A lot of people ask me if being vegan is really a reasonable thing to do. Of course, my answer is always going to be yes because I couldn’t imagine ever living any other way, but the majority of these questions stem from one of a few major concerns, one of which is cost.
There are a lot of people who believe that eating a vegan diet means breaking the bank every week just to sustain yourself, which is absolutely not true at all. In fact, eating a vegan diet can be one of the most cost efficient ways of eating, period. Just as Ellen Jones explains in her book Eat Vegan on $4.00 a Day: A Game Plan for the Budget Conscious Cook, eating vegan can be incredibly cheap. Buying beans, legumes, pasta, and nuts, and then supplementing that with fresh fruit and vegetables actually makes for a very cost efficient way of eating. Buying processed and pre-packaged meat substitutes, frozen meals, and snacks is, however, quite expensive. Daiya Mac and Cheese will forever be one of my favorite comfort foods, but at almost $5 a box, it’s not something I can justify buying all the time.
Another huge concern is availability of products. I often hear the complaint that buying vegan food isn’t reasonable because there isn’t a specialty store near their house and, just as I mentioned above, specialty stores are not necessary. The bulk of a vegan diet should not be frozen, processed, faux-meat items. While they’re great for the transitioning vegan (and the occasional meal here and there), these types of foods are going to be entirely too expensive to maintain a diet on. All local grocery stores will sell beans, rice, potatoes, vegetables, fruit, legumes, and pasta. This is the food that should make up the majority of your diet.
Being vegan does not have to mean driving 5 hours to a natural foods store and spending $30 a day on pre-packaged foods.