For many people transitioning to a plant-based diet, it’s fair to say that we’re all quite conscious of what we put in our bodies. It’s normal to then want the best quality plant-based foods and usually, we believe that the price guarantees that quality. While this may be true to some extent, we can get carried away with buying unnecessary and expensive food products that distracts us from our main goal.
The Most Expensive Foods in the World
Certainly if we type ‘expensive foods’ into Google, products like saffron, white truffle, edible gold, Matsutake mushrooms and the likes will appear. Unless we use it regularly in our cooking (maybe as part of our culture), really want to reap in the nutritional benefits (as in the case of saffron) or have dedicated a budget for these items, then we usually don’t recommend buying these insanely expensive items.
Anything More than Just Expensive Urine?
What about the ones that seem necessary for our diets like the ‘superfoods’, powders and supplements?
While ‘superfoods’ can be beneficial in a plant-based diet, it is actually not necessary to buy or consume them on a daily basis, especially at the start of the transition. For example, spirulina and acai have been praised for their superfood qualities in recent years. However if a whole-foods plant-based diet is properly consumed then there is actually no need to buy and eat these superfoods. Also, keep in mind that the word ‘superfood’ is a subjective word used by many companies to advertise their products.
Similarly protein, supplements and wellness powders have risen in popularity especially due to Instagram marketing. While we appreciate the business surrounding these products, we are often cautious and skeptical of their health claims. It is vital to do your research before buying any of these products because more often than not, many of these supplements just give you very expensive urine!
Note that we do recommend vitamin B12 and vitamin D supplements.
Processed Vegan Meats
Many of my friends who try out the plant-based diet tell me that it is too expensive. Understandably many of them are university students working part-time or casual jobs. However, when I ask more about what they buy and eat, a common answer is ‘those vegan patties and sausages!’ While these vegan meat substitutes are yummy to have once in a while, they are insanely expensive and difficult to sustain a plant-based diet in the long run.
We recommend buying whole-foods and fresh produce over these processed vegan meats not only because it’s cheaper but because it’s healthier too.
Organic vs. Non-Organic
Some people swear by organic produce while others don’t mind. Many people find it hard to budget organic foods into their plant-based diet because they’re often more expensive.
We recommend buying organic produce and goods only if it still allows you to eat a whole-foods plant-based diet. If prioritising organic comes at a cost for your ability to eat a balanced diet, then we believe that it isn’t worth the price. Personally, we don’t always buy foods as we think it’s unsustainable for our budget to fully do so.
Another way to eat organic foods without breaking the bank is to grow your own vegetables and fruits. We also go onto our local Facebook marketplace and Gumtree to look for green thumbs who are selling or trading their organic produce!
If you’re starting on your plant-based journey, it can be exciting to revamp your kitchen tools to suit your new diet. However, we suggest eating the plant-based diet for a few weeks before committing to buy any essential kitchen appliances and gadgets. This way, you can discover the types of plant-based recipes you like to cook and if you really need to buy a new tool. We understand that they can be expensive and you want to get good use out of them over time. Check out our list of kitchen essentials in this post here!
Experimentation Is Fun
Of course, we’re not saying to never buy these new or expensive things. We think it’s exciting to try new food products such as different coloured powders (think colourful smoothie bowls!) and to include them in our diets as we see fit.
Moreover, in our Plant-Based Health section, our articles talk about some ingredients that can’t be found at a normal supermarket such as black cumin. However, we recommend that these kind of food products be sought once the early phases of the transition have passed and you’re more comfortable with the plant-based diet.
This is because they can be quite expensive and we don’t want external factors becoming our main source of motivation for the transition.
Keep It Simple and Cheap
Simply buying local and in-season fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and legumes at the local market is the best way to start the plant-based diet. This is important because these foods will make up the majority of your diet and knowing how to work with them without the addition of other fancy ingredients and equipment is key.
Love Grocery Shopping?
If you’re like me and love grocery shopping, check out my other related blog posts!