I have been vegan now for a year and it’s been one of the toughest journeys I have undertaken in my life. I essentially thought it would be a breeze to cut out the meat but it proved to be tougher than what I initially thought. I often found myself craving meat, overeating, and coping with junk food versus actually sticking to my goal of successfully transitioning into veganism full-time.
I decided to embark on the journey for a number of reasons; one of the primary reasons was an ethical reason. I had learned of factory farming and the abusive treatment of animals, which kept bringing up to my mind, “You are what you eat,” and I don’t want to really identify as a pig who just eats anything from grits to shit. Nah, fam that’s not my life. I often found it hard to get others to see the light; many of my friends, grown-ass men at that, only ate meat and rarely ate veggies or fruits. When I try to open them up to the light I often get dismissed, yet their health often was on the decline despite my knowledge on the benefits of even just adding more vegetables in their diet. But they’ll learn!
As for you, you clicked this article because you are a vegan looking for motivation, or a person who is curious about going vegan and more than likely have a friend like me who’s telling you to make the switch. While I did find it hard to maintain this life change, I kept in mind several long-term benefits that come along with just going vegan. While I do identify as a Vegan, it’s mostly practiced in my food intake versus my overall lifestyle (clothes, tech, everyday items, etc.). I do intend on fixing that and I will be covering some of the benefits in a later post, but I will mainly focus on food and health because that’s where I have experienced most of the growth.
You Can Save More Money on Groceries!
As a young, single male with a moderate income, the first thing I learned when becoming vegan is finding methods on making this experience affordable for me. So I took plenty of time researching ways on saving money by going vegan, most of which was stalking the YouTube channels such as Cheap Lazy Vegan, Urban Black Vegan, and Vegan Hustle for money-saving methods. I took plenty of notes and researched all of the grocery stores within five minutes of me and made my move.
Prior to quitting animal products, I was already a thrifty eater, spending no more than $30-40 dollars a week on groceries, which would cover me for the week. However, 60 percent of the “food” in that would be microwaved, with the rest being things I would cook whenever I had a taste for something specific. Because I didn’t want to consume any of that junk, I opt to buy fresh ingredients (excluding sauces and seasons) to prepare as a way to challenge myself with what I can do with $30 dollars. I managed to buy a week’s worth of food, most times even spending less and having more food!
Pro Tip: Grocery chains like Aldi and Trader Joe’s, sell organic produce at rates lower than Wal-Mart and Whole Foods. I’ve walked out of Aldi once spending less than ten bucks!
A great money-saving method I learned was the power of two ingredient meals. Like, you have no idea how much time and money I saved by creating simple meals that were just as filling as any big meal. A great way to execute this is to plan your meals in advance; think about having three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner,) with multiple servings that you can alternate throughout the week. Also consider making meals to save for later and cook quickly, like frozen burger patties and pancakes. However, certain meals need to be eaten within a few days of being prepared.
Which brings me to my next point!
You Can Eat Raw or Cooked Food!
One of the greatest benefits of going vegan is the ability to save time on food prep. Traditionally, when eating meats you can only cook, because eating it raw or undercooked you put yourself at risk of getting diseases like E. Coli and other foodborne illnesses, whereas with veganism, it's almost rare that you would get sick from food based on how it’s prepared.
From my experience, I get more joy from eating cooked foods than I do from raw fruits and vegetables, mainly due to the fact that I like to mix what I have to make something completely new! Well, believe it or not, you can make full course meals without cooking them, I have tried countless recipes that taste amazing, and even had me consider converting to raw-veganism full-time (I’ll dedicate a post to that in the future).
Pro Tip: Eating vegan food can be super filling. In fact, you can eat a lot of it without getting the "bloated" feeling, whereas you can feel overstuffed from eating non-vegan foods. Beware, eating too much can still put on weight despite not "feeling" full.
The beautiful thing about eating raw fruits and vegetables is that all the nutrients and vitamins remain intact, whereas cooking anything (animals included) destroys a good percent of the vital nutrients that are present in your food. So, even if you’re just eating an apple, you’ll be getting 100 percent of all its benefits rather than cooking it and getting 50 percent of it.
You Can (Re)Grow Your Own Food!
Yes, you read that correctly. You can grow your own foods!
Granted, you would have to buy the proper supplies first, but what’s beautiful about this is you can use the scraps from your food to regrow it over time. You can’t do that with chicken bones, can you? There are various methods to grow your food. This method is called propagating.
Propagating plants is quite easy and can take a few weeks to a couple of months to fully develop into what you need. Some of the most common plants to propagate include Avocado, Basil, Celery, Garlic, Sage, Rosemary, Mint, and Tomatoes.
A popular way to propagate your foods is to let them soak in water until you see them sprouting roots out the bottom, which should usually take a few weeks. Then you can either keep it in there or transfer it to soil. It is really that simple! This goes back to the first reason of saving money on your groceries. Granted, you won’t immediately be able to cook with it, but over time you can skip going to the grocery store and just go to your backyard and grab whatever you need to make for your meals.