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Old 10-19-2012, 09:43 AM
 
286 posts, read 350,289 times
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Hi everyone!

I've been trying to convert to vegetarianism for the past couple of years now. The longest I've gone meatless is about 5 months, but then my body starts craving meat and I ashamedly always give in. I've tried to go completely vegetarian about 8 times already, but I always fail.

Lately, I have been really struggling with myself. I'm tired of trying and always failing. I want to make the switch once and for all. I am completely against factory farming, and every time I see meat, I don't see it as meat but as a dead animal. I can't justify eating meat anymore, no matter how much my body craves it.

I've slowly been trying to eliminate meat from my diet, but I'm having a hard time. Right now, when I do consume meat, it's always organic. My mom is awesome and always buys organic meat for me.

However, I am a full time college student while also working 32 hours a week. The days that I have class, I always come home and throw something quick in the microwave, since I have about 45 minutes from the time I get home until the time I have to leave for class. Also, my budget is kind of tight, since I'm putting myself through school and I have a lot of my own expenses.

So my question is...is it easy and possible to become full vegetarian while in school and on a limited budget? I want to make time to learn to cook certain things, but time isn't really always on my side. Can anybody give me any tips on how to make this transition a little easier? I hope to be transitioned by the end of the year.

This has been incredibly difficult for me, especially since I keep hearing that if I go fully vegetarian, I won't be able to afford it. That is an issue, since my income is so limited.

Any tips and advice is so greatly appreciated. Thanks!!
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Old 10-19-2012, 11:21 AM
 
Location: AZ
741 posts, read 1,382,787 times
Reputation: 1458
Congrats on your decision to become vegetarian! There are a lot of youtube videos regarding this subject and I suggest looking up websites that can help also..

Personally, I have found that I spend way less money on food as a vegan than as a meat-eater. Meat is expensive!

What helps me to stay in my budget..just some general tips:

Buy a lot of canned beans..they are not only cheap but they have the protein that you need.. You can cook up some canned beans with some olive oil..spices such as paprika, maybe some chopped up parsley and onions..whatever you prefer..and you can eat the beans mixed with pasta or on top of rice..delicious!

Hummus..yummy and cheaper than meat

nuts.. when I'm extra broke I even rely on peanuts for protein

Since you are vegetarian and not vegan, that laves the door wide open to a LOT of options for you with yogurt/cheese/etc

OH..I almost forgot..refried beans and tortillas..VERY CHEAP and protein filled..

Good luck!

One more thing..Make sure that you are taking a vitamin B12 supplement
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Old 10-19-2012, 11:30 AM
 
286 posts, read 350,289 times
Reputation: 395
Quote:
Originally Posted by LuciaMomof6 View Post
Congrats on your decision to become vegetarian! There are a lot of youtube videos regarding this subject and I suggest looking up websites that can help also..

Personally, I have found that I spend way less money on food as a vegan than as a meat-eater. Meat is expensive!

What helps me to stay in my budget..just some general tips:

Buy a lot of canned beans..they are not only cheap but they have the protein that you need.. You can cook up some canned beans with some olive oil..spices such as paprika, maybe some chopped up parsley and onions..whatever you prefer..and you can eat the beans mixed with pasta or on top of rice..delicious!

Hummus..yummy and cheaper than meat

nuts.. when I'm extra broke I even rely on peanuts for protein

Since you are vegetarian and not vegan, that laves the door wide open to a LOT of options for you with yogurt/cheese/etc

OH..I almost forgot..refried beans and tortillas..VERY CHEAP and protein filled..

Good luck!

One more thing..Make sure that you are taking a vitamin B12 supplement
Thanks!! I have been researching it so I can finally make the switch and not look back! I've just been getting discouraged!

Thanks for the tips on different kinds of foods! I'll have to try some of your suggestions!

I can't drink regular milk (it tastes disgusting and always has this weird taste and smell), so I use this store brand soy milk that is DELICIOUS...it's organic and only costs $2.69! WAY cheaper than regular milk, so that's a plus!

I'm not a big fan of beans, but will eat them instead of meat. I've been trying to acquire a taste for beans. I do like them a bit more than I used to, but it's still a struggle for me.

Is it a good idea to cook on the weekends and make enough so I can heat up some veggie meals during the week? Is that even possible? I hate to rely on the meat substitutes, because they are so processed. I do enjoy the occasional veggie burger though!
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Old 10-19-2012, 11:44 AM
 
Location: AZ
741 posts, read 1,382,787 times
Reputation: 1458
I do think that it is possible to cook a giant pot/pan of veggies and eat the leftovers throughout the week! I forgot to mention tofu..
You are cooking dried beans? That's even better and more economical!
I buy soy milk at Costco..I find it to be the cheapest..

Do you have a Trader Joe's near you? They have a LOT of great items and aren't too expensive! have a great weekend!
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Old 10-19-2012, 12:50 PM
 
Location: Prospect, KY
5,288 posts, read 17,889,931 times
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I cook soup bases, soups and stews, quinoa and black rice and put them in the freezer in separate containers - I saute veggies (I use vegetable stock), defrost the soup base and one of the grains, mix everything together along with fresh herbs and sometimes a sliced avocado and I have dinner very quickly....and it is very cheap. Cooking a pot of lentils, different kinds of beans and grains, soups, stews and soup bases - that is the cheaptest yet. Just spend an afternoon making a few things and freezing them - then defrost as needed and supplement with a green salad, fresh tomatoes and cucumber, a few garbanzos. Making your own beans, lentils and grains is much healthier and cheaper than buying canned stuff.

Buying processed fake meat and other processed food is expensive and I'm not wild about eating all the stuff they put into those processed foods....make real food and you will be healthier and spend less.

I also agree that vegan or vegetarian tostadas are delicious - I microwave the corn tortillas - about 2 to 3 minutes and they get super crisp without all the fat of frying....add spicy vegetarian fat free refried beans, sauted peppers and onions, avocado or guacamole, salsa and fresh cilantro (I buy one bunch a week, wash and blot it and put it in a zip lock baggie with some paper towels and it keeps a week)....I squeeze some fresh lime over the tostado also. I am vegan and don't use any cheese but you certainly could. I try to minimize fat at all times.
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Old 10-19-2012, 06:28 PM
 
Location: In a house
13,258 posts, read 36,153,288 times
Reputation: 20198
You could probably make a pretty awesome jambalaya, using hard tofu instead of sausage.

Also, if you're avoiding meat, but not eggs or dairy, you could easily stay healthy, and very inexpensively with a daily 1.5-egg omelet. Basically you buy normal free-range eggs (around $4.00/dozen), and one of those little pint containers of organic eggwhite. Crack an egg, and add a single serving of the eggwhite, to make your omelet, add some cheese, and sautee a shallot in there with a diced organic tomato and maybe a few sliced mushrooms.

That right there is all the fat, protein, vitamin B12, C, and a bunch of other nutrients, that constitute a full lunch. Add a tossed salad, and a slice of honey-wheat toast and you've got a full course dinner instead. All for under $2.00 per meal. The tomato would be the most expensive thing, really, and if you get a nice big one, close to 3/4 pound, it'll last you a few days.

When you deal with canned foods, watch your sodium intake. With beans, it's easy - just dump them in a pasta strainer and run some tapwater over them before you do anything with them.

You can make some awesome vegetable soup; a simple tomato base, with white beans and lima beans and carrots and potatoes and brocolli rabe or kale or even spinach, plenty of garlic, a bit of celery and then add a smidge of chili powder (that's a great secret ingredient for just about anything). Simmer it all for a good long time (or slow-cook in a crockpot). Add water if it's too thick, add a little tomato paste if it's too thin, and freeze in single-serve containers. You can make enough to have a full bowl of it every other day for two weeks (don't eat it every day or you'll get sick of it). You should be able to do this for around $10, which comes to around $2/serving. Serve with a chunk of crusty french bread, and have some yogurt with blueberries in it for dessert. Hearty cheap vegetarian eats (assuming dairy is acceptable).
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Old 10-19-2012, 08:00 PM
 
Location: Tampa
1,236 posts, read 4,028,384 times
Reputation: 943
There is a vegan book called "eat vegan on $4 a day" by Ellen Jaffe Jones. The book costs $15. I just bought it, so I don't know how the recipes are. A friend of mine has it and says the recipes are good.

There are things you can do to make eating cheaper. Don't buy can beans. It is much cheaper to do it yourself. Salad, don't buy the prepared bags. Buy the romaine lettuce and cut it yourself. The meat alternatives are expensive, so stay away from those. As far as nuts, shop around. Keep an eye out of places that sell them cheaper. For example, I have access to Whole Foods and smaller health food stores. I priced walnuts by the pound at WF and they were charging $19.99 per lbs. The smaller health food store charges $9.99 for the same thing. See if you have a Trader Joe's near you. They tend to be more reasonably priced.
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Old 10-20-2012, 06:07 AM
 
Location: Volcano
12,971 posts, read 23,489,817 times
Reputation: 10573
Tips for poor... avoid buying packaged or processed foods. When shopping for produce, see if the store has a cart with marked down produce... fruit and veggies that are less than 100% perfect looking. Not every store does this, but where they do you can often get perfectly good food for a fraction of the normal price.

Tips for busy... do batch cooking on slower days, preparing multiple meals at the same time that you can just grab and go on busy days. See the other current threads on this.
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Old 10-20-2012, 09:37 AM
 
Location: In a house
13,258 posts, read 36,153,288 times
Reputation: 20198
Also if you don't already have one, invest in a crock pot. You can dump ingredients into the pot, turn it on in the morning, do -nothing- else, and dinner will be served by the time you get home from school. With leftovers to freeze and/or refrigerate to last you for one meal per day for a week.
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Old 10-20-2012, 02:33 PM
 
Location: Charleston, SC (West Ashley)
1,372 posts, read 1,665,156 times
Reputation: 302
Not a college student, but I'm 27 and still on a budget. I like to make quesadillas a lot. Tortillas are cheap, salsa, guac (healthy fats), then bagged spinach or whatever other veggies you like. I buy a ton of bagged spinach and eat lots of it. That also helps with your iron levels, make sure those are up as well as B-12. Just buying what's in season can help too.

Kudos to you for trying vegetarianism. If you want meat though, eat it. Don't feel like you have to fit a mold with it, by following a plant based diet you're already taking care of your body. I do occasionally eat shrimp or seafood and at family gatherings, I kinda just eat what I want without questioning if things are truly vegetarian and not cooked with animal fat or meat, just because I'd rather enjoy that time with the family.
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