“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
― Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
There are a lot of reasons to eat more plants, and a lot of misconceptions about what that means. What we're trying to do at Plant-Based on a Budget is to show how affordable, easy, and delicious eating a plant-based diet can be, how you don't have to shop at specialty grocery stores or restock your pantry with all kinds of unfamiliar products and substitutes, and, most of all, how you don't have to sacrifice time, taste, or money in the pursuit of healthier, tastier eating.
Though all of our recipes are plant-based, we're not advocating a political agenda, and we're not making a list of Things You Shouldn't Eat. We're just a bunch of people who love food and cooking, and want to share some of the recipes and tips we've learned along the way.
More than anything, we think that everyone should be able to cook delicious, healthy food without spending a fortune. That's the goal of this site: plant-based, on a budget.
How It All Began
Hi there! I'm Toni. Welcome to Plant-Based on a Budget! Since 2012, my friends and I have been sharing our favorite affordable plant-based recipes on this website to show how tasty, easy, accessible, and cheap this diet can be. It's my goal to offer an inclusive resource to help people embrace more plant-based dishes into their meal planning rotation. Whether you're brand new to cooking or a full-blown chef, there's something here for you.
My plant-based journey started over 15 years ago. When I was in high school, I both ran track and ate terribly -- which was a baaad combination. It was common for me to spend my lunch hour eating fast food, and my afternoons after practice feeling sick-to-my-stomach. I never thought about how the food I put in my body served any other purpose but to taste good, and I'm not exaggerating. Fortunately, I had a coach who advised me to quit my fast food lunches and give up red meat, and he'll never know (because I forgot his name) how it positively impacted me forever.
I spent the next couple years slowly moving away from meat — first deciding not to eat fish, then chicken, and then finally becoming a vegetarian when I moved out of my family's house. Embracing vegetarianism was a slow progression for me partly because of my family. Solely based on my dietary choices, they believed I was turning into a hippie, and also felt slighted that I no longer wanted to eat the food that they have brought me up on. In my cultures (I'm Japanese and Mexican), food is an expression of connection and affection. To deny your family's offering is disrespectful, and it took me awhile to come up with ways that made it less so.
When I was about 20, I joined a veg club at my community college and it was a HUGE game-changer for me. I learned about the animal suffering that happens on factory farms, and environmental issues, and felt in my heart the strong pull to align my food choices with my values. It was then that I decided to dedicate my life to promoting a plant-based diet. I held bake sales, passed out literature, got a job at an animal sanctuary, started this blog, moved jobs to work at a vegan advocacy organization, and ultimately started working on this website full-time.
But why did I start this website? Well, the real reason is because my family was falling apart. My aunt had multiple amputations and sadly passed away because of her type 2 diabetes, my grandfather died from complications in his triple bypass surgery, my 40-year-old uncle had a heart attack -- you name the diet-related health problem, my family was suffering from it. And when I suggested healthier food, I often heard that it was too expensive. I hated that answer! To me, my family is priceless. But I understand the reality of living on a small budget and the limitations it provides while food shopping. Until recently, I lived under the poverty line my whole adult life. So, I started Plant-Based on a Budget to share with them.
The site originally started out with me and my friends sharing our favorite inexpensive, plant-based recipes, but has now grown into a slew of resources! I've been working on it full-time since September 2016, and I'm extremely grateful for that opportunity every single day. In addition the recipes the site offers, I've also created meal plans that show how to eat plant-based if you only have $25 per week to spend, started the Plant-Based on a Budget Facebook support group, a slow cooker cookbook, the Plant-Based on a Budget cookbook, the 7 Days mini documentary, and the Plant-Powered People Podcast, which shares stories of how people overcame struggles associated with transitioning to a plant-based diet.
I started eating vegetarian options for health reasons, and it completely changed my life for the better! Although it wasn't always easy and it took me awhile, I wouldn't change a thing. I know that my decision was a forever commitment, and I am glad I set myself up for success at a pace that was long-term sustainable. And I'm so excited to help you through the process, too!
But I can’t do it all alone. I’m backed by an extremely motivated, dedicated, compassionate, and talented team. Let me introduce you …
Bea is the backbone of Plant-Based on a Budget. She helps implement all of my wild ideas, makes sure our projects run smoothly, and manages all the content of PlantBasedonaBudget.com. She’s a big lover of animals, a good Netflix show, and danceable music. Although she is originally from Chile, she currently lives in London with her husband and three children.
Find her on IG at instagram.com/londontakesfive/
Alfonso is the photographer, graphic designer, and the voice behind many of the social media posts. He studied Communication and Social Media Marketing at University of Maryland, is a professional photographer, and wants to spend his life doing good in the world. He’s originally from Peru, but now lives in Washington D.C. with his girlfriend Sara.
Find him at http://alfonsorevilla.com/
Deanne is in charge of our sponsored collaborations. She works hard to find like-minded companies who want to put effort into making vegan products easily accessible. She finds her faith to be of utmost importance, is a foster mom to kitties, and spends her days in sunny Venice, CA.
Find her on IG at instagram.com/deannethomsen/
Andrea helps run the Plant-Based on a Budget Support Group on Facebook. She encourages and supports people to push through their struggles in plant-based eating, and gives them advice and confidence to make it a lifestyle change that’s sustainable long term. She has a doctorate in physical therapy, a B.S. in kinesiology and exercise science and a minor in nutrition. She lives in Houston, TX with her sweet Lab/Pit, Jade.
You can follow Andrea on IG instagram.com/ndreawhite/
Janaye helps run the Plant-Based on a Budget Support Group on Facebook. She assists people in overcoming obstacles they face while transitioning to a plant-based diet. As a full-time employee in the corporate field, an entrepreneur, a wife, a mom of two children and a cutie pie pitbull, she provides people with a real life example of how plant-based eating can be done with a busy schedule. She’s originally from Jamaica but now lives in Florida.
Follow Janaye on IG at instagram.com/janayestanleyfray/
For years, Justin has been the man behind the scenes making sure the hackers stay out of the way, the site stays up-to-date, and is also in charge of beautifying our home page. He’s a writer, enjoys cooking up tasty veg meals, and resides in Rhode Island with his partner, Keri.