Looking for some practical tips on how you can start eating a plant-based diet, on a budget?
It is no secret we advocate for a plant-based diet; for the animals, the planet and our health. Why? If we focus on the health aspect alone, there are many motivating factors but for now, we would like to give you some tips on how you can start eating a plant-based diet, on a budget. A significant number of people are deterred from eating plant-based for different reasons; some assume it will be more expensive, that it will be difficult or impossible to get enough nutrients to sustain them, or perhaps they feel completely out of their depth as they have no idea what to make!
Once you get the hang of it, eating plant-based is easy. And delicious! And the belief that you won’t be able to get enough nutrients, including protein, from a plant-based diet is a complete myth. On the contrary, you will most likely find that you can’t recall feeling healthier in your life! That is, if you are eating balanced meals, packed with fresh – preferably, but not essentially, organic – fruits and vegetables.
The importance of intention in food preparation
But first, we’d like to touch upon the importance of intention when you are preparing your meals. If your body is a temple, surely how you prepare what goes into it should be considered? Why else would you carefully choose what goes into your body, if you did not on some level see it as sacred? And it IS. So many of us tend to scramble around the kitchen, throwing together ingredients in an absolute rush, so we can eat standing up, or wolf down our food because we believe there are more important things to do. We would like to encourage you to start prioritising your meal preparation and ritual of eating as one of the most important things you are doing for yourself every day.
Not only are you what you eat, you are also the energy and intention that goes into your food. So, next time you start to prepare a meal, why not?
- Set up your space; make sure it’s clean and free of clutter; perhaps light some incense to get you in the mood; play some soothing music you can sway to while you swish around the kitchen adding a dash of this and stirring that, or maybe you’d prefer to put on a podcast about a topic you find interesting.
- Carefully consider the ingredients; not only is food our fuel, it is also our medicine. Perhaps you can start familiarising yourself with the different health benefits of various foods, and make sure each will add value to your body. If your body is out of balance in a certain way, intentionally create a meal that will help support you in this area. With intention and the right ingredients, you can surely heal yourself.
- Eat slowly and with gratitude; do we need to mention for you to sit down first? Treat this as ritual, or like a prayer. Make sure you are comfortable and fully present, chew slowly savouring every bite of the delicious food you have lovingly prepared for yourself, and be grateful for the fact that you have access to food (a luxury many people in this world do not have) and for yourself, for showing up and caring for you!
Tips on Eating Plant-based on a Budget
- First of all, buy everything that doesn’t perish quickly in bulk. In the long run this will be cheaper! Items like dried beans and legumes will last long in your pantry, and are really affordable! Instead of spending on the canned version, why not soak them overnight, cook them in a pressure cooker the next day (this will save on electricity) and use over a week? And beans/legumes are so versatile – you can use them for stews, dips, curries, soups, make your own sprouts, etc.! They are also a great source of fibre, protein and numerous minerals. Seeds and nuts bought in bulk, containing heart-healthy unsaturated fats, protein and many other nutrients can be kept in the refrigerator – or freezer – will also last a lot longer. They can be added to smoothies, used to make plant milks, added to salads, soups and stews, porridge, eaten alone as a snack… the list is endless.
- Make your own plant milks! Why spend a fortune on store bought plant milks when it’s cheaper, and much fresher, to make your own? All you need is a high speed blender (you can get some really affordable ones these days), a handful of nuts per batch, and a nut-bag or muslin cloth to separate the pulp out. Most nuts except for cashews, require a bit of soaking which you can easily do overnight, and once that’s done, throw them in the blender with some filtered water until creamy, and strain. You can even make your own coconut milk this way using warm water and coconut flakes. They last around two to three days in the fridge and won’t break the bank.
- Invest in some Superfood powders; preferably African and organic. Nutrient dense superfoods like moringa, baobab, cacao and kale are absolutely backed with a wide array of nutrients. They will go a long way as you only need to use a teaspoon per serving, and can boost your meals to a new level so you can save by minimising ingredients. Where can you buy these wild, indigenous teas and African superfoods? Check out our online shop at Earthtribe.co.za
- Make sure the majority of your food consists of fresh fruits and vegetables. Buy whatever is in season so that you don’t end spending unnecessarily on expensive out of season items and organic, where possible. Even better is to support your local community farms/gardens or grow your own! They are full of goodness and flavour, energising, nourishing and so versatile. Eat them raw in salads and smoothies, or roast them for a richer, more grounding effect, the list goes on!
- Use the internet! There are countless online resources available to you as a new, or not so new, plant-based eater. The amount of information, recipes, tips and tricks in the online space is ENDLESS so have fun with your new diet! Switching to a whole new style of eating can seem daunting, but is also lots of fun because you get to play, experiment and be creative! Our favourite websites for plant-based recipes are:
The Minimalist Baker
Forks Over Knives Recipes
Oh She Glows
There are so many more, have a look around!
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