I’m now rounding the corner…I have just one week left to complete my Going Vegan on a Budget challenge. As a reminder, for the last month I’ve been shopping, couponing, and eating as a vegan. The goal? To see if I could eat a whole foods, specialty diet and stick to our strict $350/monthly grocery budget.
If you’re just joining me, you might want to get caught up by reading my introductory post, day one, week one , and mid-month updates. For those wondering, my kids have continued to eat dairy and meat this past month. (In fact my daughter is enjoying a cup of yogurt as I type up this post.)
This Week’s Shopping Trip & Budget Update
Just to keep things spicy, this month we’ve moved to a cash envelope system a la Dave Ramsey for our budget!
Today I went shopping at WinCo and Fred Meyer. (Make sure to check out the hot deals I snagged on the So Delicious and Tylenol if you’ve not done so yet!)
Here’s a quick update:
- Total Spent Month-to-Date: $313.28
- Total Saved Month-to-Date: $169.86
- Left in the Budget this Month: $36.72
- Total Saved Month-to-Date as percentage: 35.16%
- (And, just for fun) Total Spent on Eating out this Month: $60*
* This is really low for us! So there is likely “savings beyond the savings” of eating this way this month.
While we only have $36 left in our budget this month, I planned enough meals and bought enough food to see us through the next week. I’m hopeful that we won’t go over our February $350 budget.
What’s on the Menu
You know what’s so awesome about having done this challenge? I feel like I got an education in a whole new way of cooking! I’ve learned how to make my own vegetable broth in the slow cooker, steam my own vegan sausages, and cook with cool bulk finds like TVP and bulgur. This has been such an enjoyable culinary adventure for me. It’s been frugal, healthful, and tasteful! Can’t get much better than that.
Here are a few new things I tried this week:
I had this butternut squash for part of my meal last night. I cooked it in my microwave and then topped it with this AWESOME cinnamon syrup recipe I found last night at Allrecipes. Delicious!
This is one of my new favorite recipes! These Fool Your Friends Tacos are just awesome. Not only were they quick and easy to make – the texture definitely reminds you of meat. So flavorful! I had them a couple nights ago for dinner and then used the leftovers for lunch the next day. I would definitely make this again. Recommend.
I’m also planning on making a batch of the vegan sausages and vegetable broth for meals this week. OH! And I’m going to try to make my own almond milk. I’ll make sure to post about that once I’ve tried it.
Here’s the Menu for This Week:
- Sloppy Joes with TVP, homemade steak fries, salad
- Burritos (I’m going to modify the taco recipe above, add pinto beans, cilantro, and tomatoes), spanish rice
- Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (stuffed with walnuts & bulgur), salad
- Mexican Polenta Pie (slow cooker recipe from a library cookbook I found)
- Soups, Chilis to fill in the other dinners
For lunches I plan on making:
- Curried wheatberry salad
- Apricot Tri-Color Couscous
- Sandwiches with Hummus and veggies
- Plus, leftovers
For breakfasts I plan on making:
- Green smoothies with hemp protein
- Oatmeal or Bob’s Red Mill cereal with seeds and dried fruit
So this is just crazy to me. At the start of the month I weighed in at 151 pounds. Today? I weigh 143 lbs! That’s a weight loss of 8 already this month people! This is also a 15 lb total weight loss since the start of 2012. And I’ve actually not worked out as hard as I did in January. I’m not starving myself – I feel like I’m snacking all.the.time. I’m eating well and I don’t feel deprived. While the first few days were a bit rough figuring out what I was doing, I can say that three weeks in I feel REALLY fantastic.
Most notably – I just feel calmer. I feel less frazzled, more comfortable with who I am and what I’m doing. I feel more capable of handling stressful days and I relax more easily at night. I feel more connected with my food and the process of preparing it and eating it. I shared this with my husband over lunch and he had to agree. He wonders if it has to do with changes happening to our blood sugar or something. Who knows? All I can say is I’m loving how I’m feeling.
Some of you have asked what my plans are beyond February. I still don’t have any answers. I’m not ready to say that this is a permanent change, but undoubtedly what I’ve experienced this month has left a permanent impression on me. Terry and I have decided to get a Vitamix and start juicing to get in even MORE of the good fruits and veggies. We’re definitely going to eat more meatless meals. And while I can’t say what I plan on doing beyond February I will say I’m not ready to go back to meat and dairy yet.