of substitutes, rather than embracing foods that can be eaten.

    Veganism is expensive if you want to eat Quorn imitations of meat lovers' favorites.
    Gluten free is expensive if you want to eat gluten free imitations of wheat products.

    Neither is expensive if you eat the things you can eat as they are rather than manipulating them into something they aren't.

    And This:
    Nony_Mouse wrote: »
    sarahbums wrote: »
    it bothers me that a lot of vegans refuse to accept the fact that their way of eating is a huge privilege. It's a luxury really. And it's one a lot of us truly can't afford. Why is that such a hard pill for people to swallow? If a poor person says they cant afford something, they mean it. End of story. It's not an invitation to try and prove them wrong or tell them what *you* would do if you were them. You're *not* them, so piss off.

    I do not think a vegan diet can be done on a food stamp budget. Unless you honestly expect people to just eat canned beans and vegetables. I've been on food stamps, and even eating cheap, non-vegan staple foods, we'd still run out of food stamps by the end of the month and end up eating ketchup sandwiches for dinner. I would absolutely LOVE to see someone try to come up with a REALISTIC full day/week's menu for a vegan family of 4 on food stamps that requires minimal prep. And before anyone does, please realize that a fcking cup of lentil soup or whatever isn't enough for a full meal to most people, and most peoples' kids/family aren't gonna agree to eat such bland crap anyway.
    sarahbums wrote: »
    AnvilHead wrote: »

    Just to clarify, the question in the OP was for one small adult, not a family of four. Feeding a family of four on the stated budget would be basically impossible, vegan or not.

    i know, I just hate that these threads always use a household size of 1 as the example. Most people live with others/have families that they also have to cook for. I'm just really interested in seeing if anyone can pull off a family friendly vegan day of eating. I've never seen it done on here.

    So i guess someone could just multiply the individual allowance by 4 and use that as the hypothetical budget?
    sarahbums wrote: »
    sarahbums wrote: »
    it bothers me that a lot of vegans refuse to accept the fact that their way of eating is a huge privilege. It's a luxury really. And it's one a lot of us truly can't afford.

    That only applies if they buy specialty foods. What's luxurious about dried beans and grains or vegetables in season? Like I stated earlier, we eat vegan for about 3 months a year and our food tends to be a lot cheaper when we do because we're not fancy about it. You can be fancy about non-vegan food too, like buying organic and whatnot.

    even if dried beans and veggies are the same price as say, a couple of frozen dinners, most people are gonna choose to go with the frozen stuff because it requires no prep. whereas fresh foods require you to look up recipes, go grocery shopping more often to get fresh produce, and chop/prep/cook a meal. Yeah, it may be cheap, but it's labor intensive, and that's a huge factor for people on a tight budget who are already busy and stressed and tired and honestly don't give a damn about veganism in the first place.

    not to mention, most people would get tired of just eating grains, veggies, beans/lentils/tofu/etc. I know I would. It's just a boring way to eat to be honest. Who's really gonna pick that over a nice 50 cent box of mac 'n cheese?

    Judgemental much? You seem to have a pretty warped view of veganism. I've known plenty of vegans who manage to eat healthily on low incomes (no, I don't know how much they spend on weekly groceries, and it would be irrelevant here anyway as I live in a different country with a different cost of living), including some who are, shock horror, single, childless and live on their own (we do exist).

    As to the bolded, people who've made a choice, based on their ethical beliefs, not to eat animal products maybe? You do get that for most vegans it's an ethical choice, right? And just because you don't like that food, doesn't mean others don't, including non-vegans. I could make some pretty damn tasty meals with those ingredients and some herbs and spices. But I can cook, so...

    /endthread

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  • AzercordAzercord Member Posts: 573 Member Member Posts: 573 Member
    I'm not vegan (or anywhere close) but my family does eat a lot of veggies and we can get them really cheap. You just have to do things like hit up the veggie trucks (the trucks the sell off the rejected produce for cheap as we got 60lbs of veggies for $10) and farmers markets. Also as stated already buy dried grains and beans as they take a bit of prep work but are cheap and easy. With two boy and myself a pot of beans is $5 and 12 hours of soak time, which is easy to do over night, and that last throughout the week with other stuff thrown in.

    I have no idea if it could be done for $35 a month but that isn't a choice I would even contemplate making. I would turn off the internet and TV first and funnel that money into the food budget first but yeah I've eaten ramen for a week straight in college and it can be done but it gets old.
  • mbaker566mbaker566 Member Posts: 11,234 Member Member Posts: 11,234 Member
    totally doable if you are willing to prep
    lentils, beans, veggies, can be cheap. i do frozen fruit to save on waste. noodles are cheap too.
    if you can, grow what you can and can or freeze the leftovers
  • shaumomshaumom Member Posts: 962 Member Member Posts: 962 Member

    I just finished my vegan grocery shopping online at WalMart....
    With 34 dollars I would buy:

    1 lb lentils @ 1.54 each = 1.54
    1 lb chickpeas @ 1.37 = 1.37
    1 lb navy beans @ 1.37 = 1.37
    2 lbs pasta = 1.97
    10 lbs potatoes =4.94
    5 lbs carrots @ 3.22 = 3.22
    1 cabbage = 1.74
    2 bags froz spinach @ .86 =1.72
    1 bags froz broccoli @ .86 = .86
    4 lemons @ .50 =2.00
    7 bananas @ .18 =1.26
    42 oz oatmeal @ 2.48 =2.48
    2 can diced [email protected] .72 =1.54
    1 can tomato paste @ .46 = .46
    1 jar peanut butter @ 2.18 = 2.18
    1 head garlic = .46
    3 lbs onions =2.14
    1 block tofu = 1.84
    1 small jar capers = 1.24
    1 small bottle soy sauce = 1.62


    Thank you so much for giving your weekly food and menu. Much appreciated, and that was exactly what I was interested in! I know some folks say a vegan diet is possible on a low budget, and some say it isn't, but it's all kind of noise until someone can show some real ideas and/or numbers to show what they mean, you know? Some of your recipes sound nice.
  • beantown007beantown007 Member Posts: 3 Member Member Posts: 3 Member
    jgnatca wrote: »
    There are entire nations that eat vegan, cheaply. Think of India. For a good part of the world meat protein is expensive and occasional only.

    They have to worry about getting sufficient iron and protein but with creativity it can be done.

    Our local African immigrants eat very cheaply but the cooks are staying at home, buying their bulk rice and beans at discount, and spending a fair amount of time on food prep.

    India is made up of mainly vegetarians, not vegans. They use dairy and eggs in many dishes and drinks. I returned from India two weeks ago and ate mainly vegetarian. The food is labor intensive (I took a cooking class,) heavy on spices and fresh ingredients-many grow their own vegetables. And keep their own livestock for milk.

    My sister-in-law has been vegan and gluten free for almost ten years. In addition to those restrictive dietary practices, there's an entire list of vegetables she will not eat-no nightshades, most nuts restricted, ect.. When they visit it's a two hour trip to Whole Foods every few days.

    She can well afford the lifestyle and has a nutritionist, ect.
    I do think it could be done on less money than she spends, but it's no different than a non-vegan choosing cheaper cuts of meat or store brand pasta-$34/weekly is a challenging food budget for omnivores too.
  • beantown007beantown007 Member Posts: 3 Member Member Posts: 3 Member
    I forgot to add she does not buy any of the meat/cheese substitutes. She practices for ethical reasons (and was vegetarian for 20 yrs prior) so has no desire to "pretend" she's eating a burger or hot dog.
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