I had to stop writing due to a flue knocking me down and leaving me feeling like my immune system had gone through armageddon. But life is about transitions and this flue was just one of many.
So far, I’ve almost saved 3,5 animals. While being sick, I was actually inspired to write about one of the things I felt would be an obstacle with a plant-based diet. Namely the high price. As a full time student, with a small extra income a vegetarian diet seemed like a luxury to me. Coupled with the high prices for vegetarian (back in those days there weren’t that many alternatives to choose from) products such as the Quorn products or tofu, I felt like this was not something my personal budget could not afford at the time. Also, many vegetarian restaurants may have charged a lot for meals that were far from filling. Add to that the fact that many ecological products at times are very expensive, a plant-based diet seemed like something I had to put off until better times.
But then I went back to my old neighbourhood where I grew up and found that veggies were quite cheap there. At the moment I live in the city center which means that I take the metro to the suburbs in order to buy food at a lower price. It’s also in the suburbs that I can buy cheap(er) fruit and vegetables from fresh produce market. On top of that many oriental shops are located in the suburbs, giving me the opportunity buy dried beans, legumes, rice, spices and herbs at an affordable price. Today, many Asian grocers sell tempeh and tofu at a cheap price (this hasn’t always been the case). Lastly, for more specific vegetarian/vegan product the supermarket or health store offers good alternatives.
On top of that, products such as grains, dried legumes, nuts and seeds, dried spices and herbs all have long shelf-life, meaning that you can buy them in bulk. For products with shorter shelf-life, you can use your freezer to store them for longer. Once you’ve bought all of your products, try cooking in bulk and freezing down portions of food to eat at a later occasion such as those day when you come home form work or uni and don’t feel like cooking.
One thing my student years taught me was to skip luxury products. For a plant-based diet this basically translates to skipping plant-based cheeses and meats, plant milks, snacks and desserts, all of which can really drain your wallet.
Lastly, always aim for DIY dishes. Food such as hummus, baba ganouch, burger patties and plant-milk are all products that you can make yourself at a cheaper price than the local supermarket would sell them to you.