If I could describe my favorite foods during my childhood, it would be simply summarized as sausages in a tin can and the occasional fried egg that had taken a deep dive into a black-and-cloudy pool of rolling vegetable oil.
How The Whole Plant-Based Diet Started
Fast forward decades later, I wouldn’t have imagined that I’d be shoveling vegetables down my throat for fun. That switch wasn’t instant, nor was it easy. I had to train my tastebuds to respect the subtle sweetness in carrots, or the earthy bite from mushrooms. For a long time, just the mere thought of those foods made me want to curl up in a pathetic ball and shriek “no!” like a 3-year-old getting their wet chew blanket taken away from them. It was during college when I was strapped for cash, yet vowed to take care of my health, that I was met with the challenge of “how the hell do I feed myself when I am broke?”
I remember gliding my shopping cart through the word-bloated grocery aisles that clung the shelves with “full of fiber!” “vegan!” and the the funniest one yet: “gluten-free rice.” The entire experience was so overwhelming. I didn’t know where to start, so I tossed a box of protein bars, baby carrots, and sunflower seeds into my cart.
The total damage on my bank account? $TooDamnMuch.
What I Learned About Shopping For Cheap, Plant-Based Food
I learned something about myself after that unsuccessful grocery trip: I didn’t want to try something new. Eating vegetables and fruits was just a foreign concept for me – unless it was beaten down to a pulp like applesauce, I just couldn’t bring myself to eat it. Back then, I hadn’t realized that I sped-walked right past the produce section, which was the place where I really should have cozied up with.
It when I took a very challenging nutrition class in college, that it made me rethink everything I thought I knew about food. They first day I sat in the class, I strongly believed that beef, eggs, and cheese were the only foods the human body really needed. Because, I mean, calcium and protein right? After I walked out of the classroom for the last time, that is when I started to realize the significant role plants take on our bodies to ensure we’re happy, healthy, and whole.
How Could I Afford Plant-Based Foods As A Broke College Student?
But then came the challenge: how can I expose my tongue to the variety of seeds, legumes, and berries, on the limited budget of a college student? Well, when it comes to saving money, I love a good challenge. This time, a couple of years later after that unforgetful grocery trip, my food options were endless. I learned that once I opened up my options, I was able to find whole foods that were affordable. I quickly got into the habit of spending most of my time in the produce section, checking out discounted fruits and vegetables, plants in season, and trying out “strange” foods like Japanese eggplants. If it was cheap, I bought it. It didn’t matter what kind of plant it was.
That was the beginning of my adventure eating plant-based foods while broke.
Not sure how to get your cheap plant-based protein? Check out this blog post.