04/25/2013 03:15 pm ET | Updated Jun 25, 2013

How to Conserve Money and Resources Enjoying a Plant-Based Lifestyle

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Recently, I was asked how do I afford to eat as well as I do? Most people assume that switching to an organic, raw, vegan, plant-based or healthy lifestyle is costly. This common misconception keeps people from making the changes that they intuitively know will enhance the quality of their life. In this post I will share with you, dear readers, just how I make this lifestyle of mine economical. Overall, I am a firm believer in making small sustainable moves in the direction of my heart's desire knowing that all will work out in the big picture. I trust that the positive choices that I make will be supported and that all that I could ever need will be provided to support my goals! I hope that you too will get started right now following your heart and leaving the multitude of worries that could exist behind with the junk food.

  1. Buy organic produce that is at its peak ripeness such as bananas and freeze them for smoothies and shakes. I find that my local supermarkets will offer me half off when I buy the bananas with a little more than a few spots.

  • Buy the less aesthetically appealing foods at the farmers markets as they are usually sold at a discounted price because people prefer that the fruit or vegetable look perfect (i.e. no dents). Please note I am not encouraging you buy rotten foods just the less uniform looking ones.
  • Ask farmers for the tops of carrots, beets and stems of other veggies that other customers usually have chopped off. Use these parts to make a hearty stock/broth. I love using stock when making any savory dish that requires water, it's always an instant flavor enhancer.
  • Use the stems of herbs or juice them in salads as they contain a wealth of nutrition.
  • If something is going bad I preserve it by dehydrating, freezing, pickling or using it for stock.
  • Buy in bulk instead of individually packaged items. Saves on cost and helps the planet. Buy only what you need to last a couple of weeks and refill when necessary. **I recommend stocking a pantry with your favorite staples such as (grains, pastas, herbs, spices, oils, vinegars, tamarin, beans, legumes, flours, dried fruits, nuts and sweeteners.)**
  • I am not a stickler on a product having to have the "organic" label as long as I see other labels such as non-gmo, gmo verified, spray free, pesticide free. A lot of times the smaller companies/farmers that I like to support can't afford the certification, however, they do their best to provide a quality and healthful product that is safe and beneficial to their consumers.
  • A big cost saver for me is also growing my own foods. I am an avid gardener. I plant food all year-long and there is always something edible in my yard. From the weeds to my trees, I get creative with the food nature has provided me in my very own yard... for instance my nasturtium soup recipe.
  • I let the weeds grow wild in the spring time and find lots of edible things such as dandelion flowers for tea and their greens for salads, nasturtiums leaves and flowers, nettles, gingko and anything else growing that inspires me to make a recipe. If it's edible I will find it and use it! Here you can see two desserts I made from my fruit trees.
  • Overall, a bulk of the recipe for making my lifestyle work is passion, creativity and resourcefulness. I truly believe anyone who wants to eat more veggies, raw foods, vegan, etc... can find a way to make it work for them. Sure there are fancy and expensive products out there but in the end our bodies don't necessarily need all of that fancy high budget stuff to thrive. Although these products are fun and exciting to experiment with from time to time there are plenty of low-cost and even free foods growing all around us if we can just open our minds and eyes wide enough to take advantage of the opportunities that nature presents.