From Laura Miller, Author of Raw. Vegan. Not Gross. and host of the show (also named) Raw. Vegan. Not Gross. on YouTube’s Tastemade channel.
There’s a lot of judgment-laden, dogmatic language out there when it comes to food. I’ve found that the best way for me to nourish my body is to forget all that and just take care of myself by eating foods that are as close to their raw state as possible. And it’s easier and much more delicious than you might think—fresh berries, avocados, peaches straight off the tree—all the juicy stuff!
Spending tons of money on vegetables and fruits can feel dissatisfying, especially when you’re shelling out a ton of money at local farmer’s markets. The trick to being vegan on a budget? Buying in bulk and shopping smart. Here are my go-tos to get you there:
- Fermented Veggies: I don’t care if it’s sauerkraut, kimchi, or pickled radishes—just get ‘em in there! Besides being delicious, fermented vegetables help regulate your digestion, boost immunity, and even help your body absorb the nutrients in the other foods you’re eating. We’re not talking about the vinegar pickles that sit on the supermarket shelf for months here—we’re talking about fermented vegetables that are full of living, good-for-you, probiotic bacteria. I’ve also noticed myself and heard anecdotally from others that once you start eating fermented veggies every day, your cravings for refined sugars really settle down! You can ferment you own veggies for crazy cheap, with low cost vegetables like cabbages and white vinegar. Try quick pickling some other veggies for a zingy salad!
- Healthy Fats: It breaks my heart whenever I see people avoiding healthy fats! There’s a portion of foodies who believe in eating mostly fruit and hardly any fat, but I can say from experience that my body needs plant-based fats like nuts and avocado to thrive. These fats feed your brain, prime your body to absorb nutrients, and keep you feeling satiated so that the stale cookies in the office kitchen don’t look quite so irresistible. Buying bigger quantities of healthy fats, like virgin coconut oil and avocados in bulk, saves cents on the dollar. Bonus: you can use healthy fats in almost anything, from salad dressings to smoothies. Stock up!
- Dark Leafy Greens: There’s no denying that dark leafy greens like kale, chard, spinach, and arugula are some of the healthiest and most nutrient-dense foods you can get in your body. They’re chock full of iron, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and even protein. I even eat rainbow chard for breakfast: a leaf rolled up around peanut butter and banana is super easy and mysteriously satisfying! Furthermore, leafy greens are generally pretty inexpensive. You can get 5 pounds of kale at Trader Joe’s, for example, for $2 pre-cut. Put in the research, and you’ll find you can almost always afford in season veggies.
- Hydration: This is key. Most of us are dehydrated much of the time, which leads to feeling tired, hungry, and anxious. In order to trick myself into drinking more water, I like to put bonus secret ingredients in my water bottle. I know that if I’m getting an extra nutrition boost and keeping the flavors interesting, I’m much more likely to chug the water I need! If you stay hydrated, you’ll crave fewer foods, which is important to eating vegan on a budget. Fewer cravings means less wasteful spending on snacks you don’t even really want!