If you’ve ever made an attempt to switch to a plant-based diet, you’ve probably had Google, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest as your first coaches in transitioning. Chances are, you’ve also made attempts to replicate recipes of those mouth-watering vegan dishes as posted on social media, after which you realize just how expensive it is to be vegan.
But what does it really mean to go on a plant-based diet? First of all, let’s define the difference between being vegetarian and vegan. A vegetarian diet, while highly composed of vegetables and fruits, still allows for consumption of egg and dairy. A vegan diet, on the other hand, completely eliminates all animal by-products. I am vegan and I have never felt healthier or stronger in my life.
Now, the most common misconception about going vegan is that it’s expensive. This article busts this myth by giving you ideas on how to thrive on a vegan diet without breaking the bank. Below are three common plant-based food types that are often thought of as expensive together with suggestions on how to go about making them while sticking to a budget:
1. “Meat” Dishes. Going vegan doesn’t mean you have to let go of your favorite home-cooked dishes. I love the flavors of Caldereta, Sinigang anything with saucy and all sorts of soup. Luckily, you don’t have to say goodbye to them.
Replace meat with:
- Oil-free, pan-fried tofu
- Oil-free, pan-fried eggplants cut into thin strips
- Shredded jackfruit or banana blossom (great for replacing pulled pork)
2. Smoothies and smoothie bowls. You don’t need expensive fruits and vegetables to fill your blender with nutritious goodness. You’ll often see smoothie bowls topped with Goji berries, blueberries and all sorts of fruit that don’t grow in our tropical weather. Go for tropical fruits that are in season. Your base doesn’t have to have Acai in it all the time as these could get very pricey.
Make your smoothie base with:
- Frozen Bananas
- Kangkong or local spinach
If you want toppings:
- Dried or fresh coconut meat
- Ripe mangoes
- Or any other fruit in season, really
3. Superfoods. These are items that give your food an extra boost. Certain superfoods tend to leave a hole in your pocket, depending on where they come from. Fortunately, we have ones that thrive here and are easily accessible to us.
A few of the less expensive superfoods and their benefits are:
- Moringa or Malunggay – Rich in Iron and Vitamin C
- Cacao Nibs – Rich in Antioxidants
- Mangosteen – Rich in Antioxidants and helps fight Cancer cells
- Virgin Coconut Oil – Source of good fat and has anti-bacterial properties