Many of us are aware of the benefits of a plant-based diet for our health, animal welfare and, of course, the planet. However, veganism has a reputation for being inaccessible.
A healthy vegan lifestyle can be achieved on a tight budget and time schedule without the fancy superfoods and inflated price tags. Here’s how I like to manage it…
The cost issue. As a student, the reduced isle is my saviour! Fruit and veg can be bought for a fraction of the price, bread I often buy and freeze. Take advantage of supermarket deals and stock up! Also, buying nuts and seeds in bulk will be better value in the long run.
Saving the environment. If you’re a York student, check out SCOOP to fill your own jars with dried beans, nuts and more at low cost (for you and the environment). For those of you outside York, this handy guide offers a huge list of zero waste shops across the country.
Veganise what you already eat! Easy swaps such as lentils, chickpeas or soy mince in sauces or curries make cheap, healthy meals. Chillies are easy to veganise- just add more beans! Tofu is your new best friend- so versatile and will pick up whatever flavour you give it! Cubed in curries or stir-fries, sliced in sandwiches or scrambled on toast! Just remember to press it a little when you want it to hold its structure.
Ease yourself into it. Try out 1 new vegan recipe every week, maybe start by veganising your old favourites.
Follow vegan communities such as BOSH or Now You Know Its Vegan on social media for recipes, news on new vegan products hitting the supermarkets and info on all the accidentally vegan products already out there, such as the vegan cult classic; Co-Op’s custard doughnuts!
Do your research first on any vitamins and minerals you may fall short on due to the new diet. (For example vitamin B12.) It’s important to maintain a healthy and safe diet, alongside a new and experimental one.
If you do decide to transition to a more plant-based lifestyle, you needn’t go cold turkey (or should I say tofu). Making small switches such as soya milk on cereal or choosing from the ever-extending vegan options when eating out all helps!
From my experience, gradually cutting animal products out, being forgiving with myself and not setting deadlines made it very easy in the end to finally become fully vegan.
About the Author: Gabi Everett is starting her second year at the University of York studying Environmental Geography. She became vegan after starting uni, so as a relatively new vegan herself, her aim is to show how simple having a plant-based lifestyle can be.