I was just confronted with a very reasonable and fair statement along the lines of “I cannot afford to eat like this.”
Yes, the description of what I eat on an average day makes veganism sound dauntingly expensive and not feasible for many who would otherwise try it or try more of it. The truth is, I simply cannot afford an expensive lifestyle, and this is not due to some skewed definition of “expensive.” I simply do not make enough. I do have a gym subscription, that’s about it. Otherwise, my life expenses cover transport (public–I do not own a car), rent, and the absolute basics. No extravagant travel,tanning or beauty treatments, minimal alcohol (if at all) and a very very modest social life.
There are ways to make this diet work. Here is what I bought yesterday for food:
3 large tomatoes;
3 green bell peppers;
1 large box of strawberries;
1 boxes of blackberries;
a box of blueberries;
The produce cost me $16. the quinoa is relatively expensive–about $7 for a box, but it makes plenty.
How? I buy from local farmers. The same amount of fruit and veggies in a store would probably cost me more than $25. But if you buy local, be it from farmer’s markets, co-ops, etc, prices go down drastically. If you buy in bulk, prices get even lower. Even your local store will make you a deal if you buy by the box. And by all means–diversify. A large can of beans is about $2. A large can of chickpeas is about the same. It is usually cheaper to make your own hummus (per unit of volume) than to buy the boxed stuff. These days I make everything.
Be creative. Bean pastes, fruit+veggie smoothies, roasted anything–there is an amazing abundance of recipes out there with ideas I would never have thought of, that utilize cheap and simple ingredients in delicious ways. Many recipes require ingredients that are sold in large packets and last forever (mostly because they are not in high demand, they are also affordable). Vegan recipes are minimalistic, which is the beauty of vegan cooking.
Lastly, eating vegan will likely be far more satisfactory, nutritiously speaking. Mostly because you get fresh, real nutrients, instead of additives and substitutes, and you crave less. This is not to say that you will magically be able to go on a few hundred calories/day–not at all. But your body will be more nutritiously satisfied per unit of consumed foods than it would be with regular diets and processed foods.
Try it. It does require some effort. But the benefits are indisputable.