this whole vegan thing

I’ve mentioned a few times that we’re attempting to eat a lot more vegan. There were a lot of reasons for this decision. Is it right for everyone? No. Is it easy to jump from the dominating American diet to veganism? Heck no. But we’ve been focusing on eating locally, improving our health, getting sturdier foods in our bellies to keep us full longer & spending less money.

Parenthetical smaller reason: And I’m also trying to get my body back in shape–I’ve been struggling to get out of bed, to stay motivated, to stay awake & alert at work. I need more energy from my food, but I’ve been relying on sugary snacks to get it. That needs to stop. It will take some adjusting, but it has to happen! I’m embarrassed by the amount of vending machine visits I’ve made in the past month.

Let’s face it: eating dairy is more expensive than not eating dairy. But I’m not comfortable opting out of quality dairy for soy substitutes with skeptical origins.

I’m still having an internal conflict. Local milk or soy/almond milk? Organic butter or soy butter? Which has a lower impact, considering the soy in those products is most likely genetically modified and certainly from farming operations dependent on chemicals. So, we’re not going all the way. I still feel better buying organic cream cheese for our bagels. (I mean, what better use for your garden’s jalapeños than jalapeño cream cheese?)

For that reason, I wanted to track our eating for a few days, so you could see how it goes. This week, we spent roughly <$70 on groceries. All organic. Some local produce. Lots of squash from the garden. Lots of farmers’ market fruit that I’d stored in the freezer. Have a look at our budget- & eco-conscious dieting. Let’s have a look*:

Breakfast: almond milk smoothie with bananas (ok, NOT local), bee pollen, flax seed & frozen fruit
Lunch: tortilla chips & a black bean burger patty crumbled over a cucumber, tomato & black bean salsa salad with yogurt-based dressing
Anniversary Dinner: wine, vegan blackberry-blueberry pie we found at the store for $5 (!!), zucchini & beanballs

Breakfast: bagels** with jalapeño cream cheese, tomato & carrot
Lunch: apple tahini salad
Dinner: vegan reubens on homemade bread

Breakfast: bagels** with jalapeño cream cheese, tomato & carrot
Lunch: left overs
Dinner: falafel pie

Breakfast: last of the bagels, Earth Balance & peach jam a friend made
Lunch: pasta with homemade stewed tomatoes & chickpeas
Dinner: zucchini galette with tofu ricotta (recipe coming soon!)

Megan enters Day 2 of The Last Weekend Alone & goes crazy buying quiche at market, then eating Celtic Stew (lamb, potatoes & carrots, all tucked in a thick, gravy broth then poured into a sourdough bread bowl–roll me home) washed down with many a beer at an Irish restaurant, celebrating a co-worker’s return to school. (I love where I work. The best people. The most inspiring stories. #spoiled)

Now we’re back to it. Or rather, back to eating well with mostly whole foods. We’re heading to my hometown for a few days, the first real vacation of the year, & I’m anticipating a few splurges. (Did I mention my mom makes the best milkshakes?)

On that note, a warning to my family: Our squash lemon plant is bursting at the seams. Start thinking of creative ways you’d like to eat a lot of squash! And don’t buy tomatoes. Or peppers. But seriously, this squash…

* * *

So we’re really relying on the Vegan Stoner a lot, which is teaching us how to look at simple ingredients to make easy, inexpensive recipes. I think that veganism or local diets far too often seem expensive or complicated or demanding. This site is a great example for how that can be untrue. Yes, there are things you need to stock up on–but they last forever. Or you can substitute with what you have. Don’t have lemon juice? We used a bit of grapefruit juice. Don’t grow red pepper? Use green; they’re cheaper. Don’t have liquid aminos? Use soy sauce! It’s easy!

We’re feeling really good about this. I admit it: even I was expecting to be missing cheeses more than I am. We’re only a few days in, but I feel good. Just good. Better. Lighter, in some odd way (in a way not related, necessarily, to the scale). Sure, there’s some dairy in there, & I regularly use honey instead of agave. But we’re eating some great, whole foods.

We hope to be a bit of a motivator for you to make some diet changes, so let us know your thoughts. Did you try any of these recipes? Do you have others to share? Are you making baby steps in diet change? We’d love to hear about it!

*Unless otherwise noted, it’s organic. The bananas are Rainforest Alliance/Fair Trade.
**We found these great multigrain bagels–filling & a manageable size, so you don’t have to feel bad for eating the whole thing–on sale at the store. Odds are you could, too! People don’t want to pay for their awesome organic bread, so it’s almost always on sale. Win!


About meganbetz

human geography PhD Student at Indiana University; wife, reader, writer, baker, gardener
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2 Responses to this whole vegan thing

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