General chatter - Need Advice -- Considering Veganism (on a budget)




LiannaKole
04-04-2012, 12:06 AM
I'm seriously considering going vegan. The more I learn about animal treatment, the more my conscience bothers me. I've always had animals growing up, and it makes me ill knowing how they're treated. Even the egg-laying and dairy-producing animals are treated horrendously. I wouldn't treat an ant that way.I'm not against killing and eating animals. I'm against them being treated horribly before and during death.

I've vaguely thought about veganism before, but it seems complex. Also, I can't afford fancy substitute foods (my weekly food budget is like $20).

--Can anyone help me get an idea of being a vegan on a tight budget?
--Like, do meals take longer?
--Is it more/less/equally expensive?
--How hard is it when you travel?
--What do you do when you order in restaurants?
--Can you still make really flavorful foods?
--How do I get b12 inexpensively? (Cheerios have 25% and almond milk has 50% FDA recommended amounts - are these sources okay?)

Also, peanut butter and other nut butters aren't an option for me, so how do I get the protein I need?

How hard is it to stick to veganism? I had a friend who was a vegan for 4 years and then jumped ship really fast. She loved going back to non-veganism.

And can I get full being a vegan? Dairy usually fills me really well.

Basically, I want to know if it can be fairly easy to be a vegan and not spend much money, but also not fall into horrible food monotony. I'm doing my own research, but I really like the support of people here, so I thought I'd ask for some help.


Thanks to anyone who has any info or advice for me. I'm just trying to gather some information on this.
-------
If it helps, here's some quick info on me.

Peanut butter isn't an option.
I rarely eat meat as it is. I do eat fish (I'm not sure how fish are treated...probably not well).
Yogurt is my main dairy, and would be hardest to give up.


astrophe
04-04-2012, 01:45 AM
Sure. Just don't fall into the "grainatarian" trap.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=vegetarian+way

Covers basic nutrition needs but it isn't hard.

Donna Klein, Nava Atlas, Isa Chandra Moskowitz -- all vegan cookbook authors using "regular" stuff and nothing too weird.

I did it for almost 10 yrs and think about returning to it a lot.

Can anyone help me get an idea of being a vegan on a tight budget?

Most expensive foods are the animal ones -- meats, milk, cheese, etc. Rice, beans, produce -- not nearly as costly. If you can't always do fresh produce, frozen is better than canned. But just work with what you have access to.


--Like, do meals take longer?

Nope. Not any longer than non-veg cooking. Veg or not, I average 30 min.


--Is it more/less/equally expensive?

Most of the time it's the same or cheaper. Depends on what you are making. If you go all out fancy vegan it can get pricey. But basics aren't so costly and things like soups, stews, casseroles stretch for more than one meal so making larger batches and eating twice saves a cooking day.


--How hard is it when you travel?

Depends where you travel to. If you loosen up while traveling, then there's a whole host of "I Can't Believe It Is Vegan" foods. Not all of that is healthy food, but it is vegan.

http://www.peta.org/living/vegetarian-living/Accidentally-Vegan.aspx

--What do you do when you order in restaurants?
I look it up online before I go. For me, it was close enough if it at least looked vegan. But ethnic foods (chinese, japanese, mexican, indian) sometimes give you a better shot at vegan fare.

--Can you still make really flavorful foods?
Yup. Totally. But baking vegan was a challenge for me. It took a while to master the leavening prob. There's things like flax seed + water or Ener-G egg replaces but you find you way and your fav recipes. Certainly the recipes online are better now than when I went veg in the late 90's! MANY more resources!


--How do I get b12 inexpensively?

Take a multivitamin? Rainbow Light brand has vegan formulas.

A.

LiannaKole
04-04-2012, 01:57 AM
Thanks, astrophe, that helps a lot! You answered a lot of my big questions, and I really appreciate the clarity. Can I ask why you're not a vegan anymore?

And is it harder to feel full when you're a vegan? Dairy fills me up quite a bit right now.

I'm thinking about trying it out for a week or two and seeing how that goes.

---------------
sunshauna and Rana: Thanks for all the info! It does help. I think my diet would be mostly veggies and fruit, because I'm not a huge grain person (and simple carbs are triggery for me). The recipes and the examples definitely help. And sunshauna, that 21 day kick start is really great! Thanks so much!

Jez: Yeah, I'd be totally fine with eating animals if where I lived there were local farms to buy from (that treated the animals well). The only things around here like that are VERY expensive. Can't afford it.

JudgeDread: Yes, I am doing research on the nutritional side of things.

But as I mentioned in my original post, I am not against killing and eating animals. I just am uncomfortable with the idea of treating them so horribly before we kill and eat them. And yes, I am concerned with the mistreatment of humans as well, but that issue is a lot more complex and is not a part of why I am interested in becoming a vegan.
------------

Thanks for the help, you guys. If anyone has any more advice, I'd be happy to hear it.

I think what I might do to kind of ease myself into trying this is to use up the animal products I have already (don't wanna waste), and then just not replace them and see how it goes.

Also, to CLARIFY (I didn't realize vegan was considered such a specific thing by vegans), I am not going to cease using any produce that has had any contact with animals. At this point, I am only interested in not eating/drinking animal byproducts. A lot of people say that makes me not a real vegan. That's fine. I'm just trying to be clear.

Thanks!


sunshauna
04-04-2012, 02:49 AM
Hi Lianna,

The most important thing for you to know: Oreos are vegan!! :)

I've been a vegetarian for 38 years, but just in the past few months have moved more towards a vegan diet....more plant based. But I'm not super strict with it at this point. There are some good websites and Facebook pages for vegans. A new Facebook page just started last week for brand new vegans, to offer tips and support. The "Happy Herbivore" started it to help newbies. Just be aware that it is possible to be a very unhealthy junk food vegan.....so when you look for cook books, you might want to look through them to make sure they are low fat and not sugar loaded. Check your library for dvds and cookbooks too, but there's a ton of recipes on-line.

To answer some of your questions....it doesn't have to be expensive, depending on what you eat. It's just a matter of developing the habits and adjusting to cooking the new meal plans. I've found that it's actually fun to experiment with completely new foods and recipes. Dried legumes such as lentils, split peas and all sorts of beans are super cheap when you buy from the bulk containers. They are where you get your protein, as well as nuts, but watch the fat in nuts. Tofu is also good protein. Soak the beans overnight, cook a huge batch, then refrigerate some and freeze the rest so they will be ready when you need them. Yesterday I had a taco salad made with lentils. Today it was crock pot stew. You will probably find that you will increase your veggies, which is a great thing for weight loss. Until the last 3 months, I never touched spinach, parsnips, turnips or most types of squash. Now I'm loving experimenting with them. I eat spinach a couple times a day in sandwiches, smoothies, and no cheese/pesto pizzas, salads, etc. Never would of thought that I'd LOVE spinach! It really depends how strict you're going to be.

As far as eating out, you will learn which restaurants have food you want to eat. We do pasta or mexican food a lot. Or salad/soup bars, buffets. Thai food is often vegan. For fast food, sub shops or mexican type are the easy go-to's. Claim Jumper has a great artichoke and baked potato/veggies. Even Dennys now has a steamed veggie plate for breakfast! It takes a bit more effort, but when you get used to it, it's not difficult. You'll learn and have your favorites.

You need to be careful to get your B vitamins, (and D for me since I don't see the sun much) but you can either take a multi vitamin for B12 or like you said, most cereals give you what you need.

It's fun to experiment! I've been craving a creamsicle milk shake, so today, I put 2 oranges in my VitaMix, added a frozen banana, some cashew milk ice cubes and blended. Yum. No sugar and so good! I LOVE Dairy Queens chocolate covered cherry blizzard, so on Saturday, I made one with ice cubes, cashew milk, canned cherrys, frozen banana and carob chips. It's a winner. My freezer used to look like Baskin and Robbins so I have to find healthy replacements. Next will be Maple Walnut, made from walnut milk which has a great flavor. If you want to make your own milk, it's super easy. Choose any nut, soak for a couple hours or overnight, and use 1 cup nuts per 3 cups of water. Blend well. Strain. Add dates or whatever sweetener you choose, (I use dates and honey) some vanilla and salt. Or you can use maple syrup for flavoring. Blend again and strain. Cashews have no flavor and have a rich creamy texture, so they're good for gravy and ice cream. Almond is good for cereal. For a cheap strainer, get a nylon paint strainer from the hardware store.

This is probably way more info than you wanted, but hopefully it will give you a place to start. Btw, my teens have rebelled against this diet, but I made a vegan cheese sauce for tacos and my son ate it and didn't know it was vegan. He had seconds. That was 3 weeks ago and he still doesn't know. :) Most vegan cheeses are nasty though.....nothing like the real stuff which I LOVE! Cheese and ice cream (and cookies) are why I now have to lose 100 pounds!

Good luck. Come back and post about what you decide to do.

Rana
04-04-2012, 10:08 AM
Yes you can! And like Astrophe said, it's probably cheaper than being a meat eater right now.

Buying in bulk legumes (black beans, garbanzos, etc.) is incredibly cheap and so is brown rices. There are so many foods you can make that are vegan.

There's a great book for baking, which is called "Sweet and Natural". It's out of print, but if you can find it used, it's a great book for vegan baking. Fabulous desserts.

Jez
04-04-2012, 10:25 AM
I've always felt that vegetarianism shouldnt be a challenge. It's a diet (or lifestyle, if vegan) that one CHOOSES. You dont eat meat, or dairy, or animal products because you simply don't want to. Those that still want to eat it are the ones that struggle, and that makes me question why they're doing it. I didn't eat red meat for 15 years, was vegetarian for 11, vegan for about 1.5, and raw vegan for about 6 months. The last few years of my vegetarianism I always said it was more of a habit than anything else, and if i ever felt like eating animal products I would. I added eggs back first, and about a year later just decided to eat chicken one night for dinner, and added dairy back shortly after that. My issue was not that I thought we shouldn't eat other animals (although I was of that mindset for years), it was that I dont support factory farming. Once I started eating animal products again I did a bunch of Googling and finding local sources for them. Finding local small farms is a lot cheaper than buying grass fed/pastured meat and eggs
at a conventional store. I don't have an ethical dilemma with these sources. And. After years of reeducating myself on what is truly healthy, and not falling prey to what the government is selling me with the food pyramid/daily plate, I do think eating naturally-raised animals is ideal. I dont regret my years of vegetarianism, I just think when you know better, you do better.

sunshauna
04-04-2012, 01:00 PM
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine just started a 21 day kickstart vegan diet on April 2.....they are posting meal plans and recipes each day for 21 days. They do it 3 times a year. As to your question on if you can get full, yes, just as full as you can with any other food. If you decide to do this, I would recommend starting slow, maybe choose one meal a day, or 1-2 days per week to allow yourself to learn recipes and bring new food into the kitchen. Otherwise, you could get overwhelmed, and it could also be above your budget as you try to bring new foods or seasonings in. Maybe try just replacing a few meals gradually and don't go overboard too quickly.

JudgeDread
04-06-2012, 10:45 AM
If you are going to be a vegan you need to be very committed. There is a lot of food, clothing, and miscellaneous products made from animals. I grew up on a family farm. Our cows grazed, our pigs had plenty of room and mud to lay in. I know that is not the case everywhere, but there are grazed animal meats you can select from.

Your nutrition could take a serious dive if you don't eat right. I personally, do not believe in animal rights, or feelings. I don't think we should be treating the food we eat like garbage either. However, I believe some folks go way to far now days to stop animal cruelty, and it really sucks considering there are so many children in our country who are beaten, neglected, and/or sexually abused.

This is your choice. You should probably do a lot of research on nutrition for starters. As far as the morality of it, I would do more research on that too..for both sides of the argument.

I'm seriously considering going vegan. The more I learn about animal treatment, the more my conscience bothers me. I've always had animals growing up, and it makes me ill knowing how they're treated. Even the egg-laying and dairy-producing animals are treated horrendously. I wouldn't treat an ant that way.I'm not against killing and eating animals. I'm against them being treated horribly before and during death.

I've vaguely thought about veganism before, but it seems complex. Also, I can't afford fancy substitute foods (my weekly food budget is like $20).

--Can anyone help me get an idea of being a vegan on a tight budget?
--Like, do meals take longer?
--Is it more/less/equally expensive?
--How hard is it when you travel?
--What do you do when you order in restaurants?
--Can you still make really flavorful foods?
--How do I get b12 inexpensively? (Cheerios have 25% and almond milk has 50% FDA recommended amounts - are these sources okay?)

Also, peanut butter and other nut butters aren't an option for me, so how do I get the protein I need?

How hard is it to stick to veganism? I had a friend who was a vegan for 4 years and then jumped ship really fast. She loved going back to non-veganism.

And can I get full being a vegan? Dairy usually fills me really well.

Basically, I want to know if it can be fairly easy to be a vegan and not spend much money, but also not fall into horrible food monotony. I'm doing my own research, but I really like the support of people here, so I thought I'd ask for some help.


Thanks to anyone who has any info or advice for me. I'm just trying to gather some information on this.
-------
If it helps, here's some quick info on me.

Peanut butter isn't an option.
I rarely eat meat as it is. I do eat fish (I'm not sure how fish are treated...probably not well).
Yogurt is my main dairy, and would be hardest to give up.