3 Tips On How to Eat Whole-food Plant-Based in a Remote Town

Eat healthier

Since we launched the website a month ago, even though it feels so much longer than that, we’ve been getting people writing to us with their concerns about becoming vegan, and this particular one has come up a couple of times. Here’s the general gist to paint the picture for you: They live in a remote area that doesn’t have access to a wide range of ingredients or anything that is a little different (e.g., tofu, tempeh or Tamari sauce). Their household is either on a single or low income. Their goal is also to lose some weight and be more mindful of what they eat, but don’t feel like they’re depriving themselves of food. So yes, 3 Tips On How to Eat Whole-food Plant-Based in a Remote Town may seem like a very niche topic, but trust me, there are some great tips in here for everyone!

It can be pretty tricky to achieve all these things when you don’t have access to much. Through the years of moving around a lot, working at health food stores and fruit and veg shops, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks for many restrictions that people seem to have when it comes to eating well. Here are my three tips to help you eat healthier and not spend a fortune when you live in a remote area.

1. Plant some veggies in your garden.

Growing your own produce is a much easier and more efficient way of getting your produce in the long term especially when you’re living remotely. Gardening is very therapeutic and has many health benefits. I believe it would be due to your connection to mother nature (grounding), it’s meditative, and you have fresh unsprayed produce at your fingertips. Nothing tastes better than homegrown produce! Plant fruit trees and bushes as soon as you can as they take longer to establish. Do some research and plan how to have seasonal vegetables all year round. Renting? No problem, either ask your landlord if you’d be allowed to plant things or just do as much as you can in raised garden beds (which you can pull apart when moving) or pots. This is what we have in our backyard. We have picked a few things we wanted to grow that we man not necessarily eat plenty of and have it on hand when want to use it. I’m mainly referring to herbs and citrus.

2. Invest in the right kind of food.

If you focus on eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, vegan sources of protein, good fats and superfoods your body will be satisfied quicker as the number of nutrients you’re giving it is much higher than empty calories wasted on foods that are unhealthy. We eat a lot, but we eat the right foods. Everything is organic and I make it all from scratch. I don’t buy anything in a packet (besides pasta, rice crackers, etc). We spend on average around $150-$180 per week for the two of us. It may sound like a lot but think how much you would spend on eating out every week and how much better quality the food is when you make it at home. Not to mention you have complete control of what goes into your body. One thing to note with us is that some weeks we spend a little more and others less as staples like grains and superfoods tend to last more than a week. Over the years I have found where the best places to buy organic produce is, so that saves money as well.

Shopping online if you’re in a remote area would be the way to go. Try and get things in bulk when you can as it works out cheaper and you don’t have to pay to ship all the time. If you have neighbours/friends/family that would be interested in splitting the food with you, even better! You can create an ad on the local community noticeboard or send an email letting them know that this is what you’re doing if anyone is interested in joining in.

3. Crowd it out.

If you’re looking at losing weight and want to eliminate cravings and habits that will make you go backward, just remember to crowd it (the bad stuff) out. Such a simple concept, yet very effective. Just make sure you surround yourself with foods that you know are good for you and make sure you treat yourself now and then. Make yourself those rum balls if you’re craving something sweet, just don’t eat them all in the one go! Being vegan helps as it eliminates a lot of the store-bought sweets, but it is becoming increasingly easy to be a junk food vegan. Coming from someone that has had a sweet tooth all her life and then had to go cold turkey on it completely (I mean coming to the point of even eliminating fruit!), the way I managed to get through it was to say to myself “I can eat that but I choose not to” instead of “I can’t have that”. This would prevent be from being super frustrated at myself because I felt like I was depriving myself of something that my body was craving. The more you create the self-control and limit your refined sugar, bad fat, and processed carb intake, the quicker you will feel empowered by your own choices. In time, you will find things sickly sweet because your pallet would have adjusted. The simple flavours and textures of foods will be much more dominant, and you will appreciate simplicity in foods much more.

The main thing to take away from this is to just keep things simple. Simple cooking is cheap, easy and tasty. I sometimes batch cook things and have them over a couple of days. Things like soups, simple stir-fries, and baked dishes are great when you’re on a budget. Start small and don’t overwhelm yourself and send yourself broke. It’s just not sustainable and healthy.

Do you live somewhere remote or on a budget? What are the things that work for you? I would love for you to share it with us in the comments below!

7 comments… add one
  • Ashley 03/04/2015 Reply

    Hi, I live on a low budget, but not in a remote area. Being vegan in Boston while working full-time and going to school leaves no time to make dinner most of the week. In order to have lunch throughout the week, I make big batches of soup on the weekend and eat it for lunch throughout the week. Soup is the easiest thing for me to make while doing homework and doesn’t cost very much! Rice bowls are also a big hit for me, as I make rice in large batches as well and I can add all of the veggies and beans I want to it!

    • Sounds like you have a great system for yourself to make sure that you always have access to a healthy meal. Good on you! 🙂

  • Hannah 03/04/2015 Reply

    This is me! Thanks for this post. Since identifying what I have trouble sourcing etc, I’ve decided to change my mindset and focus on what I can do. I’m making small steps, got a little garden going, found some local organic veggies I can get my hands on whilst I establish my own garden.
    From this, I’ll be taking on board the ‘I can eat that, but I choose not to’.
    Thanks!!!

    • It sure is Hannah! So happy to hear that you are doing this, I really hope that it goes well for you. Keep us posted 🙂

  • Margaret 11/02/2016 Reply

    We have mild weather all year round. This wntier is unusually warm. Today is 22C, unbelievable. Blue sky and just lovely. As soon as the sun goes down, it will be around 14C, still quite comfortable.What was your impression of Orange County? Most HK people find our weather a bit too dry. exile

    • That sounds like a beautiful day! Wish our winters were this pleasant. We’ve actually never been to OC. We live in Australia 🙂

  • Mere 05/02/2018 Reply

    I live in Qingdao, China…you would think that China is flourishing with whole foods. That wouldn’t be correct. The large cities have much more to offer than the smaller ones such as my own. I was able to find an organic produce seller and her fruits/veggies have saved me! The one thing about China that I love is my ability to buy large amounts at little cost. I feed my family of four for 550 RMB (about $90 USD). The grocery stores tend to have decent selections of fruits and veggies, but none of them are organic—some aren’t even that fresh. We don’t really go out as we’re working to save money. When we do, it requires advocating for ourselves…not easy! The main thing that we’ve noticed is that it’s all about mindset. Keep the focus and the enthusiasm will never wane :)!

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