Once a fringe food movement, veganism, a diet containing no animal products, has gone mainstream, with grocery stores, restaurants and even fast-food chains all offering an increasingly wide array of vegan options. If the perceived high cost of going vegan—with its emphasis on fresh, high-quality produce and protein alternatives—is holding you back from exploring the movement, take note: buying vegan options doesn’t have to be expensive. There are ways to eat vegan meals without hurting your bottom line. Here are some easy-to-implement tips to help you save money on a vegan diet.
It may seem overwhelming to try to eliminate all animal-derived products from your meals and it may be tempting to just buy costly, already prepared vegan products to make the transition to this diet. It’s important to do your research to learn how much protein your body needs and how to get it from non-animal sources. Search the internet for simple recipes that you can make yourself at home.
The bulk food section of a grocery store can be a vegan’s best friend. Dry beans and nuts are typically a big part of a vegan diet, so stock up (especially when you see sales) to keep costs down and your pantry full and ready to go. These items can last for months if stored properly.
Get to Know Your Green Thumb
One of the best ways to save money on a vegan diet is to start your own garden. It doesn’t take a botany degree to grow tomatoes, kale, lettuce and more in your backyard—just soil, a trowel and some hard work and you’re all set. Be even kinder to your budget and get a rain barrel to help cut down on water use. Come May there are lots of garden centres that sell veggie plants and herbs at attractive prices—you don’t even have to know anything about starting veggies from seed. If you live in an apartment and don’t have a yard, you can still fill your balcony with different container-friendly produce (just be sure to check the rules to find out what’s permitted in your building). Many cities in Canada also offer free community shared garden plots—contact your city hall for information. If all else fails, there’s always room on a windowsill for a couple of tomato plants and some herbs.
Of course, for many people, veganism isn’t just about what food you put into your body, it’s also about using animal-free products whenever possible. If you’re looking to go vegan for wellness and beauty items, such as shampoo, moisturizers and makeup, you don’t have to rely on overpriced, luxury brands. Head to Shoppers Drug Mart or Pharmaprix for a selection of vegan beauty products and earn PC Optimum points on your eligible purchases.
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