Apparently, others have been thinking about this issue lately, too. Bess of idreamofgreenie just informed me of Business Week's article about veganism being for the rich and powerful. The article cites recent vegan converts including Bill Clinton, Bill Ford, Russell Simmons, Steve Winn, and Mike Tyson (yes, he's vegan), among others high up on the financial ladder, like CEOs and major business owners.
However, as a vegan, I can say that you don't have to be wealthy to be vegan. This past August, Natala at veganhope set up a really thought-provoking $21-a-week-challenge to show that it really is possible to eat vegan on a tight budget. Twenty-one bucks is the amount of money allotted to you, per week, if you receive food stamps here in the US. Check it out.
|Veggies = a huge part of a healthy vegan diet. How can you get the most for your buck?|
Now, I have not tried Natala's $21/week challenge, but I do have some ideas for eating cheaply as a vegan. As a PhD student, I have been living off small stipends and student loans for several years, so I have some experience with finding cheap vegan deals. Throughout this Vegan MoFo November, I'll be posting a multi-entry series on what I'm calling The Barebones Vegan, offering tips and advice on how to be vegan on the cheap.
I recognize that some of my suggestions will take more time than their more expensive alternatives, but if you have the time, the patience, the internet access, and the interest, there are some low-cost ways to be vegan.
Here we go:
T h e B a r e b o n e s V e g a n K i t c h e n E q u i p m e n t
Because home cooking is ultimately cheaper to do than eating out, I list the basic kitchen appliances and tools you'll need to acquire in order to create your own meals. Nothing fancy here, just the stuff you'll need to get by.
- A reasonably-priced blender. In my opinion, a blender can do most, if not all, of the things a food processor can do, and they are generally cheaper. Glass jar blenders can do more (such as blend frozen fruits and ice) and are sturdier, but a cheaper, plastic blender will work just fine as long as you don't put ice or very hard frozen fruits in it. The smaller you chop your fruits before freezing them, the less likely you will injure a plastic blender. You can also partially thaw frozen fruits in a bowl of warm water prior to tossing them inside the jar.
- Pots and pans. You can get by with: 1 very large pot (for soups, stews, curries, pasta puttanesca, etc.), 1 medium-sized pot (for re-heating things, cooking rice, making sauces, single-serving items, steaming vegetables, etc.), 1 large frying pan (for stirfrys), and 1 medium frying pan (sometimes you'll want to have two things sauteing at once). It's best to have lids for the pots and pans, too. Nonstick pots/pans tend not to last long, plus who knows what those "nonstick" chemicals will do to you as they inevitably scratch off the surface! Look for cast-iron, which will last you a LONG time, is easy to clean, and tends to be much cheaper than stainless steel (for example, a cast iron skillet goes for around $25, whereas a stainless steel one is over $100).
- A cookie sheet and a casserole pan, for baking desserts, seitan, casseroles, vegan pizzas, tofu, etc., plus re-heating food.
- One decent-quality 8'' or 10'' chef's knife. This will save you from needing any fancy schmancy food processor-type dealie. Plus you won't really need to buy a variety of other knives, this way. I, personally, do most of my chopping and food prep with just one quality knife. Keep the knife clean and dry and it should last you a long time.
- Two wooden spoons. Two because you'll sometimes be cooking two things at once on the stovetop.
- A wooden cutting board. Trust me, these will save you money in the long run, as their plastic counterparts tend to get gnarly pretty quickly. Just be sure to keep your wooden cutting board clean and dry, and it should last you a long time.
Try to avoid paying full-price. How can you get these cheaply? Check out The Freecycle Network, where you may be able to find free, used kitchenware, plus you'll be participating in a very eco-friendly practice. Craigslist.com is also good for finding cheap (sometimes even free), used appliances. Amazon.com is maybe the 3rd cheapest option, since you'll have to pay for shipping, although Adam says you can sometimes find expensive blenders that have been refurbished selling for half their original price. Also, thrift stores and yard/garage sales can be great to find cheap deals.
|Lasagna doesn't lie. You can go veg - it just takes a little know-how.|
Stay tuned for upcoming Barebones Vegan posts this month, including the Barebones Vegan Pantry, the Barebones Vegan Fridge & Freezer, The DIY Guide To Cheap Veganism, and more.
Hope this helps!
P.S. Please feel free to share your own suggestions on how to eat vegan for cheap!!! I may end up using them in future Barebones Vegan posts.