Eating a plant based diet isn't any more expensive than eating unhealthily--as a matter of fact it is CHEAPER. And that's not even considering what you will save in medical bills. Let's face it, 72% of Americans are overweight, and several estimates put the health-care costs related to this obesity at about $118 BILLION per year. Think about that the next time you buy so-called cheap meat! The World Watch Institute found that obese people visit the doctor 40% more often than people of normal weight. These people also are 2 1/2 times as likely to need drugs for some sort of cardiovascular disease. If you still think you save money buying unhealthy foods, think again.
When you fill your cart with vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, and beans, and avoid the meat, (the most expensive item in the store), you will SAVE money as well as save your HEALTH. The beauty of eating a plant based diet is that you do not need to rely on specialty ingredients like powders or supplements. People spend a boat load of money on supplements that are not necessary AT ALL if you are eating a healthy, plant based diet. You just need to know what you are looking for.
If you eat like a peasant, (beans, rice, vegetables, and fruits), you will live like a king. If you eat like a king, (meat, cheese, cakes and pies), you will get fat and sick and die like one. So, let me show you how to save money at the supermarket.
Beans: Beans are one of the cheapest and most nutritious proteins out there. They cost about 50 cents a pound for dried beans, they are dirt cheap! When you buy them dry, you need to soak them overnight in water, rinse them the next morning, add fresh water and cook for about 1 1/2 hours. Don't want to bother making your own? You can buy them in cans, look for no-salt added varieties, (usually everything in a can has a lot of sodium in it), rinse them off and they are ready. Of course, the dried beans are much cheaper; make a big batch, and freeze in ziplock bags...again, cheap as dirt.
Oats: Oats are chock-full of fiber and complex carbohydrates, and cost about 50 cents a pound. The less processed the better, so avoid the flavored ones that look like flour and choose old-fashioned oats--or even better-- steel-cut oats. Make a huge batch over the weekend, and store in the refrigerator for several quick breakfasts during the week!
Bananas: Bananas are considered the "snack of the gods". Loaded with potassium and fiber, fat and sodium free, they come packed into one convenient carrying case. Use them in oatmeal, use as an oil replacer in baking, freeze them and make "ice cream", or eat them as a post work-out snack. Again, bananas are dirt cheap.
Potatoes: Don't let people fool you about how bad potatoes are for you...potatoes are full of vitamins and potassium and they fill you up like nobody's business. Sweet potatoes, (my favorite), are a great source of beta-carotene and cost about $1 a pound. Eat your potatoes with the skins on to get an extra boost of Vitamin C and fiber--just scrub the skins. Don't buy the myth that potatoes are fattening or somehow unhealthy--it's the toppings most people put on potatoes that's the problem--butter, sour cream, bacon, cheese--as well as HOW they are cooked--fried in lots of oil or butter. As a matter-of-fact, potatoes won the award for vegetable of the year in 2008 from the World Health Organization because it is such a plant-strong star!
Brown rice: At less than $1 a pound, rice is a STEAL. Buy the brown varieties--they are full of stomach-filling, body-energizing, complex carbohydrates. Like potatoes, rice is extremely versatile and can be thrown into anything from soups and salads to veggie stir-frys, or even an Almond milk rice pudding.
Please forget the processed foods, even if they are "plant based". A packaged dinner of some sort of pasta dish will cost you about $2.80 a serving--a family of four would be spending about $11 to feed themselves this "food-like" product. For that amount of cash, they could make six servings of their own pasta with FRESH ingredients and still be able to buy the salad fixings and fruit.
As I always say, there are so many plant based recipes available now if you need help figuring out what to make. Vegetable stir-frys are so easy....saute a little onion and garlic (using water or vegetable broth) in a pan, add all the vegetables you like, add your seasonings, herbs, etc., throw in rice or beans at the end....dinner is on the table in minutes.
Yes, it does take time to prepare your own food. But, if you compare it to the amount of time that people who eat unhealthily spend at the doctor's office for problems like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, it doesn't seem like a waste of your precious hours after all.