I've been interested to read posts by some of the other participants in the 7-Day Food Stamp Challenge indicating that they couldn't afford to buy fruits and vegetables on the food stamp budget. As a vegan, I know that it's not a matter of whether people can afford to buy produce or not, but rather a question as to what they choose to purchase instead, usually meat and dairy products.
Of the $34.18 that I spent on food for this challenge, $15.89 was spent on fresh fruits and vegetables. An additional $3.00 was spent on two cans of tomatoes with green chilies and a package containing six small packs of raisins, bringing the total amount I spent on all fruits and vegetables to $18.89, more than half of my $34.30 budget. Most of my protein came from beans and peanut butter, and I believe that I've eaten a healthy, varied diet during this challenge. Frankly, the foods I've eaten in the past six days are probably more healthy than the foods I usually eat.
For those who are looking for ways to follow a vegan diet as economically as possible, there are a couple of cookbooks that offer guidance.
Eat Vegan on $4 a Day: A Game Plan for the Budget Conscious Cook, by Ellen Jaffe Jones, contains not only low-cost recipes, but strategies for grocery shopping and cooking as well. Each recipe lists the cost per serving, and there's a nice mix of really simple recipes and those that require a little more work. I wish I'd had this book before I started the food stamp challenge!
Vegan on the Cheap: Great Recipes and Simple Strategies that Save You Time and Money, by Robin Robertson, contains 150 recipes that cost between 50 cents and $2.00 per serving. I don't have this cookbook, but I'm putting it on my holiday wish list.
You can also look on the Internet for inexpensive vegan recipes. Enter the words "cheap vegan recipes" into your search engine and a profusion of options will appear.
My grocery supply is starting to dwindle, but I have more than enough food to get me through tomorrow. Here's what I ate today:
For breakfast, I was tired of oatmeal and rice, so I sliced up my last yam and half an apple and sautéed them in a little oil, then sprinkled on some cinnamon sugar. I also have more vanilla rice milk than I'll need for tomorrow, so I accompanied my breakfast with a glass of rice milk.
My big meal of the day was at lunch time, since I had a class to attend between 6:00 and 8:00, which cut into my dinner time. So I recreated the potato, cabbage, and garlic hash that I liked so much the other day, spread peanut butter on the last of my celery, and cut up half an orange into wedges. My beverage, as usual, was iced tea with lemon.
Dinner, when I got home from class, was leftover minestrone soup, half an apple cut into slices, and a glass of ice water.
One more day!