I hope you'll think again. I've spent the last several years on the floors of big-box stores tracking prices and entering them into a cool recipe software program that calculates the prices of ingredients, and then recipes. I got so concerned after seeing many stories on the news that said you can't eat well on a budget. It just isn't true. My family has been decimated by disease, and yet genes don't determine destiny. I've been able to dodge our family history and win age group awards in races that I run.
As a former consumer/investigative reporter, part of my job was tracking the Consumer Price Index, so I had a good feel for what products cost. You don't have to live on Twinkies, inho. What tips can you offer to eat well on a budget? Dry beans are incredibly cheap. The largest bag I've found is about $.10/serving compared to the cheapest high-fat meat at $.60/serving. Do you buy them?
Hi Ellen - the book looks great, and the reviews were very helpful. I do have one question though - how much of the book/recipes are based on grains? I don't eat any grains at all, and I'm afraid I won't have that many recipes to choose from that don't have grains as an ingredient. Thank you.
Hi Laura--Thanks for your question and interest. I have an entire chapter on salads, another one on dressings. It's my belief that if you find a few favorite dressings, you'll eat more salads. I use grains in the book to "stretch" recipes. But I also use a lot of beans to do that too. In most recipes that use grains, you can either eliminate them, or add more beans and/or vegetables. I also include a number of soups, sides, smoothies and desserts as well that do not include grains. --Ellen
Hi Ellen, I am on the verge of purchasing your book. I like the idea of a plant based diet but remember years ago when I tried to be a vegetarian gaining a tremendous amount of weight. My body is different now and that may not happen but I'm still worried. I'm also concerned about the effect of beans (filling, yes) on the digestive track. Do you address this in your book? Is this a concern others have dealt with?
Hi Seeker--Thanks for your interest! A couple of thoughts. Since you're on this page, I assume you've seen my photos. I'm 58 and have worked hard at banishing the muffin-top. I don't address weight loss in the book. Personally, I have tried every diet known to humankind. All I can say is long-term, a healthy, plant-based diet works for many people to maintain an appropriate weight. The more you can exercise, the easier, generally it is to keep weight where it needs to be. The more greens you eat, with beans as the main protein source, it's pretty easy to stay on target. As I tell my audiences, man/woman cannot live on ramen alone. Anyone can stick a label on a way of eating, but it may not capture the healthiest components.
Suffice it to say, I wrote 10 times more than what ended up getting published in the book. To keep the cost of the book low, since it is about saving money, the publisher understandably wanted me to stay focused on the real costs of eating a plant-based diet and not eating that way. You are welcome to look at my website, (which I don't think they'll let me post here). So since I am known as The Vegcoach, you can bet I have website which has that name in it. :) Or my Eat Vegan on $4 a Day Facebook page for more photos of how I maintain, the running awards, as well as the press on my cooking classes. One student lost 120 pounds in 8 months, never counting a calorie.
As a personal trainer, I work with clients my age and older, and have great success finding out what works best for them and incorporating eating and lifestyle changes that are relatively easy.
If you find that beans cause you to gain weight, then you have to adjust portions and find what does work. Cutting back on high-fat or calorie dense foods like nuts, seeds and dried foods is one area that can also be helpful. Dr. McDougall's Maximum Weight Loss book and Dr. Neal Barnard's Physician's Slimming Guide are my favorite weight loss books using a plant-based diet and a balance between grains, greens and beans. As with so many things, life becomes one big experiment to see what works.
Answering specific concerns without knowing your history can be challenging in this format. I hope this helps whether you buy the book or not. I just got tired of seeing so many stories that said you can't eat well on a budget. I love all the wonderful reviews people have written, and hopefully they'll answer some of your concerns. While my focus is on pricing the recipes, obviously it's the way I've eaten in everyday life most of the past 30 years. And it works for a lot of people in maintaining optimum health as well.
I purchased a pound of pinto beans at the dollar store, or 6.25 cents an ounce. Pair that with more expensive veggies and quionea for eating. I normally have oatmeal and dried fruit (I sacrifice fresh fruit to the regridgerator god), veggies for lunch and soup for dinner I eat lots of nut and fruits as snakcs. I avoid all dairy, milk, cheese, eggs, sugars, flours, pastas, white potatoes, etc. Doing so I lost 27 pounds. It kind of fell off. I'm down 2 sizes in 12 weeks and am SHOCKED at how happy I feel, feel stronger every week and my friends say I look raidant. Win for me, win for the animals I don't consume, win for the planet.