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How My Grocery Bill Changed When I Was Vegan for a Week - The Financial Diet

How My Grocery Bill Changed When I Was Vegan for a Week - The Financial Diet
From The Kitchn - December 6, 2017

Welcome to a column from The Financial Diet, one of our very favorite sites, dedicated to money and everything it touches. One of the best ways to take charge of your financial life is through food and cooking. This column from TFD founders Chelsea Fagan and Lauren Ver Hage will help you be better with money, thanks to the kitchen.

I have always wondered whether or not a vegan diet would dramatically affect my grocery budget in any way. Of course, ethics, sustainability, and health are usually the chief reasons to adopt the vegan lifestylebut what about budget?

For better or worse, I have this image in my mind of veganism as an elusively chic lifestyle, reserved for the type of (rich) woman who is able to afford a marathon of Yogalates classes before waltzing into the nearest Whole Foods to buy expensive dairy-free cheese.

I am not saying this to knock that type of woman. I'd love to be her. But my life recently has been more about eating the most affordable foods I can findcanned tuna, scrambled non-organic eggs on white toast, ground whatever-meat-is-on-sale-this-week turned into burgers, grilled chicken breast purchased in-bulk at BJ's for the low price of $8 for two weeks' worth.

So, when the idea came up that I should go vegan for a week as an experiment to see if it was actually, on the contrary, a more affordable lifestyle than the one I was growing accustomed to, I jumped at the chance. I was ready. Ready to be changed and enlightened.

But before all the enlightenment came a trip to the grocery store.

How Much I Spent on Groceries for Vegan Week

Here is a breakdown of everything I picked up in preparation for my Vegan Week, and how much it all cost me.

And here is a list of things I already had at home on hand, and how much they cost when I bought them.

The grocery haul was quite affordable, especially because these items lasted me all week, and most will last another week or two before I run out as well.

In addition to the vegan grocery haul itself, here is a log of everything I ate during the week. If it seems sparse, that's because it isI do not have a huge appetite, unless we are talking Doritos, in which case I will eat maybe seven bags without stopping to breathe. And since the vegan diet limited my choices a bit more, I did not exactly snack a ton.

What I Ate During Vegan Week

Tuesday, November 14

Breakfast: Oatmeal with cinnamon, almond butter, and some frozen grapes. Cheap as hell. I slice my grapes up into tiny pieces like I am a toddler because I do not like big chunks, so that makes one bag of them last a really long time. I will probably be working through this bag all week. I also buy my oats in a giant tub and just scoop it into the bowl instead of buying those individual (probably more expensive) packets.

This is an extremely cheap breakfastespecially compared to the Greek yogurt or bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches I'd usually have.

Lunch: Carrots and rice. Not exactly gourmet, but this is what my lunch usually looks likeI do not have a huge appetite during the day, and tend to do the bulk of my eating in the morning or at night. I had a little leftover rice I'd made a few days ago, and threw a handful of raw carrots in there with it so I'd have something a little more substantial to snack on during the day.

Dinner: Kale veggie burger and more rice. These veggie burgers are in my regular, non-vegan rotation, because they are delicious and affordable. Meat is expensive and I am not a huge fan of it, so when my boyfriend eats a burger for dinner, I will make one of these instead. Rice is already my favorite vegan-friendly side dish, because it is so cheap to buy in bulk, and can be doctored up in all sorts of ways with sauces and spices.

Snacks: A handful of mixed nuts and raisins from Trader Joe's. I so badly wanted to buy one of the bags that has chocolate in it, but it is not vegan chocolatewomp womp. The bag was about $3, and it is big enough that I think it will last a whole week of snacking (along with my other chosen vegan snacks for the week: grapes, carrots, celery, and almond butter).

Wednesday, November 15

Breakfast: Cold cereal (Trader Joe's Frosted Flakes, which I found out is vegan), no milk. I had almond milk on hand, which I know is vegan, but I am a dry-cereal person. Sometimes, I will put a scoop of almond butter into the cereal bowl and mush it around. I know, it's weirddo not yuck another person's yum.

Lunch: Nothingtoday was weird. My dog had to get surgery, and I was too nervous to eat. I snacked on some carrots when I got home.

Dinner: Roasted carrots and potatoes, and another veggie burger. Real vegans probably have more variety in their diet, but I am just testing the waters here so I did not go all-out and buy many vegan-specific ingredients. But it definitely is inexpensive to eat like this, and I do not feel like I am hungry, so that's good.

Thursday, November 16

Breakfast: Oatmeal, almond butter, pumpkin seeds.

Lunch: Saladlettuce, celery, cucumber, and carrots with olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice dressing.

Dinner: I make butternut squash soup for dinner.I topped mine with roasted pumpkin seeds.

Friday, November 17

Breakfast: Sliced apple with almond butter.

Saturday, November 18

Sunday, November 19

Monday, November 20

How Eating Vegan Affected My Budget

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