Meatless Mondays (or any day) on a Budget

My transition from vegetarian to vegan was pretty abrupt.  I’m sort of an all or nothing thinker and for me, to just go for it was the best option.  However, it did take me some time to adjust to this new way of eating and there was a little bit of easing.  I began shooting for “1oo% plant based days” but that first month did include a bit of cheese here and there when offered to me by others.

You don’t have to go “all the way” to reap the wonderful health benefits of a plant based diet.  Maybe you aren’t in a place where you are ready to dive head first into the world of no animal products.  That’s okay!  I know the first time Josh suggested to me that we become vegans I was told him absolutely not.  It took me a year and a whole lot of my own research to make that for myself.  The great news is, you can just take it a little bit at a time!

Meatless Mondays are a great way to start!  Choose one day (or even meal) per week and make it meatless or completely vegan!  Its only 1 day and it will encourage you to discover the wonderful world of plant based recipes!  For a 4 person household, having one meat-less day a week is equivalent to giving up driving for 3 months in terms of carbon foot-print!  If every American gave up meat and cheese one day a week, it would equivalent to taking 7.6 million cars off the road! Not to mention what it will do for your help!   This strategy might also make the transition easier for your partner and family.  Include them in it!  Help your kiddos understand why you are doing it–for health, environment, humaneness to animals.

With a baby on the way, Josh and I have been discussing our budget and I’ve been challenging myself to be a little more thrifty and conscious of my purchases.  With that, I’m doing my best to cut back on some of the “luxury” vegan food items I’ve found myself splurging on lately.  Eating a plant based diet can be done on a budget!  It just takes some planning!  Nomeatathlete talks about “A Grain, A Green, and a Bean”. It can be as simple or as fancy as you’d like.  Grains are relatively cheap and if you buy dried beans, and then splurge just a little on organic greens you’ll be making delicious, healthy meals for stinkin’ cheap!  You can spice it up however you like!  Sometimes we add some fancy store bought curry sauce from Trader Joes (check the ingredients for animal products) or just add a little soy sauce.  You can even just sprinkle some of your favorite spices on there and call it a day!

Grains we LOVE

  • Brown Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Barley
  • Burgler
  • Amaranth
  • Whole Wheat Pasta
  • Wild Rice

Greens we LOVE

  • kale
  • swiss chard
  • collard greens
  • spinach

Beans we LOVE

  • chick peas or hummus
  • black beans
  • kidney beans
  • white beans
  • lentils (any kind)
  • Organic, Non-GMO tofu
  • Tempeh (soy)
  • Field Roast (not a bean but delicious and high in protein)

We cook the grains and then add the beans and greens and whatever veggies we have around that we want to toss in.  We leave it on a low heat just long enough to warm it all up but not so long as to really cook the veggies–the fresher the better!  Add some sauce or spices to your desire and ENJOY!

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