Dr. Achyuthan Eswar - 20 March 2021
How do we stick to a
plant based diet
on a budget?
Plant-based Doesn't Have to be Expensive
Plant-based diets are gaining popularity all across India. Our diabetes epidemic, coupled with the fact that heart disease is our number one killer, is encouraging more Indian to turn towards permanent solutions.
However, one of the first questions that people raise is the price.
Cashew, pista, and tofu may seem unaffordable for the common man. But a few simple steps can help you save costs while eating delicious and healthy meals everyday. We often feel its a competition between budget and health, but that doesn't have to be the case. We CAN have the best of both worlds
Whole Food Plant Based eating can be cheaper than you think. Fruits and vegetables are light on the pocket. Brown rice, whole wheat and dal are easily available monthly staples that can be cheap when bought in bulk. When you center your diet around these foods, you can definitely spend less than a meat or dairy rich diet.
Plant Based Diet Doesn't have to be expensive
7 tips to easily stick to a plant based diet on a budget:
Shop Local & Seasonal. Every week, there may a new vegetable and fruit that has become less expensive, as the seasons change. Ask your shopkeeper for seasonal, local fruits and vegetables every week. Focus your fresh produce purchase on these items to shop for low cost plant based produce.
Fresh, Not Processed. As a thumb rule, unprocessed foods are healthier than processed foods. Often, they can be cheaper too. For example, baking your own chips is cheaper than buying baked chips in a packet. Rolling out your own rotis is cheaper than buying packaged rotis.
Buy in Bulk. It is no secret that wholesale prices are always less than retail prices. Most stores offer a discount purchases made in bulk. For example, choose one kg of peanut butter like we offer at SampoornaAhara.com rather than just 200 grams of it to save on costs. You know you're going to use it all in a few weeks' time anyway!
Plan in Advance. Dr. Greger's Daily Dozen is a great tool to use for planning your weekly shopping. It is a checklist of foods to consume daily for optimal health and longevity. Many of us miss out on eating greens everyday, for example. Green leafy vegetables like spinach / palak, dill leaves, and amaranthus leaves can also be some of the cheapest foods out there. If you have your Daily Dozen App handy, you may find it easier to choose less expensive, yet super healthy plant foods every time you shop. This is how our Economy Weekly Packages at our sister initiative FarmFreshBangalore.com are planned, with a low budget in spite of being chemical-free and 100% whole food plant based.
Ditch Dairy. Animal foods, including meat, fish, eggs, honey and dairy products like milk, curds, ghee, butter, buttermilk, cheese, yogurt, paneer, and cream can be a drain on your monthly budget. You may not realise it until you stop buying milk, but just avoiding dairy could help cut your monthly food budget by quite a bit.
Avoid Oil. There are some expenses you take for granted, like oil - and medical bills. You may feel there isn't much you can do about these, but when you stop spending on oil and other processed foods like white rice, maida, sugar and jaggery, you may find that your medical bills reduce too! Plant-based diets have been shown to help treat and potentially reverse common chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity for a majority of people.
Grow Your Own Food. Take Fresh Food to the next level by growing your own herbs! A garden space could grown enough and more vegetables for one or two people for most days of the week. Even if you don't have a backyard or garden patch, you can still grow herbs easily in your balcony or even your kitchen window sill. Imagine having a fresh sprig of basil within arm's reach when you are ready to garnish your yummy bowl of plant-based cheese pasta! Nothing can beat this cheap yet delicious and healthy garnish. Head over to our sister initiative UrbanMali.com to get started with your own edible home garden.
Tips to make WFPB eating inexpensive.
These tips can help you get started with low cost, yet healthier eating even if you are not yet ready to take the plunge. I hope these tips help you experience all the health benefits a whole food plant based diet can give you more easily!
Dr. Achyuthan Eswar.
Founder, Sampoorna Ahara, India's First Whole Food Plant Based Kitchen
Founder, Nutrition Science, India's First Whole Food Plant Based School