A Few Downsides Of My Strict Veganism

Veganism is awesome in terms of health, and I freely promote it as a dietary choice, despite no longer being a vegan myself. But there were many things I disliked when I was a strict vegan that you can decide for yourself if it is worth the jump or not:

It Takes A Lot Of Conscious Effort To Be A Healthy Vegan

Counting calories, checking nutrition facts, checking ingredient lists, making sure you are getting enough Calcium, Protein, Amino Acids, Vitamin D, etc, etc. You have to buy certain foods, and cannot just eat on a dime. I had to make sure I ate a lot of Lentils and Beans, and would sometimes force myself to eat just to meet certain vitamin and mineral values.

I would freak out if I was getting close to 2000 calories in a day, and it really didn’t leave much room for snacking. I could not just eat some Oreos unless I was going to cut back on a meal.

Being Vegan Doesn’t Automatically Mean You Are Healthy

A lot of effort has to go into being a healthy vegan, like I mentioned before. But just because you are vegan doesn’t mean you are healthy, and you can also be healthy without being vegan. I mentioned this in a post I wrote before on this very topic, you can be a junkfood vegan, or even a plant-based whole-food vegan, and still be unhealthy. In fact, a video on this very topic was made by Vegan YouTuber UnnaturalVegan.

Eating a ton of bananas, potatoes, and lentils doesn’t automatically mean you are meeting all of your nutrient needs. You need to stay on your “A game” as a vegan, or you risk vitamin deficiencies.

Eating Out Was A Nightmare!

If I was going out to eat with some relatives, they had to make sure that wherever they ate accommodated MY dietary choices. Since very few places have vegan options, I felt bad whenever someone wanted to eat out, but had to shut down so many choices simply because of MY diet.

And that is not including the fact that most of the time, vegan menu options that DID exist was devoid of protein, and thus unsatiating.

Vegan Grocery Options Are Expensive!

Being someone who has the least amount of money to spend on groceries, unless I just ate a lot of beans or Pasta, I could not afford many of the products that would make veganism taste better, like Boca veggie Burgers, especially their Chik Patties, which my husband adores and can eat a whole box of in one sitting… a whole 4 dollar box.

Since vegan cheese and meats are so rare, there are no generic brands of them in any of my grocery stores, so unless they are having a sale, I often have to pay full price, and often at the more expensive grocery store, which means I have to decide on getting a ton of groceries for me and my non-vegan husband, or splurge on Boca for a day or two.

So Much Hate By Fellow Vegans/Tons Of PseudoScience

Unless you support a VERY specific viewpoint in terms of veganism, you will receive hate by fellow vegans. Vegan for health? Well, according to many vegans you’re just not as good a vegan as they are. Not extremist enough? Then you are not REALLY a vegan! You can’t eat sugar because of Bone Char, or Cheerios because of trace amount of possibly Lanolin derived Vitamin D3! And god forbid that you debate the ethics of Honey, or Oysters

And let’s not forget all of the unproven claims and pseudoscience by veganism, such as Raw Food diets, or Fruititarian, claims that ALL animal products are bad for you, or the lie that cheese is addictive.

Conclusion

I had a lot of stress and stuff to deal with elsewhere, so I stopped veganism for that reason, to make sure I was able to relax more and not freak out all of the time on that, along with several other things. Healthy Veganism is awesome to do if you have the time and motivation, unless you just plan on eating Oreos and Chips, in which case be as unhealthy as you desire.

That said, as I am writing this my stress levels are starting to go down, and I am attempting to go full vegetarian again. I am going mainly for plant-based foods first because of other issues I am facing right now, but I will try to be Lacto-vegetarian again by next month.

There are issues when it comes to being vegan, but I think that it is worth it if you have the time and energy to deal with it all.

Eating Vegetarian At: Round The Clock

Round the Clock is a Northwest Indiana/ SouthEast Chicago based breakfast-style restaurant. It is not very widespread at all, but I will make this list in order to try to help people who want a quick way of getting a vegetarian option here. Since they don’t have an allergen chart I am forced to go by simply what the menu tells me what is in it. So if I say something is vegetarian when it isn’t, please correct me, and provide me with a source.

To get started on the list:

  • Spinach Omelette
  • Garden Skillet
  • Most of their Pancakes, one comes with side of meat
  • Crepes
  • French Toast
  • Waffles

For  Breakfast sides they have:

  • French Toast
  • Mini Pancakes
  • American Potatoes
  • English Muffin
  • Croissant
  • Egg
  • Oatmeal
  • Toast and Jelly

Non-breakfast:

  • Grecian Salad
  • Mozzarella Sticks
  • Grilled Cheese

Non-Breakfast Sides

  • French Fries
  • Waffle Fries
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Baked Potato rice
  • Coleslaw
  • Tomato Slices
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Potato Wedges
  • Sweet Potato
  • Sweet Potato Fries
  • Rice
  • Onion Rings
  • Mac and Cheese

They do have some fish options as well for those of you who are Pescaterian, and they include:

  • Tilapia
  • Scrod
  • Catfish
  • Shrimp
  • Perch

I got all of this information off of their online menu, but be careful. The menu is a bit iffy, they list Dinner sides 3 different times with different items on each, so I am not too sure whether or not I trust the website. I did send Round the Clock an E-mail asking for a list in their own words about what is vegetarian or vegan, and I am waiting for a reply there, but there is nothing I can do about that but wait.

Judgeing from what I have read, however, it has quite a few vegetarian options to choose from fir both breakfast as well as dinner. So if I am going for lunch, or dinner, I can get some waffle fries, mashed potatoes, and a grilled cheese, and that’d be awesome for me.

Sadly they don’t seem to have too many ovo-vegetarian or vegan options. Like most restaurants who cater to vegetarians, most of it is Lacto-ovo-vegetarian. Which isn’t bad, but it leaves out many vegetarians.

Eating Vegetarian At: Whataburger

This is a burger place, so vegetarian options are not going to be very widespread. The good news is that they use a form of vegetable oil, which I believe is Soybean oil, so you don’t have to worry about your hashbrowns being fried in pig fat.

One thing I really like about Whataburger is that they have a kind of veggie burger. You can go into the store and simply ask for them to swap the meat patty with hashbrowns, making a potato burger! The only issue I have with potato burgers, besides the fact that it is deep fried, is the lack of available protein in it. The whole burger would only have about 3-4 grams of protein in it for the entire sandwich, which is OK if you get your protein from other sources, but not if this is a significant meal of the day. So you’ll have to eat ore beans later in the day in order to meet your protein intake requirements.

What can you eat here as a Vegan? Well:

  • Veggie Burger (Might have trace amounts of animal products)
  • Hashbrowns (Breakfast Only)
  • French Fries
  • Apple Slices

That menu is not very large, but does contain a burger that is either vegan or extremely close to being vegan. In terms of vegetarian options you got a lot more options, including:

  • Egg Sandwich (Breakfast only)
  • Egg and Cheese Biscuit (B)
  • Biscuit (B)
  • Pancakes (B)
  • Hashbrowns (B)
  • Veggie Burger
  • Grilled Cheese
  • French Fries
  • Onion Rings
  • Side Salad
  • Apple Slices

Now while this list isn’t very big in terms of variety, they do indeed have options. They are only a southern fast food restaurant, so you are really not going to find any in the north, sadly, because I would not mind trying out that veggie burger myself, oh well.

Eating Vegetarian At: Schoops

To start this off, I do not know what kind of oil that Schoops uses. But judging by the taste, it’s vegetable oil. If I find out anything else on this I will post it here. 

Schoops is a Chicago-Based old-style hamburger chain. The feel is rustic and pretty awesome, so I like to occasionally eat out there.

In terms of vegetarian options, you are rather limited. And extremely limited when it comes to Vegan options, although they do exist. For vegans you can order:

  • Garden Salad
  • Fries

Of course. Many hamburger places always stick to the trope of only providing these two staples for anyone who doesn’t eat meat. For instance; McDonalds and Burger King (Although Mcdonald’s Fries have Beef Seasoning). However, for vegetarians, you got:

  • Fries
  • Salad
  • Onion Rings
  • Cheese Fries
  • Grilled Cheese
  • Fried Egg Sandwich
  • Egg Salad Sandwich
  • Egg Salad Plate
  • And in ONLY A FEW Schoops, a Morningstar Veggie Burger.

It sucks how some Schoops have the veggie burger and others do not, but there is no use in whining about that. They also have some options for Pescaterians as well, including:

  • Tuna Melt
  • Fish sandwich
  • Tuna Salad Sandwich
  • Tuna Salad Plate

So a little bit of something for everyone! Although the Menu does seem to vary slightly based on which restaurant you enter, so always call ahead if you are looking forward to a very specific item.

I like how Schoops has plenty of good vegetarian options for people who are either Lacto-ovo, Lacto, or Ovo. Sadly there isn’t more vegetables on the list, so only come here if you want a more junk-foody kind of night out. Otherwise the options seem pretty OK.

More vegan options would definitly be enjoyed, but since it is a burger joint, one should not expect too much in the terms of veggie options.

Cheap Lemonade Recipe and How I got Free Toothpaste!

LemonadeThe lemonade is a recipe that I use to get cheap limeade for near free. I went to my local Kroger awhile back and bought 2 big bottles of Lime Juice for a dollar each. Each bottle can make gallons upon gallons of Limeade, and I have been able to make at LEAST 4 gallons of limeade from a single 15 oz bottle of lime juice. So a single cup is basically free because it costs so little to make.

I do put Splenda in it, which my store brand Apriva is 2.00 for 100, or 2 cents a packet. So for me, each cup of limeade is about 6-8 cents. Less because I get a lot of Splenda from my local Taco Bell. Very simple recipe, and allows you to save tons of money every year on drinks, especially if you buy soda canned.

But that’s not the only thing that I got for basically free. Kroger, and Food4Less to be precise, is having a dead on Crest Toothpaste, which you can buy then 10 for 10. Combined with this is a Ecoupon from at least MY Food4Less in Chicago, for which you can get the same toothpaste for 1.00 off. This makes the toothpaste FREE… except for taxes. The taxes on stuff like Toothpaste is enormous, at 7 cents per dollar, but hey, I only paid 14 cents total for TWO 4.6 oz tubes of crest toothpaste.

 

Tomorrow I have a 2 week grocery haul for only about 30-40 dollars. Using deals, discounts, and coupons, I wish to save about 50% on my entire grocery bill, which would otherwise be 70-80 dollars. I still have 2 loaves of bread from when I bought them last month because I bought them for 50 cents on discount and then froze them. Anything that I can do to shrink the grocery bill.

Spending near-nothing on groceries is easy if you can do it right.

6 Ways Of Saving Money While Shopping

Lately, I have had to make due with stretching a 20 dollar bill as tight as I can, last month only spending about 70 dollars on shopping for two people, including toilet paper, razors, and other necessities that I need. So there are certain things that I have to do to make sure that I have enough stuff to last us by saving money:

1. Shop Generic

Unless you have a coupon or a store deal that makes the price of the name-brand item cost less than the store brand product, just purchase the generic brand. In many cases, even with a coupon, it was always cheaper to buy the store brand products. At the Food4Less where I shop, I can buy name-brand pasta for 1.50 a box, or store-brand for 89 cents a box. Why spend extra for the same product?

2. Shop Sales

Do NOT ignore sales if you have the money, in many cases store sales can save you TONS in the long-run! A few months ago they had a sale where Creamette pasta was a dollar per box, PLUS if you bought 6 you saved 3 dollars, so each box of pasta was 50 cents each, so I stocked up on pasta, and STILL have much of that Pasta.

3. Shop Discounts

Just the other day at my local Food4Less several boxes of microwavable breakfast sausage, valued at 3 dollars a box, was about to pass their Freeze-by date, so each box was discounted to 50 cents a box. I bought 8 of them, that’s a 20 dollar savings right there! I have been able to buy wheat bread at 50 cents a loaf, fruit for 1$ a pack of 4 or 5 slightly bruised apples, and even meat!

Most of the time, unless I REALLY need it, if it is not discounted or on sale, I don’t buy it. I also buy based on weight. If there is 30 oz of frozen chicken tenders for 6.99, I will buy that over 20 oz of discounted chicken breast for 5.50. I just get more food for less money per oz.

4. Shop Shops!

Most food items I buy are at Food4Less, but if I ever wanted to buy a particular product for cheaper, I can check out other stores in my area, such as Dollar General for Powerade, Gatorade, or Razors, which are much cheaper there than at Food4Less. Dollar Tree has some awesome deals as well, but it is sometimes MORE expensive at Dollar Tree than it would be at another store. Luckily I have a variety of stores to choose from, so I can get a lot of really cheap goods.

For me, buying food is almost exclusively done at Food4Less, while razors and can openers and anything else I need is done at Dollar General and Dollar Tree.

5. Buy in Bulk

Buying in bulk saves you money in the long-run. Yes, you can buy Apriva, store-brand Splenda, for like, 1.49 for 100 packs, but the 200 pack is 2.79, which is a 21 cent discount and it lasts longer. If you have the extra dollar, buying in bulk is definitely better than buying individually. Or if there is a sale where something is extremely cheap, buy a LOT of the so you don’t have to buy more later.

6. Use Coupons!

ONLY use coupons on items that you will actually use! Otherwise you are just wasting money, not saving it! What’s even better is if you combine coupons with sales or store coupons. Let’s say Powerade is 89 cents, and Buy 1 Get 1 Free at the store. Making each bottle 45 cents each. If you had a manufacrer coupon for 30 cents off, each bottle would only be 30 cents. 30 cents for a bottle of Powerade is pretty awesome!

My local Food4Less, which is owned by Kroger, has these Free Friday coupons that only come out on Friday, and can be cashed out within a few weeks, each item can be valued for up to a few dollars each, last week I saved 7 dollars on Freebies. If you do Coupon Clipping, there is a chance that you can get free products

If you are also going to spend a lot of money at the store, using store coupons, like Dollar General’s “Spend 50 save 5” deal. So if through the use of discounts and sales you pay 50 dollars for 75 worth of product, you can expound upon that with the 5$ extra discount.

You can also make some money shopping if you use rebate apps like Checkout 51, or Ibotta. You won’t make a lot, but anything you earn can be subtracted off of what you paid for the products, sometimes allowing you to MAKE money if combined with coupons and sales. For more about THAT, you can visit an awesome site called KrazyCouponLady.com.

Conclusion

By using all of these methods I was able to save over 95% on my grocery bill while still not sacrificing flavor or variety. I still shock myself sometimes when I go to the store with only 10 dollars to spend and walk out with 3 or 4 bags of groceries.

Just remember though, coupons don’t make up much in my shopping trip aside from Free Friday deals or store coupons. Sales and discounted goods, along with store-brands made up the majority of my purchasing decisions, saving me the most money. Coupons help me purchase a lot of stuff for cheap or free at places like Dollar Tree. Free stuff is the best stuff! I will start posting shopping trips and stuff here on how I saved money during some of my bigger shopping trips.