Category Archives: Introductions

Day 10!

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Well, I was planning on going to yoga tonight, but a most unexpected thing happened: SNOW! Now, I’m from Michigan so it’s not as shocking to me. But everyone here in North Carolina is just freaking. 2-6 inches? OMG close schools. My work was even making a “snow emergency”  plan. Geez. But it is cool and unusual to see here. Exciting news here, all the little kids in my apartments are out screeching and playing in the snow right now. In order to beat the snow (and the crazy inexperienced southern drivers), I rushed home and postponed yoga until Sunday.

Today, I drank a mango Bolthouse smoothie. Yum. For breakfast I had a PB and J on my homemade bread. The bread, on try 3, was much better than the other two tries. I know my fourth try will be the winner! Like I’ve said a million times before, I am not a baker. Don’t know why. Also, I don’t have a green thumb. Kill every plant I have. A baker and gardener I am not.

I brought some Annies bunnys grahams to work to snack on, as well as a granola bar. I woofed those down by 10, but wasn’t really hungry until around 6 when I made a small veggie sandwich. When I got home (through the blizzard, lol) I made this.

Falafel Sammie

Falafel Sammie

It was amazing.

I’ll describe.

Leftover falafel I made my boyfriend a few days ago. A heady add-water mix that was amazing. Lettuce, tomatoes, onions, on some pita bread. Not the amazing pita bread I made the other night, just a store-bought kind. Sorry to have not shared more info on it, but it was amazing. When I make it again (prob in the next few days) I’ll post a recipe and pictures. Then the incredible avocado sauce.

Let me tell you about this sauce. I invented it last year trying to use up avocados that I had abundance of. Its amazing, healthy, and works great as a dip, sandwich spread or a salad dressing. It’s a great salad dressing because there’s no added fat and its a great flavor.

Easy Avocado Cream Sauce

  • 1 Avocado
  • 1/2 cup almond (or whatever type) milk
  • 1/4 cucumber, peels and seeds and all, cut in chunks
  • 1/4 onion, cut in chunks
  • Generous amount of dill to taste
  • Salf and Peppa

Blend until smooth and slightly liquidy, pourable. Freaking enjoy this incredibleness.

So I drizzled the top of my falafel sammie with this sauce. It was like a better,vegan version of tzatizki. YUM!

I must hit the hay, but wanted to throw these two pics in. One of me, in the maze gardens in Colonial Williamsburg last month. And one of me and my BF from about a month ago too. Cute couple eh?

thurs 1-17 (2) thurs 1-17 (3)

Much love to all!!!

The(Still not so much)FrugalVegan

Things got a little crazy…

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Things have gotten suddenly crazy in my life. I’ve been impressed that I’ve maintained my veganism for 9 days, and have resisted the urge to smoke even though stress is my main trigger.

I’ve been kind of slacking on my budget- for many reason.

1) Laziness. I have bought a Bolthouse Juice for the past three days (around 3.50 each bottle) because I love getting my fruit fix but haven’t had had time to buy and make smoothies. That automatically blows my budget.

2) My failed bread experiements. Not extremely pricey, only a few bucks down the drain. I’ve learned from my mistakes (I hope) and I think a successful loaf is baking as we speak.

3) My determination to resist non-vegan temptations which prompted me to buy more expensive food to placate myself. Example: Walnuts, a vegan chocolate bar, vegan chocolate granola bar, and potstickers from Whole Foods in a moment of weakness and hunger.

So for now, I think I’m going to take a slight break from my budget. Don’t fear, just until I get myself more settled into veganism. I still will blog about my journey and explorations into my new food choices. I also have found it really cathartic to write about my life intermingled in with my posts about food (which I’m obsessed with). Its been helping me to deal with the new changes I’ve had going on.

At any rate.

I’m planning on starting yoga tomorrow. I’m so excited. If not tomorrow for some reason, if I had to work late, then on Sunday. I can finally breathe and report that my cold is 97% over. The extra lingering 3% is my stuffy and runny nose. But I’ve been hypothesizing lately that it could be a form of detoxing by expelling extra mucus from my body. Or I’m just running the course of a virus.

I’ll write more later, but just wanted to check in 🙂

The(Not so much as of late)FrugalVegan

Day 6, Week 1

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I can’t believe I’ve almost made it a week. As I told my friend yesterday, its so much easier than I thought it would be.

I will tell you I’m definitely feeling withdrawal symptoms from dairy. Perhaps  Maybe I’m not drinking enough water or the fact that I’ve forgotten to take my vitamins for the past three days may contribute to that. I just took my battery of vitamins and will make an effort to drink at least 120 oz of water today. I’ve already drank 20. So just 100 more.

But my foggy headedness, headaches, lack of energy (or random bursts of it, and then highs and lows), body aches, lack of concentration/motivation have been occurring the whole week, and a fresh round of breakouts on my face. I’d been experiencing low energy and body aches since before going vegan from being sick and stopping smoking but I was expecting these to be the first things that changed.

I really hope this time next week I’m typing about how fantastic I feel. I’m sure my body is just ridding a bunch of crap from it and getting used to all the good foods I’m giving it.

Anyway, I’m almost off to work to work the late shift and was just catching up on my blog from yesterday. Decided to type a half entry for the day and then update tomorrow.

This morning I slept in late, and woke up all foggy and slightly headachy. I chugged a cup of coffee, and a glass of water and hastily made a smoothie containing all the fruit I have left in the house. A banana, grapefruit, orange, flax oil, almond milk and a scotch of agave nectar. I gave 1/3 to my BF so I’d say I ate about ($1.00)‘s worth. I ate a bowl of Kashi with almond milk ($.40) and a small salad with spring mix and a splash of vinaigrette ($.50). 

I had two vegan Italian sausages left in my fridge from a few weeks ago, and kinda cracked and decided to eat one. I had some leftover buns in my freezer, and enjoyed a sausage on a organic flour bun with a squirt of ketchup ($1.30). I’d been avoiding them because while they aren’t super processed, and weren’t super expensive ($3.00 for 4 big ones) they are just chock full of soy. But it was delicious, and my boyfriend liked the bite of mine he had so much that I made him the second one and he gobbled it up.

I had a nice afternoon of computer, quality BF time and food, but its time for me to head off to bring home the vegan bacon substitute. Hardy har-har-har.

Will edit this later!

EDIT: Wow, tough day at work. I left the house in such a hurry that I forgot to bring anything to eat. Dammit. I put the thought off in my mind until about 10 when I realized I was just starving. I ate a banana we had there. Still starving. So I made a veggie sandwich with onions, tomatoes and lettuce and ketchup and mustard. Sounds weird, but I swear, there’s very little to work with that’s vegan there. I wasn’t excited about eating white flour, but let me tell you, it did the trick. Until about 1:30. And I lost control. Someone brought a cake for my bosses last day. It had been staring at me all night. Without thinking really, I decided to just have a smidge. I couldn’t tell you exactly how much, or honestly if there was any, dairy in it. I didn’t feel better or worse, I didn’t feel too guilty or disappointed. I just ate a piece, enjoyed it and that was that. It really was tiny, just like three bites. Anyway, so technically today I probably strayed from veganism. But it was a hard, crazy day. And i didn’t get out of work until 6am. 13 hour day.

So I thought if I should add the food from work into my totals. I did technically consume food that costs money to someone (not me though). Its a fringe benefit from working in a restaurant, free food. I debated this against true accuracy for the experiment, which is skewed from my inclusion of free food. Ultimately, I have decided not to include it, since I really don’t eat too much of it. And its all so cheap, and in such small portions, its probably won’t skew the totals too much.

TOTAL FOR TODAY: $3.20

Have a healthy and happy day!

TheFrugalVegan

Day 5, Week 1

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Yesterday was a crazy day.

First, I could barely get out of bed I was so tired in the morning. Drastic change from the day before. I ate some Kashi cereal and almond milk ($.40), a slice of my homemade bread and Earth Balance ($.30) and a banana ($.25). I’ve never been a breakfast person before veganism, but I’m trying to eat as much and as hearty of a breakfast before work. This is day two without a smoothie, and I realize I really miss them and so does my does my body. I’ll get to the store for more fruit soon.

Anyway, so I brought one of my bargain organic granola bars to work ($.25), along with an orange (which i didn’t eat again, I don’t really know why I always forget about it weighing down my bag and stuff). I’m really going to have to go check out Big Lots and see if they still have some bars because they are healthy, tasty and cheap.

Anyway, work went well physically and energy-wise. But two important things happened today.

Firstly, after lunch a man who I didn’t know sauntered into work and everyone’s behavior totally shifted and the energy got really tense. Someone whispered to me that it was a super head honcho in the restaurant. I played along, was very vigilant that I was doing everything perfectly and to policy. And then my boss tapped me on the shoulder and said Head Honcho wanted to talk to me. I asked him if its good or bad, and he said he just liked to meet all the new managers. We talked briefly, he was really cool, he just wanted to see how it was going with me at the restaurant  He said he’d been hearing good things about me, ect.

On a side note, the company I work for is opening like 20 new restaurants a year in the region. They are going crazy in Virginia right now. When they open new restaurants  they try to pull people from other established restaurants there for a month or so to get it open and running smoothly. I want to help open restaurants. I want to travel around, I’m a good teacher, and I love the idea of staying in hotel rooms for free. I’m just such a sucker for a hotel room. Anyway, that’s my short-term career goal.

Head Honcho puttered around for a bit more, and then left. I went back to talk to my boss all self-absorbedly about what Head Honcho and I talked about, and found out that essentially my boss had gotten demoted. He was told he was going to get transferred to another restaurant, and that tomorrow was his last day here and we were getting a new general manager. Super bummer, not only did I really like my boss, he is a great leader and I was learning so much from him. Sad news. He was putting on a brave face, but I could tell he was really bumming. I am too, as is everyone at work. This will be a big morale hit for the staff, and the new GM is going to have really big shoes to fill.

So after my long day, I went home and was pretty hungry. I’ll admit, I was munching on some oreos we had at work today. I think I had low blood sugar for a bit, because they sure perked me back up. But when I got home, I made some tacos with leftover beans and japonica rice, on two corn tortilla with a bit of salsa and chopped onions ($.60). I was still munchy, so I ate the other half of my pita chips ($.50). I was still muchy so I made popcorn. YUM. Best idea I’ve had in a while. I used coconut oil, earth balance and sprinkled garlic salt and nutritional yeast on it ($.30). Satisfied, I went to sleep. Actually, I passed out halfway through my popcorn bowl watching 30 Rock. Then I woke up an hour later, finished my popcorn and then crawled into bed.

TOTAL FOR TODAY: $2.60 —-definitely didn’t eat as much as I usually do today. Good total though.

Day 3, Week 1

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I remember the last time I went 100% vegan (lasted about 2 months), the first thing I noticed was my huge jump in energy. I was working a lot then, but the same hours every day so none of this erraticness I work now. I was having trouble getting up in the morning before going vegan, but the most marked change was that after a few days vegan I would just jump right out of bed, ready to go. And I was going to sleep at like 1 in the morning because I had so much energy and getting up at 6. I felt amazing.

I know its only been 3 days, but I haven’t really felt any changes yet. Except my wonderful poos. I’m not complaining, I’m sure my weakened immune system is to blame for it. Just noting my observations.

Also, prompted by a comment on reddit which made me research the average food stamp allowance, I have decided to drop my weekly amount from $50 to $30 dollars a week. I was a bit mistaken, I confused what I had received when I had been on food stamps a few years ago to be the average. I was allotted the full $200, which is believe is the maximum amount given in most states. After doing some research, I have found the average to be about $4/day. I am editing my earlier mission statement and feeling super challenged now, as I was beginning to think that $50 was quite a bit more than necessary.

Anyway, today is my day off. I started out the day with some coffee and coconut milk ($.25) and a smoothie. I have almost used up all my fresh and frozen fruit, so today’s smoothie was just an orange, about 1 1/3 cup pineapples, 2/3 cup coconut milk and 1 tsp flax oil and bee pollen ($1.20).

I headed out to do laundry, and popped into Big Lots while it was washing. That store is always surprising. I scored some whole wheat pita chips for a buck, 5 organic vegan granola bars for $1.25 and Kashi granola for $1.50! Amazing. I was pumped, but the whole outing wore me out.

I wanted to note really quick that my sickness is still dragging on. I’m not coughing my “tuberculosis” cough (as my boss coined it) anymore, but my nose is so stuffed up. It’s like a thick snot too, so its hard to blow out of there. I’ve been breathing through my mouth for 5 days. My lips are chapped, my mouth is dry, I just feel uncomfortable. I really want to start my bikram yoga classes but am waiting until I can breathe fully to begin. Then I will be going 3-4x a week. I’m really excited.

While I don’t need to go grocery shopping yet, my roommate talked me into heading to Walmart with her after I got back. We popped by, I ended up getting a netti pot and some other staples. I got almond milk this time, ingredients to make homemade bread and a few odds and ends. I wanted to save the real shopping for Whole Foods later this week.

And after this outing, I was really pooped. I decided to try my netti pot-AWESOME- and then started on dinner. Black beans($.25), kale ($.25), onions ($.25) and japonica rice ($.35) stuffed and baked in a green pepper (2 for $.65/each). I also threw a dash of some spices in it, and a few pinches of nutritional yeast for extra flavor. The beans needed to cook a while, and the rice needed an hour to cook, so I decided to multitask and run a bath.

This time I added baking soda along with my epsom salt. I soaked until the rice was done, mixed my rice and beans with the other veggies and threw them in the oven to bake. I realized that I couldn’t really smell (side effect of the netti pot or maybe I haven’t been able to smell all day? I’m unsure.), so dinner was a bit hard. I could barely taste anything. I only ate half my pepper and saved the rest for tomorrow. I gave the other pepper to my roommate. She loved it. The whole meal cost $2.40, but there was leftover filling to do something with (I’m thinking an awesome burrito to take to work tomorrow!). I gave the other pepper to my bestie, so I’m saying today I just consumed about ($.50) worth of the goodness. I ate half the bag of pita chips earlier ($.50) and a V8 veg and fruit juice ($.70) I got at Big Lots when I felt my energy plummeting. If I wouldn’t have gotten the juice, my day’s total would be a lot better. I need to be better prepared about eating- bringing snacks, eating before I go somewhere, ect. I also munched on a small portion of leftover curry ($.40) earlier. Which brings the days grand total to…….

TOTAL FOOD EATEN TODAY: $3.55 – within my new goal!

I’m tired, I work early, and my body just needs rest. Have a blessed and healthy day!!

TheFrugalVegan

I’m ready, Freddy!

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Hola, homies.

The past few days have really been very good motivation for my project.  I mentioned before that I’ve been chronically sick since I started my job, for the past month now. I had the flu, and then had a nasty cough, and now I have an even nastier cough and a horrible head cold. Like mucus is draining out everywhere. YUCK.

Tomorrow, I’m starting my 100% vegan diet. I have to work long shifts the next two days, so I have to be very thoughtful of cooking in advance and taking stuff to work. I am so active at my job that I get hungry often and need lots of constant energy. I’m hoping to get one hearty portable meal and some snacks to bring everyday.

I’m going to attempt to prepare meals and snacks for the next two days, and make sure I have everything I need until Wednesday, my next day off. I say “attempt” because I’m really feeling terrible, I’m in bed with hot tea and Netflix at the moment.

So to combat my illness, and pump myself immune system up, I’m going to make myself a good fruit smoothie tomorrow, and snack on lots of fresh fruit. I’ll make some hearty veg dish, and drink lots of chamomile tea.

Have a blessed and healthy day, will post tomorrow!

TheFrugalVegan

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