Guest Post by Laura : 10 Tips for thriving as a Vegan, Ultra Runner on a budget
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Today I introduce my dear blogger friend, Laura who blogs at The Gluten Free Treadmill. She is a vegan foodie, feminist, ultrarunner, marathoner, and PhD student. Her blog is a great venture into running, vegan cooking, traveling and life! These are her excerpts. She talks about eating raw, cooking root vegetables, detox diets, food related stigmas and myths and facts, being attaining a wholesome view of life. When I come across her posts where she states that she ran for 15 mingles today and one time even 20 some miles…I was stuck in awe of this lady. She just inspires me to be a healthy and a balanced person. Her honesty is evident on her face. I admire her work and look forward to the simple, honest, peek into the life posts which inspire me to better organize myself and get some clarity.
Some of my favorite posts from her blog are :
Don’t grocery shop after a 20 mile run
$130.00 for 28 days
The whole thread of Raw Detox
Now off to Laura, as she says it!
Hello there! My name is Laura, and I blog at The Gluten-Free Treadmill. I was honored when Sonal asked me to write a guest post for her. She always has the most delicious recipes and her photography is beautiful. As a full-time doctoral student and a vegan ultrarunner, I have a very full life, but those three things in combination creates some challenges, most of them related to money!
I have some support from my doctoral program and work as a research assistant, but as you can imagine, there isn’t much money flowing into my accounts these days. It’s a juggling act some months, but most of the time I’m able to maintain all three of my loves (school, vegans eats, and ultrarunning) on a very tight budget! Here are a few of my tips and tricks that keep me on my budget and allows me to do all the running, fueled by delicious vegan eats, that I want!
- Meal planning for the win! Every single week, I sit down on Sunday and plan my eats for the upcoming week. I go into extreme detail – for example, a sample meal might look like this:
Breakfast: Coffee, 1 serving of soymilk, green smoothie (1 banana, 1 T raw almond butter, 1 c almond milk, cinnamon, 2 cups spinach), 1 Pure Organic Bar (during run)
After making this list, I check it against my fridge and pantry, highlighting what I already have.
From there, I…
- Make a grocery list. And stick to it. Nothing busts my budget more than going off my list and buying what “looks good.” Sometimes I allow for flexibility in produce to buy what is seasonal and organic at my coop, but in those cases, I’ll set a dollar amount (i.e $5 on fruit).
Grocery shop once per week. Yep. I only visit the grocery store once in a week. This allows me to ensure I stick to my grocery budget (which is $30-$40 a week) and allows me to get fresh produce. If I find that I forgot something, I make do without it, or go to the pantry (stocked with beans, canned tomatoes, and grains and make an easy rice bowl or soup instead). Emergency trips to the grocery store always result in a budget-busting week.
Shop with cash. I go into the grocery store with cash only. I don’t even bring a card. This literally forces me to stay within my budget. It’s tough sometimes, but it works!
Buy organic, sometimes. I use the Dirty Dozen list to buy organic only when necessary. This means that I buy conventional bananas (organic is expensive) and organic when I can. By following this list, I’m easily able to eat a vegan diet filled with fresh veggies.
Stock up on essentials. Of course I mean pantry staples, which I buy in bulk, but I also am referring to my vegan bars that I use during my runs. I buy most of those through Swanson Health Products and and Amazon and save upwards of $1 per bar. This way I get my Pure Organic Bars at must better price than if I were buying them individually. I’ve also started making my own bars (most are raw, all are vegan and gluten-free) which you can see at my blog!
Never let produce go to waste. When I was a corporate gal, I’m ashamed to admit that I routinely threw away produce that I left in my fridge too long. I never let that happen now, even if that means eating a giant salad of almost-finished raw veg. I’ve also found that vegan minestrone is a great platform for almost any vegetable, and I’ll make a soup at the end of the week with any veggies left over.
Fuel naturally. This goes along with #6, but I don’t eat a lot of fancy gels or electrolyte drinks. I’ve found that I fuel just fine with good ole’ regular food. I love a giant green smoothie after a run (and before), and a banana is better than a gel any day of the week! Oh, and more affordable too of course!
Use your local co-op, CSA, and Farmer’s Markets. I am always amazed when I come home from the Farmer’s Market having spent a fraction of what I’d spend at the grocery store, with delicious, fresh and local produce. I’ve learned too that these farmer’s often can’t afford the “organic” label, so just ask them if they use organic methods – they are usually happy to discuss their farming methods and you also help the environment by reducing the environmental footprint that transporting produce across a country (or over an ocean) creates.
Buy what’s in season. Other than bananas, which I eat year-round, I buy what’s in season. My local co-op makes that easy for me, as they label what is local. If it’s local, it’s in season, and it is usually more affordable. Plus, the local, seasonal produce just tastes so much better.
Some of these tips seem tough – and they are, but it’s worth it to be able to maintain a vegan diet and still make it out the door for class and some pretty lengthy runs!
What are your tips for living on a budget?
Great tips 🙂
They are 🙂
Great post, Laura & Sonal. If only we could stick to our grocery lists.. 🙁
I hear ya…it is hard for me too…sometimes I think that I should, shop with cash in hand only and not the card…that might bring the reality into action.
It is definitely the hardest thing I have to do!
Fantastic post Laura! I think most of this advice is great for anyone trying to eat health and manage a budget! And as for wasting food, I HATE that … so we tend to do a ‘veggie sautee ‘ when things are getting close to the edge. My wife is a big advocate of not ever doing mid-week shopping, whereas I am definitely a ‘just one more thing’ person (which I am working on!)
I need to take tips from your wife then :).
I totally do the veggie sauté too! It’s one of my favorite “meals”!
Thanks to Laura. She is a genius.
Thanks for the tips =] Meal planning can be tricky but it’s worth it! Stocking up on things with a long shelf life when they’re on sale gives me more wiggle room for fresh stuff.
I agree with you Shannon. I stock up on canned beans when they are on sale. My cart is more than half filled with fresh produce.
Definitely! I got an awesome deal on raw almond butter a few months ago and it’s been a huge money saver!
Great post, Laura! I think some of these are just awesome tips in general such as the meal planning (which I have to get so much better at) and the grocery shopping only once a week (which I have recently gotten better at).
You are so right on that meal planning tip. Saves a ton!
Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat™.
Thanks for reblogging
Good blog post.
very useful post, Laura, and thanks for sharing, Sonal!
I love all her tips.
Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it!
You’ve shared a lot of great tips here. I think one of your keys to success in maintaining all three of your loves is eating a vegan diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
My tip for eating healthfully on a budget is staying away from meat analogs (aka “fake meat”). They’re expensive and highly processed.
You are so right about those fake meats.
I agree with. You 100%! I’d rather stick to the whole foods!
Such great tips! Thank you both – you’re lovely! 🙂
Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed them!
These indeed are great tips 🙂
Thank you so much for allowing me to write this post – I love your blog! It was an honor!
Honor and pleasure is all mine:).
Love Laura! She’s a powerhouse in such a beautiful package 😉 lovely post ladies xx
Thank you so much, Elaine!
Thanks Elaine! She is a powerhouse :).