You don’t need Oprah money to eat Vegan

I’m only about 20 minutes into watching Oprah’s Vegan Challenge so I will start by saying that perhaps my review is slightly flawed due to disjointed information. But here it is anyway…

About one year ago I revamped my pantry. I traded regular processed foods for vegan, organic and natural choices. It was fulfilling and only took me two weeks–not because it was time-consuming, but because it was very expensive. I started by stocking the staples: rice pasta, Vegenaise (one of my favorites, I will never go back to mayo), coconut sap, rice milk, Tofurkey, organic whole wheat flour and quinoa. Once my pantry was sufficiently stocked I went on to the regular grocery items which mostly comprised of organic veggies, fiber rich wraps and whole grain crackers.

One of the first things I noticed was a decrease in portion sizes. I know what you’re thinking–you buy health food and suddenly you’re eating less rather than more? Well there were two logical explanations: one, fiber fills you up fast and two, it was so dang expensive the only way to make it last is to eat smaller portions. At nearly $2 a pop, one to two Tofurkey sausages was more than enough for a pasta dish. This never became a problem for me because I didn’t mind the smaller portions especially when I felt more satisfied than if I were to eat three slices of pizza. (I’ve since given up Tofurkey because it happens to be highly processed.)

Once I was comfortably nestled in this new lifestyle, I began exploring more adventurous options and even started shopping at new places. Particularly Whole Foods–the mecca for natural, organic shopping. What I found was  two small bags of groceries cost me $85 which included the $2 and $4 deposits for glass jars. I think I left there more discouraged than excited. I couldn’t wait to go home and try the organic tomato soup (in the glass jar…grr) that I bought but I couldn’t imagine why it could possibly cost as much as it did.

This is where my issue with Oprah’s show is aroused. Here’s someone who encompasses the true essence of influential in every possible way, who speak to the regular masses, telling them that the way to enjoy and benefit from this lifestyle lies beyond the doors of Whole Foods. Her senior supervising producer was shown traversing the aisles of Whole Foods, packing her cart with mountains of food that many of which cannot be found in regular supermarkets and most of which is too expensive for the regular person to afford. Her Oprah money allowed her to redo her entire pantry and refrigerator and in the end she ended up butchering the meal because she clearly had no experience cooking (or maybe just this type of food, but I make no apologies belittling her culinary capabilities).

If Oprah really wanted to help her viewers reap the benefits of this lifestyle then why not take them into a regular supermarket, show them how to balance the helpings from the organic and natural food aisles with the other regular foods that are more affordable? Changing your dietary lifestyle can be very daunting, can you imagine a $500 price tag for a day’s worth of groceries? It’s not that hard to assume a vegan lifestyle and certainly not that expensive. Walmat has tons of inexpensive options and their Organic and Natural Foods aisles are expanding and being offered in more locations. If you don’t shop there because of ethical reasons, then try Costco. You can buy a 2 lb bag of quinoa for $6.99! They’ve added many organic and vegan items to their shelves and there’s still the regular items which can contribute to healthy, vegan meals. I don’t go there very often so I look to my regular grocery store to buy my food and I am always very successfully able to.

In addition to that, there were many holes in her show such as consumption of highly processed vegan foods, too much soy, white flour and pasta as opposed to whole grain, etc. But that’s another blog post. her show could have done much more to help people want to convert or even attempt a healthier diet. With six-figure incomes, they could have traveled outside their Harpo box and look at Veganism from the perspective of a regular viewer.

What’s for dinner tonight? Spinach rice pasta with more fresh spinach, tomato, basil and lots of garlic with sides of roasted cauliflower and steamed Brussels sprouts. Average cost per person, less than $3.

3 Responses to “You don’t need Oprah money to eat Vegan”
  1. Marina says:

    Nicely done Rishma! Your dinner suggestion is making me drool…

  2. Amita says:

    When are you inviting me over for dinner?

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