Veganism - A High Maintenance Lifestyle?
"I can't afford this lifestyle" "This lifestyle is too expensive for me" "I can't afford organic products."
If you are thinking of transitioning to Veganism, or had given Veganism a thought but still shrug it off in the end, I'm sure those few sentences above sound familiar. I took 5 months to slowly transitioned into Veganism, and I must say, this journey has taught me so much, regarding experiences and expenses. Yes, expenses.
I purchase everything on my own (sometimes my mum chips in a little - thanks mum!), so you can bet that I searched high and low for the best deals, sourced for the cheapest produce and even broke my piggy bank along the way. After being a vegan for 3 months (coming 4 now - I became Vegan in July), I learned that this lifestyle is not expensive at all! Anyone can afford Veganism; you just have to shop smart.
Write a Grocery List
"What?! Who does that?" Trust me on this - just do it. Even if you don't wish to write it out, make use of technology and note in on your mobile device. It may seem stupid walking around the grocery store with a pen and paper in your hand, but honestly - no one cares!
Whenever I'm at the grocery store, I will be in my little bubble because it's my happy place. I couldn't care less about what others are doing or what they're putting into their trolley... okay, maybe I'm lying on that part. Occasionally, I will take a small peak and see if the person in front or next to me has any animal products in their basket/trolley. And then a voice in my head will go, "yea he's probably vegan", "omg, perhaps she's vegetarian, I only see eggs, no fresh meat!"... "oh damn, he's a meat eater", "Is that 1kg of bananas in there??!"
Well, the main point of having a grocery list is to ensure that you're only buying what you need. Always clear out perishables before repurchasing them. Before I had this habit of creating a list, I will grab any kind fruits or vegetables that I suppose I will cook that week. This resulted in having too many perishables to clear, and I even ended up throwing a lot away because they turned bad and were inedible. Not only is this a waste of food, but it's also a massive waste of money.
Focus on Eating Whole Foods
Eating whole plant based foods have so much benefits for your body. They are your maximum weight loss foods and you can never go wrong with them. Staples (your starch/carbs) such as rice, potatoes and sweet potatoes are so cheap and affordable.
I used to go crazy on iherb - putting items in my cart like they do not cost me a single cent. Stocking up on Superfoods was all I could think of because other Instagrammers are doing so. I was able to spend SGD50 every three weeks on iherb simply repurchasing Superfoods and items that caught my eye... Say a vegan cookie. That Granola. Not forgetting that pack of Museli. Little did I know that I was complicating things for myself.
See buying Superfoods as a form of investment. Get a big pack of maca powder and eat it sparingly, instead of having it every single day. Of course, there are plenty of minerals/vitamins/omega that you can get from your Superfoods, but if you start your day with a good smoothie bowl - packed full of fruits and vegetables, that is more than sufficient. Topping your bowl with Superfoods is just a bonus.
Don't Strive For Perfection
Veganism is about intention, never perfection. What are your intentions when you first came to this lifestyle? For most, it's probably weight lost, but I'm sure many would soon stand up for the animals and the sufferings they go through. As long as you remain a compassionate vegan, that's all that truly matters. Even if you had a few slips ups - that restaurant which failed to omit the fish sauce out of your dish... It's not like you are going to die the next moment, or be punished by god.
Many come to this lifestyle complicating things. They are so focused on the things they should or should not eat, and put too much stress on themselves. They are so eager to switch all of their beauty products from non-vegan, to vegan. Personally, I finished up my non-vegan beauty products before going out to repurchase items that are animal cruelty free and vegan (of course)
Don't waste the money that you've previously spent on items that are non-vegan. You intend to make the switch, that's good enough. That pack of coconut sugar you got that does not have a 'vegan' logo imprinted on it? That's okay! Finish it before purchasing a brand like 'big tree farms'. Revamping your whole life just to suit this new lifestyle of yours, will definitely incur more cost than you thought it would. So, take it slow and remember to never strive for perfection.
Once you get used to this lifestyle, you will find yourself getting deals and sourcing for cheap produce really easily. Those hidden gems will no longer remain a secret because you have finally hunted them down. Gone were those days where you would spend over $70 a week on groceries.
Like I mentioned earlier, spending $50 on iherb every 2-3 weeks seemed like a norm for me. Now, I spend $50 on iherb every 2-3 MONTHS. That my friend, is a great achievement. I used to spend $60 a week on grocery, now it's down to $40-$50 a week. Give yourself time to adapt. I hope this was a little helpful for those who have doubts on turning vegan :)