Being Vegan and Poor in France or the United States

Pan – Photo Pixabay

Let me just let it out straight : Yes I am poor. I make less than $1000 a month. I realize some have it way worse than me. But this is still poor.

Recent surveys show than on in two american lives paycheck to paycheck and can’t afford a $400 emergency in the richest country on Earth with the ability of printing as much money as it wishes. But this article is not about how much crumbs our dear leaders accept to give us.

Besides, I don’t live in the United States anymore. I chose to move back to my country of origin in 2014 : France. Guess what, the situation is not much better for the officially 11 million poor (soon 12) we currently have in a country of 67 million. Even our once superb healhcare system is crumbling from years of neoliberal politics. President Macron is the worst president we’ve ever had having channeled Reagan, Bush, Thatcher and everyone that followed.

The Covid crisis took us from 9 to 10 million poor in just one year. Meanwhile, they profit by passing more laws criminalizing poor people, repressive laws like the infamous Global Security Law (a sort of Patriot Act french style) and now openly attacking environmental and animal rights activists and threatening them with jail.

I am one of the people who has avoided, so far, the legal guillotine of being punished for defending animals. And on top of that, finding organic plant based food is more and more expensive. You know, like going to Whole Foods for just an organic salad.

How do I manage ? The same way I managed for years in Los Angeles with little income : by buying the most basic foods like beans, legumes, grains in local tiny stores like the mexican owned ones I know in East Hollywood ; getting my non organic greens from Ralph or equivalent and never ever starting to eat fast food (aka animal foods) just because it’s cheaper. That would be giving up on my principles.

Is it perfect ? Hell no. Is it better than consciously go against my principles or non harming as much as possible ? Yes. I do the same over here (although I am lucky to have a fantastic local little bulk store next to my place).

Gard’n Vrac bulk organic and local store.

From a purely health perspective, and I include diseases like Covid here, Dr Neal Barnard and PCRM have demonstrated the protective effects of fruits and vegetables and cutting (even eliminating totally) meat helps protects against COVID.

You can check their study here : Boost Fruits and Vegetables, Cut Meat for COVID-19 (pcrm.org)

The production of meat is a cesspool for Covid, not only for the workers Meatpacking Plants Increase COVID-19 Infection Rates (pcrm.org) but also for what’s in the animal flesh itself (not including e-coli, growth hormones and all the usual niceties associated with meat).

You can save tons of money if you stick to beans, legumes and grains and use what extra you have for greens and fruits (as many as you can afford). Even a simple lettuce is nutritious (See my article Lettuce: Not just the Iceberg – C’est Quoi le Véganisme – Véronique Perrot (wordpress.com) here).

Beans, legumes, grains are rich in tons of vitamins and minerals which boost your immune system and help you fight diseases including Covid which is showed to be virulent with underlying health issues. The healthier your diet, the better your chance of fighting the most common diseases. Like greens, they are also rich in fiber which act like natural vacuum cleaners for your body’s toxins. Healthy foods like oats, potatoes, and lentils are all nutrient-dense choices that won’t bottom-out your budget.

Another way to save money and still have some healthy food is to buy frozen foods if you can’t afford fresh (and organic). It’s often low priced, and the nutriments are not lost as the food (and its benefits) are frozen right away. They can arrive on your plate without the problem of losing their vitality in food mileage.

If you can afford berries, buy a good quantity and freeze some of it immediately so you can have some for when it’s out of season. Stores also sell them already frozen. It’s a cheap way of getting tons of nutrients.

Some foods can be stored for a while like nuts and seeds. They are packed with healthy Omega-3 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats. Brown rice is a must have and it’s also inexpensive. I insist on brown not white because white rice has zero nutritional value. It can also be stored for month in a cool area. Gluten-free, full of soluble fiber and downright cheap, whole oats are an item you should have around the house all the time. I mix them with soy or almond milk, a banana and a little agave nectar. You can have a fantastic breakfast with just oats.

Potatoes can also be baked, stimmed and if you can afford it, get vegan mayo or even better, make it yourself. It’s easy and there are tons of easy recipes for it. An example is Easy Vegan Mayo (Simply The BEST) – The Simple Veganista (simple-veganista.com)

Some suggestions for what to stock up on: dried beans, legumes, brown rice, pasta (brown if possible), bread (and freeze it) or you can also find easy recipes to make it yourself, oats (for oatmeal, baked goods, and more), baking ingredients, bananas, frozen fruit and veggies. If you have those on hand at home, you already have the basics.

Make a grocery list also helps and definitely don’t visit the grocery store if you are hungry ! It will push you to buy things you would otherwise avoid. Stick to your list.

If you don’t know what to prepare, PCRM has a fantastic list of menus and recipes on their website and it’s free to join.

With a few tips and a super simple meal plan (with a few repeat meals) you can make it through the tough times and not have to give up eating healthy, or give in to eating non-vegan foods (that contribute to animal cruelty and the destruction of the planet).

All if these have saved me a anywhere from 100 to 200 Euros a month. In these troubled times when everything seems tough, remember that you don’t have to sacrifice your health and you can protect it with easy tools. If you don’t have your health anymore, you have nothing.

Sources:

Boost Fruits and Vegetables, Cut Meat for COVID-19 PCRM

Meatpacking Plants Increase COVID-19 Infection Rates PCRM

Lettuce: Not just the Iceberg – C’est Quoi Le Véganisme

EASY VEGAN MAYO by The Simple Veganista

21 Day Kickstart PCRM

Gard’n Vrac website and facebook page.

© Copyright Septembre 2021 – Veronique Perrot – Tout droits réservés. Toute utilisation et/ou publication non-autorisée de ce matériel sans l’autorisation verbale ou écrite de cette auteur et/ou de cette propriétaire est strictement interdite. Des extraits ou des liens peuvent être utilisés si un crédit clair et complet est donné avec une direction spécifique et appropriée vers le contenu original.