How To Save Over $1500 By Changing Your Diet
Today I have an exciting guest post from my friend, and Young Adult Survival Guide reader, Scott aka Plant Based Scotty. He recently started his blog plantbasedscotty.com by using the Step-by-Step guide I shared with you all. I asked him to share his journey thus far to potentially motivate you to eat a little healthier and save some money, enjoy! 🙂
Hey y'all, Greetings from Austin, TX! In January 2016, I went cold turkey from eating a diet full of meat, eggs, and milk to a veggie dominant, plant based diet. This decision has not only improved my physique, my health, and the planet, but my bank account as well.
My curiosity began after watching several Netflix documentaries about the advantages of a plant based diet and some shocking truths about the animal agriculture industry. This information lead me to start reducing my consumption of meat, but not totally eliminating it. However, after a short three weeks of learning more, the switch abruptly flipped.
I still remember the night like it was yesterday.
My wife and I were finishing up dinner, eating the basics: grilled chicken with a side of veggies and rice. We were watching a documentary called Cowspiracy when a scene about the fate of baby male chickens appeared on the screen. I'll spare you the details, but that was our tipping point.
After a few tears were shed, we decided once and for all that we would no longer eat animals products. Once the documentary was finished, we walked over to the kitchen, opened our fridge, freezer, and pantry, then proceeded throw away all of the food that contained animal products. Needless to say, our shelves were pretty bare that night.
Unsure of the future, I can say with certainty that we are here today, thriving better than ever eating a plant based diet. With that, I'd like to share with you some of the benefits financially, as well as provide resources to help you get started.
How has eating a Plant Based Diet saved me money?
You probably think buying all those fruits and vegetables is expensive, right? Well here is some food for thought [pun intended :)], nutrient dense plant foods like sweet potatoes cost on average less than $1/lb compared to a $3/lb for ground beef. To make your dollar stretch even further, frozen and canned vegetables and fruits are sometimes more nutritious and less expensive than their fresh counterpart. But if you prefer fresh, opt for vegetables in season when they are at their peak taste and lowest price.
As time progresses, you start substituting beef strips for black beans ($8.12/lb vs $1.39/lb) and frozen tilapia fillets for lentils ($3.59/lb vs. $1.39/lb). Over time, these savings really add up for your grocery bill.
On average, I spend about $15 less per week than when I ate animal products. Considering I grocery shop every weekend, those savings add up significantly throughout the year. At 48 weeks per year (minus 4 weekends for travel when the budget is different), that is $720 in savings!
Shopping for a plant based diet takes you back to the basis of nutrition: buying the foods that contain the vitamins, nutrients, and yes, even protein for optimal health. Also, plant foods contain fiber, which helps you feel full, all while eating less overall calories.
Naturally, being an athlete, I have always been conscious about how frequently I dine out. Simply put, food prepared by restaurants are usually loaded with the bad stuff (butter, oil, and sugar). Even when I still ate meat, I wouldn't dine out often, but now it's even less. Before eating a vegan diet, we ate out about once per week on average. But overall, it was consistently done on Fridays after work.
At about $30 per meal for the two of us (my wife and I), we spent in the ballpark of $1,440 per year on dining out. Today, we eat out about once every two weeks and the total price is less (averaging around $20-25 per meal). That's because vegan options at restaurants are typically less expensive than meat options.
That allows us to save almost $800 per year. So between less expensive groceries and infrequent restaurant visits, we have saved over $1500 per year by switching to a plant based diet.
That money has allowed us to heavily increase our emergency, house, and retirement savings over this past year. The funny thing is these are just side effects of switching to this diet. In the beginning, saving money was far from our scope of thought. Yet here we are, a year later, with more money in the bank because of it.
Related Post: 5 Ways To Save $1000 Fast
Advice for Transitioning to a Plant Based Diet
Before diving headfirst into unfamiliar territory, spend a couple weeks learning about this diet. Watch Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy, and What The Health on Netflix. These three documentaries will help expand your thinking about nutrition and how it affects your health, the animals, and the environment.
Use YouTube to your advantage. A couple channels I enjoy watching for education and entertainment are: Mic The Vegan (debunking myths using science), NutritionFacts.org (provides free updates on the latest nutritional research), Simnett Nutrition (fitness and a vegan diet), and Plant Based News (vegan news from around the world).
Find Your Purpose
Whether it's your health, the environment, or the animals, do it for a reason you can relate to. There is no right or wrong reasoning, just make sure it's your own. Many of my close family and friends switched to improve their health, while I switched for the animals. Either way, it is a win.
This is especially important because when times get tough (just like with the sacrifice of budgeting), you have that internal voice that guides you to keep moving forward on your path. I have reconnected several times over the past year with my purpose to avoid temptation. It's real and it works.
Go Cold Turkey
You probably didn't expect this one, huh? I recommend this approach because in order for certain physiological changes to happen in your body, you need time to change. If you can adhere to a plant based diet for at least 21 days, the rest is a piece of cake. Use this 21-day kick start program to help get you started.
Think of going cold turkey as an investment for your health. This small sacrifice will pay dividends in the end. Once your 21 days, is past, cravings subside and your palate adjusts to your new diet and the new flavors that come along with it. Other benefits that I noticed immediately are weight loss, consistent daily energy, and decreased recovery time from intense exercise.
Are you ready to make the switch?
Switching over to a plant based diet has been one of the best decisions of my life, both financially and health wise. I am able to eat great food, save money, and improve my quality of life in areas I did not expect. I encourage you to take this diet for a test drive and see the benefits yourself.
Look at this as an experiment. If it's not for you, that is OK too. Even if it just makes you more aware of what you eat on a daily basis, that will have profound effects that will follow you through the rest of your life. That sounds like a 10x value to me!
To learn more about a plant based diet, follow me on Instagram @plantbased_scotty for both recipe inspiration and fitness advice for a plant based diet. Send me a message and let's connect. I would love to help you make this transition for yourself and your family.
Have you ever thought about switching your diet to save money?
What do you think about Scott's journey?