How To Eat Vegan On A Student Budget

IMG_0850Since today marks World Vegan Day I thought now was as good a time as any to write a blog post which sheds some light into what is perceived to be a tricky, nearing impossible challenge for many university students. Aside from the most obvious, “What do you eat?” question, the conundrum “How on earth do you afford to eat vegan on a student budget?” is one which follows in close succession.  ​

Whilst the general consensus across the student population is that surviving on a vegan diet is by no means a financially safe route to take, the thought of doing a weekly shop and avoiding every animal-derived product on the shelves is enough to send anyone into a financial frenzy. Of course with the sight of their student loans imprinted on the back of their eyelids, for many the option of making the switch doesn’t even rationalize a ponder.

So, with that in mind, I’m on a mission to open people’s eyes to show just how simple, cheap and delicious living a vegan lifestyle can be whilst bridled by a student budget. Taking it back to basics, for those who are unsure of what a vegan diet actually is, it is one which abstains from consuming any animal-based products including meat, dairy, eggs and fish. A plant-based diet is richly diverse and encompasses a variety of wholefoods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, seeds, beans and pulses – most of which can be bought in bulk and do not break the bank.

Hitting the supermarket for your weekly grocery haul need not be a burden. In fact, it’s no falsehood that meat, dairy and eggs are actually often among the most expensive grocery items you can buy, with plant-based foods being much cheaper. When visiting the grocery shop, it’s always a good idea going with a plan in mind of what it is you actually need to buy. An effective way is to plan your meals for the following week and make a list of all the ingredients which you will need. This way, you’re less likely to go overboard and splash out your already bounded budget.

Stocking up your store cupboards with a sufficient amount of staples, things like spices, pasta, rice, lentils, canned beans, and other pulses and grains will make your life a whole lot easier. Since these items can be brought cheaply in bulk and have super long shelf lives you won’t need to be worrying about running out of these anytime soon. Plus, since most plant-based meals are centred around some sort of carby-staple, having these in ready supply in your cupboard immediately helps cut down the cost of your shop. So even when you’re fast approaching the dregs of your student loan, I can assure you, you will never go hungry.

The biggest expense when you transition to a vegan diet is forking out on the more specialised ingredients such as nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, flaxseed meal, agave syrup and chia seeds. However, since these are used in such small quantities, once you have them tucked away nicely in your kitchen you won’t need to be buying them again anytime soon.

Admitting the fact that these bulk ingredients may not sound the most exciting on their own, and to the omni-population consuming a bowl of beans, pasta, or rice as a meal with no smidgen of meat or cheese in sight a pretty bland, boring and tasteless predilection. But really, you’d be amazed at the variety of flavoursome dishes these ingredients can make with a little seasoning of knowledge. From three-bean chillies, chick-pea curries and tofu scrambles, there is a world of endless recipes which can be made from a few simple ingredients.

Another key tip is to make up a bigger batch of your evening meals, pop the leftovers into a Tupperware box and freeze them. This way when you’re short for time or need a quick and convenient meal all you need to do is defrost and reheat! On the topic of frozen produce, you will often find that buying frozen vegetables and fruits like peppers, spinach, kale and berries are much cheaper than buying fresh. Plus, if you’re cooking for yourself it may be difficult to use up all of the fresh foods before they hit their use by date, so this way you’re saving on cost and avoiding throwing foods away!

It’s easy to sometimes be drawn to heavily branded products when whizzing around the supermarket. Let’s be honest, as students we have plenty of other things we could be doing instead of trooping around the supermarket grimacing through gritted teeth when we see the cost of a 12-pack of toilet rolls. But don’t shy away from checking out the ‘value’ products too. Quite often the products in the low-budget supermarket brands are surprisingly vegan, when their more expensive counterparts are not! Would you believe Tesco’s Everyday Value Garlic Bread is vegan and only 32p?

If you ever find yourself ambling past a supermarket near closing time, don’t miss the opportunity to call in and check out its reduced aisle. A lot of fresh and chilled produce tend to be discounted to crazy cheap prices, a great chance to stock up on hummus being sold for pennies a pot! You can even stock up on supermarket own brands of plant-based milks like soya, almond and oat milk to divert the inflated prices of chilled branded products. Another helpful tip is to have a peep at the prices of UHT milks, since these tend to be a little cheaper than those in the chilled aisle. The bonus when buying UHT milk is that they last much longer too, my cupboard has about ten cartons of soya milk!

Remember, eating vegan is a journey. It is a learning process which takes a little time to adjust to. It’s not about eating perfectly, nor is it about eating like everyone else you know who is vegan: it’s about eating a healthy, plant-based diet in a balanced way that works for you. There will be slip ups and it will take time to adjust to this style of living, but stick at it and you will get there.

Fancy giving vegan a go yourself? Download my Plant-based E-Book called Simplistically Raw for 99p to discover the many more useful hints and tips to eating vegan and making the transition to a plant-based lifestyle much easier. With over 66 vegan recipes from breakfasts, brunches, lunches, mains and sweet treats, you’re bound to be amazed at the abounding flavours and joy eating vegan can bring.

To purchase my E-book click here or for more information visit Simplisticallyraw.com. And here’s a recipe to get you started.

Spinach and Banana Nice-Cream

Ingredients:

  • 2 frozen bananas, thawed slightly
  • Handful fresh/frozen spinach
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup plant-based milk
  • 1 tsp peanut butter (optional)
  • Granola of choice
  • Fresh berries or additional fruit, to serve

Spinach nicecream

Method:
1. Remove the bananas from the freezer and allow to thaw slightly (about 10-15 minutes). Add these to a food processor along with the plant-based milk, oats and spinach and blend until smooth. If you wish, add the peanut butter for a nuttier taste and pulse a few more times.
2. Serve the nice-cream in a bowl, top with fresh fruit, a sprinkle of granola and peanut butter. Tuck in and enjoy this super easy, deliciously sweet banana ice-cream.  For  more of my recipes visit Simplisticallyraw.com.

Simplistically Raw E-BOOK RELEASE!

Soooo grateful and overwhelmed and happy and excited (and every other positive emotion) to announce that my first E-Book is now published and ready to download for only £0.99!

2 years ago I put pen to paper, today my book has been published and I can’t quite fathom it. It fills me with happiness just saying it🙏🏻

I am so grateful for all of the help and support I have received along the way, without it I wouldn’t have been able to reach this milestone so thankyou thankyou thankyou from the bottom of my heart❤️

If you’d like to purchase your copy for only £0.99 follow the link below!

👉🏻 http://payhip.com/b/zurc 👈🏻
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Simplistically Raw E-Book Release!

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Hi my lovelies!

The day is almost here! With over 50+ vegan recipes for a thriving mind, body and soul from breakfast, brunches, mains and sweet treats to dips, dressings and sauces, I am certain that this book will hold something for all tastes and deepest desires. Along with an introductory chapter of nutrition and the essentials for eating plant-based, concluded with a whole chapter of Mindfulness and some food for thought, it is the ideal guide for those newbies (but also guru’s!) leading a plant-based lifestyle, wherever you may be on your journey.

I’ve written this book with every ounce of love and passion I have to give.
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This Girl Can: University of Warwick Training

As with any success story comes the saying that “Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” ~ Dwayne Johnson. I think this campaign pretty much hits the nail on the head as far as success is concerned, having inspired 2.8 million women to do more physical activity since its official launch back in January 2015. If that in itself isn’t a title of greatness – then I’m not sure what is! Continue reading

Week 5: Mindfulness as Pure Awareness

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I cannot believe we have reached Week 5 on this course already, time has flown by ever so quickly but if you have kept tuning in each week to deepen your understanding and awareness of living with Mindfulness intention then give yourself a pat on the back! As I touched on in Week 1, this process is not an overnight fix – learning to be ‘mindful’ in every life situation takes time, perseverance and commitment, but the outcomes of sacrificing just a few minutes a day to your mindful practice is undoubtedly worth the infinite outcomes of joy, happiness and overwhelming positivity you are allowing yourself to experience. Continue reading

Week 4: Mindfulness of the Body as a Whole

mindfulness week 4

As touched on within Weeks 1, 2 and 3, the practice of Mindfulness rests itself within multiple foundations: Mindfulness of breathing, Mindfulness of eating, Mindfulness of thoughts, sounds and emotions. At this point in your journey, we will be expanding the awareness beyond these foundations in isolation. You will learn how to embroider your awareness into all of these aspects simultaneously, until you encounter a sense of the body as a whole.

I find, by experience, that the mind and the body are more than married, for they are most intimately united: and when one suffers, the other sympathises.

The days we endure may feel lengthy at times, but the years are short. Ever had the “OMG, that was never 3 years ago?!” moment? A special occasion or big event which feels like it happened just a little more than 24 hours ago, hits you with the reality of being 4 years ago. The nostalgia felt when discovering an old photo album – the different shades of hair, the members which occupy a space on that glossy piece of paper who no longer grace the earth with their feet, the years of your children which have passed by in all of what feels like a second and all the other things which have changed in your life between now and the moment in time which you are holding tightly between your fingers.  Continue reading

Week 3: Mindful Eating

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As you follow this Mindfulness course, I hope you are beginning to see more ways which you can begin to incorporate the concept of mindfulness into various aspects of your life. This week, I will be focusing on the idea of eating Mindfully.

What do you think ‘mindful eating‘ is? Have you ever heard of this concept before? Have you ever practiced eating mindfully, or is it something which you already do on a daily basis?

Wherever you stand in relation to mindful eating, be it a complete newcomer to the term, or a mindful eating master, I hope you are able to learn something from this post and deepen your understanding and ability to eat mindfully. If there is one thing which you take from reading my writing, let it be the power to listen to your body and the awareness it brings to your senses.

What is Mindful Eating?
Mindful eating relies upon using mindfulness meditation to reach a state of full attention to your experiences, cravings and physical cues when eating [1]. Regular engagement in this practice allows you to replace automatic thoughts and reactions with more Continue reading

Week 2: Mindfulness of Sounds, Thoughts and Emotions

mindfulMore often than not we go about our day scanning for sounds which we deem as important, privileging some sounds over others and brushing over the sounds we presume insignificant.

Lets take a phone-call for example, when you were anticipating hearing the voice being transmitted through the phone line did you notice the birds singing? The rustle of the newspaper as the person sitting beside you on the bus flips over the page?

Or, when you’re sat in a meeting and all of your attention is being directed towards the figure at the front of the room. Do your ears block out the sound of the car engines passing each other simultaneously on the road outside your office? Continue reading