Unfortunately, how much it cost really do vary by where you live. The staples are nice and cheap—rice, beans, frozen and canned veggies, oats, certain fresh produce when cheap—but for ppl with dietary restrictions, it’s a lot harder. For us, it was actually cheaper, since things like tofu are cheaper per pound, and we moved to somewhere we have access to more food.
And you don’t need to buy fancy cheeses or fake meats if you don’t want to, since that’s where a lot of the expense comes from.
When it comes to veggies, think about any veggie or preparation style you’ve ever had that you’ve liked. Like, I used to think I hated veggies. Turns out, it’s just cuz my momma can’t cook lol. She’d boil frozen or microwave from-canned and be done. Sautéing or roasting tends to be much more tasty. And of course, you gotta figure out what seasonings and flavors you like.
There’s also meals you already like that are vegan or easily veganized! Enchiladas are really easily veganized at home, and a ton of delicious Chinese food is too. Think about what dishes and sides you already like, and see if there’s any easy swaps you can make. Butter goes to different oils, cow milk can be replaced with almond milk or soy milk a lot of times, eggs have a billion subs online! Noodles and sauce like spaghetti—which is also a great way to get extra veggies in.
I like to get the protein pasta/noodles or the veggie pasta/noodles when I can find them for cheap, it adds a little more beautiful color and a little more nutrition too :)
I think it’s great to just do as much harm reduction as you can, even if you can’t commit to vegetarianism or veganism. Just doing less meats and more ‘side’ dishes is a great way to start, or choosing vanilla almond milk (sweetened or unsweetened) for your cereal instead of cow breastmilk. You can even get shelf stable almond milk!
Doing Meatless Mondays is really great, especially if you can do it multiple days a week.
I also think that a lot of people believe they cannot afford to be or cannot safely be vegan or vegetarian. But a lot of it is legit propaganda—of course these huge multi trillion dollar companies don’t want you to stop buying their products!
Being vegan on the cheap is a lot easier if you don’t have to rely on prepared foods, something that a lot of people can’t do unfortunately.
When it comes to the accessibility of veganism and vegetarianism, I’d say it’s one of those, you won’t know if you don’t try. So many people say they can’t, and believe it, and just don’t bother to do harm reduction. So they say, I can’t be vegetarian because I have this medical condition.
But then they won’t bother to do as little harm as they reasonably can, just by simply reducing how much meat they’re consuming, how much dairy they’re consuming, how many eggs they’re consuming.
Very few people are willing to honestly consider whether it’s something they can do better about, and I was one of those people. It’s a real shame tbh.