Let’s face it, eating healthy can be a challenge, especially those of us living on a budget. However, there are ways to have a healthy diet without having to empty out your pockets.
A vegan Caesar salad with a combination of Japanese miso paste and nutritional yeast flakes mimics the rich, savory flavor this dish usually gets from anchovies and Parmesan cheese. (AP Photo/J.M. Hirsch)
For me, a full-time college student and a part-time security guard, I have to budget between rent, car note, gas, car insurance, fun and of course savings. In 2013 I first moved to Maryland to attend Morgan State University. During my second semester I decided to become a vegan, meaning not only no meat but also no animal by-products like milk or cheese. At the time, I thought it just meant no meat.
Two years later I am still trying the vegan life style and while I’m still consuming dairy I have no desire to eat meat, so technically I’m not a vegan but more of an aspiring vegan. Going from eating meat all your life to eating no meat can be a difficult transition.
I advise anyone who is considering on becoming a vegan to start out as a vegetarian first. The one thing to keep in mind as a vegetarian is making sure you eat enough protein. Protein is what keeps you from getting hungry an hour after you eat. Meat, including chicken and fish, is a protein. For vegetarians, proteins would include beans, tofu, cheese, milk, eggs, kale and broccoli among other things.
I believe that if you start off as a vegetarian you the road to becoming vegan will be less hard or stressful because you aren’t going “cold-turkey” and having to adjust to no meat in your diet. Here are some different Vegetarian diets you can try before going complete vegan:
- Lacto-vegetarian, diets exclude meat, fish, poultry, and eggs, as well as foods that contain those things. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, yogurt and butter, are included.
- Ovo-vegetarian, diets exclude meat, poultry, seafood and dairy products, but allows eggs.
- Lacto-ovo vegetarian, diets exclude meat, fish and poultry, but allow dairy products and eggs.
- Pescatarian, diets exclude meat and poultry, dairy, and eggs, but allow fish.
- Vegan, diets exclude meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products – and foods that contain these products.
Had I known about the different diets the year 2013 when I first considered becoming vegan I would have definitely considered being a vegetarian first. That’s why it’s important to do your research before changing your diet and understand what changes your body will go through. For more information on healthy eating and veganism visit MayoClinic.org/healthy-Lifestyle.