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Cheap Vegan Grocery List 
Since the Cheap Vegan Pantry article has been so popular, I am (by request) following up with a Cheap Vegan Grocery List. Here I’ll explain the different strategies I use and items I buy to stay healthy on a budget.
When you go to the grocery store, have in mind what percentage of what types of food you plan to buy. This should mirror your ideal plate of food. My goal is to eat mostly whole foods (foods that have not been processed), as many organic foods as I can afford to splurge on, and as little sugar and processed foods as possible. Besides obvious sugar like corn syrup, sugars also include white bread/pasta, anything made with white flour.
Once you have mentally prepared yourself for grocery shopping, you start from the bottom up. I shop at a few different sources to get what I need for the best bargain. Luckily, all of these places are walking distance to my house. But do what works best for you! If you’d rather only go to only one place, that might be more valuable than the $10-20 bucks you save a week going to multiple stores.
Start Literally Dirt-cheapTo start, check your garden. Whether you’re just planting some herbs or you have a whole veggie garden, there’s nothing better than home-grown food. As Ron Finley says, “Planting your own food is like printing your own money …plus you get strawberries.”
If you happen to get to a farmers market, check out their $1 rack. Often times they’ll have good deals of food they have too much of.
Figuratively Dirt CheapNext I go to the 99cent and up store—and I know what you’re thinking, we just went from the garden to the dollar store, but I’m broke people! …plus they’re really not all that bad. Especially here in Los Angeles! People tend to get sketched out by the dollar store but you just have to use common sense. If something looks a little suspect, don’t buy it. A lot of the food is even the same brand as what you’d get at a grocery store, just overstock.
At the 99c store I buy:
Romaine Lettuce
Any pre-cut, easy to prepare veggies that look good (ex. Shredded purple cabbage, carrots, etc.)
Salsa
Tortilla Chips
Canned beans (at my location they have a variety of organic beans for a buck!)
Corn Tortillas
Canned Tomato Sauce/Diced tomatoes
Random canned goods I might need
Soy Milk
Brown Rice
Oatmeal
If I needed anything else I couldn’t find at the dollar store my next stop is usually my local…
The Mexican Super Market!In LA I go to JON’s in Chicago I went to Devon Market, but most cities have their own Mexican supermarkets where you can get produce for a little cheaper.
Here I buy:Bananas
Apples
Cucumbers
Bell Peppers
Any other produce I have a recipe in mind for
Frozen Veggies
Almond Milk
Cereal
Nuts
Baking Items
Whole grain pastas
 Lastly, if I’m feeling a little fancy, having a craving, or just can’t find it at those two places, I go to…
The Bougie spots: Trader Joes and Whole Foods
Where I get…
Tempeh
Tofu
Low sugarGranola (a lot of times granola has just as much sugar as cereal like frosted flakes or cocoa pebbles)Dr. Praegers veggie burgers (where their motto is making the ingredients recognizable)
Trader Joe’s Tomatillo and Roasted Yellow Chilli Salsa (because it’s BOMB)
Nutritional Yeast
Natural Peanut Butter
Natural Almond Butter
Ezikiel Bread
…any little things that I can afford to splurge on
Extra tips…
Always look for bargains. If there is a discount rack, start there, then move to the sections you would usually go to and keep looking for deals. If you’re afraid you can’t eat the 2 for 1 case of fruit, remember freezing. You can always save it for a smoothie or banana whip later! Same goes for canned goods and non-perishable foods. Sometimes buying in bulk can save you some cash in the long run. 
I thought vegan food was expensive…A big misconception about being vegan, and why many think it’s so expensive to eat a plant-based diet, is because of the processed foods that are catered to vegan consumers. Foods like Tofurky, Boca Burgers, Amy’s frozen dinners, daiya, and other pre-made vegan “meats” and “cheeses” are simply more expensive than produce AND worse than that, they’re not as healthy! It’s easy to be a healthy cheap vegan, but start throwing in processed foods and sugars and you start to dive into expensive territory. So make the healthier and less expensive choice and eat your whole fruits and veggies!

Cheap Vegan Grocery List 

Since the Cheap Vegan Pantry article has been so popular, I am (by request) following up with a Cheap Vegan Grocery List. Here I’ll explain the different strategies I use and items I buy to stay healthy on a budget.

When you go to the grocery store, have in mind what percentage of what types of food you plan to buy. This should mirror your ideal plate of food. My goal is to eat mostly whole foods (foods that have not been processed), as many organic foods as I can afford to splurge on, and as little sugar and processed foods as possible. Besides obvious sugar like corn syrup, sugars also include white bread/pasta, anything made with white flour.

Once you have mentally prepared yourself for grocery shopping, you start from the bottom up. I shop at a few different sources to get what I need for the best bargain. Luckily, all of these places are walking distance to my house. But do what works best for you! If you’d rather only go to only one place, that might be more valuable than the $10-20 bucks you save a week going to multiple stores.

Start Literally Dirt-cheap
To start, check your garden. Whether you’re just planting some herbs or you have a whole veggie garden, there’s nothing better than home-grown food. As Ron Finley says, “Planting your own food is like printing your own money …plus you get strawberries.”

If you happen to get to a farmers market, check out their $1 rack. Often times they’ll have good deals of food they have too much of.

Figuratively Dirt Cheap
Next I go to the 99cent and up store—and I know what you’re thinking, we just went from the garden to the dollar store, but I’m broke people! …plus they’re really not all that bad. Especially here in Los Angeles! People tend to get sketched out by the dollar store but you just have to use common sense. If something looks a little suspect, don’t buy it. A lot of the food is even the same brand as what you’d get at a grocery store, just overstock.

At the 99c store I buy:

  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Any pre-cut, easy to prepare veggies that look good (ex. Shredded purple cabbage, carrots, etc.)
  • Salsa
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Canned beans (at my location they have a variety of organic beans for a buck!)
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Canned Tomato Sauce/Diced tomatoes
  • Random canned goods I might need
  • Soy Milk
  • Brown Rice
  • Oatmeal

If I needed anything else I couldn’t find at the dollar store my next stop is usually my local…

The Mexican Super Market!
In LA I go to JON’s in Chicago I went to Devon Market, but most cities have their own Mexican supermarkets where you can get produce for a little cheaper.

Here I buy:
Bananas

  • Apples
  • Cucumbers
  • Bell Peppers
  • Any other produce I have a recipe in mind for
  • Frozen Veggies
  • Almond Milk
  • Cereal
  • Nuts
  • Baking Items
  • Whole grain pastas

 Lastly, if I’m feeling a little fancy, having a craving, or just can’t find it at those two places, I go to…

The Bougie spots: Trader Joes and Whole Foods

Where I get…

  • Tempeh
  • Tofu
  • Low sugarGranola (a lot of times granola has just as much sugar as cereal like frosted flakes or cocoa pebbles)
    Dr. Praegers veggie burgers (where their motto is making the ingredients recognizable)
  • Trader Joe’s Tomatillo and Roasted Yellow Chilli Salsa (because it’s BOMB)
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Natural Peanut Butter
  • Natural Almond Butter
  • Ezikiel Bread

…any little things that I can afford to splurge on

Extra tips…

Always look for bargains. If there is a discount rack, start there, then move to the sections you would usually go to and keep looking for deals. If you’re afraid you can’t eat the 2 for 1 case of fruit, remember freezing. You can always save it for a smoothie or banana whip later! Same goes for canned goods and non-perishable foods. Sometimes buying in bulk can save you some cash in the long run. 

I thought vegan food was expensive…
A big misconception about being vegan, and why many think it’s so expensive to eat a plant-based diet, is because of the processed foods that are catered to vegan consumers. Foods like Tofurky, Boca Burgers, Amy’s frozen dinners, daiya, and other pre-made vegan “meats” and “cheeses” are simply more expensive than produce AND worse than that, they’re not as healthy! It’s easy to be a healthy cheap vegan, but start throwing in processed foods and sugars and you start to dive into expensive territory. So make the healthier and less expensive choice and eat your whole fruits and veggies!

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Check out this fan photo from @yvonnerachelle following the New Orleans Style Beans and Rice Recipe from the Cheap Vegan Archive!
Quick Cooking Tips for Dried Beans
Soak overnight - this will prep your beans for cooking and also leech out some of the chemicals that give you gas.
Add Other Ingredients - Beans and rice are good, but beans, peppers, onions, garlic, celery, etc. etc… is better!
Don’t add salt until the very end!!! - This rule is super important! Adding salt before the beans have softened can make for gritty beans.

Check out this fan photo from @yvonnerachelle following the New Orleans Style Beans and Rice Recipe from the Cheap Vegan Archive!

Quick Cooking Tips for Dried Beans

  1. Soak overnight - this will prep your beans for cooking and also leech out some of the chemicals that give you gas.
  2. Add Other Ingredients - Beans and rice are good, but beans, peppers, onions, garlic, celery, etc. etc… is better!
  3. Don’t add salt until the very end!!! - This rule is super important! Adding salt before the beans have softened can make for gritty beans.
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Shout out to CVS for promoting Healthy Living over Profits!

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Today is Cheap Vegan’s 2nd Birthday!!!
Thanks to all of the readers, new and old, that keep inspiring me to write more post and are open to learning about their food and investing in their health.Stay healthy, compassionate, and un-broke!Love,
MadisonCheap Vegan

Today is Cheap Vegan’s 2nd Birthday!!!

Thanks to all of the readers, new and old, that keep inspiring me to write more post and are open to learning about their food and investing in their health.

Stay healthy, compassionate, and un-broke!

Love,

Madison
Cheap Vegan

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Rocket to Healthy Eating!Thoughtful gifts for thoughtful people
I recently was given a gift certificate to a vegan restaurant in LA called Sage. The gift came in a cute card with a personal message from the sender wishing me a happy holidays. It was printed from home on a piece of paper and it told me to go to the Gift Rocket website to redeem my gift. Once I got there I realized that this wasn’t your ordinary gift card, and that I could receive the amount on the card by direct deposit, check, credit card, or pay pal with no obligation to follow the sender’s suggestion.
While I personally will still take a visit to Sage, I thought this was a great way to give a thoughtful yet not limiting monetary gift. With Gift Rocket, you still get to show you put thought into your present but you’re not confining the recipient to spend it all in one place.
Just wanted to share this super cool service as a great way to promote the gift of healthy eating for any cheap vegan!

Rocket to Healthy Eating!
Thoughtful gifts for thoughtful people

I recently was given a gift certificate to a vegan restaurant in LA called Sage. The gift came in a cute card with a personal message from the sender wishing me a happy holidays. It was printed from home on a piece of paper and it told me to go to the Gift Rocket website to redeem my gift. Once I got there I realized that this wasn’t your ordinary gift card, and that I could receive the amount on the card by direct deposit, check, credit card, or pay pal with no obligation to follow the sender’s suggestion.

While I personally will still take a visit to Sage, I thought this was a great way to give a thoughtful yet not limiting monetary gift. With Gift Rocket, you still get to show you put thought into your present but you’re not confining the recipient to spend it all in one place.

Just wanted to share this super cool service as a great way to promote the gift of healthy eating for any cheap vegan!

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Merry Christmas from Cheap Vegan <3

Merry Christmas from Cheap Vegan <3

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Garden Critters are No Laughing Matter!
HOW TO KEEP PESTS OUT OF YOUR GARDEN without hurting them :)
I recently have been plagued with mysterious garden critters! All of my Asian Greens have been eaten to the stalks and my beloved November strawberries were totally annihilated. But I found some cruelty-free/organic ways to keep out bugs, birds, and critters of the urban garden.
Cayenne Pepper - This worked great for me. Turned off by the spicy flavor, sprinkling cayenne pepper on your plants and soil keeps bugs and other animals from eating it.
Mirrors/Shiny things - Birds are cautious of getting close to shiny things because they mistake it for fire. Throw some pin wheels or old CDs in your garden for style and protection.
Dog hair - Little critters don&#8217;t want to mess with big ol&#8217; a dog, they&#8217;d much rather steal trash from the dumpster than risk a close encounter with a K9. If you have a big garden just let your pup run around out there. If you have a small garden like me, next time you brush your dog&#8217;s hair, sprinkle some of it on the edges of your garden.
Plant Anti-bug plants - For example, Marigold and basil are great pest deterrents because bugs don&#8217;t like the smell.
Coffee Grinds - Like me, some pests bug out when they have too much caffeine, sprinkle caffeinated coffee grinds around to protect plants and is also good adding minerals back to your soil!

Garden Critters are No Laughing Matter!

HOW TO KEEP PESTS OUT OF YOUR GARDEN without hurting them :)

I recently have been plagued with mysterious garden critters! All of my Asian Greens have been eaten to the stalks and my beloved November strawberries were totally annihilated. But I found some cruelty-free/organic ways to keep out bugs, birds, and critters of the urban garden.

  1. Cayenne Pepper - This worked great for me. Turned off by the spicy flavor, sprinkling cayenne pepper on your plants and soil keeps bugs and other animals from eating it.
  2. Mirrors/Shiny things - Birds are cautious of getting close to shiny things because they mistake it for fire. Throw some pin wheels or old CDs in your garden for style and protection.
  3. Dog hair - Little critters don’t want to mess with big ol’ a dog, they’d much rather steal trash from the dumpster than risk a close encounter with a K9. If you have a big garden just let your pup run around out there. If you have a small garden like me, next time you brush your dog’s hair, sprinkle some of it on the edges of your garden.
  4. Plant Anti-bug plants - For example, Marigold and basil are great pest deterrents because bugs don’t like the smell.
  5. Coffee Grinds - Like me, some pests bug out when they have too much caffeine, sprinkle caffeinated coffee grinds around to protect plants and is also good adding minerals back to your soil!
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Homemade pumpkin spice banana whip ice cream
Learn how to make a Banana whip Here!
You can make any flavor, but to make pumpkin pie you just add 1 and a half bananas, 2-3 tbsp Pumpkin puree, a 1/2 tsp of Pumpkin Pie spice and a splash of soy milk.
It&#8217;s amamzing.

Homemade pumpkin spice banana whip ice cream

Learn how to make a Banana whip Here!

You can make any flavor, but to make pumpkin pie you just add 1 and a half bananas, 2-3 tbsp Pumpkin puree, a 1/2 tsp of Pumpkin Pie spice and a splash of soy milk.

It’s amamzing.

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Fall Food❤
Roasted brussel sprouts w apples and garlic, acorn squash with diced apples and oven baked white beans. mmmmmm&#8230;.. 

Fall Food

Roasted brussel sprouts w apples and garlic, acorn squash with diced apples and oven baked white beans. mmmmmm….. 

Photoset

Cooking for the Work-Week!

No more excuses for spending $50 a week on take-out! It’s time to work for your food and cook for yourself in advance.

I just started a new job and I’m learning that it really is hard to find the time to cook delicious/nutritious/cheap meals every single day, 3 meals a day. It’s so much easier to just get take out during your lunch break or on your drive to or from work. However the Cheap Vegan can not survive financially by eating out multiple meals a week. To keep your budget low you have to depend on some home cookin’.

Which is why we need to start cooking meals in advance! 

Here are some tips on cooking your weeks’ meals on the weekend:

  1. Cook meals that won’t get boring.
    Since you probably won’t be cooking too many more meals for yourself during the work week, try to think of food that you are always excited to eat. You don’t want to cook a giant batch of something just to get sick of it by Wednesday.
  2. Versatility. 
    Both nutritional and functional versatility is important when deciding what to cook. You want to make sure that you aren’t only eating one type of vegetable and that your meal can be altered to keep it interesting. A great example is vegetable stew (pictured above). It has a variety of different veggies and can be served alongside potatoes, kale, rice, or hearty bread.
    Another option is making a few sides that you can combine in different ways to create different meals. A batch of rice, a batch of beans, and a few vegetable choices can give you lots of variety depending what sauces and spices you add when you heat it up.
  3. Won’t Spoil.
    While cucumber/avocado sushi might sound delicious, chances are it’s going to start browning by Wednesday or Thursday. Try to think of recipes that will stay appetizing throughout the week. Tip: foods that stew into themselves are a good starting point.
    (ex: soup, beans, tomato sauce)
     
  4. Work Friendly.
    Since you are bringing this to work and will probably have to be around other people, try not to bring overly pungent foods or foods that are hard to transport. 
  5. Think Big!
    The bigger the batch you make over the weekend, the less you have to do during the week. Think of recipes that you can make in large quantities without too much effort. Soups or a chopped salad are great choices.

Meal Ideas: