I began a whole foods plant-based diet 18 years ago, and 5 years after that I transitioned into a low-fat raw vegan diet. I did it for my health. Most likely that’s also the reason you’re doing it - or at least it’s one of the reasons. What this means, first of all, is that you’ll be letting go of all the processed, poisonous junk foods you used to eat—the “toys”.
Now you might think this is going to cost you a lot of money. This might even be a barrier for you transitioning. So I’m here to tell you that it can be done. I did it myself. I don’t come from a background with a lot of money. I brought up two kids. Money doesn’t grow on trees where I can from. Let me tell you, I can do this on an average of $60/week.
So how can you do the raw vegan diet on a budget?
- Skimp on fancy ingredients
Friend, do you know what I’ve never bought? Dried mulberries. At around $16 for 8 ounces, that’s expensive! If you’re looking to make elaborate recipes all the time that contain expensive ingredients, your costs are quickly going to skyrocket. The truth is, you don’t need all that stuff. Every once in a while to treat yourself, why not look at elaborate recipes that require cashews or matcha powder, but it’s not necessary all the time. You can get all your nutrients from recipes made up of much simpler ingredients.
- Use what you have
Sometimes you might come across a recipe that really looks delicious but you don’t have some of the ingredients. Instead of going out and buying those, first try to see if you can’t replace any of them with stuff you already have. For example, nut butters and hemp seeds can be interchangeable, as are lemons and apple cider vinegar. Check out this video where I tell you about the four components you can use to make a great dressing every time. That way, you can use up everything you have in your pantry before heading to the store.
- Look for in-season produce
Food that is in-season is always going to be cheaper, so that’s great for your wallet, and great for your health ✔️. In the beginning, I made a list of go-to recipes that were cheap and satisfying that I could always turn to when times were hard. I rotated these depending on the produce that was in-season so they always remained as budget-friendly as possible. Why not make your own list?
- Buy bulk items
Buying your produce in higher quantities can often save you money. Consider getting a wholesale membership. Some of the major chain stores do this, and it allows you to buy your produce in bulk. Are you a one-woman/man show? Worried you won’t be able to get through it all before it rots? No problem, you can make your produce last longer. Stick your grains and seeds in Green Boxes. For your fresh fruit and vegetables, put them in the freezer. Fun tip! Did you know if you freeze your bananas with the peel on they are airtight! 😊.
- Buy sale products
Know which shops to go to for what. Your local Costco might be cheaper for hemp seeds but you know that Whole Foods often has deals on them and today they’re doing a 2-for-1 deal on a nut butter. So buy 4 and freeze three of them 😆. You can also find websites that offer deals. My local market marks prices down at the end of the day. They are usually fresh produce that needs to be eaten the same day, so I buy these when I know the food I already have at home can be kept a little longer so nothing goes to waste. And I bagged myself a meal for half the price (sometimes less!). Keep an eye out too for stalls at the market or sections of your grocery store that sell “ugly” fruits and vegetables - the ones people don’t want to buy because they don’t look as pretty as the rest of ‘em 🥬. You can get these really cheap and often talk the grocer down if you buy a large amount because they know they’re just going to have to throw them away otherwise.
Remember, at the end of the day, it’s up to you to make it work. Yes, you can do raw vegan on a budget. Some things are going to cost more, sure. If you’re living off ramen noodles at the moment, then you’ll probably need to allocate a bigger budget to your diet because right now you’re eating dead food. And what’s the cost of not changing that? The cost of your health, the cost of your medical bills?
You can always find ways as to why you won’t be able to do something. But what it comes down to is you’re going to make excuses or make it happen. And believe me, when you get to the other side, you’ll be glad you did it. Because you’ll be vibrant 🦋.