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!