But isn't vegan food expensive?
Welcome to 2020! We’re almost a week into the new year and new decade, which means that resolutions are mostly still going strong and those of you doing Dry January have, well, just about dried out from the cheer of the festive season.
I’m not in the sober camp however for the second year running, I've chosen to take on Veganuary in full force, going plant-based for the month of January. There’s a lot of myths in the realm of plant-based eating which say that eating no animal products can significantly increase your food bill, so I’m here to burst that bubble and point you in the right direction if you’re plant-curious but concerned about the cost of moving away from meat and dairy.
One reason that the idea of plant-based eating can look expensive is that it can be conflated with ‘free-from’ foods, which are often not only animal product free but gluten free too. These products are often processed, yet have alternative ingredients instead of those which are often allergenic. The thing is, unless you cannot eat gluten, you don’t need to shop in the free from aisle and you can certainly find most of your food elsewhere, without the markup.
The second reason for the ‘expensive’ narrative is the range of meat substitutes on the market. As plant-based eating has soared in popularity, the market has responded and many brands have appeared with meat substitute products, which can be pricey. For some, having similar textures in meals is essential for going plant-based - however I’ve very much found that the most enjoyable way of eating this way is focusing on naturally plant-based ingredients.
So what can you eat that’s plant based and cheap? Well, vegetables are king. Often, meat or fish takes centre stage on a plate and we sideline the vegetables however shifting to plant-based eating completely refocuses meals on vegetables of all kinds - using them in ways that you’ve probably never thought about. Pulses such as lentils, along with grains like oats, will also surprise you with their versatility. The best part? All of these items are inexpensive, store well in the cupboard and can be used in many plant-based recipes!
Having a few reliable go-to options can also be super helpful. I’m often in a rush in the day, so having a few quick and easy ideas is key to the success of Veganuary in my world. For me, bagels are life and this month, the combination of almond butter and banana is getting me through the short, dark days of January. Investing in some good resources has been helpful if you’re struggling to know where to start or seeking inspiration - there are tonnes of online plant-based websites, as well as brilliant cookbooks and apps.
So all in all, there’s no reason not to give more plant-based eating a go! It can be pocket friendly, helps you to get your five a day and reduces your environmental impact too.