Vegan Halloween Treats!

I am so excited to post this today. Not only because Halloween is right around the corner, but also because all of these Halloween treats are recipes brought to you by my very first guest blogger!

Nyri Yaghoobian has been vegan for 8 years, and vegetarian for a year prior to that. Her decision to change her diet came about as she became more aware of what she was eating and how the end product got on her plate.

I think the most important thing that people should know is that they have the control to make this world a better place. All the factors of peace, health, and love… they start on your plate. It’s up to them to decide if they want to help and be apart of it.

As a lover of animals, the planet and her body, she decided to treat all these things with respect by going vegan. As for her advice for future vegans…
 I  want people to know that we don’t judge, and if they ever need help or want to make a transition, we can help. And we are not a cult.
So without further ado, here are a few of Nyri’s delicious creations for this spooky time of year! (All photos were taken by Nyri as well!)
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I love Halloween and the whole month of October, I usually spend the  month binge watching as many Halloween themed movies and shows while decorating the house with blood and guts, carving pumpkins, and talking to dead people with the Ouija board in cemeteries. All jokes aside, I am obsessed with this spooky holiday and I wish I lived in a Halloween town. It makes sense that my obsession would also leak into the types of foods I make. The following three recipes are rich and full of pumpkin spice flavors, they are also healthy alternatives to some of the other options that we may be used to for this month. One thing I should mention, if you do decide to make these recipes, be ready for monsters, ghosts, and ghouls coming to your door for a treat!

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Golden Pumpkin Spice Mylk

Ingredients:
2 cups of soaked almonds
5 cups of water
1/2 cup of pitted dates
1 tablespoon of pumpkin spice mix
1/2 teaspoon of tumeric powder
a pinch of salt
Soak the almonds, add them into a blender with the water, dates, and spices. Make sure to pit the dates (If you are a werewolf you can obviously skip this step) and blend! Use a nut milk bag to separate the pulp from the milk and Voila!
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An extra recipe that you can do is make mini almond pumpkin spice cookies! I added dates to the pulp to sweeten them a bit more and you can use a dehydrator or an oven to dehydrate the cookies!

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Ooey Gooey Pumpkin Spice Balls 

Oh my, these pumpkin spice caramel date balls coated in chocolate chips are literally the best date balls I have ever made.
Ingredients:
2 cups pitted dates
1 tablespoon of almond butter
1/2 teaspoon of maca powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon Pumpkin Spice Mix
 pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips
In  a food processor, add the pitted dates and almond butter in and pulse until you get a caramel consistency. Then add in the maca powder, pumpkin spice mix,turmeric, and salt. Pulse it again until well combined. The final product will be a bit sticky, but we need that so the chocolate chips stick. Last step is to roll them into small bite sized balls and roll them in the chocolate chips until evenly coated.
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Pumpkin Spice Skull Muffins 

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 cup of coconut sugar
1/2 cane sugar
1 tbspn baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1.5 tbspn pumpkin spice mix
1 cup of pureed pumpkin
pinch of salt
1/4 cup of coconut or olive oil
1/2 cup of Mylk (Almond, Cashew, Soy, Coconut)
1/2 cup of Walnuts (Pecans also work)
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Preheat oven to 375. Sift your dry ingredients (Flour, sugar,salt, baking powder, and pumpkin spice mix) into a large bowl. In another bowl add the pumpkin puree with the mylk and oil. Add the wet and dry in a bowl together, then before mixing, add the baking soda with the ACV and mix all until you get a beautiful pumpkin batter. Avoid trying to eat it raw even though its very tempting. I have a skull mold which I used to make the muffins in this recipe, however if you don’t, you can use whatever works for you. Add the batter into a muffin pan and then add the walnuts on top of the batter. Bake for 30 mins (keep an eye on it) they usually start to make the house smell like pumpkin spice bliss when they are done.
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Last step is to eat the muffins while doing a horror movie marathon!
Hope you enjoy!

Vegan Fall Comfort Food

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Growing up in New England, Fall weather meant apple picking, craving pumpkins and lots of richly cooked food. You know, the typical Fall stuff.

Now that I have moved to California, it feels kind of strange buying pumpkins in a tank top. But like everyone else in the world, I love the flavors this season brings: pumpkin, cinnamon and apple. So I wanted to incorporate them to into my vegan lifestyle. Here are a few recipes (some are my own, some I will link to) that say “Fall has arrived” but you know, vegan style.

Also, I didn’t realize that these were basically all dessert foods until now, but I don’t think anyone will be complaining  🙂

Pumpkin Pie

I’ve got to be honest with you, this was the best pumpkin pie I have ever had. I found this recipe off Minimalist Baker’s website. I liked the idea of a no bake, gluten free pie as I am trying to stay away from bread and wheat and my apartment gets really hot when I turn the oven on. I followed the recipe pretty much to a tee, except for I used hemp milk in my filling and I opted not to make the coconut whipped cream.

crustThe crust was one of my favorite parts as it was simply oats, dates (we all know how much I love dates) and nuts. Minimalist Baker used pecans, but I used a blend of walnuts and almonds.

This recipe does require a little bit of time since you have to let the crust and the filling sit in the refrigerator for a few hours but it’s totally worth it.

Pumpkin is actually packed with a ton of nutrition despite it being low in calories. Just one cup of pumpkin contains over 200% of your daily value of vitamin A. It is also a excellent source of minerals, like calcium, phosphorus and potassium as well as vitamins C, E and B complex. Do yourself a favor and make this delicious creation.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

 

Baked Apples

To me, this is the ultimate sign of Autumn. I have fond memories of my mom baking apples after I came home from school. Normally they are made with lots of brown sugar, but I wanted to keep these apples healthy. morebaked.png

To start, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Next, I hollowed out the middle of the apples, leaving the bottom intact. I placed these in a baking dish and lined the bottom of the dish with water, a few inches deep.

For the filling, I blended oats, a handful of chopped dates, a little agave nectar and a few teaspoons of cinnamon, in the food processor. After stuffing my cored apples with this, I topped with a little more cinnamon.

Bake these for about 30 minutes or until the apples have softened and the filling is crispy on top! Vegan Baked Apples

Vegan Meatloaf

When I was a meat eater, meatloaf and mashed potatoes were a huge fall and winter dinner in my home, complete with bacon on top and lots and lots of ketchup. Where I have no desire to eat real meatloaf again, I was intrigued to try out this vegan version of a very comforting dish.

My mom, who has transitioned into the vegan lifestyle (7 weeks now!) raved about her discovery of this recipe and promoted me to try it immediately. The ingredients were simple, most of which I already had in my cabinets or fridge so I gave it a go.

This was by far the most delicious vegan substitute I have tasted. Marty and I keep staring at each other in disbelief between mouthfuls. We had to stop ourselves from eating the whole pan. And the only way to do that was the thought of making meatloaf sandwiches for lunch the next day. Vegan Meatloaf

This recipe comes from Whole Fully. Gluten free and made with chickpeas and pinto beans, there is no guilt involved while indulging in this classic comfort food. The glaze really makes it, so don’t skip out. I didn’t have Worcestershire sauce or molasses, so I substituted soy sauce and agave. With meals like this, there is nothing that could make me go back to eating animal flesh.

Pumpkin Pie “Ice Cream”

This is super easy and a resourceful way to use the rest of your organic pumpkin left over from your pumpkin pie. The great thing about banana ice cream, is that it doesn’t really taste like banana. It will take on whatever flavor you want.

For this dessert (or breakfast) simply blend two or three frozen bananas in the food processor with a splash of non dairy milk (I used hemp but almond would be delicious as well), about a 1/2 cup of pumpkin, a splash of vanilla, and a tablespoon (or to taste) of pumpkin spice. Blend until smooth. I topped with some sliced medjool dates and cinnamon for more sweetness. You have GOT to try this.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Nice Cream

 

Pumpkin Spice Cookies (Gluten and Sugar Free)

I have made something similar to this in one of my very first posts. I thought I would give these cookies another try with a Fall frame of mind. These are so easy to make and only require 5 ingredients. This recipe makes about 10 cookies.

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.

Vegan Ingredients

In a bowl, mash up 4 very ripe bananas. Next add 1 1/4 cups of ground almonds and 1 1/4 cups of ground walnuts. I just threw both nuts into the food processor together and blended until almost fully ground. I like the cookies to have a few chunks. Add this mixture to the bananas, along with 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds and one cup of chopped dates. Finally, add in pumpkin spice, to taste. I just keep spooning it in to the mixture until it was pumpkin flavored enough for my liking. Mix all the ingredients well and let sit for a few minutes.

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Spoon your mixture onto a cookie sheet, flattening a bit to whatever size you want them. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until cookies are golden brown and firm!

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

For an extra touch, smear some almond butter in between for a healthy cookie sandwich.

I hope you enjoyed these Fall comfort foods! Comment below with any foods you associate with the upcoming chilly weather and snuggling indoors. 🙂

Avocado Gypsy

Easy Vegan Meals!

I have recently joined the 9-5 work force, while also working on weekends at a restaurant for some extra money. It’s not my ideal scenario, but I like both jobs and I really need to save up money to eventually live the lifestyle I truly want.

But I refuse to let my busy schedule keep me from health!  I won’t be putting my diet and fitness second, even if it means doing a little extra work. After all, I’m worth the effort.

I think a common misconception about veganism is that our meals are complicated. Some of the amazing recipes I see on Instagram and on other blogs, use an array of ingredients and appliances, like dehydrators, that I simply don’t have the funds to acquire. (Check out my tips for grocery shopping on a budget here!)I want to show that this lifestyle doesn’t have to be expensive or work intensive to get the nutrients you need and the savory, satiating food you desire. Even when you have a busy schedule.

Here are a few meals I have been enjoying lately, that are quick and require a few simple ingredients.

Rice and Beans

I am absolutely obsessed with beans. Sometimes when I am feeling extra lazy or really pressed for time, I will just heat up a can and season with some pepper and garlic powder.

For this dish, I also cooked some rice. I used jasmine rice from the brand Lotus Foods, which I bought for about $4 at Whole Foods. One package makes about 3 good sized portions. After cooking the rice, I heated up Trader Joe’s organic Kidney beans (one can is only $0.99) and seasoned with some salt and pepper.

I am on an artichoke kick, right now, so I topped the dish with these marinated artichoke hearts. The seasoned oil flavored the beans and rice even more which was a delicious touch. Overall, this meal took about 30 minutes to make. For about $7, I could make this  3 or 4 times.

Oatmeal

cutmypicOatmeal doesn’t have to just before breakfast. Oats are cheap and full of iron, fiber and protein. And they are really versatile so you can top them or mix in pretty much anything you already have in your kitchen. Here I added sliced bananas, strawberries, walnuts, agave sweetener, and cinnamon. But seriously, the possibilities are endless. You should definitely try having a big, healthy bowl of oats after a long, busy day.

Veggie Sandwich

What could be easier than making a sandwich?

The common image of a sandwich contains mostly slice meat and cheese, with maybe a slice of lettuce or a tomato. But, a sandwich packed with veggies can be just as satisfying, if not more so because you don’t feel weighed down by your food afterwards. I am lucky enough to come home for lunch at my job, but this could easily be a pack able sandwich as well.

I simply layered vegan mayo (I love Fabenaise by Sir Kensington), sweet pickles, lettuce, tomato and avocado between two slices of sprouted whole grain bread.

I used the rest of my tomato and avocado as a side, along with some baby carrots. Bam! Filling, easy and oh so delicious.

Sweet and Sour “Chicken” and Rice

Yes, more rice. But are you really complaining? This is another extremely versatile dish, therefore, I will include an amazing dinner Marty and I had the other night.

First, I started by checking my fridge and cabinets for any vegetables I had on hand. I ended up with red pepper, red onion and mushrooms. I chopped all these up and sauteed them in avocado oil until they were soft and started to caramelize. I did all this while my rice was cooking.

Next, I warmed up some mandarin orange flavored “chicken” from the brand Gardein. I found this on sale for about $3 a bag. After crisping the chicken pieces up and pouring over the orange sauce, I combined all my topping to the rice and finished with a little green onion.

This dish probably took the longest to prepare out of all the meals I talked about today, however, you could easily get other things done around the house while everything was cooking and sauteing.

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Banana Nice Cream

You can have this “ice cream” any time of day and I have. The only preparation you need, is frozen bananas, which you can keep adding to your freezer whenever you have ripe bananas. Add just vanilla and almond milk or any other kind of fruit you want to mix in. Here are a few of my favorite combos! Some of the topping include, raw granola (recipe for that here), shredded coconut, cashews, fresh fruit, almond or peanut butter and Lenny and Larry’s complete vegan cookies.

The key for me is to not think about it too much. You have been eating all your life, you know what flavors you like together. See what you already have in your pantry or fridge. Vegan eating can be so simple. And you don’t have to sacrifice flavors that you love. It’s all about re-imagining your breakfast, lunch or dinner plate and finding what works best for you. Work, school, hobbies…nothing should stop you from taking care of your body. It’s all you have!

I hope you enjoyed these easy recipes! Comment below with some of your quick and simple food ideas that you have been loving lately!

Have a happy and healthy day, my friends 🙂

 

How Vegans Get Their Protein

To me, being vegan isn’t a “diet.” Not a diet in the way we are use to thinking about it. I don’t feel restricted or feel that I am depriving myself. I WANT to be this way. I DON’T want to eat animal flesh or products that come from their bodies. I’m not counting calories or obsessing over how much of something I am eating. I am just eating when I am hungry because the foods I am consuming are all right for my body.

It is a great feeling because I was never good at dieting. Before I was vegan,  I would try to give up bread or sugar or eat less of something. And it was all I could think about. My cravings would be consuming and I would become frustrated with myself constantly. Something magical happened when I became vegan, especially now that I am eating a mostly raw diet. My obsessive cravings totally went away. I don’t feel like a slave to my hunger anymore. I will delve deeper into this concept in another post. But my point, today, is that I am not depriving my body from not consuming animal products. And I will prove it!

Let’s talk about protein! img_3106

Where do I get it, you ask? This has got to be the number one question vegans get challenged with. Because we have been taught since birth that the best source of protein is the meat of an animal, some people immediately assume that vegans are simply not getting any protein at all.

However! The beautiful earth has provided us with MULTIPLE natural and fresh sources of protein and all the other nutrients your body needs!

Today, I will talk about a few of the protein sources that I make sure I get plenty of. But to be totally honest, I don’t keep track on a consistent basis. I am not worried about my protein intake. If I am eating fresh fruits and vegetables, then I am getting plenty of nourishing and high quality plant protein. We don’t often hear about people in America with a protein deficiency, like we do with other diseases or medical issues.  The standard American diet is FULL of animal protein, more grams of protein then the average person even needs to consume in one day.

Protein is a little complicated. Not only is it essential for your muscles and bones, but your hair, skin, nails and cells all grow and thrive through protein. In order for the body to manufacture proteins, all the amino acids (all 20-22 of them) must be available. Some proteins can be made by the body while others can’t. These essential amino acids (the ones the body can’t make) need to come from an outside source, such as your food. According to Harvard’s School of Public Health,

The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults get a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day (or 8 grams of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight)….In the United States, the recommended daily allowance of protein is 46 grams per day for women over 19 years of age, and 56 grams per day for men over 19 years of age.”

However, they also state that there is “relatively little solid information on the ideal amount of protein in the diet or the healthiest target for calories contributed by protein.”

So it’s hard to track and difficult to really know how much you should be eating. According to “The Raw Food Nutrition Handbook,” by Karin and Rick Dina, “the more calories you eat from whole natural foods, the higher your protein intake will be.” 25670349-_uy2700_ss2700_ (I HIGHLY recommend investing in this book if you are interested in learning about nutrients from a vegan lifestyle. The Dina’s breakdown protein, mineral, vitamins, fat, carbs, and calories and how a raw vegan lifestyle will enrich your body with everything you need. It really is fascinating, especially for those interested in medical and scientific proof.) Therefore, if I am eating plenty of calories from nutritious foods, like those I consume in my vegan lifestyle, then I should be all set.

I think the main reason this protein question is asked so much, is because we have a vision of what a complete dinner plate, or complete meal, is suppose to look like. Meat, as the main course, with a side of a starch, like potatoes, and vegetables. That’s a “healthy” meal. But it’s not mandatory to eat protein with every meal. The body can only use so much. If you are eating small amounts throughout your day, this can add up to the right amount for your body.

Here is a list of  a few food, high in protein, that I consume regularly!

1.Spinach

Spinach is filled with 5 grams of protein per cup! I like to toss a handful in my morning smoothie, or simply saute it with some salt and pepper.

2. Broccoli

This veggie contains 4 grams of protein in 1 cup, as well as tons of calcium, vitamin C, fiber and vitamin B! I usually keep my broccoli meals pretty simple, maybe just adding in beans and some hummus.

3. Beans

Beans might be in my top 5 favorite foods. You can do so much with them! And as a lover of Mexican cuisine, they are essential to a lot of my dishes. Black beans are a great source of antioxidants as well. With one cup of pinto, kidney or black beans, you’ll get about 13-15 grams of protein!

4. Almonds

Almonds have 7 grams per cup of fresh nuts or in 2 tablespoons of almond butter. I use these to make an amazing raw pesto with spinach (double protein!) or just to snack on throughout the day. Raw almonds, without salt, are my favorite.

5. Chickpees

I’m a fiend for hummus. But honestly, I could just eat chickpees right out of the can with a fork. I recently tried baking them with some chili powder and that was quite a delicious snack as well. Just 1/2 cup contains 6-8 grams of your daily protein. Eat these as often as you like!

 

Even though this is a long post, there is SO much more information on protein that you will find useful to your life. I believe that we can get everything we need from fruits and vegetables, you just have to be mindful about what we are eating and how much. Do your research, learn what works for you and give your body some love 🙂

“Big Magic” Inspiration

Despite my love for all things vegan and health, my first passion has always been reading. I love getting lost in a story, marveling over the way the author put the words together,  creating such beautiful, sad, terrifying, moving, lovable moments that I can’t get out of my mind. I love the very act of reading. Sitting down in a comfortable place, opening the book, feeling its weight in my hands. Its a love affair that has been going on since my mother taught me how to read around age 4 or 5. Even being in the presence of books, in a store or a library, causes my skin to tingle and I am filled with curiosity, excitement and a mad desire to read EVERYTHING in sight. This love prompted me to write my own stories, which prompted me to study English in college and now here I am. Writing, writing writing.

I want to share this side of me because it’s an important side, one I hold dear. But also because today’s post is a little different than my usual.  However, I want to inspire you, the way I was recently inspired.

I just finished reading “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. I picked this up on a whim at the library last weekend as I’ve been into books about changing old thought processes and growing as a human being, lately. I didn’t read “Eat, Pray, Love,” the novel that thrusted Gilbert into the spot light a few years ago, but the subtitle of this book really peaked my interest: “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.”

I have long considered myself a creative person. I have always been captivated by well written literature, drawings, paintings, dance, music…I have preferred these things as long as I can remember. I feel happy when I create. Almost elated.

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However, I don’t create as much as I would like to. And thanks to Gilbert’s wisdom, I have realized that FEAR has been holding me back all along. While reading this book, I felt close to the author. “Big Magic” reads as though me and Elizabeth are having a conversation and she is encouraging me the whole way through. She told me I am entitled to create. That I have permission to exercise my creative ability in whatever way I choose. “Creative entitlement simply means believing that you are allowed to be here, and that-merely by being here-you are allowed to have a voice and a vision of your own,” (p. 92) Gilbert says that without this “arrogance” you won’t be able to take any creative risks. The words arrogance and entitlement come with negative connotations, but in this instance, I agree that they are necessary.

bigmagicFor example, when I thought about starting this blog, I was really excited to begin and I had ideas for posts swarming around in my head all day long. But it took me a good few weeks to build up the nerve to actually begin. I had feelings of doubt, or that my ideas and opinions weren’t going to be of interest to others. But after pushing though these feelings and a lot of encouragement from my wonderful boyfriend, I realized that I was entitled to start whatever kind of blog I wanted! For I am a writer, that is what I do. That is how I create.

Another part of “Big Magic” that I loved was when Gilbert speaks of declaring your intent. I think so many of us have a vague sense of what we want out of life, but then get upset when things don’t go our way. But we don’t even know what our way is! Declaring who you are and what you want is one of the greatest challenges and blessings you can give yourself. Speak it to the universe, to the world, to God, to whatever you believe. “I am…” “I want…”

After reading this, I wrote a list of who I am and who I want to be. This is what I came up with.

I am a writer

I am a blogger

I am creative

I am ENTITLED TO CREATIVE WHATEVER I WANT

As much as writing has been a big part of my life, I have held myself back a lot, from fear of others opinions, fear of my own judgement, fear of it not being good enough, and fear of not being experienced enough to write what I want to. Gilbert’s words inspired me to lift this burden and proclaim to myself that “Yes, I am a writer!” This is how I express myself. It doesn’t matter if I’m good at it or not, that is what I am.

I am a perfectionist at times and along with fear, this too has held me back. Gilbert discusses how this idea of having everything in life be “perfect” is actually more common in women. “Too many women still seem to believe that they are not allowed to put themselves forward at all, until both they and their work are perfect and beyond criticism,” (p.168). I have seen this in myself. I want everything to be perfect the moment it leaves my brain and is placed on the page. But that is impossible, as perfection doesn’t even exist.

This book taught me so much, far more than I discussed here. I want to take risks now and truly be the creative person I am. I have always wanted to paint with watercolors on a canvas but I’ve been afraid I won’t have the skill. I have at least 10 essay ideas, some that I have started writing, others that I have kept locked inside, for fear that I won’t be able to relate what I want to say properly.

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Well not anymore!

I am tearing down the walls of fear in my life. From now on I am just going to be me. I am a writer, I am a blogger, I am creative.

Please check out this book, if you haven’t already! Also, comment below if you have any suggestion for what I should read next!

Have a happy, healthy day 🙂

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Vegan Grocery Shopping on a Budget

I have had a few people tell me that they would change their lifestyle to be vegan, if it wasn’t so expensive.

Well, I am here to tell you that it doesn’t have to cost you loads of money to maintain this diet!

All it takes in some effort.  People seem to be in a rush all the time. They need the fastest solution right away. I feel that is why our society is so unhealthy. It takes more effort to prepare your own food then to order take out. However, the quick fix is usually not the best option. Giving your body what it needs requires some time, but I feel as though that time is completely worth it. I mean, what else is more important, really, than taking care of this body you were given?

Marty and I have chosen to live as minimally as we can. After using a lot of our money to move across the country, we are getting back on track and saving as much as possible. The only things we spend money on are our bills and our food. We are both passionate about food and love eating. This has gotten us in trouble in the past, as we end up buying WAY more than we need. Now, we seemed to have a system down and I would like to share that with you.

Here are some tips on how to shop as a vegan with a budget:

1. Planning

I love making lists. It keeps me organized and my mind less cluttered. I also love the satisfaction of crossing off a task when I’ve completed them. img_2922Grocery lists are no different. I see recipes online all the time that I want to try and it can become overwhelming. When I write out a list, I can see if I’m going to go over my budget or if I’m going to be purchasing a lot of items that I will only need for one recipe. If that’s the case, then I take it off the list. I want to be buying items that I can be using for a variety of different meals or snacks, not just one.

I also organize my list by store. We shop at a few different groceries stores in order to get the best deals and the different brands we like. The list may look daunting, but when you write out everything you need under each location, it always seems doable.

2. Stick to the Essentials

There are so many amazing vegan recipes out there, and I want to try them all. But this can really raise your grocery bills. When writing your list, start with all the essentials. Things you know you want to eat every day for the week. For me that would include: bananas, dates, nuts, img_2924frozen fruit for smoothies,  fresh produce like tomato, spinach, cucumber and zucchini and almond milk. This will take care of my smoothies, my dinner of vegetables and snacks in between. Now that I have these listed, I will continue with some other items that will add to my essentials or are part of a recipe I want to try. For me that might include: sweet potatoes, oats, beans, hummus and maybe veggie burgers. Once we have all these things in your cart, you can assess if you really need anything else. I also advise you to not over do it with meat substitutes. Every once and awhile, we will  crave a huge, loaded veggie burger. However, we both like to stick to meat substitutes that don’t have a processed ingredients or soy. There are a few brands that use sunflower seed or nuts instead and they are equally as delicious! Remember, being vegan is more than just what you “can’t” eat anymore, it’s about health and giving your body the best of the best. Meat substitutes are great, but I recommend only indulging occasionally. This will also keep your grocery bill down.

3. Don’t Shop on an Empty Stomach

This is crucial for Marty and me, as we are obsessed with eating. If we go into a store full of food and we are starving, we know we are going to spend a ridiculous amount of money. It’s happened many times before. Now, we go out of our way to make sure we are properly fed before grocery shopping. When you are starving, your body craves whatever will satisfy this hunger the fastest. This is usually carbs. You will probably come home and wonder, “Why did I buy so much bread? Were these cookies really necessary?” Maybe that’s just me…Be advised: Eat before shopping.

4. Shop Local

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If you are fortunate enough to have a farmers market in your area, take advantage! We save a ton of money by buying our produce from our local market. Not only are they delicious and way better than the grocery stories fruits and veggies, they have a higher possibility of being organic. I have a special spot on our grocery list for all our farmers market needs such as tomatoes, zucchinis, cucumbers, plums, grapes, berries and spinach. We buy enough of these things to last us a week and it usually amounts to about only $40.

5. Trader Joe’s

lsThis is a whole category of its own because Trader Joe’s is that amazing. Not only do they guarantee that none of these food contains GMO’s, they also have super affordable prices. Items like bananas, dates, oats, beans, nut butters and raw nuts, sauces, tea, potatoes, mushrooms…they are all in our price range and the cheapest I have found so far. And they are good quality, which is the most important. Marty and I do the bulk of our shopping here. We on average spend about $100-$120 for a little over a weeks worth of groceries. Seriously, if you have not been to Trader Joe’s do yourself a favor and check it out!

6. Look for Deals

This may seem obvious but I decided to include it. This week, at Whole Foods, they were having a sale on kelp noodles. If you read my previous post, you know I made an amazing raw pad thai dish with kelp noodles and that I was obsessed with how delicious it came out. Now, I have the option to make the dish again this week.  This helps me plan my meals as well. Sometimes I can get overwhelmed with what to pack for work or what to make for dinner. By sticking to whats on sale, I can elevate this feeling and prepare whatever I have in my fridge. img_2938

I firmly believe you can be vegan on a budget! We spend an average of $160 on food per week. We split this cost down the middle.

You will be saving so much money by not buying cheese, meat and eggs! Then that money can go toward buying wholesome, live food like produce. I eat delicious meals everyday. I am never starving, I am never unsatisfied by what I eat. I look forward to grocery shopping every week! I love seeing my refrigerator and counter tops filled with life giving foods that I have the privilege of eating every day. If you want to change your lifestyle, you have to commit and take the time. Once you have your rhythm, it won’t feel like a chore. It will be something you look forward to. I want everyone to take pride and have excitement for the goods things they are doing for their body!

Life is a journey and I love what I have learned so far.

Have a happy, healthy day!

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