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For a way of life that offers so much, veganism is unfortunately shrouded in a blanket of myth and misunderstanding. One of those is the misconception that being vegan is expensive and only for the well off. Nothing could be further from the truth, and here we will look at some of the reasons why.
As a vegan, you know all too well about the ugly question that rears its head all too often: “Where do you get your protein?”
Add to that, questions and statements about lions, desert islands, and the shape of your teeth, and you have the quiz-show lifestyle that being vegan offers pretty much most of the time.
Another frequently heard phrase is: “ I’d like to be vegan, but I can’t really afford it… ”
For some strange reason, there is also a lingering suggestion that veganism is a snobby, entitled, lifestyle choice to follow- that vegans are always affluent, well-to-do types that can afford to live the way they do.
This notion is both unfortunate and wrong.
Well, where to start? When it comes to affording things, veganism provides the animals freedom from cruelty and exploitation, better human health, and protection for the environment. And what price do we put on those three?
Of course, those lofty and noble ideals aside, then there is the real terms cost of shopping as a vegan.
First up, the internet is your friend as a vegan. There are endless resources and sources of inspiration for vegans out there online.
Similarly, there is any number of vegan get-together groups online to join up with – hey, you’re on Leafy Souls right now, right?
Buying local is another way to drive down the cost of being vegan.
Chances are there are a multitude of local growers and suppliers in your area.
They will welcome you just as much you appreciate the opportunity to source cheaper, locally grown food.
Often overlooked, locally grown food is often cheaper and better for you than other sources. It’s organic and pre-packaged in soil, not chemicals, additives, and a whole host of other stuff that you would most likely find on the periodic table.
You can take this a step further, if you have the luxury of a garden/yard, then growing your own is another fantastic way to save on the pennies.
As a vegan, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as bringing your vegetables from seeds to the dinner table.
Again, you get the added satisfaction of knowing exactly what the food you eat was grown in.
It takes a while longer, for sure, but once the ball is rolling, growing your own is so very worth it. Year after year, you get to refine and hone your home-grown growing skills and get to make the neighbors jealous too.
Bulk buying is another excellent way to save money as a vegan.
Generally, the bigger the size, the better the deal.
Beans, peas, rice, chickpeas, and lentils are not only excellent ingredients to use, stuffed with protein, and vital amino acids, but they are also great for buying in bulk and then using over time.
Likewise, making vegan bean soup is another win-win for the vegan on a shoe-string. Vegetable broth, bulgur wheat or barley, water, some vegetables, pulses, lentils, and spices of your choice, and off you go.
Cheap, tasty and packed with goodness, soups can let you stretch your budget out further than you ever previously thought.
Get creative – throw in herbs and spices for an extra kick. Experiment with different beans, pulses, and legumes.
Your kitchen is there for you to explore! As a vegan of six years now, I’ve never eaten with such variety as I am now!
Another great way to save money as a vegan and to take control of what you put in your body is by making your own bread.
One of humanity’s first food-stuff breakthroughs, and a natural, staple diet to hundreds of millions, we’ve mostly wrecked its legacy, especially so in recent years.
Chances are, your “regular” supermarket bread contains a whole lot more than flour, yeast, water, and a little salt.
Reading the alleged ingredients on the nutritional panel of some loaves of bread can be an eye-popping experience in need of both a dictionary and a degree in chemistry.
Making your own bread not only removes the element of the unknown from the list of ingredients, but it’s also a super cost-effective tactic for vegans to deploy.
And there’s also the feel-good factor of making it yourself too.
Humanity has a pretty poor record when it comes to using the resources that it has at its disposal.
A glaring example is that the ocean is used as both a larder and as a toilet/trash can – both of which are, of course, utterly wrong.
Government recycling initiatives are popping up around the globe all the time, which, of course, is very welcome.
However, as vegans, we are all about to bring change at the grassroots level, and shopping for recycled clothes and goods is a great way to reinforce your vegan ethics.
Charity shops are a gold-mine for savvy vegans who want to shop as ethically as possible. Often-times you can find some great bargains for a fraction of the cost that you can find elsewhere in the High Street.
It is truly amazing what some people choose to throw out that are in perfectly good condition. By doing so, not only do you get to shop with a clear conscience, you don’t get to ambush your bank balance at the same time.
Anything worthwhile takes effort – we all know that. That’s why the gym hurts, or gaining a qualification of any sort takes perseverance.
The same is true of veganism. It takes effort and some forethought, but it is so very worth it. Even those on a tighter budget can make it happen.
Not only will the animals, but the planet and your health also thank you, your wallet/purse will be grateful you went vegan too.
One of the best ways to support your vegan lifestyle is to join a fellowship of like-minded vegans and truly immerse yourself within the community.
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