I haven’t discussed this in the blog yet but our family follows a vegan diet. We have been for about 2 years now. We started off as vegetarians 3 years ago and gradually eliminated all animal products from our diet. D and I have different reasons for going this route. Today I’d like to introduce my new Vegan Budget Cooking Series but before I do, a little background on being a vegan.
I should say that I am probably a 90% vegan. What does this mean?
- I try to avoid eating all meat and animal by-products.
- When I am cooking at home or have plenty of options I will always stick to a 100% vegan diet.
- When I am out somewhere, I won’t make a big fuss if there are some milk or cheese ingredients in a recipe (i.e. cake, pizza). But I won’t eat meat.
- I have leather shoes I wear for work. I’ve had them for a few years. I do check all new items I buy and do avoid leather or wool.
Why am I a (90%) vegan?
At first, it was mostly because of research I read that demonstrated health benefits to following a mostly plant-diet diet. Some of these benefits can be debated but I think there is a consensus that in general our society consumes too much meat (especially red meat and processed meat). So I first stopped eating red meat, then all processed meat and then eventually all meats.
A lot of people ask, “did you watch a documentary that made you do this?” They say this suggesting that vegan diets are “just a fad” and some people change their entire diets over one documentary. I have watched many documentaries on veganism and animal ethics but I’ve also read a whole lot of books on the subject. This wasn’t an overnight decision. D feels very strongly about being a vegan for health, ethical and environmental reasons (more on this later). But I’m still not 100% sure how I feel about the ethical implications of eating animals. I don’t necessarily think it’s bad and that all humans should quit eating meat. I do think that as a society we have some serious issues with respect to animal farming and the over exploitation of animals. There is a significant difference in my mind between hunting animals like our ancestors did to survive and buying mass produced, factory farmed animals at the supermarket.
Anyhow, I could probably write and discuss the ethics of being or not being a vegan for hours, but there are better platforms for that.
I think there is a common misconception, that adopting a vegan diet can cost you more in groceries. Not only do I think this isn’t true, but the complete opposite. We have reduced our grocery bills every year since becoming vegans. Now, part of that is probably attributed to just becoming smarter financially and finding more and more ways to save. But have you seen the price of a chicken breast or a cut of red meat these days?? I have costed out all the meals I make in our household and our dinners typically require approximately $3.50-$5.00 in ingredients. If we were adding chicken or some beef to most of these meals, I’m sure we would be spending close to double this amount.
Do we get enough protein?
When I started costing out the meals I prepare for my family, I thought it would be a great idea to figure out the age old question as well. Do we get enough protein in our vegan diet? In some instances, a regular meal we ate did not have enough protein, so I had to make some adjustments. Today, all our meals are delicious, cost very little and always have more than enough protein for our family of 4.
I know protein is not the only thing to consider in a healthy diet. So let me clarify that I am not a dietician. I do try to feed my family a very diversified diet. I think that I probably focus on overall nutrition as much, or more than the average non vegan family. Both our kids (18 months and 3 and a half) are very healthy and meeting their regular toddler milestones easily. Our paediatricians have no concerns. As for myself, I honestly can’t say that I physically feel much healthier as a vegan. I really haven’t noticed significant changes in my health (good or bad). I had a recent physical and blood work done and the Dr. was pleased so in my mind, I am doing great. Looking back, I like to think that I am a healthier person today than I was a few years ago, but I wouldn’t attribute solely to my diet.
Introducing the Vegan Budget Cooking Series
I’d like to share some of the recipes I have found and prepared over the last couple of years so I am introducing the Vegan Budget Cooking Series. Every week I will post a new recipe with the cost per ingredient and overall cost per potion. I will also share the total protein in these recipes. (this can never be 100% but will be the best analysis I’ve come up with). I’m hoping this series will help you incorporate some vegan recipes into your diet and do it at a very good price!