October 10, 2011 by Zuri
Right now, my diet is a disaster. Tonight’s lunch was a salad and a can of Chef Boyardee’s Nacho Mac n Cheese. I’m really sick to death (literally!) of highly processed convenience foods, junk food, fast food and heavy cooking. I have no energy, constantly feel sick and nauseous, and mentally out of sorts. I have “diet goals” or “food goals”, but at the moment I’ve got no actual plan on how to achieve them.
I’ve always been fascinated with vegetarianism, veganism, and raw foodism. Since college, I’ve admired how someone could have the willpower to remove something from their diet that I found so tasty and so integral – meat. I’m not a beef eater, mind you. I avoid beef like the plague (eating it tends to make me feel queasy), and don’t eat pork all that often. I do eat chicken and I love fish and seafood. I don’t drink milk – I’ve switched out for soymilk – but I adore cheese. I really like fruits and vegetables, not so much legumes, and nuts I have a lot of difficulty with. For all intents and purposes, this is not the best footing on which to start any kind of drastic dietary change!
I’d like to try a predominantly vegetarian diet – perhaps even the “Vegetarian until Dinner“ term that I’ve heard bandied about on some sites – and cut most of the meat out of my diet. I figure, it’s a start. I’ve poked around, read blogs, looked up recipes (vegetarian, vegan AND raw), and tried my best to educate myself on what whats, wheres and whys of making the change. I realize, as well, that as someone who has minimal experience (read: none) in the kitchen, I’ll have to learn to cook, on top of learning the underlying nutrition. I’m willing to take up that challenge. Unfortunately, I’ve run into a snag…
…that snag is my wallet.
I’m on a fixed income and food stamps. As much as I want to make changes, I’m having trouble budgeting both for the produce and other groceries for vegetarian cooking, and still buying meat and other necessities for my partner. I’ve tried to go to the local farmer’s market, but they’re pretty limited in what items they offer. I’m not even interested in buying processed vegetarian foods, like veggie burgers or tofu dogs. I want to be able to cook these items on my own. I just can’t seem to put together a budget that fits my needs. It’s terribly frustrating.
QUESTION OF THE DAY:
Do any of you out there in vegetarian blog land have any suggestions on how to budget for the beginner vegetarian, without falling into the processed food trap? What’s the best way for me to get started on this road to dietary change? Where does a total beginner start?