How does a family go on a plant-based diet and make the commitment to all organic food while on a single income and perhaps food stamps?
If you love that junk food, snack food, fast food, and all the white stuff (sugar, flour) then it may be a struggle at first. But if you like to cook and try out new recipes, if you can get really into making everything from scratch and you are a food visionary…you are going to have fun and do great.
We are almost completely plant-based (we have hens and eat our own eggs). I have made the huge commitment to go all organic. It has taken YEARS for me to make this commitment for reasons of budget and organic food prices along with the truth that many organic food sections in many stores look wilty and sad and don’t appeal to me.
Then I found Briar Patch Food Coop and the produce was fresh, succulent, brightly colored and looked amazing. We then went vegan with the exception of our own eggs. I already cook much of our food from scratch so this wasn’t a leap. The problem now came from my love of sweets and snacks. I also transitioned from real dairy and meat to alternative, and very processed, faux meat and dairy.
I found that the processed, alternative foods along with the “healthy” junk food was costing a pretty penny.
Then I, the Queen of thrift and frugal, the Queen of penny-pinching, had her accounts overdrawn and received a reprimand from the King. Ah well. Nothing new (the reprimand that is, the overdrawn account was irritating). But I was also not losing any weight on this new lifestyle. That wasn’t going to cut it with me.
I spent a weekend absorbed in YouTube vlogs on vegan life, budgeting at the stores, eating to lose weight successfully. I took notes, ordered books from the library, and assessed our cupboards.
I also started vlogging on my own YouTube channel. Why not? I have lots of fun things to share. Especially my weight loss experience and going all organic on a small single income, being vegan (I don’t eat the eggs), and getting my budget in order.
I had a small job recently being Grannies caregiver and there was that extra income that helped tremendously. It is gone now and we must go back to budgeting with the single income. I do make decent money on my royalties but I have that automatically put in a bank far away and untouchable.
I have to trick myself to save money and I use other little tricks to get on track. One is to budget the grocery allotment to be the same a family of four would get on food stamps. That would be $600 in California. The other trick is to just not spend outside bills, grocery, and gas. We all know the popular zero spending trick.
Ok, so I’m all organic, plant-based, on a food stamp amount budget. Can we really enjoy this?
Yes! However, if you want to eat well and have good meals and snacks you will have to make everything, absolutely everything from scratch.
I will attach both my vlogs on here of my first two shopping trips to the Briar Patch Coop. I spent around $130 to $145 each week. I only shop there and I do not make trips in between. That is the other trick. I buy as much as I can in bulk. When I purchase in bulk at this store I get it at wholesale and an additional 10% off (because I’m a member). It is a huge saving. If you can join a Coop and buy in bulk you will be amazed.
We eat with the seasons and I only buy produce (fruit and veggie in season), brown rice, quinoa, lentils, legumes, potatoes, white and wheat flour (we have no gluten issues), oats, nuts, raisins, coffee, and plant-based milk and creamers. Sometimes seasoning, salt, pepper, oil, molasses. Sometimes I buy something like avocados off season. Only human you know.
Now, this is ALL I’m buying as of today. I’m getting really hardcore. I will not only make my own loaves of bread, tortillas, muffins, but also granola bars, veggie patties, lentil loaf, and so on. Last time I bought a bag of 10 tortillas for something silly like $6. I can make 50 tortillas for that much…more…100 tortillas!! A box of granola bars is $5 something. I can make a huge batch for that amount.
That food list sounds boring, I know, but you can make so many things from that bland list of foods. Pizza, burritos, fries, ice cream, chili, burgers, lasagna (oh, yes, I did buy pasta but I’m about to start making my own as well). All healthy of course.
Homemade food tastes a million times better than convenience foods or restaurant food. It is so fresh, alive, and fills the kitchen with creative, bustling, happy cooking. It fills the home with delicious smells and your family feels loved. I have been so disappointed with food I buy out lately. But when I make it myself I love every bite.
Enjoy the videos and stay tuned. I’ll try and make a shopping video each Friday or once a week. I will try other stores as well. I will be posting dish and snack ideas and budgeting tips as well. I love easy and fast recipes so I’ll be sharing any good ones. Have a great weekend!