Veganism has become a huge part of the American society over the past few years. According to GlobalData, 6% of consumers are now vegan. The number was just 1% in 2014. Whole Foods Market, a store that advertises on organic and vegan food, is worth $15.7 billion according to Forbes.
However, many have stated that their concern with buying healthy food are the prices.
“I think being a vegan is expensive because I love cheese. Vegan cheese is more than what I would pay for regular cheese,” Latorya Spears, a college student, said.
Spears shopped at Whole Foods Market before. “I usually spend about $30,” She said. The $30 was used to buy four to six items. “I’ve seen the vegan items at Whole Foods and they usually cost a dollar or two more than the non-vegan items.”
Spears also states that she spends about $100 on groceries each month.
Ounieqa Batiste has been vegan for nine months now. “The main reason I decided to go vegan is the health benefits associated with the diet.”
Information about meat and dairy from people that she knew and the internet caused Batiste to dig deeper. “This is when I learned just how crucial diet is to your overall wellbeing. It’s not just about weight loss or gain.”
When she started her vegan lifestyle, the expensive food was a problem when she first started. “Organic produce is definitely more expensive than non-organic but it is a process that you should ease into.”
She says that it is beneficial to go to a few different stores when you begin shopping organically to find a better deal.
Sean Pratt attempted a raw vegan diet for a month. “Raw veganism is consuming foods that are plant-based, have zero animal origin and typically aren’t cooked above a certain temperature. Everything you eat is fresh, uncooked, and not processed. If you couldn’t grow it naturally, it didn’t fit the lifestyle.”
Fruits, vegetables, nuts, fresh squeezed juices are a few of the options that fit raw veganism.
Being raw vegan is a little different than being vegan but Pratt states that it is not expensive. “I averaged about $30 each week.” However, he states that he did not eat as much as he should have.
There are also appliances that could be bought to enhance the raw vegan experience. “There are various devices that you can buy, like a dehydrator for example,” he said. The pricing on these items varies. “Some are inexpensive while some are a couple of hundred dollars but it all depends on what kind of raw vegan experience you want to have.”
Batiste states that it is important to budget and plan before pursuing the vegan lifestyle. “One big problem I had starting off was purchasing and cooking way too much food. As a result, I was throwing a lot of food away because my supply outweighed my personal demand.”
Fresh produce will spoil quicker than other goods which is why it is important to keep in mind the household size and how frequent the kitchen is used. “I buy produce once a week now. Be advised a plant diet is an investment into you, it will never be as cheap as McDonald’s dollar menu but it doesn’t have to be expensive.”
She says it is important to establish staple food items, which are items that are used every day. “Rice, beans, bananas, avocados, and peanut butter are all inexpensive.”
WHAT TO EAT?
Even though some of the food might be expensive, it is not hard to find a recipe to enjoy under the vegan diet. “Finding recipes that I enjoy are rarely difficult! It always takes a little tweaking here and there but for the most part, my experiences with recipes has been good,” Batiste said.
She subscribes to a lot of vegan blogs and YouTube vloggers who made her transition easier. Batiste also states that seasoning is key. “The right amount of seasoning always does something for the dish.”
Pratt ended the raw vegan diet because he missed cooking food. “A world without a French fry is a world I don’t want to be a part of,” he said. However, he states that he would participate in the diet again but with a chef.
His diet consisted of a lot of greens with a few other vegetables and fruits. “The collard leaf burritos and zucchini spaghetti were definitely my favorites. I also consumed a lot of guacamole for whatever reason,” Pratt said.
DINING OUT VS EATING IN
Batiste states the hardest part about being a vegan is eating out. “Veganism cuts out so many commonly used ingredients. It’s almost always easier to prepare your own meals.”
She states that the process of prepping food is easy to do, but it takes time. “It takes time to learn how to recreate your favorite meals and make them taste the same with different ingredients, but once you’ve got it, you’ve got it!”
The region is a definite factor when it comes to what is available. “If you live in a region where being vegan or a plant based diet is common, it is easier because they have plenty of plant based diets.”
WANT TO CHANGE YOUR DIET?
Batiste suggests starting small in the beginning stages of veganism. “Gradually adjust your eating habits if it means replacing your meat with a vegan option for one meal a day. Then eventually work up to a full vegan meal once a day.”
She would also suggest cutting certain items from every day diet. “I would suggest cutting red meat out first and just doing chicken or fish. The more you cut out, the more you should add in veggies, fruits, and whole grains.”
Pratt states being vegan is not an easy lifestyle. “I would encourage those that show interest in it. It is not simple so trying to put it off on others is not fair at all.”