Making Veganism Work For your Family…

Not your modern grocery cart…I wonder where she hides the box of wine?

Sometimes I try to talk myself out of looking into other people’s shopping carts.  Call me judgmental, but I tend to look over the fact that some people eat junk because they are students or bachelors/bachelorettes but it just bothers me to no end when I see a cart that is clearly controlled out of control by a mother who is in the grocery store trying to provide what she thinks is best for her family.  I’ve seen the processed foods piled high in the cart with very little produce and I also see her children begging for a super sugary item and I often wonder…Where did it all go wrong? 

Let me just admit my age right now…I just turned 30 back in April and somehow, the one thing I recalled often in my childhood is how often my family cooked for each other.  We really only used our microwave to reheat leftovers or to make popcorn.  During holidays, nothing came out of a can except for the cranberry sauce.  My family was not rich (very blue collar), and they saved money wherever they could.  Needless to say, back then the prepackaged foods were expensive and my family could not afford to eat like that except maybe once a week as a “treat”.

Now looking forward, I walk through the aisles at some of my local grocery stores and I’ll find some of the most outrageous looking processed items selling for a super cheap price like it’s going out of style.  I cringe when I see the “special” sales of soda going for 10 cases for $10….It’s even more sickening when I see the aftermath of the soda aisle (only thing missing is the tumbleweed!) when that sale goes on….

Does any store out there sell out of Kale like this???

I am pretty sure most people my age and older will admit, as major food giants master the art of making processed foods cheaper and with a longer than necessary shelf life, real food has been lost somewhere.  I’ll admit, when I first moved out on my own, I ate as much junk as I could because I never had it in abundance and somehow I was shocked on how cheap it has gotten over the years.  But these past few years, even before I became vegan back in 2008, I grew more concerned as my friends and family were getting heavier and less healthy.  Now as a vegan, my passion for food definitely goes beyond my kitchen and most vegan families I know often feel the same way.

Now the biggest myth out there is that feeding your family a vegan diet is expensive.  One of my missions on my blog is to prove to you and all the other families out there that being vegan (and a healthy one to add!) is not going to put a dent in your wallet.  In fact, you might save money or find that your grocery budget became one big colorful bouquet of different colors of produce.  Just remember that I am a housewife, which means I live in a one income household.  Although I am fortunate to have a husband who supports us very well financially where I can choose to work or stay at home, we still have to be careful about our expenses all while trying to make sure we can retire comfortably in the future.

There have been many great resources out there on the internet regarding eating vegan on a shoe string budget but no one mentions it on a very easy, family level except for one place in particular (courtesy of Meridith at vegheadfamily.com).  I also took the time to ask those who are connected to me via Facebook and the responses were very clear…it was not only easy but EXTREMELY accessible:

Let’s say you are making chili and use ground beef. Ground beef is anywhere from $2 to $6 a pound. If you make it meatless using canned beans, for that same $2 you could buy 4 cans of beans–way more than poundage for your buck than that $2 unhealthy ground beef. -Hilary R.
You can get some great deals on veggies and fruit at farmer’s markets…especially if you go just before closing time.- Cherry C.
I always buy my beans in bulk and cook them from scratch. So much cheaper (and healthier) than canned and really not that hard using my handy-dandy pressure cooker.- Meridith L.

Shopping at a Costco if you have one in your town is a wonderful way to get quality organic produce, affordable for one or twenty.- Teri S.
We have realzied that we use to eat out A LOT before becoming Vegan – we may spend more at the grocery store, but we eat at home so much more now. We enjoy searching the internet for new recepies and we do it together as a family to keep everyone involved. -Katherine B.
1 lb of uncooked/bagged beans…around $.87! Don’t tell me you can’t afford it 🙂 -Karen A.

Right now, I wish that same mom I saw at the store knew about my blog and could read those responses.  Sometimes when I see people like her and I wish I could offer some inspiration without coming off as self righteous.  Before I was the lovely vegan housewife you know and love today, I was working in healthcare for nearly 10 years.  I saw firsthand young business professionals in their 20’s-30’s taking high cholesterol medication.  Also, it broke my heart to see a young child who was suffering from Type 2 Diabetes and her mother bribing her with ice cream after her office visit.  Luckily, I had a few former bosses who were not the coddling type and confronted these people but I know this is not the case in most practices because after all, patients are like customers and you need to keep them happy and as we all know the truth hurts, which can damage “the business”.  Don’t get me wrong, I trust medicine to an extent- I’m just sick of the lack of tough love that they should be giving out!  If any of you out there has given out any “tough love” to anyone as a wake up call to their health, what was your approach???  Most importantly, did it work???

5 thoughts on “Making Veganism Work For your Family…

  1. I must tell you, though, that when I look through the aisles of my local (fabulous) health food/vegan/organic grocery store, it is VERY expensive. I only go there for bulk stuff and some cool spices. I'll be interested to see how you get specialty items like non-dairy equivalents of milk/butter/cheese/etc. for low cost.

  2. As far as the non dairy milk goes, I usually go to my local Whole Foods and buy their brand of non dairy milk in the aseptic boxes. It keeps well in the pantry and the cost is lower than the non dairy milk in the cold section of your store. Some other grocery store chains have come out with non-dairy milks as well that are organic (non-GMO) in aseptic boxes that are priced very well. So to me, vegan milk is not an issue. Now you might have gotten me on the vegan cheese because my favorite vegan cheese is Daiya (not exactly oil free!) which is not exactly cheap. Now most people I know will make their own cheese sauces that are nutritional yeast based that definitely cost less than Daiya. My butter of choice when I do use it is Earth Balance but yet again…there's the cost that comes with it. Most friends I know who do not have access to Earth Balance will use either Smart Balance Light (the vegan ones are labeled as such) and Blue Bonnet. I hope that helps for the time being. I will be posting a Vegan Moussaka recipe next that is affordable this season and also makes more than enough for a family. Thanks for posting your concerns as I definitely like a good challenge 😉

  3. I guess that's why following a plant-based, low fat, no oil diet is advantageous. I have no butter or cheese in my fridge. (I make cheese sauces from time to time though). I do buy one soy yogurt that usually lasts almost 2 weeks since my daughter is the only one that thinks it tastes good. 🙂 I'm anti-packaged foods for both health and monetary reasons, but I do make an exception for that since my daughter acts like it's the biggest treat in the world. I make my rice milk from scratch – I figure I save around $80/month by doing that.

  4. Loved the tips in this post and the link to Meredith's blog. Found your blog from someone else's link – I'll definitely be back!

  5. Thank you soooo much Karena!!! If you ever have any questions or need any help on your vegan journey, don't hesitate to contact me 😉

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