Listen to this article
You may have heard of many people turning vegan lately. So is it just another fad or is it here to stay? Or is it just for the privileged, since you have to shell out big bucks to follow this lifestyle? The good news is you can be vegan on a budget. You just need to know how to follow this practice in the right way.
But before we delve deep into that, it is important to understand what veganism really is. In simple terms, it is all about abstaining from foods or products that are derived from animals. This means you must eliminate dairy or meat from your diet.
Now when it comes to being vegan on a budget, we have none other than our expert, Parul Malhotra Bahl, Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator, and Founder at Diet Expression, who has some great tips for us.
To set the context, Bahl tells HealthShots, “Veganism has been often viewed as a privileged and an expensive lifestyle, but I beg to differ. If you pay attention to a simple, economical vegetarian Indian meal you would see roti/rice, dal, vegetable and/or curd. Just by removing curd, the meal becomes vegan. Does that sound expensive to you?? Practically, it’s much cheaper to follow veganism.”
She adds that it is certainly easier for a vegetarian to practice veganism than hardcore animal eaters. BUT even they can find a way out, if determined.
Once you decide to turn vegan, start stocking up on vegan alternatives, but do it step-by-step, based on what your budget permits. For example, change milk first before you move on to vegan alternatives for curd, butter, ghee etc. This won’t burn a hole in your pocket, and at the same time, help make the transition smooth.
“Pre planning is the key to budgeting any kind of meal plan that you wish to follow. Once you know beforehand what you need, buy ingredients in bulk, especially the dry ones that have a longer shelf life, and will be used rather often in your meal preparations. Bulk buying is always more cost effective,” says Bahl.
Vegan milk options like almond, soy, and oat milk are quite expensive, when you buy from a store.
“It’s much easier and cheaper to make these at home. One could easily excel at these recipes, both in terms of quality and speed of making,” she adds.
“Ready-made processed vegan foods will always be expensive and end up consuming way more than your budget. Choose recipes which use inexpensive vegan ingredients over expensive processed ingredients. At large, focus on using fresh or frozen unprocessed vegan alternatives like fresh fruits and vegetables,” explains Bahl.
Even if there is a space crunch, make use of small pots and grow whatever greens (lettuce, spinach, celery etc) and herbs you can grow for your vegan meals.
Also, if that’s not possible, buy seasonal fruits and vegetables from local markets and freeze the extras to be used later, especially in off season.
So ladies, turning vegan is not as hard as you think (and that too, on a budget).