Monday, April 4, 2011

Vegan Shopping

So yesterday, I did my first vegan shopping trip.  Wow, was that exhausting! I knew that I was going to be there longer than usual but I felt that the day was never going to end.  Before leaving the house, I planned my meals for the week and then made my shopping list (my very long shopping list) and put on my comfortable shoes and then headed out.  I picked up a coffee and then was on my way.  

I wasn't sure which store to shop at; I was torn between three places.  There was Whole Foods, that I just knew was probably the best place to find vegan foods, the grocery store that I usually like to shop at that has quite a good selection of organic and vegetarian foods, and then the store I least like to shop at but is the most affordable.  Since I was not only shopping vegan, but also on a budget, I decided to go to the most affordable place.  Big mistake!! 

You see, not only did I sign up for the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart this week, but I also signed up to join Project: Food Budget where bloggers set a weekly food budget and then each week share their experiences.  I didn't realize at first when I signed up for both challenges that they would begin on the same week.  So now not only am I shopping vegan, but on a budget as well! This just may be a really good thing because I think it would be very easy to go way over budget with the vegan shopping. I have found that the better the food, the more it will probably cost. 

So I went to the cheapest grocery store and I quickly found out that this store does not cater to the vegetarian or vegan kind! I began in the produce section.  This was probably the easiest part of the whole trip since most of my list was fresh produce.  Then I moved on to the rest of the list.  This was not so easy.  I think I read the labels on every item I picked up.  I was very surprised to find out that many products contained milk or eggs, products that I would never havethought  did.  For example, I could not find any bread crumbs or croutons that did not contain milk. I had no idea that there was milk in bread crumbs. Maybe I'm just a bit ignorant but I thought it was just...bread! I guess that shows me that you don't really know what's in your food unless you read the label. 

Well, after about two and a half hours later, I had made it through the entire store. I knew that I was not going to continue going to this store.  This store was a place for people on a budget but not those who are looking for healthier foods.  There was not many choices for vegetarians or vegans. And if there was a vegan option, there was only one option and it was not cheap!  There were some products that I could not even find, such as soy cheese and soy yogurt. It was frustrating!

So I have learned that I need to shop at a place that has more options and keeps the vegetarian and vegan shoppers in mind.  I'm sure that if I went to Whole Foods I would be able to find everything I need, but I still need to try to stick to my budget and I don't think I can do that and shop only there.  So next week I will try the other grocery store that is a bit more expensive but has more choices for vegan shoppers. Let's hope I have better luck! 


  1. my heart goes out to you. i vividly remember that first trip when i was diagnosed with food intolerances. and it sounds about the same.

    it might help to *start* at wholefoods and then once you get the hang of what you are doing, move to another store.

    and there is nothing that says you can't start with a budget and then reduce it once you get more comfortable with what you are shopping for.

    way to go for your first trip! it only gets easier. :)

  2. I, too, have been very surprised by the volume of groceries with dairy - something I never had to notice before. It's both eye-opening and frustrating.

    I struggle with finding the "right" grocery store - convenient, with vegan options but not over priced. No Whole Foods nearby, unfortunately.

    As for bread crumbs, look for panko (Japanese style) which should be dairy free.

    Keep us posted on your yummy vegan discoveries and good luck on your next shopping trip!