Intro to the “Frugal Vegan Experiment”

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Greetings everyone!

My goal for this blog is to document my journey of both converting to veganism (reasons why discussed below) and my mission to keep my food costs under $50 dollars a week EDIT:CHANGED TO $30/WEEK. I’m writing the intro to give you a little understanding to my motivations behind this project, and the principles I’ll be abiding by.

I’ll start by telling you a tidbit about me and my lifestyle. I’m 25, residing in North Carolina. I’ve been a vegetarian on and off for over 10 years, dabbled slightly in veganism at points, but have always been a conscious eater. I strongly believe in the old saying “You are what you eat.” Our food is our medicine. Good, nutritious, whole foods make our body happy and chemical-ridden, ultra processed and fakey foods obviously doesn’t. I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite though, as I will admit to developing a weakness for biscuits and gravy over the past year. And I will indulge in French fries, dark chocolate and Mountain Dew, my occasional go-to splurge foods. The worst lifestyle habit I have had though is my weakness for American Spirit cancer sticks. I am three weeks smoke free, however! *pats self on back*

But anyway, the past 4 months have been ultra stressful and I definitely feel it taking its toll. My BF and I remodeled a rental house we bought top to bottom, moved out of our cozy house in Michigan and relocated to NC to start our lives (—again, this is our 6th move together in the fifth state). I was stress smoking a ton and eating lots of fast food and snackie food as I was kitchenless for a great deal of the time. I found a job quickly upon moving here, managing a restaurant, and this has only exacerbated my bodies abuse. The biggest culprit: the long and erratic hours I work. Sometimes I’ll work 5pm-5am, sometimes 6am-6pm, with little recovery time to bounce back. 60 hours a week on my feet has made my body just ache every day. I’ve been nursing a nasty cough for the past month as well. I don’t eat a lot of food from my job, as it is all unhealthy. I do love my job though, which I am feel very fortunate for.

I know I need a change, I can feel my body screaming to get my attention. The fatigue, achiness, prolonged cold, foggy brain and my recent breakouts on my face are the cries for help. I’ve decided to eliminate dairy and what little meat I eat from my diet. I may also cut gluten in the future if I’m still feeling slightly toxic. I’ve only recently discovered that I’m allergic, or possibly just sensitive to eggs. Apparently this is a very common allergy that a lot of people aren’t aware  they might have. I would get cystic acne on my body, my face and especially my chin line a few days after consuming a whole egg. I just wish I would have known about my sensitivity in high school, as it may have helped my battle against acne. I’m entertaining the notion that I may also be sensitive to milk based products as well. Possibly gluten? I must do more research on that front though.

Principles of the “Frugal Vegan Experiment”

  1. Obviously, I will cut dairy (cheese, milk, butter and eggs) out of my diet and all meat (land and sea creatures). Gluten may be next to follow.
  2. Processed foods will be kept to an absolute minimum. Most of the vegan dairy and meat alternatives I’ve seen are so heavily processed with lots of ingredients I’ve never heard of. As a basic rule of thumb, if I can’t pronounce and ingredient, if it’s chemically sounding, or there’s a laundry list of components to my food I’m considering purchasing, I abstain. I might indulge in some vegan sausage at one point, or try some heady alternatives at readers suggestions or if I discover something at whole foods.
  3. I’m determined to spend less than $50 (EDIT:$30) dollars a week. I’ve always been a frugal shopper, buying what’s on sale, in season, from bulk bins, ect., and spend about that amount currently a week. I know buying more fruits and veggies may up my food cost, but if I manage to keep the extras (komboucha teas, pricey granola bars, über expensive fruits and veggies- anything over 2-2.50 a lb is my general max) cut out I believe I should be fine. Also, as 200/month is the allotment of food stamps given to most people, I’m also doing this to prove that eating healthy on a fixed budget is possible. EDIT: THE AVERAGE FOOD STAMP ALLOWANCE IS $4/DAY OR $120/MONTH. I’ve always heard people complain that eating healthy and vegan especially is expensive, but I’m out to prove that wrong.
  4.  My diet will be diverse with mostly whole ingredients. I will be vigilant to consume adequate amount of protein, will take a multivitamin to fill and nutrition gaps I may have, and will consume a wide variety of foods. I’ll attempt to get as many organic ingredients and budgetarily possible.
  5. Water, water, water!! At least 120 oz a day.
  6. I’ll try to be as accurate and diligent as possible with food costs, recording of what I consumed, ect. I’ll share all recipes I will use, and take suggestions for recipes to use up things I have sitting in the fridge. I cannot waste any food, I will even save veggie scraps to make broth. I work a lot, and might not be able to update every day but I will always account for every day. I’ll also document my energy levels and any physical effects I feel (or stop feeling) from changing diets.
  7.  I will make a concerted effort to do yoga, mediate and exercise. I’m hoping my extra energy boost will give me the motivation to do this, currently I’m so exhausted from work to fathom exercising.

I’m getting myself organized, purging my kitchen of dairy ingredients (not throwing them away, just separating them for my BF to consume) and gathering ingredients and compiling shopping lists. I’ll start the experiment on Monday! As always, I urge feedback of all kinds, as well as recipe suggestions or questions. This is my first blog attempt, BTW, so ill be experimenting with formatting and whatnot.

Have a blessed and healthy weekend!

TheFrugalVegan

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4 responses »

  1. Thanks for the comment! Good luck on your journey, as well! Maybe someday soon we can feature each other 😀 I will definitely be using you as a resource!

  2. Hi there! I am so glad I’ve found your blog! I also recently went vegan (and started a blog) – and though currently I am not living in the US, I am on an extremely tight budget, so I am really curious about how you manage on 30/week. (I think it is TOTALLY do-able!!! Perhaps shopping all organic and Whole Paychecking is not possible, but healthy vegan should be more than possible!) I am looking forward following your journey! Good luck with the quitting smoking thing too, I never smoked, but that must be a tough one!

    • Thanks for finding my blog, because I’m glad I found yours! Its very encouraging to read posts from people making the transition to veganism like myself. And inspirational! I’ve gotten so many good ideas. As far as the budget, I know its possible, but I’ve had to divert my focus elsewhere (to keeping stress minimal and the cigarettes out of my life!). I’ll follow your journey as well, best of luck with your goals!!

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